The number of Michelin stars keeps growing in Amsterdam. It has gone up five years in a row now and reached a total of 15.
The biggest contribution came from &samhoud places, which went straight to 2 stars thanks to its molecular gastronomy menu and ability to keep its stars after the move to Amsterdam. While there still is no three star restaurant, 2013 saw four with two stars: &samhoud places, Aan de Poel in Amstelveen, which went from 1 to 2, Ciel Bleu and Ron Blaauw.
Then there are seven restaurants with one star, with Bord’Eau being the lone newcomer.
It will be interesting to see if 2014 will be another year of additional Michelin stars for Amsterdam as Ron Blaauw has changed his formula and gone for great food in a less formal setting and Amsterdam would need to make up for two stars.
The Okura Hotel with its range of restaurants including Michelin stars Ciel Bleu and Yamazato, is putting on a vast Christmas dining program. There’s a Christmas brunch, various dinners with special menus and much more.
While many restaurants are still closed around the holidays, it’s encouraging that we have six options this year compared to only three 12 months ago. So we are pleased to note that restaurants are responding to the demand for dining out on Christmas in Amsterdam.
Ron Blaauw is one of the most prolific Dutch chefs and one of the few to be decorated with two Michelin stars in Amsterdam. He maintained those stars for many years, first in picturesque Ouderkerk aan de Amstel just outside the city, then in Amsterdam proper after his move there.
And then he did the unthinkable: He closed [Dutch] down the two Michelin star restaurant, only to re-open the next day at the same location, but with a different, less formal, menu and setting. And it worked beautifully!
We’ve been on the record for preferring smaller, more personal, less formal and possibly more daring restaurants to the Michelin stars, especially those in hotels. So we were very pleased about the news and eager to try out the all new Ron Gastrobar. And we were not disappointed!
The setting is chic and classy but not formal. The gastrobar takes no reservation, so we just walked in and were welcomed by the young and hip waiting staff. We were quickly shown our table and once seated happy to be greeted by the bartender. He came up with some great suggestions based on our preferences, not settling for safe choices but daring to pitch the unusual and set us up with a “Four More Years”, supposedly invented for Obama’s re-election and nicely combining gin, bubbly egg white and green sencha tea leaves. The cocktail plus the bread in a paper bag with nutty butter and pickles made us feel quite relaxed and inspired.
Like the setting, the menu is very different from the formal Michelin style. It’s basically two pages of dishes at € 15,= each that you can mix and match any way you want. The dishes are a mix of French classics like oysters or a steak tartare, Asian dishes including sushi and also some fusion plates such as a Wagyu burger or grilled Chinese cabbage with marrow and sage.
We went with two dishes per person, which was sufficient but left room for dessert.
Another thing that we liked much better than at most Michelin star restaurants is the wine list. It’s much more modern with many interesting new world wines rather than pages of Bordeaux wines.
The desserts are a similar mix of French classics and Asian influences, as well as cheese from our favorite cheese store L’Amuse just down the road.
Overall, the food was great, in no way less quality than the Michelin star predecessor. And we loved the casual atmosphere, service with a fun attitude and modern menu. Let’s hope this is a new trend!
1075 PB Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 49 61 943
Open Monday to Sunday from 5:30pm.
Public transport: Tram 2 to Amstelveenseweg
Cuisine: French International
Price: €50 to €75 per person
As in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the number of Amsterdam restaurants having been awarded a Michelin star has increased in 2012. And yet again, no restaurant has gone from two to three or even from one to two, but a newcomer has received a first star.
This year it was Restaurant Lastage, located in a marvelous canal house near Nieuwmarkt, that was awarded the much coveted star.
With most Michelin stars in Amsterdam still associated with hotel restaurants, it’s nice to see another independent and less formal restaurant on the list, similarly to Le Restaurant in 2010.
There is now a total of 11 stars in Amsterdam: Ciel Bleu and Ron Blaauw with two each and Aan de Poel, La Rive, Yamazato, Le Restaurant (2010), Vinkeles (2010), Vermeer (2011) and Lastage (2012) with one.
City trips can be tiring. You want to explore all the sites and end up walking around town more than planned. And you will frequently find yourself surrounded by many other tourists who are after the same attractions.
A great option to get some rest is to have lunch at one of the more upscale restaurants in the center of Amsterdam. Lunch at these places is much less formal and expensive than dinner, but still let’s you take in the atmosphere and sample the food.
Two great options for an Amsterdam lunch in style are the Dylan Hotel, home of one Michelin star Vinkeles, and De Belhamel, which has a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
De Belhamel is situated stunningly on Brouwersgracht right where Herengracht ends. From the dining room or the terrace you have an unobstructed view of the length of Herengracht. The lunch menu features fancy sandwiches, a ciabatta with vitello tonato for example, various salads and pasta. We quite enjoyed the spaghetti with pancetta and rucola. While the food and service are ambitious, the vibe is quite informal as the space is small and the personnel friendly.
The Dylan Hotel is another oasis of tranquility where you can enjoy lunch in a classy environment. Right next to the Michelin star kitchen of restaurant Vinkeles, you sit down in style in the lounge. The tables are set beautifully and the service is very attentive. The menu is a nice mix of simpler and haute cuisine dishes. There are a club sandwich with fries and a hamburger with cheddar cheese, but also dried fruit bread with melted tallegio or Gillardeau oysters. Our favorite was a sourdough bread with cream cheese and iberico ham.
Hopefully having lunch in style will help you recharge and enjoy the buzz of the city the rest of the day!
1013 GX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 6221095
Public Transport: Tram 1, 2, 5, 13 or 17 to Martelaarsgracht
Price: €15 to €25 per person (lunch)
1016 GB Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 5302010
Public Transport: Tram 1, 2, or 5 to Spui
Price: €15 to €25 per person (lunch)
The Okura hotel Amsterdam keeps innovating around its Michelin star restaurants Ciel Bleu and Yamazato. First there was the cool “Dine Around The Okura” concept where foodies could enjoy a dinner split between the two top restaurants. Then the Okura introduced an ambitious lineup of high quality cooking workshops in a newly opened kitchen.
The latest initiative is a unique six course dinner by three German guest chefs combining for a total of eight Michelin stars! The extravaganza will set you back € 249,= plus € 160,= for wine pairings and promises to be a once in a lifetime experience including free limo service. Reservations can be made online.