Eat ribs and repeat. That’s the only philosophy you need when approaching one of Amsterdam’s most unique restaurants, Café de Klos.
The tiny Amsterdam Centrum venue hides in plain sight at the Leidseplein end of Kerkstraat, and it’s a thoroughbred Amsterdam institution. It’s only visible cue from the outside is a glowing yellow sign bearing the restaurant’s name.
So while its presence isn’t felt particularly strongly from the street, it’s definitely felt by those who know of the carnivorous delights within.
This all sounds very illicit, but what we’re trying to convey is that it needs nothing more in the way of publicity or street appeal because word gets around via people in the know (and there’s seemingly plenty of them), to those who aren’t.
Whilst we’re not trying to make Café de Klos sound surreptitious, climb the half dozen steps into its tiny interior and you’ll see how its dim lighting and battered wood panelled walls adds a clandestine edge that absolutely works in the restaurant’s favour.
You might have walked or cycled past it a hundred times without looking twice, so your first venture into one of Amsterdam’s worst kept secrets might feel very intriguing. It’s as if you’re discovering platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross, or (probably more accurately) stumbling onto a lost location from a Tarantino movie.
But unlike a lot of trendier meat-centric restaurants like Cannibale Royale or Salmuera, the woodshed, dive-bar or woodshed-meets-dive-bar aesthetic is completely authentic. It’s dim, it’s small, it’s a bit knackered and hasn’t been updated in 15 years, but therein lies a significant proportion of the appeal. Spending time in Café de Klos is like spending time in a lost scene from a Tarantino movie. The only thing missing is a toothpick-chewing Michael Madsen contemplating life over a bottle of beer.
The scene-stealer, though, is the food. Ribs are pretty much the only thing to turn up for but the restaurant does offer alternatives, including a chicken fillet, entrecôte steak and lamb chops. Add a side of baked potato and you’re definitely fixed. We see no need to deviate from the standard ribs, though. They’re probably the best in the city.
So whilst the menu is pretty self-explanatory, there are some useful tips we want to share with the uninitiated:
Firstly, don’t sit by the bathrooms! Your table will actually be a narrow, cramped shelf facing the wall and it’s really just a bit too close for our liking. If the staff suggest you take that table, just say no.
Secondly, don’t dress up! More specifically, wear pants that you can ‘let out’ a bit, because you’ll be leaving significantly more rotund than when you entered. With that
Next up, non-meat-eaters beware! We’re sorry, but Klos has nothing to appease anyone who doesn’t eat red meat or chicken.
And finally, the waiter doesn’t like you! Ordinarily that’d be a dealbreaker but it’s worth getting over and so long as you don’t overthink it, it’ll add to the charm of this most unique of unique places.
Our advice: embrace it all (but not on a first date), then roll up your sleeves and dig in.
|Booking||No chance. But if you’re very nice they might let you wait at the sister pub, Genootschap der Geneugten Café, across the street|
|Groups||We’d keep groups to four people or less|