restaurant week amsterdam: magazzino

Right now Restaurant Week is going on in Amsterdam, so Trev booked a few restaurants for us to try.  The first one we visited was Magazzino, an Italian restaurant overlooking the IJ, in the warehouse district just east of Central Station.

The restaurant had a rustic-industrial style and I liked the view into the kitchen & the counter where the antipasti were prepared.  Also, the view of the harbour was great (but alas, we were seated by a wall).  Because we had reserved through Restaurant Week we were offered the choice of a 3 or 4 course menu.  We decided to go with the 3-course for € 27,50 plus a bottle of wine.

Shortly after ordering an amuse-bouche arrived: tomato gazpacho with warm lobster cream.  It was yummy - I liked how the cream and the gazpacho were different temperatures.  There was also a dish with some lovely, chewy bread and Portugese olive oil for dipping.

A little while after that our first course arrived: an antipasti plate.  There were three different kinds of cured meats, pickled vegetables, olives, fresh anchovies with smoked fish and fried octopus bites.  The pickles had great crunch, but were, perhaps, a bit too vinegary.  Usually I would have passed on the anchovy, but I decided to be brave and was actually pretty good.  It may have been better to have the smoked fish/anchovy bite on a cracker or bread crisp though to balance out the richness.  The star of the plate was the octopus bites.  They were tender and delicious with a nice mild taste - I could have eaten a whole plateful.

It was a loooong wait between the entree and the main course, probably a little over an hour.  Given that the restaurant wasn't even half-full and that there were only two possible main courses being served  that night I don't understand what the hold-up was.

I ordered the fish - I'm not sure exactly what type it was, the waiter called it Red Pone, but he told us his English was a little shaky, so who knows.  It was marinated in citrus then pan-fried and finished in the oven.  It was sooo good.  The fish was cooked perfectly and the flavour was great - there was a little drizzle of a citrus-flavoured oil on the plate that complemented it really well.  It was the whole fish, so I had plenty to share with Trev too.

We both received the same side dishes and they were served separately from the main plate.  The first was a potato gratin and the second was a vegetable medley that mostly tasted like fennel & butter (but it was good).

Trev ordered the leg of duck as his main, and after recently being spoiled with spectacular duck in Paris we both had high hopes.  Unfortunately his main couse fell short of expectations - the duck was overcooked and dry.  It was probably seared for too long, drying out the outside meat and over-cooking the skin, then when it was finished in the oven it just kept drying out.  Too bad, especially because he had to wait so long for it.

For dessert Trev picked the cheese plate: three kinds of cheese with quince, berry coulis and hazelnut-spice bread.  It looked like a good mix but the bite I tasted definitely didn't go well with my tiramisu!  I picked the chocolate tiramisu and it was decadent - so creamy and thick with little bits of dark chocolate throughout.

Overall our experience at Magazzino was just okay.  Our waiter was really friendly, the food was generally good and the restaurant looks great but an hour wait between courses was a big negative.  I don't think we'll make it back there again before we leave Amsteram, but if the opportunity came about to try out their deli at lunch time, I'd give them another shot.