Much like the city itself, the food scene in Amsterdam today is a glorious global melting pot. It’s bursting with popular offerings from former colonies and recent waves of immigration (so you’ll find everything from steak to sushi), as well as local delicacies and top restaurants churning out Michelin-starred plates.
Although the city’s always had a thriving café culture, the foodie scene only really began to take off when two of the city’s cultural behemoths (the Stedelijk Museum and the Rijksmuseum) closed for extensive renovations. New Amsterdam restaurants – including pop-up eateries in spaces like former churches or banks – sprung up to fill the void and the capital is now well known for its creative underground dining scene.
The spicy Indonesian rijstafel remains a firm favourite all across town, but don’t neglect the Dutch cookbook – it’s strewn with delicacies you’ll want to try. We’d plump for the savoury bitterballen, the piping hot meat-based snack you’ll spot served alongside booze in pubs. Or, if you’re craving something sweet, grab some oliebollen (light, fluffy donut balls dusted with icing sugar) from the stands that start springing up on roadsides and bridges when the weather turns chilly.
Opened by two young, talented chefs, this Amsterdam restaurant has its own take on fine dining. There’s no menu: instead, you chose the number of courses you’d like (basic, extra or full monty) depending on your level of gluttony.
The kitchen riffs on Dutch ingredients, but takes an international approach; think pork belly with hoisin sauce, or truffle-laced celeriac tagliatelle.
Don’t be bamboozled by the name – this cool, cavernous building doesn’t offer overnight stays. It’s actually the address that kicked off the trend for warehouse dining, back when industrial Amsterdam-Noord was a no-go area.
Now, it’s a stalwart on the city’s dining scene, beloved of local creatives, who happily hop on the ferry for its grilled king crab and note-perfect roast chicken.
This De Pijp address is one of the city’s busiest and best weekend hangouts, thanks to its imaginative brunches. Try the tortilla-based huevos rancheros or bacon-topped banana French toast, or go the virtuous route with a homemade bircher muesli bowl.
Its speciality coffees offer one of Amsterdam’s most fashionable ways to get buzzed, with beans sourced from East London’s acclaimed Ozone Coffee.
Crowdfunded into existence by a Dutch-American couple, this tiny, tiled Oud-West address specialises in Italian food. Start with a selection of the insanely moreish ‘wild yeast’ grilled pizza, but save some space for mains; made with unctuous pork cheek, the amatriciana pasta is sublime.
This modish Japanese eaterie belongs to the Sir Albert – a handsome boutique hotel, set in a former diamond factory. Join the communal table for an upscale lunchtime bento box, or commandeer a booth for dinner, and prepare to blow the budget.
Think exquisitely presented tempura, sashimi and more, masterminded by chef Hariprasad Shetty, formerly of London’s Nobu.
When the weather’s good in Amsterdam it pays to escape the crowds, venturing a little further afield to find your place in the sun. This canalside cabin is a case in point – it’s set in the outer reaches of the Oud-West district.
Serving a simple, meaty menu inspired by South African cuisine, its covered terrace (open March to October) is a lovely place to sit and watch the world boat by.
From bitterballen to rijstaffel, Amsterdam’s old-school treats are a year-round delight.
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