The Best Restaurants
La Rive (in the Amstel InterContinental Hotel, Amsterdam; tel. 020/520-3264): La Rive has a special table where you watch how the chefs actually do the business. While dining, enjoy the view through tall French windows to the broad Amstel River. The service and wine cellar are in the finest modern French traditions.
De Echoput (Apeldoorn; tel. 055/519-1463): Game features prominently on the menu at this restaurant, set amid the forests near Apeldoorn, on the edge of the Royal Wood. During the hunting season, try wild boar, venison, and any kind of fowl -- always succulent and prepared with flair. In spring and summer, the menu's just as delectable, and in fair weather dine on the terrace in the fresh forest air.
Château Neercanne (Maastricht; tel. 043/325-1359): "To live like a god in France" goes the Dutch proverb expressing the pinnacle of earthly pleasure. You might imagine yourself to be both a god and in France if you dine at this château, which was designed following French models. What's more, in true French culinary style, the food here is seductively elegant and the wine cellar is unique and impressive -- the wines are kept under perfect conditions in the marlstone caves behind the château.
The Best Cafés & Bars
Cafe 't Smalle (Amsterdam; tel. 020/623-9617): This cozy, crowded brown cafe on Amsterdam's Egelantiersgracht is usually thick with jenever vapor and lively conversation. Escape the crush on the splendid canal-side terrace, a perfect place to watch cyclists and cars rushing past while you rest your legs on the terrace railing.
In den Ouden Vogelstruys (Maastricht; tel. 043/321-4888): This friendly, popular Maastricht watering hole was already well-trodden territory when it came under artillery fire in some war or another in 1653, and took a hit from a cannonball that remains lodged in one of its walls. The place attracts a broad -- in some individual cases very broad -- cross section of Maastricht society.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.