Cafe Loetje


I remember, as many men do, the first time I saw jeggings. Just the feeling of sheer delight and wonder, a little surreal but quite pleasing.

My first time at Amsterdam's classic Cafe Loetje recently was pretty much the same. Amsterdam is known for many things, but a good steak is definitely not one of them. Sure, there are the dime-a-dozen "Argentinian steakhouses" that dot the tourist areas, but they don't come close to matching Loetje (pronounced "loot-yuh").

Jam-packed but still very fun (again, not unlike jeggings), Loetje offers steak and more steak. You can ask for it to be done a certain way, but it's best to just order it - they will bring it medium rare every time, and it is just perfect.

The atmosphere is standing-room only when you walk in, where the crowd is mostly Dutch, from the well-to-do to blue collar bikers, anywhere from 25-65, and you will wait with a drink or two for a good 30 minutes at least. Then your name is called, like your mom calling you in from the yard for your favourite meal.

You might then be seated next to a dog, welcome anytime in the restaurant and in fact part of the restaurant's lore (they have their own webpage here).

Then it's time to choose - maybe a carpaccio appetizer (lekker), definitely a classic, perfect steak with fries, and plenty of red wine. And maybe a sticky toffee cake for dessert.

You roll out of there a few hours later, warm, full, and certain that you have experienced a real Amsterdam original.

Conan O'Brien - slightly less appealing in jeggings, or meggings