Locals may love a bitterballen with their beer, or curry-sauce-doused cone of fries, but Amsterdam has also developed a taste for upscale eats. Starchy, formal dining isn’t really the city’s style, so many of its Michelin-starred restaurants take a more relaxed approach. That’s not to say it doesn’t do luxe, from the gilded splendour of The White Room to Bougainville’s decadent dining room. Still, there’s a sense of creativity and fun, as restaurateurs put their own spin on fine dining, from ‘no-tables’ rebel 212 to the laidback, much-loved Ron Gastrobar.
Having admired the Rijkmuseum’s Dutch masters, head to its one-starred eatery. Chef Joris Bijdendijk champions local produce, but adds some artful global twists; think North Sea grey shrimps with seaweed and harissa, or moreish, dashi-spiked pork. The tasting menu offers six creative courses for €79, while starry guest chefs (André Chiang, Nick Bril) collaborate on special dinners.
It may have a Michelin star, but this place is anything but stuffy. The open kitchen turns out playful small plates, and some of the finest steaks in town (dry-aged, impeccably sourced and served with bone marrow, béarnaise and fries). Desserts include indulgent sharing portions of ice-cream and the iconic ‘surprise egg’ – a quirky chocolate confection, complete with runny yolk.
This swish newcomer oozes old-school glamour, with its brocade banquettes, gleaming gold tiles, and dreamy views of Dam Square. It scooped a star within a year of opening, and lives up to the hype, with clued-up service, a stellar wine list, and dishes almost too pretty to eat. It’s set in the decadent Hotel TwentySeven; after dinner, retire to one of its 16 sumptuous suites.
This modern, Michelin-starred address offers ‘no-table’ dining – which translates to counter-style seating, set around a sleek open kitchen. It’s fascinating to watch the chefs at work, but what’s on the plate is even better. The full tasting menu brings eight flawless courses, plus some stellar amuse-bouches (the tiny chicken and liquid shiso pie is off-the-scale delicious).
You don’t score two stars by playing it safe, and Israeli-born chef Moshik Roth is a maverick talent. His unlikely-sounding combinations are a symphony of tastes and textures – caviar with sweetcorn ice-cream, say, or cod with kafir lime and miso. The vegetarian menu is equally inventive, while his Instagram offers a tantalising preview of new dishes in development.
From bitterballen to rijstaffel, Amsterdam’s old-school treats are a year-round delight.
Tuck into the best of the Dutch capital’s diverse dining scene.
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Image credits: © &moshik; © &moshik; © Jan Kees Steenman; © Jorge Ferrari; © Restaurant Bougainville; © Restaurant 212; © &moshik; © Moeders; © press; © Miquel Gonzalez