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“Just not good enough”
Review of Balthazar's Keuken

Balthazar's Keuken
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Ranked #566 of 4,143 Restaurants in Amsterdam
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $38 - $38
Cuisines: French, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Neighborhood: Jordaan
Description: Balthazars Keuken restaurant in the heart of the Jordaan district is one of Amsterdam's most special restaurants. It is a long, narrow space set in a former smithy, with scrubbed wooden floors, an open kitchen with pans and utensils hanging in plain view. The moss-coloured banquettes, unadorned wooden seating, and plain white table linens add to the ambience of simplicity and relaxation. And it's tiny, seating just about 30 inside and a few more on the bijou terrace in fine weather. 'Romantic' must be Balthazar's middle name, in spite of the plain surroundings. Owners Karen Gaasterland and Alain Parry create internationally-inflected three-course fixed-price dinners, with a menu that changes every week. They create. You enjoy. No choice about the dishes, though. The starters are tidbits meant to appeal to all. The mains are perfectly-sourced fish or meat with sides. House wine is from the Languedoc, chosen to complement the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Dinner and lunch from Wednesday through Saturday. Groups up to ten can dine in the restaurant then, or hire the entire venue for private events during the rest of the week. Very popular, very packed.
Reviewed September 9, 2013

I was in Amsterdam for work and was recommended this place by so many websites And foody blogs .I really wanted to like it but was totally underwhelmed and disappointed. First the positives. It's a cool space, well done out and has a nice vibe. The staff were friendly enough . Our waiter had to read the menu from his iPhone which was odd as seeing as they have one menu for the week I would have thought by Friday he would have been able to remember what was on it. The menu is a series of tapas style dishes to share as starters, meat or fish as main and one desert. The starters were all cold and were all tasty but there was very little skill on show here by the kitchen, two cheese dishes, hummus, sausage and mussels with an over reduced, bitter sauce. As a main I had the chop and it was a nice cut, well cooked and seasoned but came with two cannaloni filled with ricotta and spinach that had been sort of re fried so they were hard on the outside......an italian would have fainted to see such a classic dish ruined and also served with meat. The wild mushrooms that came with it had grit in them . I had asked if they could cater for my vegetarian wife when I booked and they said yes. When I asked if they had a vegetarian option for her the waiter shrugged, asked another waiter who shrugged and ended up serving her the cannaloni with some fried broccoli . Really very poor. Desert was even worse. What looked like chocolate mousse was in fact melted dark chocolate in a glass with cream on top with a bit of poached pear. It was rock hard and a bit of a disaster. That was the desert. most dishes were prepared in advance so to be so poor was quite an achievement. Did no one in the kitchen taste the chocolate and realise it was wrong as a dessert? Wine was fine. Now if this food had been €20 each I would have not felt the need to write this review but the bill was €94. If I had been served this standard of food by a friend at a dinner party then I would have thought it was fine with a few typical on the night disasters but to pay these kind of prices for this standard of cooking is just not good enough. I really think the owners need to get out more and travel to other cities ( london , New York, Melbourne etc ) and realise that this level of cooking and service just Doesn't do it in 2013. The concept is fine , its very simple but it requires much better ambition and execution . The place is seemingly packed and people rave about it online and so I don't think it will change but really it was just one massive let down. It is definitely a 'style over substance 'type of place. It could be great and that is the real shame.

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Thank Benedict Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 - 164 of 301 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2013

You can watch everything being made. Fresh ingredients, prepared with care. The tower of appetizers was excellent (I particularly enjoyed the sardines with apricots). The entrees were duck and fish-both quite nice. Wines were very good and inexpensive. Service was good.

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Thank DavidSta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

It was really amazing because we saw the restaurant by chance and become interested in the environment and decoration. I checked in in our trip advisor app and realized that it is a special type of restaurant ... and it was. If you want to experience something different just go there. They offer two types of meal each night, but it is accompanied by starting drink (that could be a special cocktail), starter (wow, don't miss it, a mixture of different amazing starters) and dessert. The restaurant itself it is very small and I guess it suffers from lack of space, but the decoration is something touching. and the cooker is cooking with love in an open kitchen. Really with love :)

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1  Thank Babak M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

We were really looking forward to this place after hearing high recommendations from friends.

We turned up (after booking, this place is busy) and the restaurant was a buzz. Lots of happy diners and the open kitchen was fun to watch.

After ordering a couple of drinks and they sent us the entree tasting platter, however upon viewing the food I realized that I had completely no appetite (had been feeling a bit ill the day previous). For clarification the food looked wonderful, but I was not feeling well.

Unfortunately I then felt nauseous and had to leave. My dad and I told the owners that we would pay them for what they had already made (the two drinks, entree, plus mains were probably already in the oven) but they insisted that there would be no charge.

I repeat, no charge what so ever!

This was a lovely gesture and although I cannot vouch for the food I had to leave a review because of how kind the staff were.

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Thank Lachlan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

One of the most delicious, and charming, meals ever, and we are San Francisco foodies. Assorted appetizers were highly entertaining, delicious and worked for the carnivores and non-red meat eater; the fish dish was slightly bland, but my marsala-type veal dish was among the best things I've ever eaten -- family members who got the fish were jealous. The staff couldn't have been more welcoming: the whole experience was a delight. Trying to come up with an excuse to go back and spend my 65th birthday here.

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Thank delene7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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