Going Dutch: Top Amsterdam restaurants to try this summer

There’s a new school of Dutch Masters in Amsterdam — its chefs. Art can be found on the plate throughout the city, whether it’s an intimate wine bar, homage to Asian cuisine, or artfully composed local favourites like herring with a contemporary spin. Here are some Amsterdam restaurants you won’t want to miss on your next trip.

From the most open of kitchens possible, admire the handiwork of chefs who dance around each other in a culinary grand pas de deux. Opt for a three, four or five-course menu (the three comes with a complimentary glass of bubbly) and sit back as the entertainment arrives in the way of dishes such as cream of carrot soup with pumpkin and tarragon, pigeon with barbecued beetroot and chanterelles, and mains like venison, with green cabbage, celery, blueberries, pistachio, and cardamom. The menu changes frequently depending on what’s local and in season, but the beer list always skews regional — make it a point to pregame in the lounge for a canal view.

Mama Makan
Back in the Dutch Golden Age of sailing, commerce between the Netherlands and Indonesia was voracious, and today, the culinary ties still linger with the rijsttafel (“rice table”), a sort of prix-fixe Indonesian tapas smorgasbord. You’ll want to fast before gearing up for a fast-paced rotation of savoury satays, spicy chutneys, and banana-leaf steamed fish … along with rice, of course!

Nestled in a cool neighbourhood near Vondelpark — ideal for strolling afterwards — Carter doesn’t feel nearly as large as its 70-seat capacity. Intimate and candlelit with a  deep gin list and sexy cocktail collection, the space alone is enough for a great date night, never mind the shared plates of rotisserie chicken and côte de boeuf. Mains like venison and lamb shank are affordably priced (€21 and less) so you can save a bit of cash for shopping in the Oud-Zuid district later. Don’t miss the outdoor patio in the summertime.

Guts & Glory
Prepare to be surprised — quite pleasantly — at Guts & Glory, where monthly “chapters” offer up different countries, cultures, and proteins, i.e., Italian, French classics, beef, and Dutch cuisine. You might just end up with herbal ice cream, but it totally works as the cherry on top of three-, four- and five-course lunches (making you the hero for picking one of the coolest places in town). Or go all out with up to seven courses at dinner. Those in a hurry can opt for the 6-8pm theatre menu. The wine list is extensive both here and at sister restaurant Breda.

March to the beat of your own drum and order a la carte at Taiko — housed in a former conservatory — or prepare for a singular epicurean adventure with a progressive omakase menu courtesy of Amsterdam-born executive chef Schilo van Coevorden. Ingredient of the year, red king crab, factors into many dishes here, including sushi with anise seed and fennel and gyoza with black garlic.

Wyers Restaurant & Bar
If you arrived on the overnight flight and need a morning pick-me-up (or hey, maybe you partied all night and need some coffee!), Wyers’ morning spread is just the ticket. The three-course breakfast includes yogurt and cut fruit, coffee, and a bakery item like homemade muffins or artisanal toast, as well as mains like healthy granola with berries, cauliflower “tabbouleh” with squash, pomegranate, and hazelnuts, or beef brisket hash and eggs. For a taste of something local, the sliced Dutch cheese plate is served with tomatoes and cucumber. (Hint: Wyers isn’t too far a walk from Amsterdam Centraal station for those lugging suitcases.)

Visit OpenTable to discover more restaurants in Amsterdam.

Carley Thornell is a travel writer whose experiences eating street food in Japan, English peas in the UK, free-range steak in Argentina, and Brussels sprouts at Estragon tapas in her hometown of Boston have provided unforgettable culinary inspiration. Shout out at carleythornell@gmail.com.