Posted by: travelrat | April 7, 2010

Haesje Claes

Amsterdam: 16th March 2010

Top tip for dining in Amsterdam: Write down the name of the restaurant, and the address. You see, although most Dutch people speak English, and the Dutch language is not difficult to read, it’s another thing entirely to pronounce it correctly. I did have a go at saying ‘Haesje Claes’ to the taxi driver, and he just looked at me uncomprehendingly.

Then, I showed him my piece of paper.

‘Ah! Hashy Class!’  he said, and opened the door.

The Haesje Claes restaurant is named after the daughter of a 16th Century Amsterdam merchant. She founded the orphanage ‘Amsterdam Burgerweeshuis’, which was located in the building now occupied by the Amsterdam Historical Museum, which can be seen from one of the dining rooms.

That dining room is one of six, for the restaurant was once six houses, like most Amsterdam houses, ‘tall thin’ ones, for, when they were built, land prices were high, so the canny Amsterdammers built upwards.

We were shown into the Regentes dining room, which is the largest one available, seating 66 diners. Nevertheless, it’s intimate and cosy. You can choose from many diverse items on an extensive menu, but top of the list is a fixed meal, at €28.50, called the Nederlandse Dis … or ‘Dutch Dish’.

The Nederlandse Dis changes monthly, according to what’s seasonal and available. Tonight, I was served a seafood soup, with shellfish still in their shells included. And, there was plenty of it; you can’t satisfy a Dutchman with a mere morsel, however attractively presented.

The main course was a leg of lamb, served with fresh asparagus on a bed of rice. Such an understatement … that lamb was so succulent and tender, I just can’t describe it without sounding all slobbery and effusive.

They served stewed blackcurrants with sweet for dessert. Lorraine had a knee-buckling steak, and declared she couldn’t eat another thing. But, when my blackcurrants came, she managed to find room for half of them.

With Dutch cuisine, we also had to have Dutch wine. I never really had the Netherlands figured as a wine-producing country, the crisp and slightly sweet Apostelheuve Pinot Gris we were served, from vineyards near Maastricht, in the south of the country, was extremely palatable.

Restaurant Haesje Claes

Spuistraat 273-275
1012 VR Amsterdam

Tel. 0031.20-6249998
Fax 0031.20-6274817

Prices subject to change; they were accurate in March 2010.

Disclosure: I was the guest of the Haesje Claes restaurant, but all opinions expressed are mine.


  1. The Netherlands produces wine? I had no idea! That seafood soup looks really delicious.

    • It was news to me, too.

      I’m visiting Maastricht in July, and trying to arrange to fit in a visit to the Apostelheuve winery while I’m there.

  2. That sounds fantastic. I cannot for the life of me pronounce things in Dutch. It is actually quite tricky.

    I would love to visit that restaurant!

  3. During the War, Dutch people often checked the credentials of a stranger in their midst by introducing the town name Scheveningen into the conversation. If he couldn’t pronounce it properly, he may not have been what he presented himself to be.

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