Passing by Koevoet you certainly would not expect Italian food. It’s located in the heart of the Jordaan, Amsterdam’s former workers neighborhood. On the ground floor of an 1899 building, in a small cafe that used to serve beer and Jenever to the locals. With small windows, lots of dark brown furniture and walls almost completely covered by paintings and knickknack.
The Italian owners have left the interior and exterior virtually unchanged and filled it with Italian food and spirit. Really good Italian food and spirit!
The menu is small and classic – antipasti, pasta and fish and meat secondi. We had an amazing burrata for starters, a big lump of mozzarella-like cheese served on a bed of tomatoes with an oil and garlic dressing. The starter was for two but could easily feed three or four. The pasta selection is standard dishes like linguine with vongole and a large selection of delicious home-made ravioli. For mains you again choose from tried and true dishes like scaloppine or branzino.
The staff is Italian and proud of it. The welcome is very friendly and guests immediately feel at home. I loved how the knowledgeable waiter overruled my choice of ravioli, suggesting artichoke over potato with mint, a recommendation that proved spot on. The crowd was mixed – some locals, some tourists and also some that seemed to call the nearby countryside home. And they all seemed extremely pleased with the quality of the food and the high level of attention. The restaurant is quite crammed with many small tables quite close to each other. It was buzzing but in a quiet and pleasant way.
Koevoet is a hidden gem and one of very few great Italian restaurants in Amsterdam. You will be delighted if you manage to get a reservation and actually find Koevoet!