Toscanini is an institution in Amsterdam. For those of you who may not know it, it's one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.

Bernadette and chef/owner Leonardo Pacenti go back a number of years. At one stage, Bernadette made the desserts for the restaurant for a couple of years.

Leonardo has teamed up with Maud Moody and Nina Bogaerts to bring 'De Bijbel van de Italiaanse Keuken' or The Italian Kitchen Bible to life.

This comprehensive book covers every aspect of the Italian kitchen, the equipment you need, basic ingredients and the essential recipes that everyone who has an interest in Italian cuisine should know.

Go get yourself a copy while sipping on an espresso and getting some food to go from their new location, Magnani, just a few doors down from the main restaurant.

Bar Fisk

Situated in a small street in Amsterdam's Pijp district, you'll find Bar Fisk. From the outside an unassuming place. Until you step inside and are transported to a busy, vibrant Tel Aviv restaurant. 

That vibrancy can be found back in the delicious food served. It's packed with gutsy flavours. The idea is to order dishes to share. We had tiger shrimp with spicy aubergine and mango sauce, slow cooked and smoked beef brisket and lastly artichoke ravioli with creamy celeriac purée. 

Desserts too were a treat - semolina cake drenched in a spiced syrup and a rich and dense chocolate and salted caramel cake served with frozen olive oil. Instead of drinking wine off their well-chosen list, we opted for a gin and tonic. Besides different g&t combinations they also serve a variety of cocktails and other drinks to cater for all tastes.

This restaurant is a great find and we will most definitely be regular visitors.


Restaurant Breda, situated in the centre of Amsterdam, offers modern international cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. You can choose between 3 menus carefully compiled and executed by the chefs.

They have over 15 wines available to order by the glass, wine pairing with the menu and more than 60 wines on the list from all over the world.

The food is simple yet delicious with surprising combinations and attention to detail. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner which used the best and freshest of the season's ingredients. Also the prefect choice for lunch! A restaurant we wouldn't hesitate to return to.

Daalder in the Jordaan

At Daalder, situated on the Lindengracht in Amsterdam's vibrant Jordan district, you can expect fine, Michelin-quality cuisine in a down to earth environment. They serve either a 5-or 7- course menu, made with beautiful fresh ingredients, all hand picked by their head chef and co-owner from Paris, Dennis Huwaë.

His dishes are like works of art and with their many flavours and textures, his creations are a delight to the palate. They do things a little differently at Daalder. Their superb dishes are served with a smile in a joyful, unpretentious atmosphere.

The wine menu is created by Maitre Sommelier Tim Grashuis, who is also responsible for the widely acclaimed great service at Daalder.


Earlier this year, to celebrate 10 years of working together, we travelled to Mischa's home town of Cape Town in South Africa.

We were greeted by warm summer sunshine, the most amazing food and gorgeous wines. For some time now, we had heard about the beautiful wine estate of Babylonstoren, situated between Franschoek and Stellenbosch. Driving up on the long dirt road on a scorching hot Sunday afternoon, with vineyards on either side and the mountains ahead of us, we were certainly in for a treat.

The manicured and sculpted gardens, also referred to as the Versaille of Africa, welcomed us. The fertile land produces the most amazing, ripe and varied ingredients which are used in their two restaurants, The Greenhouse, which offers a more laid back and relaxed atmosphere and their fine-dining restaurant Babel.

Hours can be spent wandering through the gardens and surroundings. If you have more time, and the budget, you can also stay in the Farm Hotel, which is tailored to be your home away from home. There's also a spa where you can be pampered and rejuvenated.

The shop sells the most beautiful local produced - think artisan breads baked right on the premises, meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables. Not to mention their own label wines, books and other beautiful items.

The only way to best appreciate this magnificent part of the world is not by reading the written word, but by experiencing it trough photos and images, or better yet, by going and visiting it for yourself.

For more information, visit Babylonstoren.

Rens Kroes launches Powerfood 2 at Amsterdam Flavours

Rens Kroes, the well known Dutch author of the incredibly popular PowerFood Cookbook is launching her second book, PowerFood - from Friesland to New York at Amsterdam Flavours new location at the Westergasfabriek with pop-up restaurant over 3 days. Click here to reserve your place.

Rens Kroes 1Rens Kroes 2

Morgan & Mees

Morgan & Mees is a brand new hotel and restaurant situated in a completely renovated historical building in Amsterdam West. The interior matches the characteristics of the monumental building, but with a modern twist. With an elegant timeless look and an eye for detail Morgan & Mees is a stylised hotel for international travellers and locals.

The bar, restaurant and hotel are tastefully designed, classical, yet modern at the same time.

The restaurant menu is brasserie inspired with very accessible dishes. In the evenings, the bar is really popular and even standing space is hard to find.

In the short time they've been open, Morgan & Mees has gained quite a following and they are certainly a valuable addition to the area.

For more information, please visit Morgan & Mees.

Vyne & Envy

It was a cold and damp midweek evening when we made our way for a drink and dinner at two Amsterdam institutions.

Walking down the Prinsengracht, rain drizzling overhead, we were in much need of a good glass of something to drink and a delicious dinner after what had been a few very busy weeks.

As we entered Vyne wine bar, we were surprised to see it very quiet. Maybe it was the weather or the upcoming festive season that people of 'waiting' for all the parties. The buzzing atmosphere we missed of people enjoying a drink was more than made up for by the friendly and charming Charlene.

We browsed through the extensive wine list, around 350 wines to be exact, while she poured us each a glass of Colmei Valdobbiadene Prosecco. You'll find a good selection of G&T's on the menu and their new wine cocktails. If you find it hard to chose a particular wine, you can always order a wine flight (red or white) put together by their sommelier.

And while you're having a drink, there is also a little bites menu with tapas style offerings, cheese platters and shrimp croquettes.

We then made our way a few meters up the road to Envy. This is a restaurant that serves what they call delicatessen dishes. In a nut shell, it's small dishes designed for sharing. Diners can either order a la carte, or can be surprised by the Chef's Menu.

The restaurant has two types of seating, high tables for those wanting a quick bite and low tables for those diner who want a leisurely evening it. A great concept and idea, we think.

The friendly restaurant manager gave us a warm welcome and we were immediately greeted with glass of Cava and a charcuterie platter comprising lavender Brandt & Levie sausage paired with Dijon mustard, heavenly Iberico ham and Spanish salame Ventricina. Nice bread and olive oil completed the scene.

Our first course comprised 3 different dishes - oyster ceviche, cucumber, burnt onion, dill and yoghurt pastilles. Fantastically clean and refreshing with sweet and sour notes from the cucumber and pickling liquid. This is a great way of eating oysters. The next dish was seared squid with chiparones (baby squid), olive cake, aioli and squid ink pasta. The seared squid was beautifully cooked, firm but tender. The chiparones were almost raw, just have seen the pan and the olive cake was sweet and light (made with an almond base) adding an interesting contrast to the dish. Thirdly we were served langoustines with Hollandaise, curry oil, curry crumble and enoki mushrooms. A stunning combination of sweet langoustines, rich Hollandaise and with a perfume of curry. The sweet crumble with curry was a nice idea, while the roasted enoki gave the dish a savoury note. With so many different ingredients and flavours, you would imagine that it would be a nightmare to pair with one wine, but this was done well with a Gruner Veltliner.

The following set a dishes comprised a steak tartare with potato mousseline, herring caviar, grilled leeks and a 60 C cooked farmhouse egg yolk. The steak tartare was well seasoned and tender counter-balanced with the soft mousseline and salty bursts from the herring caviar. The 60 C egg yolk was both firm and soft, adding a richness to the dish.

The next dish was grilled fillet of plaice young garlic foam, sweet and sour fennel, roasted onion cream, ciabatta toast and rocket cream. Despite the many bold flavours being used, the dish was light and fresh. The plaice was perfectly cooked and the delicous rocket cream added some pepperiness to the dish.

These dishes were paired with a Portugese Valporeria, a white wine made using 5 different grape varietys. The wine was powerful enough for the steak tartare, but smooth and elegant as well to pair with the fish.

We next moved on to an intriguing and super-delicious combination of foie gras with raspberry and hazelnut. Baring in mind what we had already eaten, it too wasn't as simple as it sounds. Grilled foie gras was, raspberry meringue, fresh raspberries, raspberry gel, a 'bon bon'of foie gras, hazelnut creme and shiso purple. The plate looked liked a dessert, too pretty to eat, but we attacked the plate. Who would have thought that fresh, sharp raspberry was so good with foie gras? Throw in some hazelnut and sweet meringue and it's a marriage made in heaven.

We just about had space left for dessert and an espresso. Coffee Bay then arrived at our table - the chefs interpretation of coffee and Bailey's. A caramel tuile, cold Bailey's granite, chocolate crumble, creamy Bailey's bon bons,deep-flavoured coffee meringues, stroop waffels, chocolate mousse, hazelnut crumble and finished off with grated tonka beans. This dish balanced sweet and bitter flavours with cold textures and crunch. A good ending to the meal.

The service was impeccable. Our waiter was friendly, enthusiastic and very knowledgable. There is a relaxed vibe in the restaurant where both locals and visitors will feel comfortable. The food is delicious, imaginitive and well executed. The chefs put everything on a plate for a reason. As there are so many small components to each dish, we feel that sharing plates are not always ideal for allowing the diner to taste all the components and get the full effect intended.

Envy should without doubt be on your restaurant list, whether you're looking for a leisurely night out or a quick bite with great food.

For more information, please visit Vyne.

For more information, please visit Envy.

China Town

Every city around the world has it's own China Town and Amsterdam is no different.

On a street called Zeedijk, a stones-throw away from the Red Light District, you'll find a cluster of Chinese restaurants and supermarkets. There are Peking ducks hanging in the windows, Chinese families doing their groceries, paying their respects at the beautiful Chinese Temple or grabbing a bite to eat.

We needed some specialty Asian ingredients so we made our way to Dun Yong supermarket. You'll find an incredible array of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Asian ingredients. Ranging from frozen tom yum soup packs, fresh coriander with the root attached to a range of woks and steamers. This is the one-stop shop for your Asian store cupboard and ingredients you won't find any where else.

It was getting late and we hadn't eaten lunch yet, so Mischa suggested we go and eat dim sum at Hoi Tin. He's been eating there for years and has always wanted to take Bernadette to try it out, so this was the perfect opportunity.

We sat down to a pot of fragrant, steaming jasmine tea before tucking in to steamed dumplings with prawns and scallops. Aubergine slices, filled with pounded shrimp, deep fried in a light batter and served on a soy based sauce. To end, sesame balls, fried and filled with a sweet peanut paste. Reasonably priced food which does wonders for your soul and belly! We'll be going back soon to have dinner there.


Restaurant Visaandeschelde

Sometimes in life, things are worth waiting for.

We've heard for many years that VisaandeSchelde is one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Amsterdam, however we've never had the chance to experience it for ourselves. Until now, that is.

Situated on the Scheldestraat opposite the RAI convention centre, the restaurant is well located within the city and easily accessible. The interior makes use of hand-crafted materials, herring-bone patterns and special lighting to complement the area and food being served. Old techniques, crafts and beautiful reused materials have been deployed in the interior design. The combination of materials, images and patterns have been used in such a way as to create several different spaces within the restaurant.

On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff. Once seated, our glasses were immediately filled with a stunning Limoux sparkling Rose. A gorgeous aperitief with quite a robust bubble. However, it held it's own with the snack and amuse. The snack was a signature dish of the restaurant in bite-size: a crispy 'cup' filled with a bouillabaisse foam and shrimp tail - superb!

The amuse that followed was a story of two parts. The Patron cuisinier-owner, Michiel Deenik, who serves and engages his guests, suggested we start with the soup. The soup was a cold Dashi (a Japanese soup made from kombu [dried seaweed] and bonito [dried tuna]) which was flavoured with coriander and spring onions with a few ocean jewels, such as an oyster and mussel to embellish. The dashi was sublime, packed full of flavour yet so clean on the palate. The other half of the amuse was a puree of sweetcorn with fresh water crayfish and a buttermilk and lemongrass foam. It was quite a shock going from something so savoury to something quite sweet, but the more one ate, the better it got. We couldn't detect any lemongrass in the foam, which may have helped the balance of the dish.

The starter that followed was a beautiful sashimi of Big Eye tuna, glazed with teriyaki and served with a tom kai gai dressing. Beautiful deep red tuna, as fresh as one can get. The accompanying garnish brough the dish to life. It was palate of preparations of cucumber, smoked pineapple, caviar, sourdough crouton, avocado puree, lemongrass gel, ama ebi prawn and edible flowers. With so many ingredients, a skillful touch is needed to achieve balance and this is just what it was. The dish was paired with Branco Vinho Verde, which was lemony on the nose and floral on the palate. Paired with the dish, a lychee flavour came to the fore.

Our second course was pan roasted sea bream with a heavenly crispy skin, tartare of raw sea bream, mushroom and anchovy tapenade, red pepper ice cream and a squid ink and olive oil dressing. In one word this dish was WOW! Definitely one of our favourites. This was an explosion of flavours, textures and temperatures. We use sea bream often in our recipes but have never used it raw. We will do now. Red pepper can so easily over-power other ingredients, but here it was perfectly judged and added a beautiful sweetness to the dish. This was paired with a Parva Res from Sicily, with stone fruit aromas. We detected notes of papaya when accompanied with the dish.

Main course was an interpretation of surf and turf. We had Zander (snoekbaars in Dutch), braised in brown butter accompanied with a beef stew, chantarelles, roast beetroot, beetroot puree and long pepper. This was a very rich dish, with the meaty flavours dominating. The sweetness of the beetroot counteracted the richness of the braised beef. The dish was paired with 4 Meses Jumilla red from Spain. A perfect wine which was light enough for the fish but rich enough to stand up to the beefy flavours.

We had just enough room left to share dessert. The 2 varieties of kiwi with kiwi gel, custard and coconut marshmallow and sponge looked picture perfect but didn't live up to the quality of the other dishes. The wine, an Auslese Muskat Ottonel was lovely. Our espresso came with unexpected friandise; the creme brûlée and canelle (French pastry) were absolute stunners.

Michiel shared his personal story with us that he originally started the restaurant with his friend, who sadly passed away a few years ago. The story and the journey they made is reflected in the dishes. There is no better ode to someone special than to bring joy to others through good food and good wine.

For more information, please visit VisaandeSchelde.