Fun first-date restaurants to break the ice in Amsterdam
First dates can sometimes be toe-curlingly cringe or call-your-bud-from-the-bathroom-level awkward. Luckily, Amsterdam has several restaurants and bars with a more unusual dining concept or a fun interactive element - perfect for breaking the tension on a first meet-up. From hands-on hot-pot to spinning the cocktail wheel, here’s a round-up of fun first-date restaurants in Amsterdam.
Wowcrab is a seafood restaurant that will dump a mouthwatering smorgasboard of steaming seafood directly onto the table between you. Put your gloves on and stare lovingly into each other’s eyes as you rip apart langoustines, lobster, crab, mussels, clams and more. Nothing breaks the ice better than throwing all dining etiquette out the window and making an absolute mess together.
Dating tip: Check if they think slurping a shrimp head out of its shell is delicious or gross before you try it.
I’m very fondue you
If you and your date are in the mood for melted cheese, fondue restaurant Smelt has not one but two spots in Amsterdam. Here you can enjoy a broad selection of cheeses (Swiss, Dutch, French, Truffle and Beer...!) to dip charcuterie and veggies into - all served with artisan bread and delicious sides.
Dating tip: If disaster strikes and your date turns out to be vegan, don’t panic. The menu also features a cashew nut fondue.
Movie & chill
Falling somewhere between a boutique cinema, natural wine bar and hip restaurant, FC Hyena will upgrade a casual ‘movie night & chill’ to another level! Before the film, enjoy an apperitif with trendy small plates like padron peppers, sardines or burrata on the side. But above all, enjoy a screening of a film picked from their wide selection of classics and mainstream movies.
This date is on fire
Want to pull out all the stops? Nela is Amsterdam Zuid’s hottest new restaurant (literally). This chic spot has a ‘live-fire cooking concept’, allowing you to watch your food being scorched on the open flame right in front of you. The menu also features an extensive selection of wines from around the world and expertly-crafted cocktails that will pair perfectly with your meal.
Spice it up
Dear chilli lovers, we didn’t forget about you! At Yuan’s Hot Pot, not only can you enjoy your favourite Chinese dishes, but you can also make them yourself. Hot pot is one of Sichuan’s most famous exports, allowing you to dip bamboo skewers of meat and vegetables into a bubbling cauldron of tongue-numbing spiced oil. A live cooking experience like this is a surefire conversation starter!
Spin the wheel
Does your date seem like the spontaneous take-a-gamble type? Bar Hachi is Amsterdam’s newest late-night spot with a laid-back vibe and a kitschy-cool interior featuring funky jungle prints, animal designs, Japanese art and, most importantly, a spin & win. Try your luck on the wheel, and you could end up with any manner of new drink to try.
Until we meat again
Moving onto a classic but worldwide favourite, barbecuing - Korean style! Nomi is a chic and affordable restaurant where you cook your own sliced wagyu, bulgogi beef strips, chicken skewers or lamb chops on the sizzling grill right in front of you. If you and your date love a bit of sushi as well, guess what? They have some excellent Japanese dishes on the menu too.
Fancy doing a little tasting of artisanal Dutch cheeses handmade by local farmers? At Kaasbar, you can prop up at the bar with a delicious glass of wine and pick whichever cheeses take your fancy from a revolving sushi-style conveyor belt in front of you. All this is paired with delicious accompaniments, including charcuterie and breads. It's really the ideal setup for cheese lovers!
If you are more interested in the grape stuff, at Rayleigh & Ramsey you can do as many wine tastings as you wish while enjoying a selection of bites on the side. The bar showcases a selection of over 100 wine varieties in dispensers. Simply buy a pass from the bar and top it up with credit based on the prices of the wines per sip. There’s no better icebreaker than making fun of each other’s tasting notes.
Rayleigh & Ramsey | Van Woustraat 97, De Pijp / Van Noordtstraat 28, Westerpark / Oranje-Vrijstaatkade 66, Oost
Never get board
Fancy grabbing a low-key coffee together, but with a little bit of a twist? At Boes & Beis you can order a coffee, a slice of cake, a bite, or even a full meal, all the while experimenting with their large selection of board games on offer. Delve into the cupboard for a few rounds of UNO or even a long-haul game like Monopoly.
Dating tip: If you need to settle the score, check out this round-up of board game cafes around the city for a rematch.
Fish and tell
For great quality seafood without the white linen tablecloth and stuffy service, PESCA reboots our conception of a fish restaurant. Head up to the fish market together to choose from their daily changing selection and matching side dishes, and the chefs will cook it up for you. It's a fun no-frills concept that is sure to alleviate the tension on a first date.
Step up your game
It’s playtime! Ton Ton Club West is the perfect spot to enjoy a couple of drinks, a pleasant meal and a whole range of arcade games from air hockey to Dance Dance revolution. There’s no better way to break the ice than getting a little bit too competitive with each other.