Until about a decade ago, fine dining in Amsterdam was a little thin on the ground. There were a few stuffy, formal, French restaurants with Michelin stars, but not a lot else. Fortunately, that’s now all changed and there are lots of creative, high-end restaurants displaying their international influences in new and innovative ways. I’ve selected 10 of my favourites, but there are plenty more that didn’t make this list – not because they’re lacking in quality but because I’ve not visited them recently enough to write confidently about them. Whatever you think about the Michelin Guide, it’s still a pretty reliable yardstick when it comes to fine dining – including in Amsterdam – so if you’re planning for a special occasion, I’d recommend taking a look at Michelin’s shortlist as well.
Parts of this post are taken from my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide. Want to find out more about fine dining restaurants plus all the other cuisine Amsterdam has to offer? Download the guide here:
The first time I ate at WILS, it had not yet received a Michelin star; but I was unsurprised that by the second time, it had. In a spacious location on Stadionplein, WILS’s concept involves cooking over a combination of wood fire, smoking hay, burning embers and whatever else they can set alight (including beef fat!). Be sure to book a “kitchen table” (rather than a “classic table”) for the best views of the chefs in action. This is seriously accomplished cooking with big yet refined flavours. For the best experience, get the chef’s tasting menu with all the wine pairings – pricey but worth it.
I discovered Breda on my fifth anniversary of meeting my other half, which just so happened to be the day we announced our engagement. So my circumstances were not exactly unbiased, but I can honestly say my meal that night was one of the best I’d tasted in months – if not years. From the runner beans that took me straight back to childhood in my parents’ garden, to the horseradish and wild-garlic dressing that pepped up otherwise-ordinary greens, to the smoky grilled flavour of rib-eye and corn – everything I tasted was spectacular. It’s been just as good when I’ve been back to Breda since.
Speaking of anniversaries, Mr Foodie and I went to Sinne for our fifth wedding anniversary recently. It’s one of those restaurants that’s been around forever (and has had a Michelin star for a while too) but for some reason I’d never been. I’m glad I rectified that because it was a stellar experience all round. We opted for five courses with paired wines, of which the first two were my favourites: BBQ leek with marinated seaweed and ponzu caviar was zingy, smoky and citrusy. Meanwhile, sepia and chorizo came roasted with courgette, black olives, yoghurt and sauce of smoky grilled peppers – a nod to the Middle East. You can’t visit Sinne without trying their signature egg/celeriac/truffle dish – it’s highly accomplished, albeit the black truffle was a little potent for my anti-mushroom palate. When I posted about Sinne on Instagram, one follower described it as “understated romance”. I couldn’t agree more.
Equally understated and under the radar, Graham’s Kitchen is a culinary enclave down an often overlooked street sandwiched between Van Woustraat and the Amstel river. Like many of Amsterdam’s best chefs, Graham Mee doesn’t offer much choice: you’re invited to order between three and six courses, with the option to take the wine pairings with whichever courses you like. I’ve been to Graham’s on several occasions now – including a recent visit with my parents, who were visiting for the first time since covid. And his flavour combinations never disappoint: on my first visit, he served a creative take on the English breakfast (Chef Graham is from Liverpool) featuring black pudding, egg and bacon. On my latest visit, we were treated to Asian-inspired versions of tuna tartare, skate wing and Iberico pork. A party on the palate and a great evening out.
Daalder blew me away with its modern European cuisine way back in 2013. Since then, it’s seen a lot of changes but in the intervening years, chef Dennis Huwaë has racked up a Michelin star along the way – so I can’t be the only one who thinks this restaurant is exceptional. Standout dishes for me were the amuse-bouche of tomato sorbet and parmesan foam, plus the duck breast with a delightful potje of potato, beetroot and horseradish that perked up the palate no end. Daalder may not be all bitterballen and Gouda – but its ingredients are no less local for their international influences.
There’s very little Dutch food in Amsterdam that’s both sophisticated and true to its traditions. But Floreyn walks that line perfectly. Think bitterballen, but then filled with Messeklever cheese and served with smoked beetroot, radish, apple and fennel. Or mustard soup that’s been deconstructed into a clear broth with cheese foam and three types of mustard. Even dessert used local, seasonal vegetables: carrot and parsnip ice cream with a sweet hutspot and citrusy crème brulée. It may not be cheap, but the quality of Floreyn’s food and wines, as well as its great location, is more than worth the price tag.
Featuring huge windows giving out onto the River IJ and with its unique location on the starkly angular glass-and-steel IJdok, MOS is very distinctive to look at. The food, much like the interior, is both modern and slightly opulent; international but with distinct nods to the chef’s Dutch heritage. On the international end of the spectrum, our amuse-bouche was North African baba ganoush with a crispy tapioca cookie and warmly spiced mayo. Our starter of langoustine with pork belly and pineapple had a sweet, slightly charred, Southern US barbecue flavour to it. Meanwhile, gurnard came with a creamy mousse made of mature Dutch cheese, potato and just-charred cauliflower. Every dish was well thought out, balanced and not overly heavy. Plus, the waiting staff were knowledgeable about their menu and their (paired) wines, but relaxed in their interactions with customers. A memorable experience.
Inside, restaurant Mont Blanc is like a Swiss chalet (albeit a very fancy one): everything smells of pine wood, there’s a roaring log fire, leather sofa, sheepskins on the lounge chairs by the entrance… It’s the perfect spot to decompress after a hard day’s skiing (I mean, working) with a glass of bubbles and some amuse-bouches before making your way to your table. We plumped for the five-course fixed menu, the first of which involved the humble leek – elevated to new heights with trout roe and smoked hay. Next up came a take on oeuf en meurette: a rich bowl of slow-cooked egg yolk with an onion purée and a decadent reduction of Persan – a Savoie red wine that paired perfectly with the Pinot Noir we drank with it. But perhaps my favourite course was the fish: a medley of crisp-skinned perch, tiny sweet crayfish, creamy bisque and Swiss chard. The cheese trolley was also a huge hit. Dinner at Mont Blanc comes at fine dining prices, but every detail is taken care of – from the crockery to the wine pairings.
Blue Pepper is essentially serving a fine-dining-meets-rijsttafel version of Indonesian food. That’s not to say that the atmosphere is stuffy or pretentious, but the service is a cut above your regular Amsterdam restaurant, the presentation of the food is a notch fancier, and you can order paired wines with everything. Plus, Blue Pepper has opted to serve their rijsttafel in courses (so you can savour each item individually), rather than plonking everything on the table at once. I’ve seen restaurants try to posh-up rijsttafel before, and the flavour suffered as a consequence. But at Blue Pepper, you’ll still find the punchy flavours and chilli kicks you’d expect from the best Indonesian food but in an upscale atmosphere.
Great for sharing and trying new things, Ron Gastrobar is all about fine dining meeting fun – special but informal. The menu offers a couple of dozen shareable dishes, which can be brought to your table in whatever order you like, meaning that dinner doesn’t descend into a free-for-all tapas affair (unless of course you want it to). Ron Blaauw is one of Holland’s great chefs, with his meat being a particular highlight.