Going out for coffee used to involve a cuppa, the newspaper and a biscuit in a traditional Dutch pub known as a ‘brown cafe’, where later in the day the bar serves a kopstootje (a glass of beer and a Dutch gin). That was once upon a time. Nowadays, the city is full of trendy, cosy coffee shops.
There are a number of reasons why The Lobby Fizeaustraat needs to be on this list, aside from the delicious food: 1) the 1970s décor, which is truly stunning; 2) finally a restaurant with fantastic acoustics, a first in Amsterdam; 3) the friendly staff; 4) the option for groups to be seated separately in a nice setting (the acoustics remain great); and 5) if you don’t want to go home, you can book a room, which is also great.
Incidentally, there’s another The Lobby in the centre of town, on the Nes, which is also part of the Hotel V family and also beautiful.
The location of the beautiful MOS restaurant is unexpected, across from the Hall of Justice on the Ij, where you wouldn’t expect to find a restaurant of this calibre. In a semi-Moroccan décor, you’re served excellent food and treated like royalty. Worthy of its Michelin star, as far as we’re concerned. Pricey? Yes, it is. Worth it? Yup.
This new bistro, on the corner of Ferdinand Bolstraat in the Pijp neighbourhood of Amsterdam, is very 2017 – or rather, 2018 –, particularly in its great looks. It gets further points for its name. Then there’s the French-influenced, original (and yet classic) menu: we give it a high score for its no-fuss, delicious lunch – and it’s exactly what you want before, during or after a shopping trip to De Pijp. Tip: you can also check out Coffee and Coconuts, a little further up Ceintuurbaan.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 58-60
Around and on the Leidseplein, you’ll find lots of cafes and restaurants we wouldn’t be seen dead in… or maybe at 5 am, but then, not too often. However, Shiraz Winebar & Boutique opened here recently. This is a new favourite for many people, and with reason. Shiraz is anything but loud: there’s a cosy buzz and quiet music – slightly jazzy – making this a place to relax. Plop down on one of the armchairs or – if you’re lucky – on the lovely sofa in front of the open fire. The extensive wine menu uses pictograms to explain the properties of the different wines: fresh, spicy, powerful, wood-aged, etc.
The food is at the highest level; the interior feels like a beautiful, old wooden attic – while you’re actually sitting on the ground floor in the middle of Utrechtsestraat – and there’s a casual vibe. Restaurant ACE is a lovely mix of contradictory elements. And we like it. Chef Rik Thesing learned his craft in various Michelin-starred kitchens – including those of Ron Blaauw and De Bokkedoorns – until he was ready to open his own place. His vision was of a restaurant that serves uncomplicated food, has a relaxed atmosphere and that Amsterdam touch. An old, Irish convent – with the aforementioned cosy, dark attic feel – provides the warm, intimate setting and the food just fills you with love.
The great success from The Hague – with its signature chicken and lobster dishes – has landed in the Olympic Stadium. First, the interior: it’s pink. The floors, the walls, the ceilings and the furniture. Everything, except – spoiler alert – the toilets and the views over the red athletics tracks and green training fields. It was something of a nightmare for the owners to find the right colour for all the materials: not too sweet or loud, but cosy and warm and interspersed with glowing wood tones, brass and grass green. On each of the four floors, the palette is used to different effect: slicker on one, more burlesque or lobster-like on another. Yes, it’s something of a show – which hardly fits with the no-bullshit men from The Hague – but it’s good food-wise. Very good. The perfect classic dishes are on the menu but they’re served with an original twist. Chestnuts in the pumpkin soup, truffle in the egg yolk on the steak tartar and burrata with a delicious, creamy avocado cream. MaMa Kelly’s signature dishes are chicken and lobster. Both are tender, beautifully presented and cooked with the flavours of your choice.
The Apollo Hotel is located on the water in the up-and-coming South. This old-fashioned chic establishment is also one to watch. What’s striking is that while the square block of the exterior is nothing to write home about, once inside, it’s another world. When you look out through the windows, it’s the urban greenery, the water and the (luxury) boats that surround you. And the interior: the stylists didn’t hold back with the colours, prints and materials and that was a good thing, to put it mildly. Rich. Eclectic. Parisian Art Nouveau from the 1920s – with a healthy dash of after-hours Miami.
The kitchen is run by chef Inan Sahin, who previously worked at L’Europe and Floor 17, among other restaurants. While Bodon looks great and the service is genuinely friendly, fun and efficient, it’s for Inan’s food that we return. At the bar in front of the open kitchen, the bubbles stand ready as does the delicious duck rillete with gorgeous, soft sourdough bread. The party continues at the table, with, for example, perfect, classic French onion soup, a stunning crab and potato mousseline bisque (you can’t help wiping the plate with your finger), a delicious flank steak and a double platter of seafood. Yum.
The stomach wants to be satisfied and the eyes too, preferably combined with great service. The young people behind the Jacobsz restaurant – located in the monumental building where Napoleon himself was handed the key to Amsterdam 200 years ago – prove that this doesn’t have to stay in the realms of fantasy. At Jacobsz, enjoy a fine five-course meal that will have you licking your plate, and that for a very fair price.
The rock-‘n-roll chefs behind Restaurant Breda started out at the Daalder restaurant (recommended), improved their skills at Guts & Glory (also belonging on the must-visit list) and really stole the show when they opened Restaurant Breda on the Singel. Magnificent dishes that are full of surprises. The restaurant is usually full, but you can always find a table at lunch time.
Classic French décor executed just right – without too much fussiness. And a proper French kitchen that serves accessible dishes with a twist. All this is what you would expect from a business run by (TV) chef Alain Caron and two of his sons: the Carons have a reputation to maintain, and they’re doing exactly that.
Frans Halsstraat 28
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The Lobby Fizeaustraat, Amsterdam East There are a number of reasons why The Lobby Fizeaustraat needs to be on this list, aside from the delicious food: 1) the 1970s décor, which is truly stunning; 2) finally a restaurant with fantastic acoustics, a first in Amsterdam; 3) the friendly staff; 4) the option for groups to […]