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Belgian and French Restaurants / Bistro: Brasserie Harkema
From former tobacco factory to swish French brasserie: it's all possible! Harkema is a gem, tucked away on the Nes (east alongside Rokin), but it features a spectacular glassy platform area that overlooks the main hall.
It does feel quite beer-hally at first, what with the high ceilings and wooden floors, but it’s been jazzed up for the 21st century. I was only there for wine, but was already very imrpessed with the eclectic menu! There’s a cute bar with designer stools to sit at too, all lit in a sultry yellow glow. Needless to say your next-door tables are packed with beautiful people flocking in to the hot new spot.
Favorite Dish: It all looked very good. And it's not even super-expensive!
Brasserie Harkema: Stylish, great food and service
I had read about this restaurant in a book about "stylish" restaurants in Amsterdam and had wanted try it for some time. Recently I had the chance and was quite impressed.
The restaurant itself is quite hidden on a street parallel to the Rokin canal and looks quite plain from the outside although the unusual shape of the window has a modern look to it. Inside, however, is a very stylish (in my opinion) restaurant with a whole wall of wine bottles and a very essential, simple decor overall.
Everything we had was exquisite. To start, you are given some very nice bread and instead of the regular herb butter, you get a saucer of quite good olive oil to dip it in.
Our starters were a very nice carpaccio and a Wagyu salami. We followed that with a grilled tuna with wasabi-mayonese and an Enrecote steak with bearnaise sauce (which I had not eaten in many years).
They even have their own bottles of filtered tap water. Read the menu for a full explanation :)
Service was very good, all waiters/waitresses were very polite and helpful. At the end we even had a tour of the restaurant including the rooms in the back for private parties.
Amazingly, it was not very expensive, at 53Eur for 2 (no dessert) it was very reasonable.
Overall it was one of the most enjoyable dining experiences I have ever had (although the company also helped :))
Favorite Dish: Everything
Brasserie Harkema: Cosmopolitan
Good French/International food but the main reason for coming here is first and foremost for the atmosphere. Trendy design. Reservations are recommended. If you're calling for a reservation, make sure you ask for a table on the platform.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Tuna with wasabi mayonaise.
Brasserie Harkema: Main course never arrived
Had been here before a few years back and had great sevice and food so reserved for a 15 person business dinner 2 weeks in advance. In the 2 years between my last visit and this one the mighty have really fallen.
7pm arrrived, 7.15 drinks arrived 7.30 starters arrived 7.50 starters cleared 8.25 i queried with a waitress when main courses would arrive and were told we were the next table to get them as they were being cooked now. 8.40 queried again and got told they would check but they didnt come back to us 8.50 spoke to one of the floor managers who told us the delay was due to a big group and ours were being cooked as we spoke and they would offer us a free coffee as compensation 9pm initial waitress came to retake our main order i went to floor manager who told me that at some point in the last two hours they had lost our main course order and would start them now.
Throughout the whole two hours other tables were getting starters and mains delivered and staff were clearing and cleaning empty tables. When we had arrived there was one goroup of 30 in and about 10 other diners- by the time we left another two groups of 10-15 were seated and eating (lucky them) so it wasnt like they were full and too busy. We weren't even asked if we wanted more drinks - the only service our table got was the addition of two new water bottles and before we could ask for other drinks the waitress had left - it felt like they didn''t want to come to see us because they themselves were too embarrassed by the wait - this seemed backed up by the fact that at 9.05pm with no sign of our main course we got up and walked out en masse and not one member of staff said anything to us or tried to persuade us to be even more patient and wait - they acted like it was a common occurance.
Thankfully the evening was saved by the cook and bar staff at the Tara. Within 15 minutes of walking in the 15 of us were eating main courses. Harkema need new chefs, kitchen staff, waitresses and managers and they could learn a lot by following the example of the humble Irish Pub directly opposite them.
I have previously recommended Harkema to people but whatever they have done in the last few years has permanently lost any chance of a recommendation from myself, my colleagues or my circle.
My ratings for food and value are based on how the food and drink we did get (starters and one round of drinks) measured up against the price of the meal we would have paid for if we had ever received it.
Whilst every restaurant can have odd hiccups, i find that a 75 minute delay after the starters is unacceptable, to be told they would have to retake the order is unforgiveable but to be lied to by the staff and told twice that the kitchen was cooking it when they obviously hadn't even checked shows a lack of integrity and concern for customer satisfaction. if they had really checked and discovered the order was lost when we first queried the delay, they could have rushed it through with an apology and a free drink, and salvaged their reputation.
Favorite Dish: as the ordered main course and dessert never arrived i couldn't give a favourite
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