Best restaurants for French cuisine in Amsterdam
Amsterdammers seem to be increasingly choosing oysters and natural wine in lieu of bitterballen and beer. Quelle surprise then that a fair number of the city’s recently opened restaurants seem to have a French theme. Here are some of our favourite places to live la belle vie. Vive la France!
A scenic cycle up the Amstel River, nestled down a side street, is the new French fine dining restaurant TROEF that breathes understated elegance. Enjoy dishes such as pork cheek croquettes with oyster cream and plump pies with oxtail and sweetbreads swimming in a mushroom foam with morels and lashings of truffle. With mains between €12 and €24, prices are surprisingly affordable, though there’s also lobster for €58 and a €900 Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2012.
Rijsel’s spartan 1960s modern interior – a study in white, blonde wood, steel and stone with an impeccably-kept open kitchen – is just as no-nonsense as its Northern French-Flemish food (Rijsel is the Flemish name for Lille). Known for classics such as Breton fish soup and rotisserie chicken, an excellent wine list and friendly service, you’re always in good hands at this Oost mainstay.
Auberge Jean et Marie
Pick from over 1,000 bottles in the climate-controlled in-house wine cellar and let Jean and Marie take you on a culinary stroll down memory lane. The delightful Auberge Jean et Marie restaurant on the Albert Cuypstraat serves old-school French classics: think garlicky vineyard snails au gratin with Café de Paris butter, navarin of lamb (a rustic stew) and melting crémeux au chocolat with coffee sabayon and honeycomb.
Parked in the middle of Noorderpark, Pompet adds a touch of French finesse to the hood with a menu that is all about Franco-inspired dishes. The café-restaurant also serves a multitude of French natural wines, and they have a real boules alley. While away a few hours on the petanque pitch before tucking into salads, mussels, sardines, rillettes, pates, cheeses and gefrituurde escargots (that’s snails, to you and me).
Le French Café
Le freak, c’est chic at bustling brasserie Le French Café on Javastraat - the latest undertaking from the indomitable 3WO hospitality group, known for popular concepts such as Waterkant, De Biertuin and Bar Bukowski. This time the owners are dishing out some exceptionally accurate Parisian flare from the tiled walls and small round dining tables to the sprawling streetside terrace. Get your fill of classic plates like oysters, steak tartare, poussin and cheese platters, all washed down with some stand-out natural wines.
La Parole offers an all-day menu of French classics, from escargots, steak tartare and moules frites to crêpe suzette. The restaurant, situated on one of the most picturesque corners of Oud-West, is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner or the perfect apéro in the late afternoon sun. There’s no better spot for a rendezvous with a glass of pastis in hand.
Café Garçon in Oud-Zuid has a humungous selection of classic French options in a stunning setting that seems stolen from the streets of Paris. The restaurant is open daily with a 'toute la journée' menu ranging from a simple breakfast omelette or onion soup to more substantial plates like moules or steak frites. Inside, the decor is plush and airy and best of all, the terrace is heated for when those wine-fuelled conversations extend long into the evening.
Enjoy refined Southern French flavours with views of the Amstel at the centrally located Marie Brasserie. Favourites include the sourdough fougasse flatbread with basil oil and browned butter, duck liver terrine, and ris de veau (tender veal sweetbreads with garam masala and kumquat. But there’s also côte de boeuf with béarnaise sauce and fries and a classic tarte tatin. Tip: if the weather permits, ask for a waterside table in the sur l’eau section.
When it comes to dining out, nothing beats fine, old-fashioned French pampering. You’ll certainly find it at the Michelin-starred Le Restaurant in De Pijp. Here the seasonal menus are inspired by the nearby Albert Cuypmarkt, with each elegantly-plated dish still paying homage to its traditional roots with just a sprinkle of Asian influence. This balance is tough to achieve, but Le Restaurant cracks it, all while offering great value for your money.
Pastries and bread
For French pastries like eclairs and madeleines, head to Et CLAIRE on Beethovenstraat. You’ll find quirky square croissants, scrumptious sweet and savoury cruffins and some of the city’s best eclairs. Orif you’re hunting down the best baguettes and flakiest croissants in the city, you can always bet on Le Fournil de Sébastien, Levain et Le Vin or Gebroeders Niemeijer - three of the chicest and most authentic boulangeries in Amsterdam.
Wines, charcuterie and cheeses
Stock up on French essentials at the independent importer and wine specialist Au Paradis which sells a stunning selection of organic and bio-dynamic French wines. Complete your pique-nique supplies at Slagerij Alain Bernard, which sells a superb selection of homemade patés, terrines, rillettes, foie gras, confit de canard and sausage, as well as dried sausages from the Ardèche, and Breton butter. And look no further than Fromagerie Abraham Kef for a good brie, best known for its expertise in French cheeses crafted by small producers.