Best Grilled Ribs in an Old Brown Bar
If starting from Amsterdam’s popular Leidseplein square, it’s a short two minute walk down Leidsestraat. Take a right down Kerkstraat and you’ll see a little yellow sign sticking out above the entrance that reads Cafe de Klos, next door to a sex shop with a graphic window display.
My parents first came here before I was born in 1982.
I can remember going since I was around 9 years old, which is when I graduated to eating adult portions of steak.
In 2002 I came again to de Klos with my parents who said to our waiter “did you know, we’ve been coming here for 20 years.”
A few years later I came back with friends and overheard an American man telling the barman, “did you know, I’ve been coming here for more than 25 years.” And so it goes…
Cafe de Klos is a special place, an old ‘brown bar’, traditional Dutch bars so called from years of tobacco stains.
It’s not a fancy venue. It has wooden walls, wooden tables and uncomfortable wooden benches, organised into little booths and decorated with low hanging lights and unusual antiques. It’s also small, dark and cramped, especially when it gets busy, with a large bar in the middle of the room.
They don’t take reservations. If you coming at a busy time or it’s the weekend, be prepared to wait at least an hour.
The bar staff are deliberately rude, too. If you’re on a date, they might tell her that they saw you in here with another woman just last night. Or if he leaves to the bathroom, start telling you how you can do so much better, and should write down your number. Don’t be so sensitive, they’re only joking. It’s all part of the experience.
I love the atmosphere, but that’s not why I come to Cafe de Klos. I come for one reason and one reason alone. Their world famous spare ribs.
Tender, succulent pork meat, smoked or unsmoked (I always go for unsmoked, but on your first time why not try both), cooked and then grilled to produce the softest fall-off-the-bone meat there is. No sticky sweet sauce or marinade on these babies. Just. Pure. Tender. Grilled. Meat.
The ribs are served in either ladies or mens portions, which means 2 or 3 racks. They do all kinds of other meat too, also delicious.
It’s just that I can’t bring myself to order anything else when I’m in my favourite place in the whole world for spare ribs.
I come to Cafe de Klos every time I visit Amsterdam, like so many of its patrons.
Born in Holland and having lived in the country twice, I must say I really do love Dutch food. Apart from ribs at De Klos, some of my other Dutch favourites are the kroketten, chips with mayonnaise, and pancakes with bacon, powdered sugar and syrup.