A la Plancha is a tapas bar in Amsterdam. It was a suggestion from a colleague at work that brought us to them at 6 p.m. on a rainy Sunday evening.
Well, when is it never raining.
I was so looking forward to this as the last time I had tapas was a thousand years ago in DC. The fact that the food was supposedly authentic was reason enough for me to drag my partner and my friend visiting from DC, and schlep all the way to the Jordaan through the traffic, cold and rain.
The place is the size of a closet, as are most restaurants in this town. There are only three tiny tables in a small alcove at the back. I noticed that one table meant only for three had five people camped around it. The other two tables had a ‘reserved’ sign on them. Having no reservations, our only option was to sit at the bar which had two separate displays of tapas in glass cases on either end. To eat at the bar meant sitting elbow to elbow with the next person.
With three of us knocking knees and elbows claiming as much space we could at one end of the bar, I locked eyes with the lone waitress/bartender and asked for the menu. She didn’t even smile or acknowledge me in any way — she simply walked away. A minute later she came back and told me there was no menu, despite the fact their web site showed one, and said the only food available are the ones already in front of us. Dismayed and pissed, I asked if the food in front of us were the same as those on the other end. She said no. Since we couldn’t really see what was at the other end, we would actually have to stand up and walk over to take a look.
So to recap — three of us are sitting like cramped nitwits, by a bar, told to order stuff we didn’t know what they were called nor made of because there is no menu, would have to stand up and walk over to the other end of the bar to find out what else there was to eat, in order to be served by an someone who acted like she’s doing you a favor by serving you. What we ended up doing is walking out the door.
If you’re in the mood to be ignored and inconvenienced, then this is the place for you. I, on the other hand have had it up to here with Dutch service and tiny Dutch restaurants with their inflated prices. Suffice it to say I won’t be giving A la Plancha any of my hard-earned money. What I will be giving them is a piece of my mind in Tripadvisor and to anyone who’ll listen. Beware the power of the individual consumer.