The Eternal Relationship Struggle in Amsterdam

The Shallow Man, being the highly eligible man about Amsterdam that he his,  often finds himself in varying relationships at various stages. Depending on how new or how dreadfully old a relationship is, also taking into account the usual cycle of first date excitement, mid relationship tedium, and end of relationship wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s important that the man or indeed woman about town has a suitable portfolio of restaurants in which to play out these stages of the eternal struggle.

To help with this challenge I’ve developed the following guide.

First Dates

You can tell a lot about the first date partner and where to take them for dinner based largely on what he/she was drinking the first time you met. If you’re one of the rare individuals that meets new dates while both of you are stone cold sober, I take my hat off to you sir or madam for you are indeed a silver tongued bar steward.

To save time I’ll assume that we are talking about women, but the same can apply to men too.

Now if you did meet in an environment where alcohol was involved try and remember if you can, what was she drinking? If it was wine then she is highly likely to have a reasonable palate which means you should take her to a place where the food is good and reasonably priced. If she was drinking beer, then what are you doing going on a date with her? Ok, assuming that she is incredibly hot, which she’d need to be for justifying dating a beer drinker, the other thing to consider is was she smoking? If the answer is yes and she is Dutch, you can take her to an Eetcafe. There’s no point wasting money on fine dining for a smoking beer drinker. FEBO is also an option. A couple of croquettes washed down with beer then straight to bed.


For a woman that drinks Wine and doesn’t smoke, I recommend one of the following:

The La Vina Experience in the Maasstraat

La Vina is a reasonably priced diamond hidden in a coal pile of mediocrity that is the Amsterdam restaurant scene. They have superb fine dining, with simple well-flavored dishes, an excellent wine list and friendly genuinely warm service with a smile. It’s so reasonably priced that even if you fail to achieve your primary goal you won’t wake up the following morning with a financial hangover.


My next first date recommendation is the superb Brasserie Van Baerle


This is another one of those hidden gems in Amsterdam. They specialize in simple classic French food, great wine, outstanding quality meat, service and a very nice decor. Ideal if you want to impress the knickers or boxer shorts off your date for the evening.

Mid-relationship struggle

It eventually happens to all of us, yes even I the Shallow Man reaches the stage in a relationship where birthdays or horror of horrors anniversaries or that dire commercial event developed solely to torment men, Valentines Day occurs. Before I go further, I’d like to put a request to womanhood in general, please don’t ask your partner if they remember the date when you first met. How in the name of Bob Marley are we supposed to know such a thing?

I digress, so on with the advice. So the dreaded point arrives where you have to celebrate “something”. Society expects you to rise to the occasion so like a performing Lion in a circus the whip is cracked and you roar into action.

If you really want to impress not only your partner but their respective parents, relatives, co-workers, parents, and friends of co-workers, mistresses, and partners of complete strangers who happen to shop in the local Albert Hein or sit next to you at the local Hairdresser, take them to Ciel Bleu.

Ciel Bleu

The Shallow Man is not easily impressed, and yet I must say that every time I visit this place it genuinely takes my breath away. From the moment you arrive you are entering a portal to another planet and that planet is called service. The food is on another level, nothing that is served vaguely resembles how your mind expects it to be. The Amuses are better than the main courses in 90% of restaurants I’ve ever been to.

The service is as structured, coordinated and choreographed as the Bolshoi Ballet, Romeo and Juliet the Opera and Michael Jacksons Thriller. Food is served simultaneously to both parties. Glasses of wine are topped up by a restaurant service team that are slicker than a snake in a barrell of oil. It’s fine dining in a different galaxy. If Ciel Bleu were a woman, I’d marry her.


Seal Blue (ok Grey)

Next time I’ll be recommending other mid term relationship places to wine and dine your partner and will then move on to places to take your partner if you want to end the relationship for good.

Until next time as the Dutch would say, Hou je Bek.

No actual Seals were harmed during the writing of this article.