The Netherlands is not known for mouth-watering cuisine, stroopwafels and bitterballen aside. But, lately, Amsterdam has been experiencing something of a foodie revolution: new restaurants are opening up left, right and centre, bringing with them interesting new trends.
For me, the most noticeable shift has been in favour of breakfast. Dutchies are traditionally indoor people and as a child my family never went out for breakfast. I really do mean never; it just wasn’t a thing Dutchies did. But now places serving top-quality breakfast and brunch menus are popping up all over the city, and it has become extremely common for people to meet friends for a morning meal. My favourites for this are Vinnies Deli, Filter and De Bakkerswinkel (their scones!).
Amsterdam food blogger Michelle van der Vliet, from Story154.com, is an authority on the city’s food revival, with her blog, also called ‘the culinary guide to Amsterdam’, reviewing the city’s best restaurants and latest food fads.
A long-time Amsterdam resident, she started her blog three years ago.
“People kept coming to me for recommendations on where to go for the best food in the city. So I decided to start my blog with my own personal recommendations,” she says.
The blog profiles a range of eateries from hidden gems, new hotspots to high-end establishments, but Michelle insists they have to “deliver on three criteria to get featured: high quality goods, nice service and great design.”
While Amsterdam is not defined by a particular food culture, as Italy is, she believes this is the city’s strength, ‘We have a bustling food scene with lots of foreign influences. We have been open to these cultures for centuries and still are, and it shows in our willingness to incorporate and try other cuisines, and give them our own Dutch twist.’
Michelle says she has her work cut out keeping up with the upsurge in new restaurants, “Every week, a new [one] opens up. Amsterdam’s food scene is very much alive and kicking!”
So I asked her to give us a snapshot of the latest foodie trends that have emerged in the city.
“Dutchies are not people who are used to eating breakfast outdoors. A few years ago, I tried writing a post on cafes that opened early on weekdays, but I could hardly find any. Now with the influx of many expats, loads of really great breakfast joints have opened that are wonderful for business meetings or having a quick catch-up with your friends before work. A few that spring to mind are Breakfast Club, The Lobby at Hotel V and De Laatste Kruimel.”
Food & Drink Combinations
“Drink and food complement each other in the most perfect way, and that’s been neglected a bit in the past. Now [Amsterdam] is making up for it, with combinations such as pizza & prosecco, burgers & beer, cocktails & lobsters and mussels & gin. Don’t miss Mossel & Gin in Westerpark and Smokin’ Barrels.”
“Burgers are still going strong. The use of quality ingredients has turned them from a fast food into a quality dish. There are so many great places. I have about twenty recommendations, but definitely try Burgerlijk Amsterdams, The Beef Chief (a food truck) or Lombardo’s.”
“KFC to Rotisserie, as I like to describe it. Chicken is the new craze. It’s slowly roasted and oh so yummy. Go to the De Clercqstraat, where you’ll find a few places. I recommend Rijssel for top quality, and also love Biertuin, Van ’t Spit
and Rotisserie Amsterdam.”
“The focus is on local ingredients and providers rather than big chains. We have lots of little breweries and local brews you may want to try. I’m not big on beer, but I recommend Oedipus Brewery and Brouwerij ’t IJ.”
“Homemade with quality ingredients is the key. Lots of places grind their own beans or have their own blend. I tend to go to Lot Sixty One, Head First, Scandinavian Embassy or Vinnie’s Deli for their cappuccino.”
“People that don’t drink alcohol will be happy to hear there’s a soda revolution going on. There’s so many sodas, like Belvoir and Fentimans, that offer just that little bit more than a coke. I buy them at Stach, Marqt or Bilder & de Clerq.”