The best Italian in the Netherlands is a passionate affair.
Did you know that you can find the best Italian in the Netherlands right in the heart of Amsterdam?
On Beulingstraat, you’ll find Restaurant Pianeta Terra, which was named the best Italian in our little country by Italy Magazine this year. Additionally, this Italian restaurant is also ranked 19th on the 50 Top Italy list by Prosecco DOG, placing it among the best Italians worldwide. You can imagine how excited I was to taste some Italian delights here!
We hadn’t even been inside for a second when we were warmly welcomed with the typical Italian hospitality that I adore. We were assigned a cozy table for two, and once we settled in, sommelier Laura came over for a friendly chat. She handed us the wine list, which was filled with wines from small producers. There were plenty of fine Italian wine producers, but there was also a Dutch winemaker on the list. As we enjoyed their homemade sourdough bread and the amuse-bouche of tomato, goat cheese, sauerkraut, and salsa verde, sipping on our aperitif, Chef Fabio visited our table and told us about the Slow Food movement, of which he is an ambassador. When he started Pianeta Terra 22 years ago, it wasn’t always easy to find producers who work with respect for our planet. But persistence pays off, and by now, Fabio has many conscious producers on his speed dial. For instance, he buys jowl from Buitengewone Varkens in Amsterdam Noord. I’ve seen this pig farmer on TV before and witnessed how the pigs freely roamed around. And every Saturday, he strolls through the Noordermarkt to buy sustainably caught Wadden oysters. You can see the joy he finds in his work through the sparkle in his eyes when he talks about his market finds from that very morning.
PURE FLAVORS It’s time to start with the menu. You can choose between three, four, five, or seven courses. We opted for the third option and eagerly awaited the first course. The “Winter Sea” quickly appeared on the table, featuring the Wadden oyster that the chef had scored at the market that same morning. It also included codium, cuttlefish, and a “stone” made of mackerel. The dish looked stunning, and wow, it tasted amazing. These are truly the pure flavors from the sea on your plate. What a great start to the evening. The second course was a raw langoustine accompanied by wild Alaskan salmon, fish emulsion, dried salmon skin, black rice (a cross between basmati rice and Italian rice), and herring roe. The story behind the salmon’s origin was also interesting. The fish is caught by three men in remote Alaska who have dedicated themselves completely to their profession. They were so focused that they even missed the fact that the rest of the world was busy fighting the coronavirus. When Chef Fabio called them in the midst of the pandemic and asked how things were going, he had to explain to them what exactly corona was. Quite funny. This dish was also so beautiful that it brought tears to our eyes. The langoustine was incredibly fresh, and the perfectly cooked salmon added extra excitement to the dish. What a delight, both visually and in terms of taste. We left the seafood chapter behind and moved on to the meat dishes. First up was cappellacci with cocoa incorporated into the dough, featuring oxtail and cocoa beans. It was so quiet at our table for a moment as we both closed our eyes and savored this beautiful dish.
Then it was time for the main course. Tonight, it was wild duck with cranberry sauce, sweet potato puree, and pak choi. Usually, I find the main course a bit disappointing. You get all excited with a few outstanding appetizers, thinking, “Wow, we’re off to a great start!” And then comes the meat main course, and it all falls a bit flat. But not here because, oh my, this dish was spot-on. The wild duck was perfectly cooked, and there was plenty of sauce to spoon over the pieces of duck (nothing worse than not having enough sauce, right?). The sweetness of the puree complemented the wildness of the duck beautifully. There was also some textural contrast with a crispy sweet potato element. Truly, there’s nothing more to be done with this dish.
As a grand finale to this incredible dinner, a delightful dessert arrived at our table: matcha flan with honeycomb and a sea buckthorn sauce. As you already know, I’m not a fan of sweet flavors, and that often extends to desserts as well. But this dessert wasn’t overly sweet at all. It had the bitterness of matcha and the refreshing tang of sea buckthorn to balance the flavors. We licked the plate clean.
It’s evident why Pianeta Terra was chosen as the best Italian in our country. This charming establishment is run by a passionate team that knows their craft. Moreover, they cook with great care for nature, and you can enjoy exceptional wines here as well. All in all, it’s a place after my own heart.