Blauw aan de Wal
It’s on one of the Red Light District’s main drags, and its entrance—a graffiti-tagged alley leading off into the darkness—isn’t particularly reassuring, but persevere and suddenly you’re in a tiny courtyard in front of a white clapboard house with candlelit windows. Inside, Blauw aan de Wal’s two levels of rustic-chic dining areas (rough brick walls downstairs, whitewashed ceilings and rough-hewn wood floors upstairs) are a cozy backdrop for excellent Franco-Asian fusion cuisine. The matching wine list puts an emphasis on boutique French, South African, and Australian producers. If lamb is on the menu—in any form, but especially the loin with a Shiraz reduction—order it.
Insider Tip: Book dinner on the early side so you can enjoy a postprandial stroll along the twilight-lit canal (and avoid the Red Light District mayhem, which descends after dark).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.