You can eat pretty well in my adopted home town, which is pretty convenient given eating is one of the few things at which I really excel.
Since starting to write proper reviews of the local restaurant scene, I get asked quite often what are the best fine dining restaurants in Amsterdam or which are the Michelin starred restaurants in Amsterdam central worth going to. So, after a year of so of writing individual responses, I thought I’d pool all the restaurant reviews and ratings together to create a definitive guide. So here goes – the first comprehensively reviewed guide to the best places to eat in Amsterdam.
Each of the restaurants has been visited recently – you can click on the scores or the links at the bottom of each section to go through to the full reviews.
The rating scale, and why I write these reviews, can be seen here.
Fine Dining Guide to Amsterdam
1. Librije’s Zusje (18.5 / 20)
2 Michelin Stars : €€€€€ : Last Visit 1/April/2017
Innovative and supremely delicious food with a world-class service. Librije’s Zus was already an outstanding restaurant, but has recently found a whole new gear, making it for me easily the front-runner for the first 3rd star in Amsterdam – The vegetable menu is almost certainly already at that standard.
2. Bord’eau (18 / 20)
2 Michelin Stars : €€€€€ : Last visit – 13/May/2017
Exquisite flavours delivered with an extraordinary subtleness which really sets it apart from the more vibrant delivery of the other top restaurants in town. Strong Dutch influence over a quintessentially French cuisine, with lots from the sea, that has now also found a more successful balance with its light Japanese inspired flavour combinations. Slicker, more professional, and generally friendly service. An undeniably impressive restaurant, but one which for me somehow still manages to lack a touch of charisma.
3. = Vinkeles (17.75 / 20)
1 Michelin Star : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 15/July/2017
An absolute gem of a restaurant housed in the beautiful Dylan hotel in the center of Amsterdam’s historic canal belt. Elegant, precise and deceptively simple classic French preparations are given a Dutch twist and sent out to the beautifully calm dining room where diners are taken care of by the current Gault&Milau Maitre D’ of the year. (They also have a Chefs Table which I can’t recommend enough). For me, Vinkeles is so far out in front of the pack of 1 star restaurants in town that I already assume it has 2 macarons – an oversight I should hope is rectified by Michelin sooner rather than later.
3. = Aan de Poel (17.75 / 20)
2 Michelin Stars : €€€€€ : Last visit – 29/April/2017
Consistently delicious, beautifully constructed, and approachable cooking with a truly standout pastry section. When you want to relax in a beautiful, friendly setting, eat very well indeed, plus be quite certain that’s exactly what will happen, every single time you go… accept no substitute.
5. &Samhoud Places (17.5 / 20)
2 Michelin Stars : €€€€€ : Last visit – 1/July/2017
A global smorgasbord of interesting and delicious plates infused with classic French technique and peppered with modernist influences. On a good day, which this certainly was, this is easily an 18. But the restaurant lacks consistency. And though I’d personally always prefer to eat somewhere inconsistent with a chance of brilliance than somewhere predictably mediocre, it would be inappropriate to think that that’s acceptable to everyone. Especially when paying this much to eat.
6. Vermeer (17 / 20)
1 Michelin star : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 10/June/2017
Thoughtful dishes full of flavour, with a heavy focus on vegetables, presented in a calm and well proportioned dining room. This is a little oasis of fine dining right in the middle of one of the most raucous parts of central Amsterdam, and on its latest performance certainly in the top few of the one star restaurants in the city.
7. Ciel Bleu (16.75 / 20)
2 Michelin Stars : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 20/May/2017
A relatively uninspiring menu in an extraordinarily over-the-top setting. The food is perfectly good, but overall lacks personality, and is disappointing for a two star – especially one that was once hoped to be Amsterdam’s first restaurant with 3 macarons. The vegetarian offering was simply not good enough, and we were left with the distinct feeling that the exorbitant cost of dinner went more towards the glamorous lighting and the luxurious carpet than what was actually on the plate. In fairness on previous visits it has been better, but Ciel Bleu needs to move with the times to keep up with the other top restaurants in town – and that will mean transforming more than just its dining room.
8. Bolenius (16 / 20)
1 Michelin Star : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 20/January/2017
Good, pleasantly quirky food with strong Dutch influence and focus on local vegetables. Don’t expect fireworks, but this is an excellent option outside of the main tourist route and solid business lunch option.
9. Sinne (16 / 20)
1 Michelin Star : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 06/May/2017
Neighbourhood restaurant serving up very punchy Michelin quality dishes at a sensible price point. Attentive, friendly, service and an enjoyably tiny dining space, as long as no one is sitting at the table next to you.
The best casual fine dining
1. Breda (16.25/20)
€€€€€ : Last Visit – 25/March/2017
A non-Michelin fine dining spot that really works. This is an excellent restaurant with an elegant bistro setting, serving up delicious, deceptively simple food which can often go toe-to-toe with (some of) the 1 stars in town. And all that at a very sensible price point.
2. Rijks (15.75 / 20)
1 Michelin Star : €€€€€ : Last Visit – 08/July/2017
One of the better casual fine dining spots in Amsterdam serving uncontroversial fare with the odd moment of brilliance. Despite now having a star, if you come here expecting Michelin-style food you may well be disappointed. Irrespective, it stays high on my list of recommendations in town, especially for those looking for good price/quality, in a very central location, and where it’s usually possible to get a table.
3. Daalder (15.75 / 20)
€€€€€ : Last Visit – 09/April/2017
Putting the other tedious neo-bistros to shame. This is what casual fine dining should be like; Unfussy food with great attention to detail, delivered in an authentically crampt, albeit joyful, dining room.
4. BAK (15.5 / 20)
€€€€€ : Last Visit – 18/April/2017
Solid, well priced dishes from a thoughtful, unpretentious kitchen housed in the north west docs. Big thumbs up for this ethically sourced and very delicious menu.