We first went to the Seafood Bar on Spui in Amsterdam for my birthday in October 2016. At that time, we did not know they recommended reservations to avoid a long wait. This time, however, we came prepared. We walked into the restaurant and waited behind a couple who did not have reservations. The hostess told them it could take a half hour before they had a free table. They agreed to wait and walked over toward the bar. Kurt told the hostess of our reservation and immediately, she led us up a few steps to the brightly lit, icy fish bar. She explained about the fresh fish of the day and the different sides that came with each of them.
After she showed us the fresh fish of the day, she took us to our table and gave us menus. We had to speak loudly because of the many conversations around us blending into one. The waitress soon appeared and took our order. We ordered the sole with lemon and rice. As we awaited our fish, we watched as servers paraded a myriad of different dishes to various tables scattered throughout the restaurant.
Our waitress brought us warm bread and returned a few minutes later with our order. She served us each a beautifully baked whole fish with lemon slices and a bowl of hot rice. The fish was so delicate, it seemed to fall from its bone with the ease of a hot knife through butter. The rice was light and steamy; a side dish that perfectly complemented the fish. This simple yet wonderful meal ensured our future return to the Seafood Bar.
We woke up to bright rays of early morning sunshine gently dancing across our eyelashes. The clock read 7 a.m. However, we still felt as though we were on Tucson time, which would have made it 10 p.m. Kurt found a highly rated breakfast restaurant one street away from us named Kessens. We prepared ourselves with warm sweaters and jackets and made our way down the steep steps and out onto the quiet brick street. Our footsteps seemed to echo as we walked in cold, sleepy silence toward breakfast. As soon as we reached Rozengracht, I could see the small restaurant across the street. Pleasantly surprised at the shortness of our morning walk, we crossed the street and entered the cozy little cafe. Friendly servers in white and black striped jerseys invited us to sit at any of the few remaining seats. We chose a table near the center of the restaurant. Our waitress promptly placed a glass bottle of water on our table, handed us each a menu, then went to help another table as we decided upon our order. The tinkling sound of silverware accented the melange of friendly conversation as the intoxicating scent of coffee drifted through the air. An occasional tram whirred by the window in a blur of blue and white.
When our waitress returned, we each ordered a cafe latte, fried eggs and toast. Then, I saw freshly squeezed orange juice on the menu and impulsively ordered one. She returned a few minutes later with two large cups filled with espresso and perfectly steamed milk. The glass of orange juice she placed in front of me came with a plastic tool to mix it back together when the pulp began to separate. Delighted, I immediately took a sip of the pulpy substance. It tasted like juicy sunshine. Next, I tried the latte. The taste matched its wonderful appearance. Although the restaurant remained busy, the servers kept a constant pace. A waitress washed her hands in a marble fountain that hung on the wall behind Kurt and began to put the clean cups and plates back on their shelves. A few minutes later our waitress reappeared, holding two plates of food.
Upon first taste, I immediately understood the reason they had such a high rating. The food tasted amazing. It definitely seemed as though we had a good start to the upcoming day. However, when we returned to the apartment, it seems as though we fell under a sleep spell because the next thing I remember hearing:
“It’s almost 5:30 in the evening,” Kurt whispered. “We have reservations at the Seafood Bar in three hours.”