Amsterdam National Restaurant Week
Historically a nation of traders, building their wealth by traversing the seven seas, the Dutch are as fond of their food as they are of their rich cultural heritage. Their seafaring golden age of the 17th century not only introduced Europe to a panoply of new spices, but led swathes of migrants to settle in cities like Amsterdam. Whether they were skilled craftsmen, persecuted refugees, or adventurers, all enriched the Dutch capital with their own culinary legacy. This diverse population makes Amsterdam one of Europe’s most varied cities to dine out. The choices on offer span the globe, and range from the traditional low-key eetcafes to renowned Michelin-starred eateries.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: your complete guideNational Restaurant Week is aimed at giving punters the opportunity to experience top-level dining at reduced prices. The ‘week’ actually lasts 16 days, from March 7 to March 23, and includes three weekends, so book your table now and prepare to indulge your taste buds. Note that bookings for the event can be made only via www.restaurantweek.nl, not with the restaurants directly – but to set your mouth watering, here's a sneak preview of the sort of eats to expect.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: Dutch Delights
A common misconception about Dutch food is that it is another simple meat-and-veg cuisine. While that may hold a grain of truth, the World Health Organisation has recently hailed the country’s diet as the healthiest in the world – largely on account of its variety. Nowhere is this more evident than in the capital. Fond of their lunches, the Dutch have defined their largest city’s atmospheric streets and squares with cafés, lunchrooms, bistros and snack bars, each offering a distinctly local experience. Don’t leave without eating a fresh herring from one of the many seafood stalls, and do try a traditional broodje kroket – a stewed meat croquette on a roll – for lunch.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: Bridges, inspired by Ron Blaauw
Less than a stone's throw from Dam Square lies Bridges, a highly acclaimed eatery that delivers culinary highlights in a relaxed atmosphere. The menu is focused primarily on seasonal fish; the fresh catches on exhibit in its eye-catching Raw Bar allows passers-by to have a quick portion of wild oysters or a lobster sandwich, all freshly prepared in front of them. Weather permitting, Bridges offers al fresco dining in its garden hideaway, with live music to boot. On the whole, it's not difficult to see why the Michelin Guide awarded this unique haunt with one star.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: Seasons Restaurant
Travellers in search of excellent food in a small and cosy setting should look no further than Seasons Restaurant. Located at the edge of the lively Jordaan Quarter, Seasons has become the eatery of choice for many an Amsterdammer. True to its name, the menu offering varies every few months but never compromises on anything less than mouth-watering Dutch and Cajun-inspired dishes. At the same time, it will just as easily feature a curry or even a cheese fondue – but always with a twist of ‘Dutch Fusion’. Eat here for a more authentic Amsterdam experience.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: Best of the Rest
International cuisine from all corners of the globe can be found among the participating restaurants. Hosokawa is one of the oldest and most renowned Japanese restaurants in the Netherlands, and how about trying an authentic Peruvian ceviche in Casa Peru? The more adventurous foodie can dine in the dark in Ctaste, where the latest trend allows you to focus purely on the senses of taste and smell. D’Vijff Vlieghen deserves a special mention for its unique ambience, which takes the visitor back to the 17th century. In short, there are more great eateries in Amsterdam than space on this webpage – and the ones that have gone unmentioned are by no means inferior.
Amsterdam Restaurant Week: Around Amsterdam
Outwith lunch and dining hours, one would be hard pressed to have a dull moment in a place like Amsterdam. Try renting a bicycle to go off the beaten track, blend in with the locals and work up an appetite riding to the Oosterdok area. The iconic NEMO Science Centre offers a great view, from its accessible roof, of both the city and the local ‘botels’ (boat hotels). The fine arts are well represented around Museum Square, with the recently renovated Rijksmuseum as its centrepiece. Its rich collection boasts works by most of the Dutch and Flemish masters – van Gogh and Vermeer among them – and should not be missed.