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Jan 272015
 
 January 27, 2015  Restaurant reviews No Responses »

Volt (European) 4 Star Rating
Ferdinand Bolstraat 178 (De Pijp), 020 471 5544, website Book now

Volt had been recommended to me by my boss at MegaCorp a couple of years ago. But given that a) she’s a regular and I wasn’t too keen on bumping into her on a Saturday night; b) she’s Head of Communications, which means she can afford to go to far more expensive restaurants than I can; and c) she lives in Oud-Zuid (nuff said), I’d avoided Volt until now. Turns out my prejudices (like most prejudices) were ill-founded.

Volt restaurant Amsterdam - squid chorizo

Volt’s answer to surf ‘n turf: squid and chorizo

Volt is unexpectedly affordable, with starters all coming in at under €10 and mains in the €14-18 range. It’s also neither pretentious nor uptight (although the service was a little hit and miss the night we were there). And – most importantly – Volt’s chef buys his cheeses from Kef, one of Amsterdam’s finest cheese shops on the Marnixstraat.

Volt restaurant Amsterdam - cheese Kef

Cheese from Kef, served at Volt

I started with small, firm parcels of stuffed squid served with fried chorizo and a tomato jus. In general, I absolutely love this combination of surf ‘n turf, and this dish didn’t disappoint. My main was ravioli stuffed with Jerusalem artichokes and dressed with a nutty butter sauce. It came with some other roasted roots and toasted nuts – a festival of autumnal vegetables. It lacked a citrus kick so I asked for a segment of lemon to squeeze on top – a DIY flavour enhancer. I’ve already mentioned the cheese I had to follow, which was as delicious as you’d expect from Kef.

Volt restaurant Amsterdam - ravioli

Volt’s autumnal ravioli

As I said, the service was a little hit and miss: on the one hand, a couple of our drinks got forgotten; on the other, the waiter warned us that the white wine we’d ordered hadn’t spent much time in the fridge and suggested we order another instead. While you could argue that the wine should have been kept at the right temperature in the first place, I appreciated the fact that he didn’t just pour us a bottle of warm wine (which has happened to me on numerous occasions in the past).

So, while Volt may be on the border of de Pijp and Oud-Zuid – two of Amsterdam’s most prestigious neighbourhoods – I’ll be recommending it to those who live elsewhere in Amsterdam, too. If for nothing other than that cheese board…

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Jan 202015
 
 January 20, 2015  Amsterdam food guide 7 Responses »

Boca's (Tapas) 5 Star Rating
Westerstraat 30 (Westerpark), 020 820 3727, website

Burgers Patio (International) 4 Star Rating
Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 12 (Jordaan), 020 623 6854, website

Dauphine (European) 4 Star Rating
Prins Bernhardplein 175 (Oost/Watergraafsmeer), 020 462 1646, website

Harkema (International) 3 Star Rating
Nes 67 (Dam), 020 428 2222, website

de Kas (European) 5 Star Rating
Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3 (Oost/Watergraafsmeer), 020 462 4562, website

Cafe Kostverloren (Dutch eetcafe) 4 Star Rating
Tweede Kostverlorenkade 70 (Oud-West), 020 820 3161, website

Lion Noir (European) 4 Star Rating
Reguliersdwarsstraat 28 (Rembrandtplein), 020 627 6603, website

Razmataz (European) 4 Star Rating
Hugo de Grootplein 9 (Westerpark), 020 486 8408, website Book now

Van de Markt (European) 4 Star Rating
Weesperzijde 144-147 (Oost/Watergraafsmeer), 020 468 6958, website

You remember back in December I told you I was writing a series of “FAQ posts” about restaurant tips that readers routinely ask me for? Well, to continue the theme, here’s one I made earlier…

Question: I’m coming to Amsterdam with my team from work/extended family/entire friendship group/insert large-sounding amount of people here. Which restaurants can cater for large groups?

Answer: Well, that depends on your budget and which part of town you’re in… But here are some options.

de Kas restaurant Amsterdam

De Kas, Amsterdam

High-end restaurants for large groups

De Kas – Oost

I recently celebrated a wedding at de Kas, which proves just how big a group it can cater (there must have been at least 80-100 guests). De Kas literally translates as “the greenhouse” – which means that a) the restaurant is housed in one, and b) all the ingredients used come from it. Or at least, most of them. The rest come from the surrounding gardens and local farms. Very local, very seasonal, very delicious – just quite expensive.

Read full review of de Kas

Van de Markt – Amstel

I ate at Van de Markt for my boss’s leaving party, so the entire communications team of MegaCorp were there. Large groups are required to take a fixed menu, though, so make sure you let the kitchen know if anyone in your party if vegetarian or has other dietary requirements. The restaurant overlooks the Amstel river, has starched white tablecloths, impeccable service and an impressive wine cellar.

Read full review of Van de Markt

Van de Markt restaurant Amsterdam

Van de Markt, Amsterdam

Lion Noir – Rembrandtplein

Lion Noir is the kind of place you’d like to go for a high-class hen (bachelorette) party. Its dark decor features impressively masculine antlers, gothic chandeliers, and clientele wearing (wait for it) dresses and heels! Yes, in Amsterdam. It feels ever so slightly debauched without being seedy. And the cocktails are to die for. The last time I ate there it was the night I celebrated my friend’s engagement with the rest of our girlfriends – ideal.

Read full review of Lion Noir

Mid-range restaurants for large groups

Burgers Patio – Jordaan

Despite the name, this restaurant serves a lot more than just burgers. It does, however, have a nice patio for al fresco dining during the summer, and the whole place exudes a sort of Mediterranean vibe… There’s a daily market menu for around €25, or you can choose broadly French and Italian dishes a la carte. For groups of up to 15, you can book via the regular online reservation system. Larger groups are also welcome but menu restrictions do apply.

Read full review of Burgers Patio

Harkema – Dam

Tucked down the Nes, just south of Dam Square, Harkema is surprisingly huge. I’ve been here a number of times since I reviewed it in 2010 and it’s got better every time (which means I should probably re-review it, but frankly I don’t have time and their business seems to be booming with or without my star-rating system). The food ranges from steak to Asian fusion, and the service can be a little hit and miss. But it’s a safe bet for a big group – you can be as loud and raucous as you like. And I frequently have been.

Read full (rather out of date) review of Harkema

Dauphine restaurant Amsterdam

Dauphine, Amsterdam

Dauphine – Oost

Dauphine is another institution of a restaurant – a favourite among the business lunch crowd who come up from the Amstel business park every day. It serves classic Caesar salads, crowd-pleasing steaks, smoked salmon with poached eggs, and desserts from Holtkamp. A great option for a corporate lunch or after-work dinner.

Read full review of Dauphine

Budget restaurants for large groups

Boca’s – Jordaan/de Pijp

With two locations in Amsterdam (at roughly opposite ends of town), Boca’s is perfect for a casual birthday borrel. You can order huge platters of meat, fish or vegetarian snacks to share, and the standard is consistently of a much higher quality than your average deep-fried borrelhapjes.

Read full review of Boca’s

Razmataz (bar section) – Westerpark

The restaurant at Razmataz would fall into the mid-range category, but it also has a lovely separate bar serving eminently shareable (and sizable) snacks at highly reasonable prices. Think creamy bacalao rillettes to spread on bread, charcuterie plates, French cheeses… and they do a lovely Aperol Spritzer too. I’ve been here for birthdays, pre-wedding drinks… I even almost hosted my cookbook launch there.

Read full review of Razmataz

Razmataz restaurant Amsterdam menu

Razmataz, Amsterdam

Café Kostverloren – Oud West

Claiming to have world-famous burgers and 35 sorts of beer, Café Kostverloren is great for a party. I also remember a very accomplished Caesar salad dressing – which is not something to be sniffed at. If your group outing happens to be taking place at the same time as an important Dutch football match, Kostverloren is a good bet to watch the big game (unless of course you’re trying to avoid it altogether).

Read full review of Café Kostverloren

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Jan 132015
 
 January 13, 2015  Restaurant reviews No Responses »

Le Fou Fow (Asian) 5 Star Rating
Elandsgracht 2A (Jordaan), 020 845 0544, website

The Oyster Club (International) 4 Star Rating
Olympisch Stadion 35, 020 570 8400, website

Think of Japanese food, and most people in the West think of sushi. And ever since I reviewed Yummie a few months ago, people keep suggesting new Amsterdam sushi restaurants I should be checking out. So I was pleased to be invited to The Oyster Club – a sushi and oyster restaurant that opened in the Olympic Stadium in 2013. But of course there’s more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, and I’ve not yet made it to Japan to learn about it first-hand… I’m thankful, then, for the opening of Le Fou Fow: formerly a pop-up at my favourite toko, Dun Yong, and now with a permanent location on the Elandsgracht.

Le Fou Fow

Le Fou Fow (does anyone know what the name means?) serves mostly ramen: steaming bowls of noodle soup in three sizes, with various different bases to their broths. Pig addict that I am, I chose the pork broth which was also served with (you’ve guessed it) more pork, noodles (the slightly flat variety with good bite), various types of seaweed (I’m no expert), and half a boiled egg (which was amazing in a Heston Blumenthal slow-cooked sort of way). We were warned that the pork broth had “a stronger flavour” than the regular chicken, vegetable or miso broths. Bring. It. On. I loved every spoonful of my bowl of soup – and it felt almost medicinal for the throat infection I’d been nursing the past few weeks.

Le Fou Fow Ramen

Ramen from Le Fou Fow

Be warned, however: Le Fou Fow has terrible acoustics (the table opposite us looked like a group of colleagues celebrating – we could barely hear ourselves think) and the price tag is steep for the style of restaurant. You’re looking at around €10-15 for the ramen itself (which isn’t unreasonable), but a simple pot of tea costs €3.50 and a small portion of gyoza €6.

The Oyster Club

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum – in terms of price, location and style – is The Oyster Club. Not technically Japanese (and not pretending to be, either) it does, however, serve some of the most creative sushi I’ve eaten in Amsterdam. I was invited to a press lunch there (which means that I didn’t pay – note to reader!) and we were treated to a colourful selection of fishy masterpieces. Afterwards, I had a chance to talk to the sushi chef and take a look at the seafood in its ice-lined display cases. Like I said, I’m no expert when it comes to Japanese food, but it all looked like the real deal.

The Oyster Club Amsterdam - sushi

Creative sushi at The Oyster Club

The dishes that followed were less Japanese, more Asian-fusion. They included seared tuna skewers with wasabi and sriracha dressings, deconstructed Peking duck pancakes, and fried prawns with curried mayonnaise. The tuna skewers, just like the spicy tuna maki rolls, were delicious. I was less convinced about the wisdom of deconstructing a duck pancake, and nor was I a fan of the too-greasy fried prawns – but never look a gift horse in the mouth, eh?

The Oyster Club Amsterdam - tuna

Seared tuna skewers – a sharing plate at The Oyster Club

Dessert was a veritable painter’s palate of gorgeous fruity colours… We tried yuzu cheesecake, yoghurt ice cream, cherry mousse cake, blood-orange sorbet and beautiful violet macarons. Some I liked more than others, but that’s only to be expected when trying a fixed selection rather than ordering for yourself. In any case, this is literally one of my favourite food photos I’ve ever taken.

The Oyster Club Amsterdam - dessert

The most colourful dessert medley I’ve ever had the privilege of photographing!

It’s hard to say how much lunch would’ve cost had I been paying, but suffice to say it wouldn’t have been cheap. According to The Oyster Club’s menu, eight pieces of sushi come in at around €16-22, sharing plates (like the tuna skewers in the photo) are €13-17, mains start at €22 and go up to €45, and desserts are €8-10. Then again, its location near the Zuid As probably means its clientele can afford it… And as for the rest of us, I’ll be back for some more luxury sushi next time I get paid.

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Dec 232014
 
 December 23, 2014  Restaurant reviews No Responses »

Graceland BAR-B-Q (American) 2 Star Rating
Jan van Galenstraat 8 (Oud-West), 020 723 1760, website

Meat West (International) 4 Star Rating
Bellamyplein 51 (Oud-West), 020 218 1776, website

One of the many trends that has taken Amsterdam by storm in the past year or so is meat. Barbecued meat, to be precise, and preferably from a Big Green Egg. We saw Julius Bar & Grill and Bar Brouw arrive and (in the case of the latter) multiply. We’ve seen burger joints aplenty, from Burgermeester to The Butcher. And now the Oud-West seems to be the latest hotbed of meaty, smoky, manly activity.

But is meat really so manly? We’re taught that barbecues are a man’s domain (much to my puzzlement – surely cooking on a barbecue follows the same principles as cooking in a kitchen, and the best chef in the house should do the job whether male or female?). I’m also frequently told that my cookbook must be aimed towards women, because it involves a lot of fresh vegetables (as though men are entirely ignorant of a balanced diet! Come on – let’s give them more credit than that!). And yet my recent outings to newly opened BBQ restaurants in Amsterdam have been with groups of five or six women. Men’s food it clearly is not.

Meat West

I didn’t bother writing a post about de Foodhallen – Amsterdam’s latest and greatest strike of culinary genius in the Oud-West. Every blogger under the sun seems to have covered it already – not just Amsterdam bloggers, not just food bloggers, but literally every blogger who has visited Amsterdam since de Hallen opened. And with good reason: the “covered market” sells everything from Iberico ham to Vietnamese banh mi, alongside some pricey but decent wines. Frankly, I love it. But I have nothing to add to the conversation.

However, in the same converted tram warehouse as the market itself are three restaurants: Remise 47, Halte 3 and Meat West. So I dropped by the latter a few weeks ago to see whether it was worth the hype. We had a booking at 8.30, but it must have taken us until at least 9 or 9.15 (I wish I’d timed it) to get seated and get a drink and a menu in front of us. The restaurant was terribly busy, we were told – as though they couldn’t have predicted that on a Friday night at de Hallen? It may sound harsh, but I don’t want to hear it.

Meat West Amsterdam steak

Bavette steak from Meat West

Thankfully, things improved fast. Amusingly given the title of this post, the menu offered a “Lady steak” of 160 grams – presumably for those with lighter appetites. As a feminist, I couldn’t order it on principle. Instead, I went for the 200-gram Bavette steak – a muscular cut cooked perfectly and sliced with the grain for optimum tenderness. The Bearnaise sauce it came with was a triumph of butter vs. lightness and richness vs. acidity. And I loved my chips and side salad, too.

For dessert, we couldn’t resist the Toblerone tart, which tasted of salted caramel and came with crumbles of biscuity goodness and a boozy ice cream. By the end of the meal, we’d forgiven the patchy service at the start and got chatting with the manager, who was friendly and open to feedback. I’ll go back in a few months once they’ve got their reservations book and their staffing rota under control.

Meat West Amsterdam dessert

Salted-caramel Toblerone tart, Meat West

Graceland BBQ

Meanwhile, just next to the Food Center on the Jan van Galenstraat, is something completely different: Graceland resembles the dive bars in the Deep South of which I have fond recollections from my Great American Road Trip three years ago. The music is country rock, the wall art references Texas, and the name (I presume) refers to Memphis, Tennessee. With those credentials it surely should do BBQ rather well.

Despite the differences in décor, it does have one thing in common with Meat West: once again, I waited 45 minutes for a drink. And here, I actually timed it. You could argue that cocktails aren’t Graceland’s core business (although if that’s the case, why serve them?) but a glass of Merlot took just as long. Still, the Mint Julep, when it arrived, was delicious – despite being inexplicably served in a jam jar instead of a Julep cup (I guess you can’t take the hipster out of Amsterdam, no matter how far Deep South you go).

Graceland BBQ cocktails

Mint Julep and Whisky Sour at Graceland

As for the meat, we opted for a broad selection: half a rack of pork ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket. I realise I’ve been spoilt in very many ways, but the ribs weren’t a patch on Bulelani BBQ, and the brisket was a dry, flaky shadow of the Texan brisket I ate in Lockhart. The pulled pork was at least the right texture, but the flavour was nothing to write home about – I drenched mine in BBQ sauce to perk it up. (Admittedly, the sauce was fantastic.)

The sides, on the other hand, were a huge improvement: the corn bread was moist and crumbly – a texture that I know from experience is hard to achieve. The coleslaw was not too creamy and instead had a sinus-clearing kick from what tasted like horseradish. It came with giant pickles, too, which gave welcome contrast.

Graceland BBQ meat

Ribs, cornbread, pulled pork and brisket at Graceland

But woman cannot live off cornbread alone, and frankly the meat wasn’t up to scratch – especially for a place that’s so clearly emulating the BBQ joints of Texas and its neighbours. The good news is: there’s still space for competition in the barbecued meat sector of Amsterdam’s restaurant scene – and there are plenty of women (and men!) who will welcome it.

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Dec 162014
 
 December 16, 2014  Amsterdam food guide 10 Responses »

Bar Mick (Dutch eetcafe) 4 Star Rating
Spaarndammerstraat 53 (Westerpark), 020 370 2273, website

Cafe de Klepel (French) 5 Star Rating
Prinsenstraat 22 (Jordaan), 020 623 8244, website

Hugo's Bar & Kitchen (European) 5 Star Rating
Hugo de Grootplein 10 (Westerpark), 020 751 6633, website Book now

Jacketz (International) 5 Star Rating
Kinkerstraat 56 (Oud-West), 020 774 0640, website

Jun (Indonesian) 4 Star Rating
Frederik Hendrikstraat 98 (Westerpark), 020 785 9185, website Book now

Little Saigon (Asian) 5 Star Rating
Zeedijk 88-90 (Nieuwmarkt), 020 737 2491, website

Omelegg (Lunch and brunch) 4 Star Rating
Ferdinand Bolstraat 143 (De Pijp), 020 370 1134, website

Salsa Shop (Mexican) 5 Star Rating
Amstelstraat 32-A (Rembrandtplein), , website

Smokin Barrels (American) 5 Star Rating
Beukenplein 22 (Oost/Watergraafsmeer), 020 693 3555, website

Trela Plein (Lunch and brunch) 5 Star Rating
Spaarndammerstraat 55 (Westerpark), 06 26300123, website

Yummie (Asian) 4 Star Rating
Spaarndammerstraat 35 (Westerpark), 020 330 3985, website

I don’t know what you other Amsterdammers think, but I reckon it’s been a great year for food in Amsterdam… We’ve seen the opening of the Foodhallen – literally one of THE highlights of my year, foodie or otherwise. Tonnes of new Vietnamese restaurants and hole-in-the-walls have been popping up; my own neighbourhood (the Spaarndammerbuurt) has had an epic year in terms of new restaurants and bars launching; and we’ve seen every food trend from burgers to tacos to jacket potatoes making their mark on the city’s culinary scene. Amsterdam, you have outdone yourself!

My Top 10 Amsterdam Restaurants for 2014*

*Actually there are 11 because these are made up of all of my Restaurants of the Month for the past year… which would make 12, apart from the fact that I forgot to pick a new restaurant in February! Also worth noting: a few of these restaurants opened in 2013, but I didn’t get around to trying them until 2014. The order below is based on the dates I reviewed them – they’re not ranked as there’s no way I could pick a favourite, and a second favourite, and a third favourite… or even a least favourite, for that matter.

1. Hugo’s Bar & Kitchen

I’ve been back to Hugo’s a few times since it opened in November 2013 – sometimes for the cocktails (I still ask for the Hugo the Great, even though it’s not on the menu anymore); sometimes for the chocolate dessert (they coat a whisk in chocolate sauce and invite you to lick it off – it’s almost indecent); and sometimes for a full-blown three courses. Every time, it’s been creative, decadent yet affordable, and (above all) delicious.

Read my full review of Hugo’s

Bar Mick Amsterdam burger

Bar Mick’s “Big Mick” burger

2. Bar Mick

The Spaarndammerbuurt’s Bar Mick has become my local over the past year. I’ve celebrated successes, drowned sorrows, started business plans and put the world to rights at that bar, and I love it a little more every time I order my usual Ciney beer and a hapje. The bar’s frontman, Dick, has a smile for every customer, and works harder than most other Amsterdam bar staff put together. So much so that he prompted my Dutch neighbours to ask me: “Don’t you find him just a bit too friendly – like he’s trying so hard all the time?” Errm, no, Dutch neighbours – that’s what the rest of the world calls customer service. (Dick – don’t listen to ‘em!)

Read my full review of Bar Mick

3. Omelegg

I have had an endless battle with the poor excuses for omelettes I’m frequently served in Amsterdam (thin, dry egg pancakes rolled up with cold stuff in the middle), but then along came Omelegg and changed everything. Basically, Omelegg just knows how to make an omelette – that’s all you need to know.

Read my full review of Omelegg

Omelegg Amsterdam

Omelegg knows how to make a proper omelette…

4. Jun

While there are many Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam, you don’t see many new ones spring up nowadays. So I was happy to see Jun making a name for itself just off the Hugo de Grootplein. It’s not as cheap as some of its competitors, but the food is good quality (especially the soups) and the owner is lovely – if you like it spicier, just ask him!

Read my full review of Jun

5. Café de Klepel

Café de Klepel has been around for a while, but I only discovered this gem of a Jordaanese restaurant on my birthday this year. It serves classic French/Dutch dishes, great cheeses and organic wines, and the service is professional, too. Take your parents, take a date, take a colleague – it’s a great spot for any occasion.

Read my full review of Café de Klepel

Little Saigon Amsterdam spring rolls

Spring rolls from Little Saigon

6. Little Saigon

Vietnamese food has been trending like crazy in Amsterdam in 2014, and nowhere has been doing it better than Little Saigon. A cheap and cheerful little café on the Zeedijk, it serves hearty banh mi and pho, plus fresh spring rolls and a host of tasty (non-alcoholic!) Asian drinks. A great option if you’re out shopping in town and looking for an affordable lunch spot.

Read my full review of Little Saigon

7. Trela Plein

Another new Spaarndammerbuurt favourite, Trela Plein seems to be home to the entire Greek population of Amsterdam every Sunday. And for good reason: Alexandros and Giannis are dealing in the best line of bougatsa you’ll taste outside of Athens. Try the spinach and feta, or the beef and onion, or even the vanilla custard… perfect brunch fare.

Read my full review of Trela Plein

Salsa Shop Amsterdam - tacos

My somewhat over-filled (my fault) tacos from Salsa Shop

8. Salsa Shop

Tacos have also been taking off this year, and newcomer Salsa Shop is proof that a fixed venue serving tacos, burritos and not a lot else can work. These guys operate a production line of fabulously fresh fillings, including meat, veggies, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsas, which you can mix ‘n match yourself. Most of the salsas (I discovered) are supplied by Best Coast Taqueria. So now you’re supporting two local taco businesses in one fell swoop – hurrah!

Read my full review of Salsa Shop

9. Yummie

Yummie recently moved from the Haarlemmerdijk to the Spaarndammerstraat, and I’d venture to say its sushi got better in those 500 metres. It’s always been tough to find good sushi in Amsterdam (and the search will no doubt continue in 2015), but the Yummie team are doing a good job at a reasonable price. And you can’t say fairer than that.

Read my full review of Yummie

Yummie sushi - Amsterdam restaurant

Sushi that literally is yummie

10. Smokin Barrels

Arguably my most exciting find of 2014, Smokin Barrels sells affordable lobster, posh burgers, mean G&Ts and great beer… And what’s more, it all comes quickly and with a smile. I just love this place. That’s all.

Read my full review of Smokin Barrels

11. Jacketz

A little taste of England, Jacketz has been serving up (you’ve guessed it) stuffed jacket potatoes in Amsterdam’s Oud-West since the autumn. (Although they’ve been busy in Leiden for much longer.) Whether meat or veggie, cold or hot fillings, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a jacket potato for lunch in the middle of a busy work day.

Read my full review of Jacketz

Smokin Barrels - Amsterdam - surf n turf

Surf ‘n turf at Smokin Barrels

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Dec 092014
 
 December 9, 2014  Amsterdam food guide No Responses »

I had an epiphany the other day: instead of replying individually to the hundreds of emails I get asking the same questions, I could just write a few posts answering those very questions. FAQ posts, if you will. This in the hope that either a) people will google their question and find the answer on my site before emailing me; or b) failing that, I’ll at least have a ready-made answer all set to send them. This is so bloomin’ common sense-ical I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. In fact, every other blogger worth their SEO salt has been doing it for years – so I guess it’s time to jump on the bandwagon?

Question: I’m coming to Amsterdam over the Christmas period – which restaurants are open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Tweede Kerstdag to some of you!)?

Answer: This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are a few of the swankier places I’ve heard are open via various newsletters and press releases I receive. And it’s Christmas – so you want to go swanky, right? Incidentally, I’ve not actually been to all these places – so I’m not recommending them (I’m not even reviewing them), I’m just telling you they’re open for business…

Restaurants open in Amsterdam for Christmas 2014

Floor17

I’ve not eaten at Floor17 (although I know a man who has: check out Dutchified’s video) but I have had cocktails at Floor17’s bar. And one thing’s for certain: whatever you think of the food, the view (from 17 storeys high) is amazing. This year, chef Richard Matulessy has put together at 7-course Christmas menu for your delectation.

Conservatorium Hotel

I once had cocktails at the Conservatorium Hotel when I was reviewing it for the World’s Best Bars. The experience nearly bankrupted me (I didn’t get paid expenses), but if you’re feeling flush then chef Schilo van Coevorden has dreamt up a couple of Christmas options. Take your pick from Asian-inspired Taiko (think lobster sashimi and soy-glazed partridge) or keep it more traditional with pumpkin soup and beef wellington from the Conservatorium Brasserie

Bluespoon Restaurant Amsterdam

Bluespoon Restaurant – part of Amsterdam’s Andaz Hotel

Bluespoon

Last year, I had a very nice dinner at Bluespoon, which is good news because the Andaz Hotel’s restaurant is serving up family-style Christmas brunches and dinners on 24, 25 and 26 December.

Jaspers

French meets modern Dutch at this popular high-end kitchen and dining room in de Pijp. Chef Jasper is serving a 6-course Christmas menu, including scallops, duck-liver pate and pork belly, while sommelier Tim can recommend a wine pairing to match.

Carter Bar & Kitchen

I’ve had literally no experience of Carter whatsoever, but Iens tells me they’re serving classic Christmas dishes with a modern twist: ravioli with smoked mozzarella, venison with sprouts, mackerel, oysters and chocolate desserts. At €42.50 per person, it’s the cheapest of the bunch, too.

De Palmboom

Beef, pumpkin soup and mackerel tartar are all on the menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at De Palmboom. The Boxing Day menu takes a similar format but courses are different (they still look seasonal and fairly meaty, however). I’ve never eaten at De Palmboom, but its central location looks handy for visitors to Amsterdam.

Envy

I’ve only eaten at Envy once and I was none too impressed with the diet-sized portions and sullen service, so I never went back. But that was a long time ago and they’re still going strong, so maybe they’ve improved. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, they’re serving a five-course dinner, and on Boxing Day only (26th Dec) they’re serving lunch too.

Julius Bar & Grill

The grill specialists are serving a three-, four- or five-course menu, including jumbo prawns from their Big Green Egg BBQ (naturally) and roasted rib eye. You’ve got to hope the service will be quicker than when I ate at Julius, however, or you’ll be there till New Year’s…

Mazzo

Mazzo is keeping it Italian with a Christmas menu featuring antipasti to start and Panforte with Vin Santo sabayon for dessert (the main in the middle looks more traditional). On Boxing Day, they’re also serving an antipasti-led brunch, so it’ll be Buon Natale all round. I’ve eaten at Mazzo and it wasn’t a great experience (are you starting to see a theme in my opinion of these IQ Creative restaurants?) but it seems to be popular so what do I know?

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