Looking for all the latest openings this December? Karin's monthly roundup of cool new bars, restaurants and shops is always packed with Amsterdam's most exciting new additions and seasonal menus. Interested in a broader list of places to eat and drink? Explore our comprehensive coverage of bars and restaurants in Amsterdam.
Tuck into Venetian Food at TOZI Amsterdam
The food of Veneto takes centre stage at the new Amsterdam outpost of TOZI, which you may already know as “London’s favourite Venetian”. The Zuid-side restaurant and bar puts on quite the show, with cicchetti (Italian small plates) playing a leading role, supported by Venetian aperitivi and an all-Italian cast of wines and classic cocktails. The buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle, the zucchini fritti (deep-fried courgette) and the tonnarelli a cacio e pepe (a toothsome black pepper pasta served from a wheel of cheese) are certainly worthy of applause. Watch out, Cecconi’s, you have some competition!
TOZI Amsterdam Restaurant & Bar // toziamsterdam.nl // Koninginneweg 34
Unleash your Inner Child at the LEGO® Store Amsterdam
With the gift-giving season upon us, we couldn’t ignore the source of everyone’s favourite childhood building blocks. The new LEGO® flagship store is the 15th of its kind worldwide and the first in the Netherlands. Here, you’ll find LEGO® sculptures “with a nod to Dutch history and culture”, such as an Escher staircase and Amsterdam’s Munttoren tower and canal houses, plus kids’ play areas, pick-a-brick displays, a “Minifigure Factory” for customisable figurines, a “Mosaic Maker” that creates personalised portraits out of LEGO® blocks, and other highlights.
Lego Store Amsterdam // lego.com // Kalverstraat 57
Grab a Midnight Snack at Hurryhurrygogo
Calling itself the “rebellious sister” of popular streetfood eatery Happyhappyjoyjoy, this happily hurried “snackbar” pumps out pan-Asian bar bites until late (03:00 on weekends). Choose from more than 20 snacks (think Indonesian pork satay, Thai fishcakes and Peking duck bao buns - all under a tenner) and order from the self-service bar.
Hurryhurrygogo // happyhappyjoyjoy.asia // Singel 460
Meet the New Chef at Restaurant Envy
Tattooed chef Bobby Rust, of De Librije and Oud Sluis fame, claims to have kicked the formality of cooking in Michelin-starred establishments to the curb with a new “rock and roll” attitude at Envy. Lucky for us, this translates to a menu of well-crafted Southern European-slanted dishes strong on flavour and delicate of touch (from €49 for four courses). At a recent tasting, we were most impressed by Bobby’s miso-glazed Slow Food-listed Opperdoezer Ronde potatoes with smoked eel, grilled leeks, bonito flakes, and Vichysoisse. Tip: an IJbok bock beer makes for a perfect pairing.
Restaurant Envy // envy.nl // Prinsengracht 381
Face the Winter with UNG Cosmetics
The Dutch beauty brand inspired by seasonal colour analysis has just launched its winter collection. The Nude Fixation eyeshadow palette (pictured, €39.50) and non-sticky Shooting Star lip gloss (€15.90) create that subtle “no makeup” look that “warm toned” Dutch girls carry off so well. Alternatively, the Self Expression palette creates a “sexy Smoky Eye 2.0” that’s perfect for party season if you have a “cooler complexion”.
Available online and at Amsterdam Central Pharmacy, De Ruyterkade 24A
Try the New Menu at Gijsbrecht
Way out south, a local treasure is tucked between tall trees in a tiny park. And while insiders know about the high level of gastronomy and service here, we think it deserves to be discovered by more visitors. Must-tries on the new menu include perfectly prepared pulpo with paprika, chorizo and potato espuma (€12), rosy duck breast with broccolini, sweet potato, lentil puree, red fleshed apple and duck liver sauce (€25), and warm frangipane tart with pear, almond and hangop ice cream (strained Dutch yoghurt, €10). And do ask for wine pairings – they’re spot-on.
Restaurant Gijsbrecht // restaurantgijsbrecht.com // Van Leijenberghlaan 320
Find Christmas cheer at the Westergas
This holiday season there are plenty of reasons to head west as the former-gas-works-turned-creative-complex plays hosts to various Christmas markets, a light parade and a winter festival (6 Dec-5 Jan). You can also go ice skating at the Westergas ice rink or catch a Christmas-themed film playing at Het Ketelhuis cinema.
Westergas // westergas.nl // Haarlemmerweg 8E
Enjoy a Festive Brunch at Goldfinch Brasserie
We can’t think of a better way to unbox the Christmas spirit than at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, where there’s a five-course Festive Brunch menu (€99, only on 25 Dec). Highlights include a savoury “Shrimp Snowman” (pictured), a terrific truffle Benedict with hazelnut Hollandaise, and an enchanting Christmas tree fashioned from Manjari chocolate and mandarin orange. Highly recommended!
Goldfinch Brasserie // waldorfastoria3.hilton.com // Herengracht 542-556
Make jolly at Conservatorium Hotel
For a holiday meal to remember you can’t go wrong at this chic design hotel. The Brasserie’s classic Christmas and NYE offerings feature riffs on festive favourites like crab, chestnuts, beef, and turbot (from €85 for a four-course menu). Or go upscale Asian at Taiko, which promises delights such as Cantonese-style roe deer, Hida Wagyu beef with black truffle, and bio foie gras dim sum on its more avant-garde Christmas and NYE menus (from €155 for six courses ). Tip: your NYE dinner here also includes an invite to the lobby party, where there’ll be live DJs, a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar and oliebollen (a Dutch New Year’s treat).
Conservatorium Hotel // conservatoriumhotel.com/festive-season // Paulus Potterstraat 50
Warm up at a Whisky Pop-Up
There’s nothing like a dram of Scotch to banish the cold, which is why Bar The Tailor has created a “Johnnie Walker Blue Label Bothy” this winter. At the intimate whisky experience with only eight seats per edition, whisky-based cocktails by the Netherlands’ Best Bartender 2019 come with matching bites from the adjacent Michelin-starred The White Room (4 cocktails with food pairings and a whisky tasting for €52, until 20 December).
Bar The Tailor // [email protected] // Dam 9 (NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky)
Celebrate NYE at NENI
Why not escape the frigid Dutch winter by pretending you’re boogying in balmy Tel Aviv? New Year’s Eve at NENI promises tables laden Balagan-style with the Eastern Mediterranean specialist’s greatest hits, followed by dancing, champagne, Arak shots, and midnight snacks. Sounds like our kind of party (tickets from €179 pp).
NENI Amsterdam // neni-amsterdam.nl // Stadionplein 8
Looking for up-to-the-minute eating, drinking and shopping recommendations? Follow Karin on Instagram where you’ll find her checking out the latest restaurants, bars and shops, and returning to old favourites.