There are more burger joints in Amsterdam than one has the time to explore…and this new grill at the end of the Ceinturrbaan is worth a visit. The specialty is…the burger (Go for the mister, not for the lady) and it is delicious, there are nice entrees of pulled pork, fries are well cooked and there is a nice selection of craft beers. The service is really nice and friendly. Probably the best burger in Amsterdam!
Ceintuurbaan 256 – Amsterdam
Already crowned with one (or maybe two?!?) Michelin stars, this is THE place. An intimate set up with white table cloth, a super refined menu with very attentive service. The menu is fixed so flag your idiosyncrasies in advance, but go full steam for it and combine it with the wine pairing. Not for everyday but definitely very very special.
Frans Halsstraat 26 – Amsterdam
This (little) place, as per its namesake, is very well known for its brunch, I go there for lunch hoping that the difference won’t be so much, and indeed, you get nice broodjes dressed up to be more ‘brunchy’ and of course pricey, a nice list of classical brunch cocktails such as Bloody Mary, a very laid-back atmosphere, and here is the magic which transforms an otherwise anonymous place which makes sandwiches into a place well known across town for its unmissable ‘brunch’! Food is ok, service is ok, ambience is very trendy without a real reason (I should probably open a whole new blog for the anatomy of cool as this simply fails me). The Turkish mushroom-feta-baba ganesh-pita that I take is good. My friend gets a croque-monsieur which is a sad, dry version of a tosti. Ok, I am not being fair, I should probably try it again for brunch really and not for lunch and I am sure my opinion will change. Oh-so-cool.
Eerste Sweelinckstraat 19F
Facing the Amstel river, with a nice improvised ‘terrasje’ outside and very nice interiors, this restaurant/bar is inspired by Italo-american cuisine. Do not wince quite yet, there is no Godfather theme or mafia memorabilia, the inspiration is actually more in the menu, with some good Italian classics, like parmigiana, and with really outstanding cocktails (the Negroni is really well done!). Service is very nice, even if not extremely attentive, ambience also good. We will be back!
Address Amsteldijk 25
This über-cool Japanese is part of the Conservatorium hotel (see also here) where I celebrate in perfect syncretism the festivity of Santa Lucia on December 13th. We open clinging glasses with very well chilled Reedier champagne and opt for some classic sashimi. The piece du resistance is however black cod marinated in some sort of rice sweet wine (I guess a Japanese version of Marsala) which melts in the mouth and I believe can rightfully qualify as the transformation of heaven into fish. Very good service, quite expensive but worth it. Reservation is essential and dining early is also advisable.
The Conservatorium owes its namesake to the original purpose of the building – a music institution turned into luxury hotel. The building is just spectacular and it hosts few restaurants (the Japanese Taiko is also located here( and a couple of nice shops including a Havana cigar distributor with humidor incorporated. The Brasserie is the more modest dining option as compared to the Michelin-starred Tunes, but is nevertheless a great place, with nice and organic choices, some local favourites such as the stampoot or the Dutch shrimps, and a very very good lobster. The service could be better and most importantly faster, but if one is not in a hurry the architecture, the high ceilings and the amiable ambiance are all to be enjoyed. Pricey but worth it.
Located within the Okura hotel, like Yamazato, Ciel Bleu is so-called as it is situated at the very top of the hotel building itself, giving a privileged view on the all city. And privileged you feel as you set your foot into the space. You immediately realise it is not only about the food. This is a dining experience. So you need to get properly prepared. First of all you need to book well in advance. I tried to get a table for a Thursday on no particular occasion the day before, and there was no way I could even hope for it. Secondly, you need to be open to experiments, strictly culinary speaking, as the restaurant did not earn two stars for cooking a very good maigret du canard. Third, you need to take it all in – including the stunning view on Amsterdam, the parvenu clientele )oh blimey, maybe we are amongst them) – and savour it like a well matured red wine. And then of course, it is the food. We enjoyed the seasonal menu with crab, turbot, venison and a gianduia-based dessert. It was delicious, wonderfully presented and well romanced. Useless to say for a two-star Michelin restaurant, the bill will be more obnoxious to your heart than all the cholesterol you might have ingested – which incidentally is not much as portions are fashionably on the mini-size. To die for.
Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 333