The sheer amount of pedalling tourists partake in when visiting Amsterdam, whether it be on a bicycle or a canal boat, means most visitors build up quite the appetite in the Dutch capital. And, if you’re taking it easy, there’s an amazing food scene here that’s worthy of a snoop around for even the most high-end foodie. No matter what you want to eat, whether it be as Dutch as tulips or an international affair, you’ll find excellent establishments throughout the city that cater to your desires. The large number of restaurants, cafes and eateries can be daunting, but we’ve rounded up some of the best.
Bakers and roasters
A chic café with an international vibe, Bakers and Roasters was started by a Kiwi and a Brazilian. Despite the foreign influences, the ingredients are all Dutch, something they’re incredibly proud of. Some would say this café offers the best breakfast in Amsterdam, and after eating here it’s hard to argue otherwise. They serve up the usual dishes you’d expect, and can cater for omnivores, veggies, and vegans alike. The Brazilian Power Breakfast is a speciality and unique to this venue, but those with a sweet tooth will be happy here too; they fry up some of the best pancakes in Amsterdam. The two cultural influences are best seen in the drink menu, where you’re offered amazing Brazilian coffee, great cocktails, and the best of New Zealand wines.
Staring at Jacob
With a menu that may as well be a Bible for breakfast food lovers, Staring at Jacob is known as one of the premier spots for brunch in Amsterdam. Styled after a classic New York Brunch spot and with a selection to boot, many would claim the best pancakes in Amsterdam are made here as part of their “All Round” breakfasts. All dietary restrictions are catered for, and if you fancy getting a little bit boozy with your breakfast, they offer the holy double of classic morning cocktails: Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas. Their chicken and waffles “Rasco” is the signature dish, and for good reason: it’s astoundingly tasty.
We’re all for trying and loving local cuisines, but sometimes you just want a slice of cheesy, tomatoey goodness. Fuoco Vivo is without a doubt the best pizza in Amsterdam, and if you’re visiting the Dutch capital an excursion here is a must. The sourdough crust is just one of the many authentic Neapolitan components of their pizzas, and it combines excellently with a flavourful tomato sauce and gooey, melt in the mouth homemade mozzarella, all baked in a traditional woodfired oven. Aside from the obvious pizza, Fuoco Vivo also offer a number of Italian classics, from a delightful bruschetta to a panna cotta that’s somehow both incredibly rich and light. With the recipes honed by multiple generations and a focus on high quality ingredients, the excellence of the food here is no surprise.
Those looking for a truly local meal need to head to this wonderful spot in the heart of the city. Open only for breakfast, lunch, and high tea, Gartine prides itself on its homegrown, organic produce and seasonally inspired dishes. The menu changes constantly as it depends on what vegetables are currently being grown and harvested at the restaurant garden in Beemster (just north of Amsterdam), but no matter what time of year you go you’ll be served an innovative and delicious dish, and will certainly receive excellent service. If you really love it, you can even grab the Gartine cookbook and have a taste of this brilliant café at home.
For a city which has historically placed a lot of importance on water, it can be hard to find excellent sushi in Amsterdam. Ayumi is very much the exception, serving up freshly rolled sushi to the people of the Dutch capital. The proprietor and head chef has over two decades of experience in Japanese cuisine, and it shows in every bite. There are options available for those who are squeamish about raw fish, and the bento boxes are great value and delicious, but the sashimi and nigiri are expertly made and as good as anything you’ll get in Europe. If you’re looking for the best sushi in Amsterdam, Ayumi is where you need to head.
Aan de Poel
For those who aren’t just looking for a good meal but an unforgettable experience to boot, Aan de Poel is a must visit. Located just outside of the main city and overlooking De Poel lake, this two Michelin star restaurant is the perfect blend of refined and welcoming. Reserving a table is suggested, but once you’re there you can watch the chefs expertly prepare your meal in the open kitchen. Fish and seafood are the specialties here, although their Wagyu beef dishes are expectedly sumptuous. When you combine that with over six hundred wines to pair with your meal (and a sommelier to help you choose which is best), it’s clear that a visit to Aan de Poel is necessary for any lover of high-end cuisine.
Meat lovers needn’t look much further to get their fix: Pendergast is a one stop shop for all your fine, smoked meats. Everything is prepared (baked, smoked, and pickled) on site, daily, and uses the finest Dutch ingredients. Inspired by the culture of prohibition era Kansas City, they serve a selection of meats that have been slow smoked over Dutch fruit wood. There’s something for everyone, though: vegetarians and vegans can indulge in the house smoked Seitan and the vast majority of sides, so nobody is left feeling hungry. And, best of all, they have an astounding collection of whiskies from the States and other countries, so you’ll really get that classic Kansas BBQ feel.
Bolenius consider themselves the flagship restaurant of the Dutch cuisine movement, and when you taste their sleek, innovative takes on Dutch classics, it’s hard to argue against that. With a focus on local, fresh ingredients and catering for the health-conscious diner, they use inventive cooking techniques to emphasise the quality of their produce. Although the dishes are mostly Dutch, there are some international flavours with a Dutch spin to indulge in. The herbs and vegetables are grown right next to the restaurant, so are as fresh as can be, and sustainable too. They recently earned their first Michelin star, and unlike a lot of restaurants in the guide, their chef’s menu caters for vegetarians and vegans as well, a benefit of their focus on the homegrown vegetables. If you’re looking for something high end yet accessible, you have to eat here.
Looking for a taste of Amsterdam’s vegan food scene? Look no further than our guide to the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants that the city has to offer.
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