Café Restaurant De Plantage

As a vegan girl, I know very well about the pain of eating out.
For me, but also for everyone who joins me for a dinner.

Being a vegan usually isn’t a very social thing, because if you go out, you have
two options:

Going to a vegan restaurant, that usually impresses by the absence of atmosphere (you might disagree with that, but we are convinced that vegan restaurants are boring, alternative and just not our style)
or – you go to a normal restaurant, where my company is overwhelmed by the abundance of the menu, while I’m left choosing between a garden salad, pasta pomodoro or some veggies next to a hand full of boiled potatoes.

If you’re a herbivore going out with a bunch of carnivores and you try to avoid frustration on one or the other side, it’s like going swimming and trying to keep try.
It just doesn’t work.

When I became vegetarian, back in the days, as a 12 year old girl, for my parents it was a sign of rebellion and emancipation.
Over the time they got used to it.

For Aga, who lives mostly vegetarian too, that has never been a problem, but once I told her, that I had become vegan over the time that we spent apart from each other, she in Switzerland and myself in the Caribbean… better don’t ask me.
Coz my newly developed Veganism was the reason for more than one serious argument in our relationship.

So usually, when I go out to a restaurant, my expectations are fairly small.
I’m already more than pleased if they offer me a real dish, and not some basic creation out of emergency.

When we went for the first time to De Plantage, it was not even planned.
We completely forgot to book a table for Valentines Day this year, and realising that we wouldn’t get any dinner reservation anymore, I started, almost panicking my research where to go for a date night.

Honestly we’ve never heard from De Plantage before, neither was it on our bucket list of restaurants that we wanted to see.

But, I saw already on the menu, that vegan options were available, and the place looked super cute.

So hell yeah I booked the last available table in Amsterdam, for Valentines Day!

To cut a long story, with lots of booze and love short, the experience was so great, that we decided to come back, this time together with my mom.

The Restaurant:

The restaurant is located in the east of the city center in an elegant neighbourhood, next to the Amsterdam Zoo, right in the public Artis square.
It’s not only called De Plantage, indeed it is a huge and graceful former greenhouse, built in the 1870 ies and expanded in 1900.

Arriving at the location we instantly fell in love with the grand door.
The vintage design with blonde wood and black chairs, with high ceilings, spreads a monumental atmosphere with a Parisian flair of the 19th century, a refreshingly green and spacious contrast to the traditional Amsterdam style.
Surrounded by the city’s botanical gardens, De Plantage is an extraordinary place for a date night.

The Food:

The menu impresses with a fine selection fo Mediterranean oriented dishes, creative and tasty.

To start with, Aga had the ‘Burrata with caponata candied tomato’ in three different textures and root vegetables on the side, I went for the ‘Roasted eggplant and shallot with tomato, charmoula, almond tahini and Sardinian flatbread’.

We also had fresh home baked bread with olive oil and salt to start.
Usually we take it easy on bread before a two course dinner, but this one is so delicious, that it would be unforgivable not to eat it at all.

As mains I chose the “Imam Bayildi, roasted eggplant, sweet potato braise, red pepper, cinnamon and walnuts, served with Lebanese tabouleh’, while Aga decided to try the ‘Minute of marinated salmon with grilled melanzaneand broccolini with orzo pasta and fresh green antiboise’.
And not to forget my mom, who ordered the ‘Coquelet à la bonne Plantage served with green salad, apple-rhubarbcompote and lemon mayonaise with lardons’.

All our plates exhibited a sound aesthetic concept and were just filling enough.

On both occasions of our visits the food was so tasty.
And what I really liked, so back to the vegan girl, was that for once I really had a food experience.
The vegan dishes in De Plantage are nothing, that I could ever prepare myself at home.
It’s a careful composition of different flavours, notes, and ingredients.
The lightly fried sweet potato, aubergine and the nuts which are just guilty delicious topped by a savoury tabouleh.
This was frankly the experience I’ve been missing eating out, as a vegan.

But back to the carnivores on the table. The salmon and the chicken. Was it delicious?
Beautifully soft, accurate and perfectly served on top of asparagus.
Exactly how we like it.
Just yummy.

Of course they also have a lovely dessert menu, but we were quite full after two courses and the bread, so we decided instead to have a second bottle of wine.

The Drinks:

If you follow us already, you will know, that there is no dinner without wine.
The wine menu makes it hard to decide.
At our first visit in February we tried the Saar Riesling 2015, Volxom from Witlingen – we had to.
Coz that’s where I’m from!
As a proud girl from the Saar – Mosel area, I just have to try our vines, wherever I spot them on a menu abroad.
But this time we took the Grüner Veltiner, Steingarten 2018, Weszeli Terrafactum Kamptal.

Both are definitely worth trying, even we prefer in general more the Veltiner than the Riesling, but that’s just us.

At our first visit on Valentines Day, we couldn’t resist ordering some Espresso Martinis, to end the night,
which came, exactly how we expected them,
with a solid foamy surface
and three beautiful arranged espresso beans on top.

But since my mom isn’t a big cocktail drinker, we decided all together to stick to wine.

The Atmosphere:

You would be surprised how vibrant and fun the atmosphere was on a Thursday night, even, under the shadow of the still on going Covid19 pandemic.

But nevertheless all the possible tables have been taken, a clientele ranged from couples on a date night, to small groups of friends. It was a really lively and easy going atmosphere.

By chance we came to De Plantage for this years Valentines Day and we came back to enjoy a girls night out with my mom.

For me it’s the sort of place I would book for a romantic date night, or a beautiful dinner with my parents.

It’s definitely not a cheap place, but you don’t impress your date with a cheap meal, don’t you?
Still compared to the quality and the quantity of the food, it’s a good price.

It’s a great experience for carnivores and herbivores and hell yeah,
we will be back!

Café Restaurant De Plantage, Plantage Kerklaan 36, 1018 CZ Amsterdam

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