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.
We have always missed a good tapas restaurant in Amsterdam. Until we heard of Restaurante Madrid in Amsterdam West. Located on the corner of Bellamystraat and Ten Katestraat, not exactly one of the foodie neighborhoods of town, Madrid delivers: A typical Spanish interior with wooden furniture, lots of wine and ham on display and colorful artwork. A friendly Spanish waiting staff that knows and loves Spanish cuisine. A menu that has all the tapas classics as well as some lesser known specialties. And last but not least well executed dishes across the board.
On one of the few pleasant evenings of this summer, we sat outside and eagerly poured over the menu. Making decisions wasn’t easy with too many of the tapas and pinchos sounding appealing. Luckily the waitress was more than happy to help out with recommendations and while doing so also set us up with an incredibly fruity Priorat wine that wasn’t on the wine list. We love restaurants that go the extra mile to make their guests happy and Restaurante Madrid certainly came through!
As for the tapas, we went with a large selection to share and let us sample as many as possible. We especially liked the classics. The Iberico ham was very smooth, the bacalao had great flavor and the patatas bravas a perfect sauce. Of the specials, the marinated pork with white beans and the chorizo in dough hit the spot.
Over a second bottle of the Priorat we started chatting with the next table, a group of Spaniards living in the neighborhood that had discovered Restaurante Madrid recently and quickly became regulars. When leaving, they asked us to keep the secret about this great restaurant as to not spoil a good thing.
Tel.: +31 (0)20 4899375
Public Transport: Trams 7 or 17 to Ten Katestraat
Price: €50 per person
Dutch-Belgian couple Madelief and Jean Michel, the owners, describe Madelief as the slowest restaurant in the Netherlands. They want you to take the time to savor the flavors and enjoy your company. And they do their utmost to make you feel at home for an evening of traditional French dishes and wine.
You might actually need some patience locating Madelief, off the beaten path in a residential street near Vondelpark, and marked only by a small table with a lantern and a chalkboard in the window with the daily specials. The inside is decorated sparsely, with bare brick walls, simple chairs and tables, visible cabling and the sliding mechanism of the bathroom door equipped with a big old jar filled with salt as counterweight. While simple, the decor is welcoming due to a lot of personal touches and eye for detail like your name written on a small chalkboard to hold your reservation. Everything puts you in the mood for slow food, although the chairs felt somewhat uncomfortable at the end of a long dinner.
Having found our table, we were generously welcomed with an aperitif of pear cider and an amuse of very flavorful local North Sea shrimp. The menu is small and distinctly French. And the host was happy to help us navigate between paté and fois gras and suggest the right wines, of which a few special ones were not on the list.
By now we had nicely settled down into slow food mode. And the starters of scallops with a wonderfully creamy saffron risotto and paté with quail and onion confit were well worth the wait. The many distinct flavors came together perfectly. The mains were equally satisfying. A well prepared monkfish with a smooth buttery sauce and, the highlight, quail filled with fois gras and an intense truffle sauce. Only for professionals, the menu had stated, and Madelief certainly had managed to get amazing flavors going in this dish. We loved the food, but would caution vegetarians and people with a distaste for fois gras against Madelief.
Madelief is not for everyone, and that’s exactly how the hosts intend it to be. But if you are a foodie who enjoys traditional cooking and loves to take their time savoring their flavors, you must venture out to Zocherstraat and pay Madelief and Jean Michel a visit. Ask them for recommendations and let them guide you through a slow paced evening of wining and dining.
Madelief (no website)
1054 LX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 6122000
Public Transport: Tram 1 to Overtoomsesluis
Price: €70 per person
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)
Our lists of the Best Amsterdam Restaurants or the Best Brunch or Best Pizza are very popular. And while we’ve been wanting to post a list of cool restaurants for a while we’ve been reluctant as this blog is about the best food and not the most exciting design or hippest crowd.
Luckily there are a number of restaurants that have it all. They stand out for being trendy – drawing the in crowd and looking stylish. But they also serve great food. And they have made the first version of dutchgrub’s Trendiest Amsterdam Restaurants list. Be sure to check it out and read about Bistrot Neuf, De Kas and Hotel De Goudfazant.
Note: Unfortunately Kaap Kot has closed doors as of January 2012.
The other day we were asked for a recommendation for New Year’s Eve on Twitter. A special yet cozy place in the city. This immediately made me think of Kaap Kop, which unfortunately is closed for NYE, but is definitely one of those rare places that are located right in the city and still manage to have a very calm and remote feel to them.
The concept of Kaap Kot is to temporarily occupy a space that the city planners have designated for future development. This has given Kaap Kot access to vast locations with amazing views and peacefulness as the surrounding areas are mostly unoccupied. It has also led the owners to use a simple but cool metal building structure that can be quickly disassembled and reassembled in a different location.
After a few years on IJdijk, south of the IJ, just west of A10 exit S114, Kaap Kot is currently located on Korte Ouderkerkerdijk. The location is amazing, sitting on the banks of the Amstel, by what rowers know as the grote bocht – or great bend – a very wide part of the river, opposite the Amstel train station and Rembrandt tower. You get a great view of the business center while sitting quietly surrounded by docks and a rowing club.
Kaap kot is great for summer lunches out on their terrace, but also for winter dinners when it provides refuge and coziness. The decor is simple and the menu Mediterranean. For lunch Kaap Kot serves fancy sandwiches, salads, soup and some pasta dishes. For dinner there are also some simple fish and meat dishes with salad and french fries.
Korte Ouderkerkerdijk 30
1096 AC Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 463 71 58
Public Transport: Metro to Spaklerweg
Price: €25 to €40 per person