La Rive Amsterdam*

La Rive Amsterdam*

As one of the most hyped restaurants on TripAdvisor (yes, I definitely use this site as a resource!), I was more than looking forward to our meal at La Rive.  Although we dodged a considerable amount of rain during the evening on our journey across town, it was well worth the trip to a part of the city we’ve rarely visited during previous trips.

Located on the Amstel and inside the historic Intercontinental hotel, much like the other intimate seating areas of similarly ranked restaurants, I enjoyed a space that was limited to a select group of patrons.  In our case, I didn’t think to ask for a table at the window (but my guess is these might be more reserved for hotel guests than outsiders like us).  Should you be making a reservation, I would strongly suggest requesting a seat right on the river, to fully maximize the experience.

To start, having a look at the menu, there were two tasting menu options, one the ‘Gauche’ and the other ‘Droite.’  While there was not any discernible difference (as in, this was not a case of vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian), the best we could understand, one was more ‘land’ protein based, while the other was more seafood driven.  However, as I check Google translate, it appears that gauche can also mean ‘left’ in French and droite can mean ‘right’ so, I bet you can guess which is the side of the menu these choices were on.  Fortunately, Hubs remains awesome and supportive of all this eating, and we were happy to order one of each, including the wine pairing.

On an absolute high from lunch the day before at Librije’s Zusje, I was pumped for another meal that would floor me.  And perhaps, if we had reversed the order of the experience, that might have been the case.  Unfortunately, in comparison to our fabulous lunch, the overall meal felt lacking.  Here’s where I think things didn’t deliver for us at La Rive:

  • So, so, so many sauces.  I understand how a sauce can highlight a dish.  I love the drama of tableside presentation.  However, with sauce appearing in almost every dish (in both menus), I thought it was a bit of overkill and showed a lack of balance.
  • Lack of snacks.  I’m just now realizing how I like not 1 or 2 ‘amuse bouches’ but more like 6 or 7.  Suhring and Test Kitchen past this test admirably.  Of course, this is entirely personal, and the meal was filling without the extra bites, but I love seeing additional creativity incorporated into a meal whenever possible.
  • For a total of EUR446, we felt the meal was a bit overpriced.  Obviously, we are not opposed to paying for a nice meal, but this one left a bad taste in our mouth (ala Attica).
  • While the presentation was absolutely beautiful, none of the dishes particularly ‘hit’ for me.  In fact, less than two weeks on, I’m trying to remember if there was a palate cleanser or the name of anything.

Of course, our evening was definitely better than equally ranked one star Zass, and for the following reasons, I’d much rather return to La Rive:

  • A (crazy) generous pour.  Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I’ve had larger glasses in a pairing than at La Rive.  If you enjoy wine, this is the establishment for you.
  • Attentive, personable staff.  While we didn’t hit it off quite as much as with Sascha and his team, I was genuinely impressed with the level of professionalism from everyone we interacted with at the venue.
  • A focus on presentation.  Obviously, a lot of time and care went into each dish — the plating, portion size, and artistry were all in full effect.

Would I go back?  Yes, I would.  Is it the best fine dining experience in Amsterdam?  No, not in my opinion.

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