Last night at La Perla, I said something like, "I haven't experienced this kind of unqualified pleasure at an Amsterdam restaurant since...", and then I couldn't think of when the last time was.
Now I think I know: Mariusis the only other Amsterdam restaurant I can think of that is such an obviously great place to be that (paradoxically, I guess) you kind of forget where you are when you're there. Very nice.
Pictured above and below are the calabrese di spilinga and the finocchiona, both of which I would order again together in a second, they were completely complementary: the calabrese di spilinga features these little dark red hills of pungent and assertive 'nduja (which I would never have identified as sausage if the menu hadn't told me it was); the finocchiona's sweetish fennel sausage provided a nice counterbalance.
Another element that worked in La Perla's favor last night was that we tried some of the food at Hanneke's Boom first. It's a great location and the vibe outside is nice and relaxed in a way that feels far from Amsterdam's normal non-beach terrace culture. The food, however, immediately reminds you that you are actually still in Amsterdam: careless, careless cooking.
And by that I mean whoever cooked this stuff couldn't actually care about how food tastes, or at least didn't taste this food: the hummous was decidedly moldy-tasting, the carpaccio had some kind of cheap and shitty long-ago-grated Parmesan emulator all over it; the scallops and chorizo with orange was a nice idea but didn't taste like anything (how do you make chorizo not taste like anything?) and was kind of definitively ruined by these bitter greens that were scattered over all of the appetizers....etc.
But yes, La Perla made everything OK again. As Dennis said, this is one of the only places in Amsterdam that makes you feel like you could eat there again the next day, or at least very very often, which is exactly my plan.
This is an occasionally NSFW, mostly gluten-free kitchen notebook that also occasionally threatens to turn into something else and fails, thus remaining its same old cryptic and superficial self. These posts begin to fail to explain (start at the bottom).