Discover Benelux, Issue 44, August 2017

Page 16

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

A haven of culture and hospitality TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ BELCAMPO AND GARY’S DELI

Culture and coffee, books and ballet, music and muffins – all of these can be found at one of Amsterdam’s most unique places. Located in De Hallen Amsterdam – a former tram depot refurbished and reborn as centre for culture, fashion and food - this ‘literary-café’ is physically connected to the city’s public library. Its hallmark is combining cultural events with good food, fresh coffee, and hospitality. The spacious, daylight-immersed interior of Café Belcampo welcomes everyone: from students looking for a place to study, friends having Sunday brunch, to families with kids (there is a kids’ corner). Belcampo comprises a café on the ground floor and an open mezzanine. The menu boasts luxurious sandwiches, pastries, salads and soups. Café Belcampo is helmed by Gary Feingold, who also owns nearby Gary’s Deli: a lunchroom any Amsterdam local will recognise as one of

the first spots in the country to serve homemade baked goods such as muffins, brownies, and bagels - something that has everything to do with Feingold’s American heritage. The menu also includes American pancakes and egg dishes. “When I moved to the Netherlands in 1991 I quickly started to miss parts of my California life, one of them being the fresh type of baked goods,” he enthuses. “Gary’s Deli incorporates that Californian spirit into Amsterdam.” In line with his other endeavours - Feingold owns a dance studio and was a professional dancer himself – Belcampo frequently hosts

cultural events such as dance performances, author’s book presentations, and concerts. “De Hallen is such a unique place. I’m proud to be part of a place that so beautifully combines culture, food and responsible entrepreneurship.” Want to see for yourself? Visit the Canal Festival masterclass at Café Belcampo on 19 August or the dance performance on 26 August.

Photo: Fedde de Weert

Waterside dining with a twist TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: REM EILAND & PONT 13

Moored in the former Wood Harbour of Amsterdam, restaurants Pont 13 and REM Eiland should be on the top of your Amsterdam to-do list. Each with their own charm and history, yet alike in their stunning food and unique location, they prove that all good things in life can be best enjoyed from the water. The striking red-white structure of REM Eiland, towering 22 metres above the IJ river, is the first thing you notice when approaching. Guests must climb the steep metal stairs or take the lift to reach the platform which hosts the restaurant, providing them with a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view over Amsterdam. Equally stunning as the view, is REM’s history. “REM Eiland was built in the 1960s as a pirate television tower, set up by entrepreneurs to avoid the Netherlands’ restrictions on the broadcasting of commercial shows,” explains owner Onno Zwart. The island was transformed into a restaurant years later. 16  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

REM serves French-European dishes for lunch and dinner: fresh seafood, high-quality meat, all topped off with excellent wines. Back on the ground floor, restaurant Pont 13 is located in a former ferry (pont) anno 1927, that once transported passengers over the IJ river. Everything about the restaurant still breathes the romantic post-industrial vibe of this unique piece of heritage. However, Pont 13’s food is definitely not upstaged by its interior. The large charcoal grill enhances the feeling of sturdy excellence, perfectly preparing this season’s delicacies such

as fresh fish or mouthwatering grilled meat. Besides an extensive wine menu, a great focus lies on specialty beers. REM Eiland and Pont 13: rich in history, ambiance and food – do not wait to explore these best-kept secrets of Amsterdam. Looking to sail the Amsterdam canals? Pont 13 also rents out boats.

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