We had had a mostly good first full day in Amsterdam. The morning had been spent wandering the old canals as it snowed on us but the afternoon was full of disappointment as we learned that the Rijksmuseum was still closed for another 2 weeks. We’re still not over our disappointment but what helped dull it was our very fabulously Dutch meal that evening. We headed to Hap-Hmm, where I’d read that we’d be able to get a very typically Dutch meal at very typically Dutch hours (the restaurant is only open Monday to Friday, 16:30-20:45 – and the kitchen closes at 20:00). The place has been running since 1923 and that’s got to be a good sign!
We dropped in quite early – about 6pm – and we found the cozy restaurant absolutely packed. We didn’t have to wait long for a table though. Customers were a mix of tourists (very few), young Dutch people out in groups, and older bachelors and widower (the largest group that early in the night). That last group was made up of regulars who went around from table to table socializing. I loved the cozy atmosphere, the hum of chatter from the regulars and the friendliness of the waitresses.
Prices are definitely in the budget region and we decided to push the boat out by first splitting a calamari starter (€3,75). These were from frozen but were excellently fried and the remoulade sauce alongside was also very good.
We split a Grandmother’s meatball (€7,50) and a pork schnitzel (€8,50) (after seeing it on someone else’s plate!) and substituted fried potatoes in place of the usual boiled (€0,50 per order). Apparently we had our choice of vegetables but we didn’t know and so were served the default boiled carrots and potatoes. Around the room, we also saw boiled spinach, beetroot and broccoli.
The meatball was fabulous with plenty of gravy for the accompanying chips. The schnitzel too was well fried and tender. You couldn’t ask for a more honest homely meal.
Desserts available were recited to us and even though our stomachs were strained after eating so many of those fried potatoes, we chose a pancake (€3,60) and a serving of pistachio ice cream (€2,60). The pistachio coupe was full of the old fashioned kind of pistachio ice cream which went down surprisingly easily. The pancake was surprisingly fabulous, being filled with a slice of vanilla ice cream before being covered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
I loved the place and wouldn’t hesitate to return the next time we’re in Amsterdam (and there must be a next time to see the Rijksmuseum!). Gosh, I’m so hungry now.
Eerste Helmersstraat 33