Sunday, August 21, 2016

Snack Sympa (Ixelles, Belgium)

Chaussée de Wavre 85, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
A crossover between a shawarma restaurant and a frituur (snack bar), which serves basic Belgian snacks and French fries as well as falafel, kebab, merguez sausages, etc.

I get a Durum Kebab (€4), which is a wrap with thin-shaved skewer meat, spicy sauce (Samourai), lettuce, onion, tomato, and French fries. It tastes quite salty. Not too much specific taste. The French fries are ok.

VERDICT: 74/100
Not bad but a dime a dozen kebab place.

Oui Bar & Kitchen (Brussels, Belgium)

Avenue du Bourget 44, 1130 Brussels, Belgium

Oui Bar & Kitchen is the restaurant of the Radisson Red Hotel in Brussels, close to the European parliament. Radisson Red is a new concept that tries to be edgy and hipster and the restaurant follows that patterns. It serves a limited selection of reasonably basic dishes but done in a different way.

I get the Beef Burger (€13.50), which comes with “triple fried fries”. The fries are quite good, although a little bit undercooked, and quite a small portion. The burger is thick and seems to have been prepared on the griddle. It comes on half a bun and half a pizza bun, covered in a bacon-yam. Quite odd, but tasty.

VERDICT: 83/100

Overpriced and good but not remarkable.

Brasserie Meys (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederik Hendrikplein 36, The Hague, The Netherlands

Brasserie Meys is not really a pig out spot. It is a typical Dutch lunch place with a nice terrace and a broad selection of big salads and sandwiches. Everything is remarkably fresh and some is even quite healthy.

However, they also serve French Fries (€3.50) and Kwekkeboom Kroketten (€8). I ordered the French fries for my small son, who only eats French fries when we are out, but ate quite a lot myself, because they were really tasty. They are big fries, prepared perfectly, very crispy from the outside and soft inside. The (Belgian-style) mayo was also very tasty. Meat Croquettes come in different forms and Kwekkeboom is one of the most upscale brands. They are bigger and meatier than regular croquettes, but also more expensive. Most importantly, they were delicious.

VERDICT: 86/100
While not the place to pig out, the fries and croquettes here are very tasty, if expensive.

Spijssalon (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Spijssalon is a relatively new ice cream place in a street that has at least two other good ice cream places. They produce artisanal ice cream, similar to Italian gelato, and most of their favors are classics. They also have another location in The Hague.

I get a horn with two scoops, yoghurt with fruit and stracciatella. Both were decent sized and tasted pretty good, though not as good as real Italian gelato.

VERDICT: 84/100
Good ice cream but I prefer San Marco in same street.

Koemans (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederik Hendriklaan 182, 2582 BK, The Hague, The Netherlands

Koemans is an old school Dutch snackbar that has been updated several times in accommodation and food selection. It serves various cold and warm sandwiches as well as fries and a broad range of more or less Dutch snacks (including shawarma). It caters mainly to the neighborhood, mostly shopkeepers and workers.

I am ordering a medium-size French Fries (€2.65) with Mayonaisse (+€0.50). The fries are decently crispy but get saggy quickly, while the mayo is the typical sweet Dutch sort, which I don’t particularly like. I also get a Veal Croquette (Kalfskroket) (€1.70) on a soft white bun (+€0.65), which is quite delicious with mustard. Finally, I get a Berenhap (€2.55) with Chilisaus (+€0.65). The Berenhap (literally Bear-Bite) is a meatball, cut in slices with in between onion. It’s not very exciting and the Asian-style chili sauce is not the best mix.

VERDICT: 80/100
Very good selection, not remarkable quality

Flavor’s (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Willem de Zwijgerlaan 44-A, 2582 ER, The Hague, The Netherlands

Flavor’s brands itself as “a combination of a brasserie, coffeeshop, restaurant (café).” Situated in an upscale part of The Hague – there is also a location in Vlaardingen – it  offers an eclectic mix of dishes that you can find in a broad variety of different Dutch restaurants, including bitterballen (meat croquets in the shape of balls), chicken sate, salads. Its specialty are the spare ribs.

We started with the Brown Flavor’s Bread (€4.50), which comes with three spreads (aioli, tapenade and herb butter). The spreads are more impressive than the bread, which is average. I then get bitterballen (€6.00), which for some reason are translated on the English menu as Burgundian Meatballs, which are good. The Homemade Meatball Sandwich (€7.00) is big but not very tasty. The Twister Fries with Mayonnaise (€3.50), which I get for my son, are both disappointing.

VERDICT: 78/100
Flavor’s is a cozy place to eat, with many different and relaxed options, but the quality is not remarkable.

IJssalon San Marco (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederick Hendriklaan 172, 2582 BK, The Hague, The Netherlands

IJssalon San Marco is an old-school Italian gelato place, as there are several in the Netherlands, which has been there since 1982. It has some 20 flavors, all Italian classics.

I get two scoops (€1.80): lemon and stracciatella. The scoops are small, particularly compared to those in the US. The lemon is delicious, tangy and fresh. The stracciatella is tasty but a bit too vanilla.

VERDICT: 87/100                                                      
Very good gelato

Dick’s Snackbar (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederick Hendrikstraat, 2582 AT, The Hague, The Netherlands

Dick’s Snackbar has been around since 18 April 1960! It is one of the few remaining snack carts, smack in the middle of one of the most affluent districts of The Hague. It serves the usual selection of Dutch snacks but with a few house-made dishes (like the meatball) and some Belgian sauces (including mayonnaise and Andalouse).

I get a regular portion of French Fries with Mayo (€2.50) and a Croquette Sandwich (broodje kroket) (€2.20). The fries are perfectly crispy and the Belgian mayo is very tasty. The Broodje Kroket is classic. I go back another time and have the Meatball Sandwich, which was homemade, but not really my taste.

VERDICT: 89/100
Old-school Dutch snack cart with excellent quality. Must visit!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Eisparadis Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

Kantstrasse 63, 10627 Berlin, Germany

Eisparadies Berlin is a very small ice cream place that serves homemade Italian-style gelato and is run by a nice Italian man. They have 24 different flavors, mostly the usual suspects.

I get a corn with two scoops (€2.50): the lemon is ok, but not very tangy, the Noisetta is quite original: hazelnut with crispy nougat and real hazelnuts. Nice!

VERDICT: 85/100
Good gelato in a small, honest, mom and pop place

Imbiss-Kiosk am Kulturforum (Berlin, Germany)

Potsdamer Strasse 31, 10785 Berlin, Germany

The Imbiss-Kiosk am Kulturforum is a strange combination of a coffee place and a snack bar that serves various coffees, sausages, falafel, sandwiches, and some Turkish snacks.

I get a Currywurst with Fries (€3.80) and add Mayo (+0.20) and a drink (€2). The sausage is a regular Wiener, which they deep fry. Except for the sauce it has little to do with a Currywurst. The fries are ok; crispier than normal in Germany.

VERDICT: 74/100
More expensive and less quality

Bistro Fadi (Berlin, Germany)

Stuttgarter Platz 3, 10627 Berlin, Germany

Bistro Fadi is a small place that is a combination of a kebab place and a Lebanese restaurant. They serve a broad menu of Lebanese dishes, including various salads and grilled vegetables.

I get the Big Falafel-Shawarma Plate (€10), which is a quite sizeable plate with various vegetables on the side. The falafel are big but taste a bit odd. The shawarma is made of chicken (as is common in Berlin), cut thick and with little taste – it is mainly fatty and salty. Overall, everything is far too greasy.

VERDICT: 70/100
Looks like it will be better than the average kebab store, but instead it is actually worse.

Al Teatro (Berlin, Germany)

Dircksenstrasse 2, 10179 Berlin, Germany

Al Teatro is a local ice cream chain in Berlin, which is mostly situated in big malls and tram and metro stations. It serves some twenty different flavors as well as coffee and cakes. Most of the flavors are the usual suspects, including fruity sorbets.

I get a cone with two scoops (€3). The Tropical Fruit tastes a bit bland and artificial. The Hazelnut is ok, but too creamy and sweet.

VERDICT: 72/100
OK, but you can do much better in Berlin.