Box Sociaal secured its credentials with its stand-out brunch, mind-blowing burgers and mega helpings of Aussie charm. The team has now moved on to conquer the evening menu with a seamless fusion of flavours from around the world constructed into playful, well-thought-out dishes. Stand out plates include the compressed watermelon dusted with feta snow and dukkah or the chef’s take on bibimbap - made from gochujang spiced pork belly lovingly prepared over several days. Alongside an excellent natural wine list, the bespoke cocktail menu has been created by the mixologist masterminds behind Vesper Bar, featuring perhaps the best negroni you’ll find in town. For dessert, you need to try the churros flavoured with pandan leaf (a fragrant Southeast Asian aromatic) and a lemongrass and lime white choccy dipping sauce. Good vibes all round.
Gollem aan het Water
Located right behind the zoo, Gollem aan het Water is a fantastic little neighbourhood bar with a colossal beer selection. Unlike your typical brown cafe, the space inside is bright and airy with large French doors that open out onto a sunny stretch of Entrepotdok. From the terrace, you have views across to Artis so you can glimpse the bobbing heads of elephants and hear the sea lions for free. The bar stocks over 130 beers, the most local of which are brewed right here in Amsterdam along with Dutch and Belgian classics. If the selection is a little overwhelming you can go for a tasting flight ft. optional cheese board to ease you in.
The mouth-watering image above should tell you everything you need to know about SOTTO, De Plantage’s very own Neapolitan-inspired pizza joint. The components for each pizza are expertly-sourced; San Marzano tomatoes (the exceptionally flavourful ones grown in volcanic soil) are used for the sauce and high-quality toppings like buffalo mozzarella are procured straight from Italy. The wood-fired brick oven was built especially by an Italian oven-building master and the restaurant hopes to get its stamp of approval from the guardians of pizza authenticity - the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana - any day now.
Enjoy great coffee, brunch dishes and a dazzling spread of cakes and pastries at Dignita, a sun-soaked cafe set in the exquisite surroundings of the Hoftuin. A window seat overlooking the garden or on the spacious terrace is the perfect spot for lunch with mum, friends, or maybe just to read the paper. As you’re munching on carrot cake or the signature eggs benedict (two particularly highly-rated items on the menu), you can absolutely feel good because the restaurant is part of a not-for-profit initiative that helps vulnerable adults to get back into the workplace.
Cafe Eik & Linde
This classic brown bar in the heart of De Plantage has a warm atmosphere and a long history. The first incarnation of the drinking hole opened in 1772 with a location slap bang in the middle of Artis where the wolf enclosure is today. The new Eik & Linde IV has been around since 1967 and you can tell that many cosy drinking sessions have taken place there over the decades. Expect to find a great selection of bottled brews and reasonably priced draught beers to take over the billiard table for a couple of rounds. There’s also a good stock of board games to while away some hours with friends and a hearty selection of traditional Dutch dishes to try on the menu.
Originally started as a backyard hobby smokehouse, Frank’s has been producing culinary delicacies for over 20 years. The restaurant (which opened more recently) showcases the surprising versatility of the traditional smoking process. Of course on the menu you’ll find high-quality fish and charcuterie dishes but have you ever tried the subtle flavours of lightly smoked tofu, burrata, crab or tomatoes? In the deli-style shop you can pick up delicious sandwiches to take-away with you for lunch alongside fresh bread, soups and salads all prepared with top quality ingredients straight from the smokehouse.
Cafe-Restaurant de Plantage
The lantern-lit sycamore trees and expansive terrace of Cafe-Restaurant de Plantage on the beautiful Artisplein make it perhaps the most romantic setting to dine in the city. Situated in the heart of Amsterdam’s pleasure gardens, the elegant conservatory restaurant exudes sophistication coupled with a laid-back atmosphere and large windows overlooking the zoo’s flamingo enclosure. The menu is inspired by Mediterranean and Levantine flavours with dishes like Basque fish soup, marinated lamb or oyster shawarma with tabbouleh demonstrating the creativity and skill of the chefs.
De Groene Olifant
This cosy pub, De Groene Olifant, has been a well-loved neighbourhood haunt for generations. The 19th-century wood-panelled bar and art-deco stained glass are reminders of the building’s history whilst the modern decor creates a fresh bohemian vibe without falling prey (like some bars in the area) to being overbearingly hip. In the lofted dining room you can choose from a short but tasty list of lunch, dinner and snacking options and there is a large street-side terrace that’s popular with locals on a warm evening.
The attentive service and surprising flavours at Entrepot make it one of the most delightful casual fine-dining experiences in the city. Inside, the atmosphere is comfortable and breezy with decor that’s reminiscent of a converted loft space. The chefs adjust the menu daily with a focus on fish, vegetables and game dishes sourced according to seasonal availability. Each plate has a deceptive simplicity where humble ingredients like fennel or beetroot are lovingly-prepared and given space to shine.
Borrl Kitchen Deli
This colourful delicatessen offers an assortment of delicious lunch options and snack boxes that would add flare to any outdoor picnic. The display cases dazzle with freshly baked bread and pastries to pair perfectly with a takeaway soup or a selection of home-made dips, cheeses and charcuterie. If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about a pulled-pork sandwich, truffle fries or a slice of cheesy flammkuchen? Carry your haul over to Wertheim Park which is just around the corner or find a scenic spot by the canal along the Overloopplantsoen.