We went on a quest to find you the best and most trendy restaurants in Amsterdam, and visited a dozen of eateries that are considered the top restaurants of the Dutch capital. Every single one is listed in the “Lekker top 100”, a Dutch annual restaurant guide, and/or owns (at least) one Michelin star. We evaluated these restaurants based on their food, service and decor and we ordered different dishes while we were there. We can tell you this one thing: we didn’t mind that at all.
1. CIEL BLEU
Ciel Bleu is unquestionably one of the best restaurants Amsterdam has to offer; we even think it’s the best there is. Executive chef Onno Kokmeijer and chef de cuisine Arjan Speelman from Ciel Bleu received their second Michelin star in 2007 and did not fail to keep it until today. And who are we to question Michelin’s critics? The service and decor of this restaurant are not inferior to the food (classic French), as the restaurant’s chefs experiment with numerous unusual combinations of flavors. This makes dining in this restaurant a unique experience, time and time again. It is possible to order a la carte, but we decided to have the seasonal menu (the autumn menu), which had as much as six courses. The king crab combined with caviar really was a true highlight.
Monday – Sunday: 6.30pm -10.30pm.
(Lunch only for groups and with reservation)
2. &Samhoud Places
Just like Ciel Blue, &samhoud places is a two star Michelin restaurant and competes with aforesaid restaurant for the title of “Best restaurant in Amsterdam”. Which of the two restaurants takes the first place is really a matter of taste. If you are into trendy restaurants, this is the place to be. Israeli chef de cuisine Moshik Roth prepares every dish with surgical precision, which is not exactly a coincidence since he initially wanted to become a surgeon. &samhoud places was founded just recently in 2012, and immediately it received two Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide 2013. Roths’ former restaurant ‘t Brouwerskolkje owned two stars as well, so it’s not that surprising. Among other things, we ordered a four course menu a la carte, with a main course consisting of a quartet of veal cheek, veal tongue, rabbit kidneys and snails a la carte. Delicious!
1011 AD Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 260 20 94
Tuesday – Friday: 12pm – 1am.
Saturday: 3pm – 1am.
3. RON Gastrobar
RON Gastrobar is everything but the pretentious two-star restaurant run by chef de cuisine Ron Blaauw. You would expect to find this restaurant in the Bib Gourmand rather than in the more prestigious Michelin Guide. The restaurant is more trendy than chic. You can order various small dishes a la carte for 15 Euros, and there are plenty of nice wines that are under 30 Euros. There is only one disadvantage: these wines cannot be ordered by the glass. And that’s a little too much for a (business) lunch. Blaauw uses everyday dishes, like fried egg on toast or spareribs, and turns them into something special. It’s a pity that Blaauw feels strongly about the chef and food taking centre stage instead of ambience or service, as especially service leaves much to be desired. We think service in this restaurant is a little too amicable, which is probably an attempt to match the modern interior. The food however tasted great, at least that’s what we thought when we ordered the NYC-style steak off the barbeque the last time we visited this trendy restaurant. And of course a nice and smooth Malbec, preferably an Argentinean one, is the perfect wine to pair with steak. We got lucky, as this wine was on the menu for 27 Euros a bottle.
1075 BP Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 496 19 43
Sunday to Friday: as of 12.00am. Saturday: as of 5pm.
Vinkeles is situated in The Dylan Hotel and it’s the only restaurant in this list where food is being surpassed by service and decor. Since 2009, executive chef Dennis Kuipers and his kitchen team own a Michel star and they are certainly not planning on handing it in. What is more, we think they stand a good chance of getting an extra star within a foreseeable time. The food is a refreshing combination of the classic and modern French kitchen. After having ordered saddle of hare the last time, we decided to go with pigeon this time. Anjou pigeon to be precise, with gravy made from the carcass, prepared with dried apricots. It was delicious, just as the cheeseboard by which, surprisingly enough, a white wine was recommended to us. Nice little detail: the name Vinkeles comes from 18th-Century engraver and draughtsman Reinier Vinkeles from Amsterdam.
Restaurant Amsterdam Vinkeles
1016 GB Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 530 20 10
Monday – Saturday: 7pm-10.30pm.
5. La Rive
Restaurant La Rive , which is situated in the InterContinental Amstel Hotel Amsterdam, used to have two Michelin stars during two periods of time (1997-2000, 2002-2005). Rogér Rassin and his kitchen team serve high quality food but it’s not that special, although that’s always a necessary requirement for a second star. The same is true of the tuna we ordered, prepared the Thai way with coconut and Thai curry. It was good, but not better than a similar dish you get at a better Thai restaurant. The saddle of roe wasn’t that special either, at least not as special as the saddle of hare we ordered at Vinkeles. The same goes for the interior of this not so very trendy restaurant. There is actually nothing distinctive about La Rive. Nevertheless, thanks to its consistent quality and virtue, this restaurant earns its spot in our top 5 best restaurants in Amsterdam. Should Rassin want to get his second star back, he will have to be more creative.
Restaurant La Rive (InterContinentel Amstel Hotel)
Professor Tulpplein 1 1018 GX Amsterdam Tel. +31 (0)20 520 32 64
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 6.30pm – 10pm. zondag: 5pm – 9pm.