Dining in the Netherlands: Da Vinci**

There are not many female chefs with Michelin stars. Probably the best known in the Netherlands is Margo Reuten. Together with maître and sommelier Petro Kools she runs Da Vinci in Maasbracht in the south of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg. I’ve been curious about this restaurant for a while, and last night we finally went there. We arrived in style in a 1958 Rolls Royce, a hobby of the hotel we stayed at. We were welcomed by Petro and notice that Margo wasn’t around. Later we found out that for personal reasons she’s away from the restaurant for quite some time. Chefs have an important role in their kitchens, and we usually notice it when the chef isn’t there. That also seemed to be the case this time. Continue reading “Dining in the Netherlands: Da Vinci**”

Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’eau**

After eating at Bord’eau in July I wrote “I wonder when chef Richard van Oostenbrugge will get his well-deserved second star. We’ll be back!” in my blog post about that wonderful dinner. I didn’t have to wonder for long, as Bord’eau has indeed just received its second Michelin star. Van Oostenbrugge was also announced by Gault Millau as “Chef of the Year 2014”. All of this calls for a celebration, or a good excuse to go eat there again 🙂  Continue reading “Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’eau**”

Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’Eau*

Hotel de l’Europe is one of the best known luxury hotels in Amsterdam, located by the Amstel river. Since a few years a new restaurant has opened in the hotel, called Bord’Eau with a nice wordplay on the location as well as the famous wine region. We’ve had dinner there when it had recently opened and really enjoyed it. Meanwhile they have gotten their first Michelin star, so it was time to pay another visit. Continue reading “Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’Eau*”

A Culinary Experience in the Netherlands: Librije***

Every year since De Librije has been awarded its third star (in late 2004) we have celebrated our wedding anniversary on June 15th with a dinner at De Librije. The first time in 2005 was very special, as it was our first dinner at a three-star restaurant and we were completely blown away by both the food and the wine. As I’ve written before, follow-up visits to a restaurant are like sequels to a movie: it is hard to beat that first great experience. But De Librije has held up quite strongly, and that’s why we keep coming back. Soon De Librije will be the only three-star restaurant in the Netherlands, as Oud Sluis is going to close. Continue reading “A Culinary Experience in the Netherlands: Librije***”

Dining in Sicily: La Gazza Ladra*

The final stop in our Sicilian food tour was La Gazza Ladra, a restaurant with one Michelin star located in the hotel Palazzo Failla in the Baroque town of Modica. The hotel and the restaurant are situated in a historic building.

On the Tuesday night when we visited there were only two other tables occupied in the classy dining room. The competition is stiff in this region of Silicy with La Madia and Il Duomo (in Ragusa) close by. The wonderful dinner we had at La Madia was a tough act to follow, and we only visited them in this order because that fitted with our itinerary. Besides à la carte there are two degustation menus, one for 80 euros and one for 95. As such, La Gazza Ladra is cheaper than La Madia and only half the price of Il Duomo. Continue reading “Dining in Sicily: La Gazza Ladra*”

Dining in Sicily: La Madia**

The chef checking his e-mail before the first guests arrived. From the outside the restaurant looks very small, but there is a spacious dining room behind the facade.

Licata is a port town in southern Sicily near Agrigento that doesn’t have much going for it except for the fact that Pino Cuttaia was born here and opened up a restaurant, La Madia. On a Monday night in April the restaurant was full, and I am pretty sure that most of those people came to Licata just to eat here (like we did).

I wrote before about Gambero Rosso and how to rate trattorie with 1, 2 or 3 prawns. Similarly, they rate restaurants with 1, 2 or 3 forks. There is only one restaurant with 3 forks (tre forchette) in Sicily, and this is it. The restaurant also has two Michelin stars. I tend to agree more with Gambero Rosso’s judgements in Italy than I do with Michelin’s, and that holds up in this case as well. Continue reading “Dining in Sicily: La Madia**”

Dining in Amsterdam: &Samhoud Places**

Chef Moshik used to be the chef of restaurant ‘t Brouwerskolkje in Overveen, half an hour west of Amsterdam. He has recently moved to Amsterdam under a new name: &Samhoud Places and immediately received two stars from Michelin (the same as at Brouwerskolkje). We were curious and so went to pay a visit. We had the 7-course “Inspiration” degustation menu (EUR 159.50) with wine menu (EUR 65) and black truffle supplement (EUR 20). Photos made with my iPhone. The amuse bouche are travel themed: Hong Kong, Venice, Chicago, and Moscow. The first is dim sum of scampi: both the filling and … Continue reading Dining in Amsterdam: &Samhoud Places**

Dining in the Netherlands: De Kromme Watergang**

Each year for the anniversary of our first date we go out to dinner on December 23 or 24 (the official date is December 24, but it’s not always possible to dine on that date due to restaurants preparing for Christmas). Last year we went to La Torre del Saracino near Naples, but this year we stayed closer to home and went to De Kromme Watergang in Zeeland. This is in the far South-West of the Netherlands, almost in Belgium and close to Oud Sluis. De Kromme Watergang is the restaurant of chef Edwin and maitre Blanche Vinke, but unfortunately … Continue reading Dining in the Netherlands: De Kromme Watergang**