Amsterdam has many good restaurants. During our 5 night stay, we checked out many of them thanks to the recommendations of our concierge at the W Hotel. But as restaurants may come and go, we suggest that you check with your hotel concierge for the places that best suit your tastes.
Restaurant Daalder was our best (and also most expensive) meal in Amsterdam. Chef Dennis Huwaë is the co-owner and chef has worked in several Michelin star restaurants. Our five-course menu began with a few amuse-bouches.
- Smoked salmon on a form savory non-sugary meringue;
- A kobacchu drink;
- A dried red cabbage cup with radishes and herbs; and
- Rum-life leaf custard.
From there it was one innovative tasty dish after another from cobia, tofu and yuba, to a dish based on egg with porcini, curry and kaffir. Our main dishes included a lovely squab and pistachio and artichoke and the only disappointment of the evening, a poached turbot with tarragon. Our wonderful dessert combined chocolate, blueberry, lovage and beetroot. We enjoyed our food with a 2011 Jean-Luc and Eric Burquet “Les Pince” red burgundy.
212 is a no-table restaurant. Instead of tables, patrons sit at countertops that surround the kitchen. Michelin chef Richard van Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot run the restaurant. To reserve, you buy a ticket, whose price is then subtracted from your bill. But don’t let this dissuade you from going there as it is another wonderful restaurant.
We began with a number of small tasting dishes:
- A small bowl of seaweed-based broth;
- Small seafood bites of lobster in a steamed bun;
- Crab salad in a crepe;
- Smoked eel with toast; and
- Marrow crème with caviar.
Our two main dishes were dried, broiled dover sole with lemon beurre blanc, cepes and gnocchi; and BBQ Anjou pigeon with juniper berry sauce and a side “cassoulet” made of pigeon heart, stomach and liver. The only spoiler was a condescending server. But hey, not everything can always be perfect.
It is very rare when we will return to the same restaurant twice in one short trip. But we so enjoyed our lunch, that we returned for dinner on another night. Joris Bijdendiji is the executive chef of this Michelin star restaurant that is located in the Rijks Museum. The menu reflects Low Countries food that uses Dutch produce.
Joyce was so delighted by the pike perch and chanterelles in a fermented bell pepper sauce that she repeated the meal on our second visit (but was less impressed with the sauce on the second meal). Tom’s lunch was a pleasant, but less interesting braised short rib with seaweed, parsnip puree and salsify. But he really enjoyed his dinner entrée which consisted of three different preparations of duck:
- Delicious roasted breast with liver cream;
- A nice glazed duck leg; and
- An interesting dish that combined duck heart, tongue and egg with crispy rice and masala sauce.
Our dessert was a “cookie box” consisting of items that represented different desserts with evocative flavors and textures ranging from merengue to candied pumpkin and dried cranberries to chocolate ganache on a bed of cacao nibs. Our wine was a 2016 Rouget Pere et Fils Hautes Cote de Nuit red Burgundy. For dessert, we added a glass of sauternes (Chateau Violet 2015 sautern.
You select what you want to eat and how much. It is fun to mix different types of seafood and preparations. You then walk to the next area to select your wine from a store-like display that contains placards describing the wines and a knowledgeable staff to help. Then you are guided to a table where an aluminum pail with your chilling wine is hung behind you and your dishes come out one-by-one as they are ready. We liked the interesting, casual approach to a delicious seafood meal. We enjoyed our well-prepared dishes:
- Grilled shrimp with lemon, garlic and salsa verde;
- Grilled octopus with almonds, chorizo, olive oil and potato; and
- Grilled whole sea bass.
Our wine was a pleasant and reasonably priced 2017 Chichee Chablis.
The Seafood Bar and Cafe is another seafood restaurant with a modern decor. Joyce had a nice, but less than memorable order of mussels steamed in coconut milk, lemongrass and coriander. But after eating fresh mussels in Belgium, probably any mussel dish would be anti-climatic. Tom was somewhat more impressed with his mixed seafood grill with lobster, prawns, squid, clams, mussels and seabass a plancha. We both enjoyed of 2017 Domaine Geoffrey 1er Cru Chablis with the meal.
Dignita is a very popular, casual lunch spot where we had two very good dishes:
- Marinated lamb loin roasted on whole wheat bread with herb sauces and lamb jus with pickled red onions; and
- Roasted enoki, portabella, own beach and butter mushrooms on whole wheat toast, topped with truffled crème fraiche and crisp sage.
Tom enjoyed an IPA-like DePlael Bitterblond bock beer.
Haesje Claes is a traditional Dutch restaurant. Our two dishes were decent but were less inspiring than similar dishes we had in other Dutch restaurants. Tom’s fillet of wild hare with hunter’s sauce came with mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, bacon, mushrooms, red sauerkraut and walnuts. It was a less inspired, rustic version of the very refined dish I had at Antwerp’s Huit de Colvenier) .
Joyce had mussels steamed in white wine. While it was OK, it was low on our list of favorite mussel dishes.
Tom also sampled a local bock beer from Texels.
We had a good fast lunch at De Plantage.:
- Smoked salmon with roasted beets, chive and cream with herring roe; and
- “Shakshouk” (egg with red pepper and tomato sauce). Tom chose the version I chose that came with Turkish sausage, pita, and labdeh.
Momo is a high-end Asian-fusion restaurant where we had 2 nice lunch dishes:
- Crispy grilled octopus with corn sauce; and
- Pad thai with wild mushrooms and nuts.
We enjoyed our meal with an acceptable Goryvbal Yamada Nishiki sake.