Before you start reading this post any further, just to give you a heads-up I have written my review on Saravana Bhavan in Amsterdam. I am not here to officially criticize someone’s hard work but just want my readers on this website have an idea of what they should eat or what to expect from this Indian place in Amsterdam.
Okay, now that we have established the preface, lets talk about why did I decide to go to this restaurant. Over the last 1 year I have been conducting cooking workshops, demos in the Netherlands where I teach participants (of course Non-Indians) to learn Indian cooking. And every workshop I had participants or followers from my social media texting me asking for recommendations of Indian restaurants in Amsterdam. Thus I thought of checking this place which happens to be also one of my most visited restaurants back in Chennai, South of India (back in 2001 when I lived there for 2 years).
Saravana Bhavan is situated quite at the centre of Amsterdam (almost 25 mins walk or 10 mins tram or metro ride away). Stadhouderskade is very close to a lot of most visited locations for not just the residents of the city but mainly for the tourists. This makes this place a great location for catching some quick bite too.
The decor and ambiance is is quite minimalistic with tables and chairs with a seating of around 70-80 people at one time. It has a good view of the street incase you do get a seat next to the window. I visited the restaurant on a Sunday afternoon around 14:00 hrs. That hour, the restaurant had around 40 odd customers and because people come in more for a quick meal more than a fine dining option, there was a constant inflow and outflow of people in the restaurant on that day.
The kitchen is quite open for guests to see how the cooking take place which is a good sign rather than having one hidden.
We requested for a bigger, well lit seat such that I could click some photos while enjoying my meal. The menu is very interesting with many options to choose from. It is primarily a South Indian restaurant but also offers North Indian and Indo-Chinese options too – ofcourse everything is 100% vegetarian.
But I know Saravana Bhavan from ages as my place to get some real authentic South Indian (to be specific Tamilian) food and that’s what I chose to eat. I ordered for a South Indian Meal which comes with loads of curries (its vegetarian and not vegan curries).
The items that it came with:
- Beetroot Poriyal
- Vegetable Korma
- Kesari Baath
- Spiced Buttermilk
- Plain Yoghurt
- Kara Kuzhambu
- Bhatura (Big Poori)
- Plain Steamed Rice
- Mango Pickle
This meal was the Special Saravana Bhavan Meal for only €15/- but was way too much for just one person to finish (or maybe I eat less, which isn’t quite true though). If you are visiting this restaurant do give this one a try. The taste of the dishes were satisfactory, I LOVED the vegetable Korma, Beetroot Poriyal and Kara Kuzhambu. Sambar & Rasam were a little let down that day. But I hope to visit this place again and try this meal again to check the consistency.
I went there with my husband and he ordered Masala Dosa which comes with 3 chutneys and sambar too.
This was a bit more of a let down as the Sambar lacked basic flavors and the dosa wasn’t as crispy as you would like it to be but rather a little soggy. But if you are craving Dosa big time or it is your first time trying this dish, you could ask them to make the dosa a little crispier. That should do the job, I guess. And did I tell you this, it is 100% vegan.
This Dosa was priced at €7.50 along with all the chutneys and sambar. My husband went ahead and also ordered for a regular Lassi which was priced at €5 and we both felt it tasted just like a regular drink yoghurt. It missed the real Punjabi bold flavors of cream (malai) and thick yoghurt but was rather too liquidy and plain.
The questions is will I visit this place again, and my answer is yes and I now know what I have to order and how much. I think it is a real gem in the centre of city where there are restaurants selling almost all possible cuisines. This makes it a great option for vegans and vegetarians who don’t end up finding a lot of places to choose from in the city.
One thing that I heard from previous visitors to this restaurant was the customer service was poor or below average which in my case couldn’t be experienced as I visited at a time when the restaurant wasn’t that busy. If you are planning to check this place out, don’t expect fine dining ambiance with servers running around to help your very need within fraction of a second.
The total bill was just €27.50 which made it a satisfactory meal for 2 people for sure.
I will surely come back to this place again to try the rest of the menu.
Till then have a great day ahead!
(P.S: This wasn’t a paid promotion of the restaurant. I paid my bill and reviewed the place just as any one of you reading this review).
1074 AV Amsterdam
020 753 1250