10 of the Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Amsterdam
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 made a curated list of my favourites, but there are plenty more that I’ve not visited (or not visited recently enough). 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 their shortlist of Michelin-starred restaurants in Amsterdam as well.
Reservations at fine dining and Michelin star restaurants
Wherever you eat in Amsterdam, but at fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants in particular, you’ll need to make a reservation. Many of the restaurants below have their own reservation systems that use platforms like Formitable to book your table and take a deposit, which is deducted from your bill at the end. You can also sometimes find good deals on TripAdvisor. Whatever you do, however, please avoid websites like Appointment Trader that charge you to make reservations. They are the ticket touts/scalpers of the restaurant world, and are making fine dining experiences even less accessible and affordable for diners.
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’ 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 Mr Foodie, 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 several times since.
Speaking of anniversaries, Mr Foodie and I went to Sinne for our fifth wedding anniversary in summer 2022. 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. 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.
I’d first come across 101 Gowrie during a lockdown takeaway situation back in the dark days of 2020. But my dinner there in 2023 was a far cry from those fancy ready meals. From the rose-hued sea bream with vanilla ponzu, to the ludicrously umami anchovy egg custard, to the simple but perfectly formed dumplings with eel dashi – everything we ate was utterly exquisite. An accomplished fusion of Japanese flavours with local ingredients. Plus, the bread – oh, the bread! Every diner got their own individual sort of brioche tower with whipped butter that was almost cheesy from the addition of kefir. And not only did Chef Alex Haupt and his team do a stellar job on the food menu; the wine list was expertly curated, too. In my wine geek opinion, the 2020 Mosel Riesling was a stroke of perfectly balanced genius.
Within six months of opening, Troef is fully booked pretty much every night. And this despite it being down a very unprepossessing side street off the River Amstel in the location once occupied by Pizza Heart. But I understand why: walking into Troef, we were shaken by the hand and were immediately on first name terms with the maître d’. The service continued to be beyond friendly, while the interior glowed with a warm, convivial atmosphere that was part ski chalet, part French bistro, part Dutch café. The food was casual but creative: the signature dish appeared to be the Giethoorn eel with crispy potatoes and a horseradish foam. We were sitting at the bar, and must’ve seen hundreds of these paling towers being prepped in the kitchen in front of us. It was salty, sweet and mildly fiery from the horseradish, and went perfectly with a glass of German Pinot Blanc. We stuck with the fishy theme, continuing with a velouté of clams, mussels, crayfish and sea lavender, with a hint of spice from ‘nduja. I also loved the lobster with an antiboise of baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, creamy bisque and zesty orange. Be sure to ask for a peek inside Troef’s wine cellar as well – it’s an oenophile’s dream.
I’d been an Amsterdammer for a whopping 17 years before I finally made it to restaurant Vermeer – next door to, and part of, the luxurious Amsterdam Barbizon Palace hotel. That’s quite the omission when you consider that Chef Chris Naylor and team have held a Michelin star or two for much of the past 30 years. The night I dined there (a pre-anniversary celebration in October 2023), I was particularly impressed by the first course of mackerel-stuffed courgette flower with a grapefruit broth. Tricky to pair with wine, but the sommelier had laid her hands on an aged Sancerre that had a skunky, oily, herbaceous character that really did the dish justice. I’m not generally a dessert person, but I also loved the Jerusalem artichoke and sesame number that came as our final course (perhaps because the constituent parts are not typical dessert ingredients!). The skate wing and beetroot fish course and the duck-based meaty main were a little more pedestrian, but no less tasty for it. And the sommelier did a spectacular job all round. An elegant, sophisticated, dining experience.
Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at Vermeer as a journalist, and I didn’t pay for my meal. Obviously I try to be as objective as possible, but I always disclose when I’ve had a freebie.
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 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.
A bowl of ramen might not be something you’d readily peg as fine dining. But Fuku Ramen is here to prove us all wrong. Opening in spring 2023, word of mouth quickly spread about this Japanese restaurant with its regularly changing fixed five- or six-course menu, culminating in some of the finest ramen Amsterdam has to offer. But before you get to that, you’ll be treated to all sorts of tasty morsels, plus a whole range of sake. On the evening we visited, highlights included lobster gyoza with lobster-head cream and oyster leaves; monkfish with BBQ bimi, burnt butter and a sauce based on sake residue, which made it taste almost cheesy; and an umami-tastic fermented tomato dish. All this was followed up with a rich tontoksu broth housing homemade noodles, smoky pork loin and the usual ramen trimmings. I’m not usually a sake fan but, with the help of our sake-sommelier, I discovered that I really liked the Ryusei Hibi Kimoto Junmaishu sake: for me, it had the freshness of unripe melon with the earthiness of forest mushrooms. A memorable meal that left me more than a little impressed.
Other fine dining restaurants in Amsterdam that deserve a mention
The restaurants below are ones that I’ve visited and very much enjoyed at the time, but so long ago that I can no longer confidently recommend them. They may have changed; they may not. But still worth a visit!
Daalder –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.
MOS – 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.
Kaagman & Kortekaas–Kaagman & Kortekaas is somewhere I’d happily bring work colleagues for a leaving do, a group of friends for a dinner splurge, or really anyone I wanted to impress food-wise without the atmosphere being either pretentious or overly romantic. The kitchen is creative and modern, using plenty of local game and seasonal ingredients.
Ron Gastrobar– Ron Blaauw is one of Holland’s great chefs, with his meat being a particular highlight. His original and most famous restaurant is Ron Gastrobar, where fine dining meets a fun, casual vibe.