Vito Reekers (33) started his catering career washing up. Even then, he was much more interested in the contents of the saucepans than in making sure they were clean. He has now been chef de cuisine in the restaurant and bistro of Grand Hotel Karel V for five years. Bistro Karel 5 is perfect for casual dining, while Restaurant Karel 5 sets the scene for an evening of unique culinary surprises and exquisite combinations of flavours that you’d never think of attempting at home. For example, a dish of hamachi and yellowtail kingfish with algae, black cardamon and crispy rice.

> Restaurant & Bistro Karel 5
Geertebolwerk 1

Photo by Sander Baks

by Dieuwke de Boer

‘I’ve just bought a house in a street off the Amsterdamsestraatweg. I used to live in the Lombok district. Kanaalstraat is a great street to saunter along. It’s lively and there are loads of greengrocers and butchers where you can buy great products at good prices.’

New favourite
‘I don’t really have one favourite restaurant, but I enjoy eating at L’Ami Jac (Burgemeester Reigerstraat 29). They make honest, daring food, which appeals to me. And the owner is a great guy – that helps. Another of my favourite haunts is Van de Straat in Surinamestraat, near to where I used to live in Lombok. Here, you can eat street food with a ‘shared dining’ concept: small portions of dishes from all around the world (after the magazine was printed, we heard Van de Straat will be changing its name into The Vegan Gorilla – red.). We tried to go recently but we couldn’t get in, so we ended up next door at Bastacosi on Vleutenseweg. Their wood-fired pizzas are fantastic. This might even be my new favourite place for pizza.’

L’Ami Jac, Burgemeester Reigerstraat 29 |
Bastacosi, Vleutenseweg 388 |

‘If the weather’s nice, I like to bike over to the Maarsseveenseplassen (lakes). It’s a beautiful spot. And if you really want to chill, spend a day at SpaSereen. It’s a spa and wellness complex on the Maarsseveenseplassen, so you can relax in the spa while enjoying the natural surroundings.’

SpaSereen, Westbroekse Binnenweg 2a, Tienhoven (Maarssen) |

Pleasant surprise
‘We often go to Bison Bowling on Mariaplaats on Friday evening after work for a spot of bowling. And otherwise I like a quick beer in Café van Velsen on Mariaplaats, Café Flater on Oudegracht or Hofman Café on Janskerkhof when I’ve finished my shift. I recently tried The Malt Vault, a whisky bar on Voorstraat. I’m not really a whisky buff, but it was a pleasant surprise. It’s a cool place.’

Bison Bowling, Mariaplaats 13A |
Café Van Velsen, Mariaplaats 8 |
The Malt Vault, Voorstraat 56 |