Traditional Dutch food is often characterised for its simplicity. The country is known for mild, nutty cheeses such as Gouda and Edam, as well as its poffertjes, a smaller, fluffier and arguably more delicious version of a pancake made with buckwheat flour. Then there’s the stroopwafel, a typical Dutch snack, a moreish cross between a waffle and a biscuit that’s filled with caramel. Simple stews or stamppot of potatoes, vegetables and meat, or warming soups including Erwtensoep (also called Snert), a very thick pea soup, are traditional home-cooked staples.
The Dutch are also known for their love of liquorice, either salty or sweet, and the country is said to get through an average of 32m kilos a year of the stuff. However, the country’s restaurants are also no stranger to international influences and the best of the bunch deftly incorporate the region’s supply of fantastic natural produce with exotic and exciting global flavours.
Founded in 2012 by chef Moshik Roth and entrepreneur Salem Samhoud, &Samhoud Places offers two concepts in one building. If you’re in a hurry, stop for imaginative street food on the ground floor; otherwise, head to the fine dining restaurant on the first floor. Opt for one of the two equally memorable tasting menus, Inspiration or the special Van Gogh: highlights include Oosterschelde lobster with risotto and sea-urchin bisque and blueberry soufflé with violet ice cream.
&Samhoud Places, Oosterdokskade 5, 1011 DJ Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 260 2094
The Penthouse, situated on the 42nd floor of the Hague Tower, is Holland’s highest restaurant and bar, with spectacular views from the dining room. Chef Bart Middendorp ensures the food is equally worthy of attention with signature dishes such as seared tuna with sesame, poppy seed, ginger and soy or lobster broth fragrant with saffron and fennel. Offerings such as dark chocolate mousse with five spices, mango, passion and coconut ice cream mean that skipping dessert is certainly not an option.
The Penthouse, Rijswijkseplein 786, 2516 LX The Hague, +31 (0)70 305 1000
Hotel Okura holds the distinction of being the only hotel in Holland to receive Michelin awards for each of its restaurants. Ciel Bleu holds two of the coveted Michelin stars, the traditional Japanese-style Yamazato and teppanyaki eatery Sazanka have one apiece, and Serre was awarded a Bib Gourmand. Gourmets will be seriously impressed by Ciel Bleu, both for the views from its 23rd-floor location and chef Onno Kokmeijer’s fantastic food. The menu changes regularly; expect internationally influenced dishes such as Japanese Wagyu beef with shallot or king crab with Baerii caviar, beurre blanc and preserved lemon.
Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 678 7111
The Duchess, located in the new W Amsterdam hotel in the former KAS Bank building, is inspired by the grandeur and beauty of the belle époque. The spacious entrance hall comes complete with a stained-glass ceiling, black marble details and handmade floor tiles, which sets the scene for the restaurant’s dramatic and glamorous interior. The menu focuses on southern French and Italian flavours: think seabass carpaccio with olive oil and cress; Dover sole meunière; and Sicilian lemon pie with citrus salad.
The Duchess, Spuistraat 172, 1012 VT Amsterdam, +31 (0)20 811 3322