For decades La Rive has been Amsterdam’s only grand restaurant: a place that you would not be surprised to find in Paris with it’s opulent dining room, fitted with plush carpets, chic wallpaper, aristocratic furniture and slick service. As a result of its location by the river, the view from the terrace and dining room are incredibly attractive and almost worth coming for in its own right.
La Rive has seen some of the Netherlands’ finest chefs man its stoves: Robert Kranenborg, Pascal Jalhaij and Edwin Kats cooked here, before the current chef Roger Rassin took over. Less outgoing than his predecessors, Rassin is a remarkable chef in his own right. His food is not what is currently fashionable in the Netherlands, but rather simpler and more straightforward. It pairs excellently with great wines, and La Rive’s list is easily one of the most complete in the city.
A main course here might be something a dish such as sweetbreads with onions and beetroot. What looks almost too simple to be served in such grand surroundings turns out to be a delight: the sweetbreads are cooked to perfection with a crunchy crust and a soft, almost creamy interior. The smoked onions and earthy beetroots are the perfect companion. Similarly good, red mullet with corn, crayfish and fennel is an ode to Dutch produce. The fish is of remarkable quality with firm, juicy meat. The crayfish bisque pairs well with the mullet’s flavour and adds complexity to the dish.
Cooking like this is not for those seeking technical wizardry. Rather, it speaks to those among us, who enjoy fine produce, prepared with great care and dedication. Whilst it’s great to see restaurants becoming less and less formal, we’re equally happy that there are a handful of classical restaurants that keep traditions alive. That is exactly why we hope that La Rive will continue being one of Amsterdam’s ambassadors of the culinary traditions of the grande nation.