BARS AND CAFES
One of an impressive batch of new bakeries, ex-De Kas baker Maarten Langeslag’s Fort Negen lives up to the hype with fluffy madeleines, scrumptious strawberry and pannacotta cruffins, decadent gorgonzola croissants and marvellous sourdough specialities - fermented for 26 hours and baked to dark-crusted perfection. Yum!
Tea connoisseurs should make a beeline for Moychay Tearoom, which boasts over 30 types of premium loose-leaf teas (including red, green and herbal teas as well as pu-erhs, oolongs, mate and sandalwood). It’s also a treasure trove of teaware and accessories including wood-fired bowls and handcrafted teapots.
Café de Waard
Looking to attract locals back to Leidseplein, Café de Waard has undergone a terrific transformation from tourist trap to trendy Parisian-style eatery. A 140 m2 patio brings international allure to the famous square with comfortable booths that offer plenty of privacy amid the bustle and a menu of brasserie classics such as steak tartare, oysters and Caesar salad with chicken goujons.
Trust the trio known as 3WO (“Three Wise Men from the East”) to emerge from the lockdown with three (!) awesome additions to their Amsterdam hospitality empire. ARIE op de hoek, an “ode to old-style brown bars”, has an all-day menu offering everything from classic Amsterdam ossenworst (smoked raw beef sausage) to avo toast and a cosy corner patio perfect for people-watching in modish De Pijp. Another contemporary take on the bruin café, De Neef van Fred is set to open soon and promises some inviting waterside seating. Meanwhile, nearby Biertuin West, the third of 3WO’s successful beer gardens with a focus on Dutch craft beer, burgers and rotisserie chicken, has opened with a mega-terrace on Mercatorplein.
We can’t say enough good things about the new cocktail brunch at Celia, which includes two dishes per person plus sharable carafes of Mimosa, Bellini or Bloody Mary. There’s something for everyone, from comforting classics (think fluffy lemon ricotta pancake stacks, housemade bagels with smoked fish, and warm cinnamon buns with tonka bean glaze) to veg-led options like smoked mushroom tacos, kimchi-fried quinoa, and romanesco with green garlic and Meyer lemon.
Head through the 400-year-old Hoogkamersgang passageway to find a charming courtyard where the city’s cognoscenti once crowded over biertjes discussing life, love and the arts. Today, Restaurant Bellezza artfully continues the tradition by pairing 5 courses of fine dining with matching audio-visual effects. The first four courses of the moveable feast are served downstairs, where images of Italian frescoes and the operatic poetry of Puccini accompany sea bass tartare, avocado cream and lime leaf vinaigrette with feather-light focaccia and tomato butter. Upstairs, in a candy floss coloured chamber with angelic wall art, a generous dessert course awaits.
Tip: the cosy bar is a perfect place to enjoy a digestif while admiring the original wooden beams and floor of this former spice warehouse at the heart of the Red Light District.
About halfway down the eclectic market street named for a 17th-century humanist and early champion of the multi-cultural society, you’ll find the recently transformed Bar-Bistro Bravour. It should, perhaps, be no surprise that it’s the seafood dishes that shine at this former “fish bar”. We particularly enjoyed the drunken oysters doused in Pornstar Martini and the scallops in tom kha kai sauce, but you’ll also find more meaty dishes on the menu, such as steak with port jus and vegetarian options like deep-fried cauliflower with truffle and garlic beurre noisette.
Rasoi offers a “deep dive into the real India” in an attractive setting with royal blue velvet seating and gold-coloured walls. An extensive menu features classic favourites such as chicken tikka masala, Kerala fish curry and tandoori mixed grill and signature dishes like delicate paneer kofte (cottage cheese and grape dumplings in a fenugreek-infused tomato sauce), irresistible Rajasthani lamb curry with smoked chillies, cloves and garlic, and a Eurasian almond cream pannacotta with coffee jelly and crumble.
Slap bang in the centre of Vondelpark you’ll find the second location of the city’s most rebellious pizza spot. The menu here features the same quirky combinations that have made the De Pijp original a hit – think tuna cornettos with yuzu gel and furikake, oval-shaped pizzettes with pepperoni and miso and Pornstar Martini cheesecake. And, while you certainly shouldn’t wait for summer to eat here, that monumental terrace is going to be hard to beat when the sun comes out again. Doesn’t pizza in the park have a glorious ring to it?
Meet the talented new chef at Jansz
Named for a 17th-century copper craftsman, who once owned the building, there’s artisanal attention to detail in this 9 streets-based eatery’s elegant décor with its moss green banquettes, marble tables and coppery accents. And, in chef Arnout van der Kolk’s new menu, which he calls “an ode to Amsterdam”. From delicate North Sea crab toast to zesty seabass crudo with fennel, orange and Madame Jeanette oil and a brilliant bok choy salad with buttermilk, oyster leaf and cucumber, the beautiful dishes here now complement their chic surroundings.
Make a beeline for the new Balagan menu at NENI
The formula now famous from Vienna to Amsterdam has been successfully serving Eastern Mediterranean favourites in a monumental former garage Zuid-side since 2019. The Balagan Menu an “organized chaos” of NENI’s bestsellers has long been a highlight, and it’s just been updated. We particularly enjoyed the king mushroom shawarma, shrimp brick cigar, and the fresh fava bean salad. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a NENI-style mezze feast without the signature popcorn falafel, flatbread and creamy hummus (some of the city’s best).
Tip: to wash it all down, order the Rhubarb & Custard, a refreshing gin and tonic with tangy rhubarb and spiced cardamom notes.
Carl Hansen + Søn
Specialised in exclusive handcrafted wooden furniture since 1908, this Nordic design collective has just opened its first flagship store in the Netherlands. Here, you’ll find famous designs like Hans J. Wegner’s minimalist mid-century Wishbone Chair and enduringly stylish Mama Bear Chair as well as Arne Jacobsen’s striking 50’s Society Table as well as work by contemporary artists such as Ditte Blohm, whose unusual ceramics with characteristic “porcelain thorns” are worth seeking out.
VINVIN Wines Amsterdam
This recently launched wine web-shop offers over 300 hand-picked wines from 18 famous wine producers, small family domains, and interesting upcoming winemakers, including Château La Tour de l'Évêque (Provence, France), Fattoria Dei Barbi (Tuscany, Italy), and Weingut Högl (Wachau, Austria), amongst others. What better way to shake off Dry January than with a premium six-bottle gift box of the founders’ favourites, selected by VINVIN Wines’ in-house experts.
Laboratory K’s second location, newly opened on one of De Pijp’s hippest shopping streets, is the place to score Korean cosmetics and skincare devices, including brands such as ISOI, Cosrx, Purito, Vanav and Beigic. There’s also a large selection of vegan and “clean beauty” products. If you’re new to K Beauty, this is the place to learn all about the famous 8-step skincare routine that supposedly gives you glass-like skin.
Looking for up-to-the-minute eating, drinking and shopping recommendations for 2022? Read Karin’s most recent New in Town blog or follow her on Instagram where you’ll find her checking out the latest restaurants, bars and shops, and returning to old favourites.