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Japanese Pancake World - Amsterdam Restaurant Review

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Japanese Pancake World - Amsterdam Restaurant Review
Photo © Fotoos van Robin

The Bottom Line

Japanese Pancake World, despite its monothematic menu of the Osaka specialty okonomiyaki, is far from dull; rather, the savory "pancakes" provide an exotic counterpoint in a culture where pancakes are also a traditional food. Either as an introduction to the world of Japanese pancakes or a treat for a seasoned Japanophile, Japanese Pancake World offers uniquely enjoyable dinners.

Pros

  • Expert preparation of a Japanese favorite
  • Sleek interior with an open kitchen

Cons

  • Can be crowded, especially on weekends; reservations recommended

Description

  • Address: Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat 24a, Amsterdam
    Phone: +31 (0)20 320 4447

  • Hours: Mon. - Fri. 6 - 10 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 12 - 10 p.m.

  • Location: The Jordaan, west of the Central Canal Belt

  • Directions: Tram (6,13,14 and 17) or bus (21, 170 and 172) to the stop "Rozengracht-Westerkerk".

  • Attire: Casual.

  • Décor: Sleek and modern.

  • Payment: Major credit cards accepted.

Guide Review - Japanese Pancake World - Amsterdam Restaurant Review

Japanese Pancake World is as authentic as authentically possible: a slice of Osaka in Amsterdam's Jordaan. In Japan, and least of all in culinarily-obsessive Osaka, it's not uncommon for a restaurant to dedicate all its efforts to one speciality: ramen, curry, and even okonomiyaki, the so-called "Japanese pancake". Japanese Pancake World embodies this philosophy in its intense devotion to okonomiyaki, whose variations comprise virtually the only menu items.

Okonomiyaki is hardly out of place in the Netherlands, as a savory pancake that alone constitutes a whole meal -- just like traditional Dutch pancakes. The Japanese version, however, differs in its particulars, which include a batter made of both the typical flour and puréed mountain potato, and the veritable mountain of fresh produce that's baked into each pancake. Where Dutch pancakes certainly stick to one's ribs, okonomiyaki is relatively kind to one's waistline ...

... that is, until the dollops of mayonnaise are added, a trademark of the Osaka-style okonomiyaki. Japanese Pancake World splits their menu into recipes from Osaka and those from Hiroshima, where thinner pancake bases are loaded with shredded cabbage and sprouts and then, for a final touch, topped with fried noodles. Both preparations, the classic Osaka version and its Hiroshima offshoot, are equally superb, thanks to the expertise of the devoted chef.

Unlike in Japan, however, where okonomiyaki restaurants are often casual family eateries, Japanese Pancake World sports a decidedly chic interior, and lucky diners (or at least those with the recommended reservations) can sit at the open teppan to watch the chef in action. Nevertheless, the restaurant delivers one of few consummately Japanese experiences outside of Japan.

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