There’s a new school of Dutch Masters in Amsterdam — its chefs. Art can be found on the plate throughout the city, whether it’s an intimate wine bar, homage to Asian cuisine, or artfully composed local favorites like herring with a contemporary spin. Here are some Amsterdam restaurants you won’t want to miss on your next trip.
From the most open of kitchens possible, admire the handiwork of chefs who dance around each other in a culinary grand pas de deux. Opt for a three-, four- or five-course menu (the three comes with a complimentary glass of bubbly) and sit back as the entertainment arrives in the way of dishes such as cream of carrot soup with pumpkin and tarragon, pigeon with barbecued beetroot and chanterelles, and mains like venison, with green cabbage, celery, blueberries, pistachio, and cardamom. The menu changes frequently depending on what’s local and in season, but the beer list always skews regional — make it a point to pregame in the lounge for a canal view. Make a reservation at Bluespoon.
Back in the Dutch Golden Age of sailing, commerce between the Netherlands and Indonesia was voracious, and today, the culinary ties still linger with the rijsttafel (“rice table”), a sort of prix-fixe Indonesian tapas smorgasbord. You’ll want to fast before gearing up for a fast-paced rotation of savory satays, spicy chutneys, and banana-leaf steamed fish … along with rice, of course! Make a reservation at Mama Makan.
Nestled in a cool neighborhood near Vondelpark — ideal for strolling afterward — Carter doesn’t feel nearly as large as its 70-seat capacity. Intimate and candlelit with a deep gin list and sexy cocktail collection, the space alone is enough for a great date night, never mind the shared plates of rotisserie chicken and côte de boeuf. Mains like venison and lamb shank are affordably priced (21 Euros and less) so you can save a bit of cash for shopping in the Oud-Zuid district later. Don’t miss the outdoor patio in the summertime. Make a reservation at Carter.
Guts & Glory
Prepare to be surprised — quite pleasantly — at Guts & Glory, where monthly “chapters” offer up different countries, cultures, and proteins, i.e., Italian, French classics, beef, and Dutch cuisine. You might just end up with herbal ice cream, but it totally works as the cherry on top of three-, four- and five-course lunches (making you the office hero for picking one of the coolest places in town). Or go all out with up to seven courses at dinner. Those in a hurry can opt for the 6-8PM theater menu. The wine list is extensive both here and at sister restaurant Breda. Make a reservation at Guts & Glory.