The city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands is globally renowned for a few things. One of those things happens to be a culinary scene that reflects not only its homegrown sensibilities, but all of its influences that have settled in like the indentations on a comforting blanket. Here are some of the best places for traveling gourmets to visit while in The Venice Of The North.
Nestled in the glades of Frankendael Park, Merkelbach sits in a tranquil manner. The restaurant is on the last preserved country estate within the city limits, dating back to the 18th-century and was formerly a home that belonged to the city architect Ben Merkelbach, from which the owners then named their establishment. Serving a modern European cuisine, Merkelbach is focused on slow food – which is gaining more and more appreciation among food lovers for meticulous preparation and cooking of dishes with sustainable ingredients. Visitors will be enthralled by the pastoral settings that surround the manor itself, and can even dine outside in the courtyard if they wish.
Address: Middenweg 72, 1097 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 47 USD
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 8:30am - 11pm. Sunday & Monday 8:30am - 6pm
Duration: around 2 hours required
Access: 25 minutes from Centraal Station via transit and walking
Contact: +31 204233930
2. Café Kadjik
One facet of Dutch culture that some may not know, is the connection that the country has with the nation of Indonesia. This link dates back to when Indonesia was once a former colony of The Netherlands from the 1500s until independence in 1949. A sizable number of Indonesians emigrated here, and made cities like Amsterdam their home. Café Kadjik, which was first opened in 2005, honors that culture in a cozy spot not too far from the NEMO Science Museum. Patrons can feast on authentic Indonesian fare like beef Rendang and gato-gato. Fair warning – a couple of these dishes are going to be fiery due to the chilies used. But, you can wash them down with a nice selection of beers, some of which come from the IJ Brewery not too far away.
Address: Kadijksplein 5, 1018 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 4 USD
Opening Hours: 4pm - 1am. Saturdays 4pm - 3am
Duration: visitors can spend 2.5 hours here
Access: 10 minutes walking northeast from Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Contact: +31 617744411
Website: Cafe Kadjik
3. Guts and Glory
A short distance away from the Hermitage Museum sits Guts and Glory. This restaurant has sparked a buzz in Amsterdam due to one unique twist – they create themed menus that they dub “chapters” and each of these have set their focus squarely on one item or cuisine. The result brings adventure to their dining tables, with patrons deciding if they want to do up to seven courses for dinner. The décor is pristine and chic, with polished wooden outdoor seating for those who like to dine outdoors. Because of their popularity, it’s best to call ahead for reservations to avoid a queue.
Guts and Glory
Address: Utrechtsestraat 6, 1017 VN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 31 USD
Opening Hours: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm daily
Duration: around 2 hours required
Access: 5 minutes walk southwest from Waterlooplein Metro station
Contact: +31 203620030
Website: Guts and Glory (in Dutch)
4. Mashua [CLOSED]
Mashua is all about fusion – in this case, Japanese and Peruvian fusion, to create a savory menu for all who visit. Located not too far from the center of the city and Liedestraat, Mashua is one of a handful of bistros that serve Latin American fare. That and an intimate dining space that overlooks one of the city’s many canals combine to be a draw for both natives and tourists. Menu items include lomo saltado, an Andean quinoa risotto and a ceviche with duck. One factor in Mashua’s fame is that when the weather is warmer, guests can opt to eat on their terrace right at the canal.
Editor’s Note: Mashua closed down in October 2017. Lili Torres, owner of Mashua, is now putting all her focus on Casa Peru which also showcases Peruvian cuisine (and is the only Peruvian restaurant in the Netherlands). You can find Casa Peru at the corner of Prinsengracht and Leidsegracht.
Looking for an unforgettable lunch experience? Our 3-course lunch menu for €48,- per person and served within the hour...Posted by Bord'Eau Restaurant Gastronomique on Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Take a stroll into the Red Light District to find a thrill of culinary variety in Bord’Eau, a premium restaurant that has wowed patrons and critics alike since it first opened its doors in 2011. Occupying the ground floor of the historic Hotel de l’Europe, Bord’Eau is steeped in a mission of providing delicately crafted cuisine – so much so that it has earned two coveted Michelin stars. The restaurant seats 42 people in one dining area that overlooks the River Amstel, and there is a private area called “The Walls of Wine” where patrons can eat while surrounded by towering racks that compose the majority of the wines in their 68-page menu dedicated to that beverage alone. From langoustine to veal tartare, Bord’Eau’s dishes are as sumptuous as they are alluring. The restaurant is highly accommodating, though they do advise that you call ahead for reservations for large parties and if there is a particular menu that you would want put together (they also have prix-fixe menus available).
Address: Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14, 1012 CP Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 12pm – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 10:30pm. Saturday 6:30pm - 10:30pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays
Duration: around 3 hours required
Access: 13 minutes via transit & walking from Centraal Station
Contact: +31 205311777
6. Nam Kee
To be considered the best Chinese restaurant in The Netherlands is no small feat, but Nam Kee has risen to the occasion. Beginning in 1981 with a cozy restaurant space on the Zeedjik, Nam Kee has delivered quality Cantonese cuisine to so many, that they have attained cult-like status in Amsterdam. The demand is so high that they’ve opened two other locations in the city. It’s not a surprise - their menu has remained truly authentic and vast with items like long life noodles, ho fan with fried beef and choi sam and roast duck as some of the standout dishes. The atmosphere is minimal but comfortable and allows for you and your party to enjoy the heaping plates and each others’ company.
Address: Zeedijk 111 - 113, 1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 3.50 USD
Opening Hours: 12pm - 11pm daily
Duration: around 2.5 hours are normally spent here
Access: 7 minute walk south from Centraal Station to Chinatown location
Contact: +31 206243470
Website: Nam Kee
Making its home in a renovated train depot known as De Hallen Amsterdam, Foodhallen is the first ever indoor international food market in The Netherlands. Foodhallen is right in the middle of the trendy Oud-West neighborhood, and is a sprawling complex that holds a bevy of food and drink vendors that will tantalize your palate. There are about twenty of them to choose from, and the hall itself has a magnetic energy thanks to the exposed brick and reclaimed iron and copper interior. It’s also the ideal place to take a break after a shopping excursion in the area. The various stands run the gamut from Vietnamese street food, to a stand with the Spanish Iberico pig as the focus, to French pastries. There’s even five different bars to choose from to wet your whistle afterwards.
Address: Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 4 USD
Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11am - 10:30pm. Friday & Saturday 11am - 1am
Duration: visitors spend around 3 hours here
Contact: 22 minutes via transit from Centraal Station
A short walk from Frankendael Park will bring you to Rijsel, a restaurant that features French cuisine, specifically from Lille. The name of the bistro comes from the Flemish pronunciation of the town name. It is those two influences that dominate the menu here with entrees like bouef a la mode, presskopf and other rich fare. It’s become a solid favorite within Amsterdam, and as such you may need to plan ahead if you intend to visit – some reports claim a wait of 2 hours at times.
Address: Marcusstraat 52, 1091 TK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 9 USD
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 6pm - 1am. Closed weekends
Duration: patrons spend about 2 hours here
Access: 13 minutes via transit and walking from Centraal Station
Contact: +31 204632142
9. Getto Food & Drinks
For those who like a bit of ribald entertainment with their meal, there aren’t many places that can match what Getto Food & Drinks has to offer. Located in the Red Light District, Getto Food & Drinks is a restaurant and bar with entertainment provided by performers in drag. Opening in 1996, it has been a haven for people from the LGBTQ community as well as straight people. The menu here is bar food done with flair, exemplified in their “Diva Burgers” which are named after individual performers. Getto Food & Drinks’ popularity does lead to it being a draw on weekend evenings, but not so much that it prevents patrons from dropping in.
Getto Food & Drinks
Address: Warmoesstraat 51, 1012 HW Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 7 USD
Opening Hours: Sunday, Tuesday - Thursday 4:30 pm - 1am. Friday & Saturday 4:30pm - 2am. Closed Mondays
Duration: around 2 hours required
Access: 4 minute walk from Centraal Station
Contact: +31 204215151
Website: Getto Food & Drinks
Some final bites from Amsterdam
A city of wonder, Amsterdam gives visitors many reasons to fall in love with what the historic town has to offer. Their food culture is one of bountiful flavor, joy and daring. If you are someone who likes the cuisine of a city to converse with you like an old friend, Amsterdam is more than capable of filling that role.
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