Rainarai Restaurant

Part two in my little ‘Explore-Amsterdam-As-a-Local’ adventure. Again, my stomach took the lead in the decision making and me and my friend decided to look for somewhere nice to eat. Even as a Rotterdam girl, I’ve heard a lot about the events at the Westergasfabriek, which is located in the Westerpark, a park northwest of the centre of Amsterdam. The Westergasgabriek is a cultural complex and houses restaurants, clubs, a cinema, shops and art venues amidst a lot of greenery. We got there after a short bus ride from Central Station, but on a nice day you can also walk from Central Station via the Haarlemmerdijk, which will take you about 30 minutes.

After exploring a bit of the park and the restaurants, we decided to get some lunch at a restaurant called Rainarai, a bit further away from the Westergasfabriek than we had initially planned. It caught our attention because it said it served Nomadic food, which neither of us had ever tried before. Walking into the restaurant, we were immediately enchanted by the dark, woody decor with golden accents, colourful pillows and high ceiling. We had a choice between a regular table or raised platform with loads of pillows. We chose the colourful pillows (yes, our shoes had to come off) as it seemed to fit better with the experience the restaurant wants to offer their guests.

The kind waiter told us that the chef wanted to make something special for us and whilst he was making that, we chatted away sipping on some delicious fruity, anisey cocktails packed with fresh blueberries. The waiter also gave us the restaurant’s cookbook to peruse through, which was full of delicious looking food and made us excited for what was to come. When the food arrives it looked incredible!

The chef had made us a whole mix of different kinds of foods. There was grilled tuna with cracked pepper, chicken, chickpeas, and olives all rolled in a super fragrant tomato sauce with a side of pickled cucumber and herbs. It smelled amazing and before we knew it we had devoured our food! The Nomadic/Algerian kitchen really showed its strengths in the way it was spiced and seasoned. I definitely picked up on some saffron, coriander, cumin and cinnamon.

The lunch we had at Rainarai was a great introduction into the Nomadic/Algerian kitchen. I liked the food so much that I picked up some of the same spices and ingredients on my way home and pickled some cucumbers to use in future dishes. I’m excited to go back one day and try out their dinner menu as well!