De Drie Fleschjes
Anyone with a strictly anthropological interest in Dutch drinking culture needs to head down to De Drie Fleschjes (the three little bottles), the oldest tasting room in the city. Located at the base of the Nieuwe Kerk, this well-worn proeflokaal was established in 1650, serving up jenever (a clear spirit flavoured with juniper), liqueurs and local beers to generations of patrons. The bartenders will be happy to give you advice on what to sample from the authentic casks displayed behind the old-timey bar. In-house bar snacks are as traditional as the tipples, including ossenworst (ox-sausage), meatballs in gravy and Beemster cheese with mustard. Lekker!
Top tip: with the I amsterdam City Card, you’ll get a free shot of jenever to wet your whistle after a day of exploring.
This beautifully renovated 18th-century dining room and concert hall on Keizersgracht is the perfect setting to tuck into some haute cuisine. Restaurant Felix owes its name to the historic building it is housed in: the Felix Meritus, a society building opened in 1788 for scientists, artists and free-thinkers. The seven-course tasting menu continues this spirit of innovation whilst showcasing the finest Dutch ingredients with an optional wine pairing developed by one of the city’s expert sommeliers.
This oppressively stylish drinking joint feels like it belongs in a sci-fi movie rather than a 17th-century house in historic central Amsterdam. Kick-ass cocktails, beer, wine and bites that will make your tongue dance are served until late. The chefs and bartenders regularly team up to create food and drink pairing evenings that always relish the playful and unexpected. The venue is part of Kimpton de Witt, a boutique hotel that exudes equal energy and freshness.
Restaurant-Café In de Waag
Located in one of the city’s precious monuments, the origins of De Waag date back to a mindblowing 1450. The building was originally a city gate, a weighhouse and then, fascinatingly a doctor’s clubhouse for public autopsies. Start the day right with breakfast and spectacular views from the terrace over the historic old town. Or, make a reservation for dinner when the medieval walls are illuminated by hundreds of candles and breath an especially romantic atmosphere. The menu showcases the very best of European and Dutch cuisine with some crowd-pleasing Asian dishes thrown in for good measure.
If it’s treat day, you’ll need macarons and The Duchess is hands down the place to find them. This lavish tea room at the W Amsterdam hotel serves up one of the best high teas in the city, known for its inventive selection of dainty snacks. Chomp your way through a dazzling platter of delights which might range from king crab brioche sarnies, peach and caramel tartlets, fragrant fruit pastries and freshly-baked sponge cakes. Sip on some of the finest tea blends to wash this down. Alternatively, the Champagne menu is absolutely to die for, darling.
Shaken, not stirred. This tiny bar, named after the only Bond Girl that James ever truly loved, is firmly acknowledged as one of the city’s best cocktail institutions. Vesper’s menu is an extensive list of expertly mixed concoctions for curious drinkers where surprising flavours and having a good time are the top priority. The warm hospitality is genuine and the staff are sincere, creating a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere for all guests - cocktail buff or not.
In de Wildeman
Amsterdam’s craft and specialty beer scene has been popping off in recent decades, with dozen of breweries (micro and macro) doing very exciting things with hops. Housed in a former distillery dating back to 1690, In de Wildeman is one of the best craft beer bars around, with a weekly changing selection of 18 draft beers and more than 250 varieties of bottled brews and ciders. The focus is primarily on Dutch and Belgian Trappist beers, but you can also enjoy English ales, American styles and German pilsners for a true world tour.
Restaurant Vermeer’s kitchens are the laboratory of British-born chef, Christopher Naylor, whose boundary-pushing dishes and robust flavours have earned him consecutive Michelin stars since 2011. Indulge in fascinating flavour combinations as humble vegetables and locally sourced produce - artichokes, langoustine, gooseberries, monkfish, venison and kohlrabi - are transformed into unpretentious and delicious works of culinary art.
Now a household name for most locals, New King is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam, located in the heart of Chinatown on the colourful Zeedijk. This hotspot is known for its dim sum and sharing dishes prepared the traditional way in sizzling woks. Food is brought out fairly quickly to the table, making it an ideal pitstop to devour lunch or dinner. Stars on the menu include all the family favourites: wonton soup, prawn dumplings, spring rolls, pork belly, stuffed aubergines and of course, the chef’s speciality, Peking Duck.
Tucked away on a cobbled side street, this is a cosy living-room cafe with a big heart and even bigger flavours. At Gartine, all produce is sourced directly from the kitchen garden and local region, with all dishes falling under the ethos of the “Slow Food” movement. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or high-tea, the menu features sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads and eggs benedict procured from only the happiest of hens.
Tales & Spirits
Every drink poured at this cosy cocktail bar and restaurant comes with its own tall tale and backstory behind it. The friendly bartenders will help you navigate through the biblically-proportioned menu and push you out of your comfort zone to find flavour combinations that truly wow you. The bar menu encompasses some of the world’s best fried snacks and is available until late to ensure you stay firmly on your stool.