Skek describes itself as "loving, honest and curious." Run by and for students (get 25% off with student ID), this eco-friendly café off Amsterdam's Red Light District serves no-frills, mostly organic snacks, meals and drinks. Portions are generous on lunch/dinner menus featuring Dutch classics like bitterballen and tosties, plus burgers, soups, salads and creative entrées that are great values even if you're well past your student years.
Fronted by a cozy living room and bar serving wine, beer and cocktails, Skek has no manager, maître d', five-star chef or snooty sommelier. A staff of 30 students cooks, serves and entertains, learning the restaurant business as they go. Use of seasonal products means the menu changes frequently, with new creations showcased at Tasting Evenings featuring 10–15 previews of menu additions for €15.
As Skek is both restaurant and talent showcase, young musicians perform four evenings a week. Open Mics, themed parties, game nights and pub quiz challenges are regularly scheduled. On the high walls of the dining room, young artists display papier mâché cows, abstract landscapes, arty portraits and other works.
Don't expect haute cuisine or five-star service at this mellow pub. What you'll get is no-fuss food served with a side of talent that may include klezmer bands or singers belting out pop/hip-hop tunes. While their performances may bowl you over, the bill won't, especially if you're a student entitled to that deep discount.