“ American-style diner on Warmoesstraat in Amsterdam. „
While strolling along Warmoesstraat on our recent trip to Amsterdam, we spotted a restaurant which we didn't remember seeing before. Brightly lit with neon signs and looking very much like a fifties style American diner, Downtown Diner wasn't likely to be somewhere we would have overlooked, so it appears it is fairly new.
The first thing to point out about Downtown Diner is its location. Warmoesstraat is the first street of the red light district when approaching the area from Damrak, and while it doesn't have any of the infamous "windows" on it, its numerous coffeeshops and sex shops may not be an environment that everyone is comfortable with. However, if you are not bothered by this, Downtown Diner is well worth a visit.
We went for dinner one night, and were shown to a booth up some stairs in the main section of the restaurant. There are some tables at the front, where the bar is located, at street level, so climbing the stairs is not necessary. I loved the style of the restaurant: with red leather seats in the booths, fifties-style decoration and videos playing of music stars from the fifties and sixties, it was like something straight out of Grease.
I was pleasantly surprised by the menu: as a vegetarian (well, pescatarian as I eat fish), I hadn't expected a great deal of choice in a restaurant which I thought would mainly serve things like burgers and hot dogs. There were quite a few things for me to choose from however, but I settled on fish and chips...a bit out of place for an American diner, but no matter. There were also burgers, pasta and meat dishes on the menu; my partner chose barbecue ribs.
I was looking forward to my fish and chips, but a bit unsure what it would be like in an American restaurant in Holland. As it turned out, it was very good: the fish was in breadcrumbs rather than batter, and was very nicely cooked. Soft but not soggy, and certainly not too hard, which is a danger with breadcrumbs. The chips were also very nice - the Dutch are very good at chips. My partner thoroughly enjoyed his ribs, which is always a favourite of his - having just mentioned to him that I am reviewing the Downtown Diner, he is happily remembering how tasty his meal was.
One thing that I did think was odd was the lack of hot dogs on the menu. One of the neon signs outside was for "Hot Dogs", and after all it is a classic American diner food. It was one thing my partner had noticed, and I had expected him to want a hot dog, but in the event he didn't mention it when we were there. It was only after we left that we realised that there was a chilli dog in the starters, but no actual hot dog on the menu at all. I expect that if they offer chilli dogs, they could provide a hot dog on request, but it seems odd to me to have that sign in the window but not have the food on the menu.
Service at the Downtown Diner seemed a little on the slow side, but perhaps that was just because we were hungry. We were the only people in the restaurant for most of our meal - it was quite early in the evening - and so the waitress was hovering at the back of the restaurant much of the time. I don't remember exactly how much we paid but prices at the Downtown Diner were about the average we pay for meals in Amsterdam, around Euro10 for a main.
We really enjoyed our dinner at the Downtown Diner, and its location near Damrak, Dam Square and Centraal Station makes it very handy. It is certainly somewhere we will return to on future trips to the city.