Amsterdam might be better known for its winding canals, bikes, coffee shops, red light district and world-famous museums, but there are also some quality eateries that will satisfy even the fussiest of diners. We spotted Proef Restaurant while riding along the beautiful Westerpark, and we were thrilled to learn that the cute detached Grade II listed house owned by Piet Hekker serves only organic seasonal produce. With a vegetable and edible flower garden -- complete with chickens running around -- patio furniture made from recycled pallets, a menu that changes with the seasons, and vintage interior decoration, Proef Restaurant is a great place to find quality, sustainable food in the Dutch capital.
Dutch “eating designer” Marije Vogelzang came up with the original concept for Proef Restaurant; she first opened the restaurant in Rotterdam, relocated to Amsterdam in 2006, and sold it to her former business partner Piet Hekker in 2011 so she could focus more on her design work. Serving “pure, honest and cheerful food” on large wooden boards to share, the place is decorated with vintage finds and with a focus on natural materials. A simple chandelier with hanging cotton servillets makes a clean central feature in contrast with the untouched walls and old wooden ceiling.
Fresh flowers help bring the atmosphere of the surrounding park inside, while the seemingly random collection of objects actually has a logic to it. Wild food books rest along multicolored pencils on a shelf, providing kids with a creative fun time while waiting for their food. During winter times, guests can enjoy an outdoor fire, cozy blankets and red wine on the restaurant’s rough and ready pallets seats.
Proef has a big vegetable, herb and edible flower garden, which are used for making the most delicious dishes and refreshing tasty cocktails. Chef Claartje Lindhout changes the menu every season, using the best quality organic and local produce she can find, including a variety of herbs, nuts, cheeses, berries, free range meat and veggies. Best of all, because their food is served in a posh picnic style, you can take your meal to go on your plate and enjoy it anywhere immersed in the park.
Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat