In Britain, what Yanks call a Baked Potato is known as a Jacket Potato. And that’s the name adopted by the Dutch creators of the popular Amsterdam eatery, Jacketz. Keeping things simple, the restaurant does one thing and does it very well. It fills its menu – and hungry diners’ bellies – with enormous baked potatoes with a wonderful array of toppings. It’s the first baked potato restaurant on the mainland of Europe.
I’m a potato lover, always have been, always will be. Mashed, baked, fried, bring ’em on. So I knew I was likely going to be a fan of Jacketz. I wasn’t wrong. They do baked potatoes right.
Location: Kinkerstraat 56 in Amsterdam’s Oud-West neighborhood. Trams #7 and #17 stop nearby.
Menu: The system is simple. You order a whole potato (min. 460 grams or <1 lb.) or a smaller half potato, or a salad. Then you choose your filling. Then you add any extras you want, like cheeses, bacon bits, nut mix, and sauces. The result is a meal hearty enough to satisfy cravings and keep hunger at bay for many hours.
Thoughts: The limited menu at Jacketz means they can focus on the quality of both ingredients and preparation. Everything is freshly made in-house with a strong focus on locally-sourced, organic ingredients. Their potatoes are mostly healthy Dutch potatoes. In the few months a year when those aren’t available, they come from just two other EU countries where the owners know the farmers and can be sure of the quality. The potatoes are perfectly baked, then the inside is scooped out and mixed with Normandy crème fraiche, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. (The vegan option omits the crème fraiche). They come out of the oven with their brown skin crispy and flaked with salt and creamy fluffy on the inside.
On my first visit, I chose a whole potato topped with Traditionally Stewed Beef. It’s their take on a traditional Dutch dish and one of the most popular. Organic beef chunks slow simmered with onion and beer make for a depth of flavor in the gravy that sings. The dish was delicious and huge, impossible to finish. On my second visit, having learned my lesson, I ordered a half potato, which was still plenty large. I topped it with the Angus Beef Chili con Carne, made with brown beans and kidney beans. I added Dutch cheese and ordered some of their mouth-loving garlic sauce on the side.
There are eight filling options on the menu. The top item is slow-smoked pulled pork in whiskey-maple BBQ sauce and topped with coleslaw. It will be my choice on my next visit. There is also Herbed Chicken Salad, Smoked Salmon Tartare with Herb Curd and Mackerel Salad with fresh Corn Kernels and Herbs. Vegetarian and Vegan options include Spicy Green Curry with Lentils, Seasonal Fresh Veggies, and a Beetroot Salad that looked delicious in all its pinkness.
On neither visit did I have room for what sounded like good desserts. I did choose from the list of excellent local craft beers and tried the refreshing rhubarb lemonade on my second visit.
The ambiance at Jacketz is what the Dutch call gezellig—hard to translate but generally meaning cozy, pleasant, welcoming. The décor is modern without being cold or edgy. The service is very friendly and generally pretty fast. The staff will happily explain the ordering system and answer any questions about the menu to first timers. There are tables downstairs and a few upstairs on a mezzanine. There are also tables outside on the sidewalk, very pleasant for nice weather days.
Additional Info: Jacketz is open every day, Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 pm, Friday & Saturday, noon-11 pm. On weekend evenings, expect to wait a bit, as it can be crowded.
There is free wifi for customers, ask for the password.
Price Range: Prices are quite reasonable for Amsterdam. You can eat for under €10 or spend up to €20 (approximately $10.50-21) or more per person with extra toppings, sides and sauces, drinks, and dessert.
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