By Rob Crossan
This story originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
Its days as the world’s greatest port city may be centuries past and its reputation as a center for backpacker hedonism may be abating, many would say thankfully. But, at a pace akin to the languid flow of the canals that traverse Amsterdam, so the cultural waters of the city glide and ripple anew at a pace that unfailingly pleases. Two showstopper museums, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum, have recently reopened after huge renovations and the dining scene, long lagging behind the likes of Berlin and Brussels, has finally expanded beyond Indonesian and Edam with an impressive range of food halls, organic markets and young chefs rethinking the Dutch larder. It’s all, typically for this nation, understated and consensual in approach – bellicose bombast is very much for other cities. But for stylishness and quirkiness in equal measure, this is a weekend break destination that continues to quietly beguile.
Ron Gastrobar Oriental
Two years ago Ron Blaauw decided to rip up his formal, Michelin-starred restaurant and create an entirely new, more informal restaurant in the same space. The result is a buzzy, wildly popular joint with stripped-down dishes that don’t compromise or fuss. Try the Jerusalem artichokes with crispy veal brains and pickles or the unctuous cauliflower with truffle cream, black pudding and Pierre Robert cheese.
On the south bank of the IJ River, this pretty, bright red building is home to renowned chef Merijn van Berlo’s new venture, and is a breezy, informal spot with dishes brimming with distinct, original flavors such as pork belly with pig’s trotters bouillon, squid noodles, onion puree, sprouts, kale and spelt.
Ignore the baffling name of this haute retreat in Overveen and concentrate on Moshik Roth’s supremely confident, and often outright thrilling, high-end comfort food. Dishes come thick and fast on the tasting menu, with highlights including sweetbreads with polenta, croutons, shaved mushrooms and parmesan. Leave room for the knockout dessert option of bonbon with a sublime beetroot, hollandaise and mascarpone filling.