Best Restaurants in Amsterdam: The Ultimate Guide
At the beginning of this decade all eyes were on Paris, which was experiencing the peak of the so-called bistronomie movement. London quickly followed with a restaurant and food truck surge that changed the culinary landscape in the British capital for good. But now, Amsterdam is booming.
While traditional Dutch food might have a stodgy reputation, the city’s chefs are showing off the more sophisticated side of the country's cuisine. They have a new reverence for local ingredients like Gouda cheese, farm fresh vegetables, and the omnipresent herring, and are incorporating them into intricately composed dishes with international influences.
Classics with a modern twist are the name of the game in this old apothecary’s shop with a canal view. Spread across a number of rooms boasting simple yet tasteful decor, there’s an understated elegance to everything here, from the food to the imported marble tabletops. Chef Jeroen Robberegt’s cooking is robust and flavourful – think Dover sole, hanger steak, and lobster risotto – and while dinner is the real star, they also do a mean lunch and happily cater for kids.
In the five years since it opened, BAK has become one of the most exciting dining destinations in the city. Chef Benny Blisto spotlights seasonal Dutch produce in beautifully composed dishes and the wine list is varied with natural wines and quirky grape varieties. The three-course lunch menu (weekends only) for 32.50 euros is one of the best deals in town.
Guts & Glory
The restrained design of exposed brick walls painted white and single-bulb light fixtures doesn't exactly jive with the peppy cuisine coming out of the kitchen at this restaurant just off bustling Rembrandtplein—but we're totally cool with it. Constantly rotating, themed menus are arranged around a different ingredient or them, like chicken, fish, beef, or pork, or a cuisine like Italian, Japanese, or Dutch. You choose a tasting menu of five, six, or seven courses, with the option to "add some glory" with a supplement of smoked eel, jamon Iberico, Persian Imperial caviar, or a platter of select cheeses.
A moment of Zen in Amsterdam. Yamazato is the first traditional restaurant serving the finest small dishes of Kaiseki cuisine outside of Japan to be included in the top of the Michelin Guide. Chef Masanori Tomikawa offers a pleasant introduction to Japanese local culture and culinary delights. The restaurant – like renowned Ciel Bleu – is located in five star Hotel Okura. From the way the waitresses present themselves, to the table settings: everything is well thought of. Yamazato promises a culinary experience you won’t soon forget.
There’s very little Dutch food in Amsterdam that’s both sophisticated and true to its traditions. But Floreyn walks that line perfectly. Think bitterbal, but then filled with Messeklever cheese and served with smoked beetroot, radish, apple and fennel. Or mustard soup that’s been deconstructed into a clear broth with cheese foam and three types of mustard. Even dessert uses local, seasonal vegetables: carrot and parsnip ice cream with a sweet hut spot and citrusy creme brulee. This is very accomplished cooking that stays true to its Dutch roots.
There are few better places to get stuck into fresh fish and seafood than Stork, a cavernous, south-facing space on the banks of the River IJ. A free ferry shuttles you across the water to Noord and this former factory that now serves up whole lobster, oysters, Catch Of The Day specials, and a sumptuous seafood platter. If it’s sunny, order some ice-cold white wine, grab a spot on the terrace, and watch the river traffic bustle back and forward.
This funky place is an ideal spot for an American-style brunch — which has grown increasingly popular here in recent years — and provides respite for those in desperate need of a hangover bloody mary. Gs serves a full range of egg dishes; its chicken waffle burger is somewhat famous among locals. The bloody mary menu offers no fewer than 13 versions. Gs has two branches. Consider booking a seat online in advance.