For many years, the food scene in Amsterdam was, with the exception of several excellent Indonesian restaurants, rather unremarkable. Now a new generation of talented local chefs is inventing a contemporary Dutch kitchen that is as exciting and cosmopolitan as the city itself.
Located on a small island in what was once part of Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands — it has since been redeveloped — chef Egon van Hoof’s light, contemporary restaurant with a duplex dining room overlooks the IJ river. Hence, the backdrop to meals here is the fascinating ship and barge traffic on this broad and busy channel. The prix fixe lunch menus change regularly but run to dishes like red prawns with fennel and plankton, brill with cockles in a beurre blanc, and barbecued veal with roasted vegetables. The service is charming, and the wine list is excellent.
IJdok 185. Tel. (31) 20-638-0866
After earning a Michelin star for their cooking at Bord’Eau, chefs Richard van Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot have opened a superb new restaurant that serves outstanding and inventive contemporary Dutch cooking in a more casual format. At their new place, diners sit at a U-shaped bar that surrounds the open kitchen. Though you can order à la carte, the best option is the Menu 212, which comprises five or eight courses to which you can add a superlative cheese course. Their cooking follows the seasons, but highlights of a recent meal here included potato bonbons with crayfish, tandoori-seasoned sabayon and Robiola cheese; halibut poached in smoked rib-eye oil; and a superb cherry dessert of Amarena liqueur-filled beignets with bourbon and lemon. A fine selection of wines by the glass accompanies the tasting menus. Book well in advance, since this is the most popular restaurant in Amsterdam right now. And for good reason.
Amstel 212. Tel. (31) 20-334-8685
Fishmonger Fons de Visscher changed careers when he moved to Amsterdam to open a restaurant in 2012. Today he owns four seafood bars: three in Amsterdam and one in Utrecht. The latest is located not far from Amsterdam’s flower market and is a great casual dining address for seafood lovers. The bright art nouveau dining room focuses on a splendid raw bar. Otherwise, start with some Dutch shrimp croquettes — these are deep-fried and filled with tiny North Sea shrimp in a Mornay sauce — and then try the cod in mustard sauce.
The Seafood Bar
Spui 15. Tel. (31) 20-233-7452