Amsterdam’s long history as a hub of international trade has had a significant impact on its culinary scene. Ships from overseas brought with them exotic new ingredients for which the city’s prosperous citizens soon developed a taste. This brought with it a willingness to experiment and reinvent familiar dishes that still characterises Amsterdam today. The Dutch capital is brimming with fantastic places to eat, from Michelin-starred restaurants to experimental food projects. The best chefs in Amsterdam know that the only way to make a mark in a city filled with foodies is to offer something distinctive. Whether through unique locations or unexpected services, the best Amsterdam eateries are going the extra mile to please their guests.
The banks of the river Ij would seem to be the perfect location for fish and seafood specialist. Located within an old industrial loft in a business park, the café-cum-restaurant is achingly on-trend, its exposed bricks and minimalist rustic interior design making for a strikingly modern venue. Luckily there is no style over substance here, as Stork’s dishes are simple, honest and delicious, making the most of the abundant fish and seafood caught locally. Perfect in the summer months, the spacious terrace provides a wonderful spot to enjoy lunch, dinner, or even simply a coffee and snack al fresco.
Stork, Gedempt Hamerkanaal 201, 1021 KP Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 634 4000
When Onno Kokmeijer was offered the position of head chef at Ciel Bleu restaurant in 2003, he knew he wanted to do something extraordinary. He also knew who he wanted to work with: long-time friend and colleague Arjan Speelman. Together, they have led Ciel Bleu to not just one but two Michelin stars. Kokmeijer has a passion for seafood, and is committed to embracing local produce, believing the Netherlands to be rich in excellent ingredients. The food, wine and, above all, service at this venue are outstanding, as is the view, thanks to its location on the 23rd floor.
Ciel Bleu, Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 678 7450
Housed in an old bakery and now part of the chic Dylan hotel, Vinkeles offers fine dining in an intimate setting. The interior features original 18th-century bread ovens and other unusual period features: a surprisingly effective backdrop for the sophisticated cooking that has earned the restaurant a Michelin star and executive chef Dennis Kuipers numerous other accolades. Those looking for something extra-special should book a place at the chef’s table, where they can watch how Kuipers’ refined French dishes are prepared, or enquire about the Vinkeles on the Water service, where guests served dishes in the hotel’s own small boat: a unique experience.
Vinkeles, Keizersgracht 384, 1016 GB Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 530 2010
De Culinaire Werkplaats
Conceived by Marjolein Wintjes, a food conceptualist and storyteller, and Eric Meursing, a 3D designer and chef, De Culinaire Werkplaats is much more than a restaurant. In fact, the owners see the restaurant as a secondary element: primarily, the space is a design studio, a creative space in which to experiment with food (its name translates into English as ‘the culinary workplace’). Still, a few days each week the team opens the doors to diners, offering an unforgettable culinary experience. The meal is viewed as a journey, providing dishes to stimulate all five senses. As of this year, it is also possible to book for special VIP arrangements.
De Culinaire Werkplaats, Fannius Scholtenstraat 10, 1051 EX Amsterdam, +31 (0)65 464 6576