Laurenze Walet is the manager of Van Puffelen Restaurant and Cafe, the person who transformed this charming Prinsengracht eatery into the chic dining experience that you can enjoy today. After college, she was promoted to manager and for the past nine years has helped to shape this charming Prinsengracht Restaurant Café Van Puffelen.
Van Puffelen is actually comprised of two separate buildings along the canal. One side is dominated by a café area, the other a formal restaurant. In the 1980’s, the owner recognized a need for expansion and bought the space next door, combining two spaces that could meet the demands of both a café and a restaurant.
Laurenze describes the cuisine at Van Puffelen as “bistro cuisine” that combines fresh, seasonal ingredients with both a local and international flair. Typical dishes on the menu might come from Italian, French, or Dutch traditions but will change according to the season and availability of ingredients. Laurenze and her chef change the menu roughly every 3-4 months. She admits that while she’s not a big eater herself, her absolute favorite dish on the menu is the Carpaccio appetizer. We, however, can recommend from experience that the salmon entrée is particularly delicious this season!
Van Puffelen went through a bit of a transformation about six years ago when they redecorated. Laurenze likes to keep the décor fresh but wishes to maintain the unique and recognizable style that distinguishes Van Puffelen from other Amsterdam bistros. As a result, Amsterdammers recognize Van Puffelen by name.
Situated alongside the charming Prince’s Canal (Prinsengracht 375-7), Van Puffelen offers an affordable evening out for just about everyone. “All guests are welcome here,” Laurenze says. In the private room, which caters to groups from 10 to 150 people and is available for rent upon reservation, “Sometimes we host the birthday of an 80-year-old person, sometimes we’ll host a marriage celebration, and sometimes we’ll host a group of students. A lot of companies rent it out, retirement groups, graduation parties, anyone who wants a private feeling in which to celebrate with friends and family.”
Tourists and expats fear not! The establishment doesn’t just cater to locals. At Van Puffelen, it’s all about making you feel welcome and, in that sense, it’s really all about service. Van Puffelen strives to accommodate the international crowd, each with their own unique dining customs. As a matter of fact, the wait staff is excellent at anticipating how customers wish to be served. So whether you prefer a quiet, undisturbed evening with your friends or a more hands-on, proactive approach to customer service, the wait staff does everything in their power to meet your needs.
Laurenze, herself, isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Walk in on a typical Friday night and you’re likely to see her helping out the wait staff. “My staff works harder for me when I work with them as well,” she says. “Then I can see what’s happening on the floor and I also get to meet the customers. And then I know what the customers like.”
Simply put, Laurenze, her wait staff, and the chefs are proud of what they do, “When you come in, you can expect you’ll have a wonderful evening and everyone will make the drinks you like, the food you like, and the service you like. The only thing I want people to remember when they leave here is that they had a very nice evening and that they plan to come back next time.”
Take it from the manager, “Everybody should feel at home here. Good food, good service. That’s about it.” Eet smakelijk, everyone!