Centrally located between Singel and Herengracht, Rose’s Cantina offers a charmingly simple, yet tastefully hip atmosphere to eat, play, party, and drink. Manager Liliana, who is originally from Columbia, explains that the basic premise was to create a place that combines the best of Pan-American flavors and design.
Catering to a wide range of clientele from tourists to “old school Dutch people” to the “hip and trendy” crowd, Rose’s Cantina suits just about everyone. “The food is fantastic and it’s accessible. It’s for everybody. There’s a little bit of everything. You can do a lot of things. You can play a game of pool, you can have dinner, you have a drink at the bar, you can have an amazing cocktail, and you can party.”
Is it a Bar or is it a Restaurant?
The atmosphere of the cantina is hard to pin down and this, we are told, is deliberate. “Most places in South America are not so segregated. Basically you have dinner and if you like it, you stay and have drinks at the bar. Then again, some people just come for dinner and some people just come for drinks.” The purposefully vague label of the cantina has an agenda: “We are trying to stop the stereotypical mindset that we have to be either a restaurant or a bar or a place where you can party. I think it doesn’t have to be so divided anymore. We don’t live in that world anymore. Things can be combined.”
Upstairs, there’s what the cantina describes as a “boy’s playroom,” featuring a pool table, foosball table, and a pinball machine. Then, there’s also the Tequila Library, boasting an enormous assortment of tequilas. Soon, they plan on hosting a weekly game night including board games. And of course on the weekends, they’ll continue to host open parties and events, featuring some of best DJs in the city.
No Pre-Fab Furniture
At first glance, the most striking thing about the cantina is the décor. Liliana claims, “For me, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam.” The design team has even won a few awards to back that up. The space boasts a unique, antique, and custom-made interior design with rugged accent lighting and a slick, chic bar. Nothing is new or store bought. “I’ve been working with the owner Casper for twelve years and he never ceases to amaze me. It’s all in the little details. And he keeps on shopping so lets see how it looks a month from now!”
Pan-American means not just Mexican Food
The cuisine is described as Pan-American, encompassing both North and South American ingredients that cater to a world-traveler with a sensitive palate. “We try to combine the best aspects of Pan-American food. So, some dishes are quite spicy. We are very passionate about our food and are constantly looking for new inspirations.”
The cantina employs six people in the kitchen and one chef, who work as a seamless team. Liliana claims, “The thing that I love about the kitchen is that everybody is always in a good mood. You can always hear them laughing in the kitchen and they are very eager to come back to work so I think that the food is made with a lot of love and a lot of care. There’s a lot of respect around the food.”
Rose’s Cantina buys their oysters fresh from a single supplier out of France once a week. The meat comes from local butchers. “We try to pick the best products out of each of the suppliers to make our menu.”
Liliana says it’s hard to choose a favorite dish because every week she has a different favorite. She names the vegetarian empanadas and the fish of the day. Her previous favorite dish was the ceviche, but now she’s hooked on the shrimp cocktail. “I tasted it yesterday because we just altered the recipe a little bit and I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s one of the best shrimp cocktails I’ve tasted in a while.” She adds with a laugh, “I’m my new addiction!”
In the summer, the terrace will be open in the front and back of the establishment for a little sunshine seating.
The kitchen is open from 17:30 to 23:00. The bar closes at 1:00 on weekdays and 3:00 on weekends.