The “Next Time” List

I always have a “next time” list for places I’m looking forward to trying out.  Right now it looks a bit like this:

  • The Avocado Show
    • This place has finally opened its doors after an extraordinary build up and you can be sure you’ll find a huge queue outside.  Notching up 45k fans on Instagram and a similar number on Facebook as well as features in Conde Nast Traveller, Elle Deco and swathes of other international media all before they sliced and diced their first avo, this place is hot hot hot.  Based in the ever popular Pijp and serving….yeah, duh!….bloggers are going crazy with stunning #instacado updates at Europe’s first dedicated avocado eatery.  Expect breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as late night treats, and even ice cream and chocolate smoothies all made from the green stuff.  Due to the hype, I’d expect lots of Instagramming tourists (they’ve even put in rose-coloured  banquettes for the perfect backdrop) but don’t count that against it, it’s one of those places that probably has to be ticked off must-do Amsterdam list.

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  • Wilde Zwijnen
    • Back in 2010 Wilde Zwijnen opened its doors and quickly secured a reputation for being one of the least pretentious but hottest foodie destinations in the city.  The name means “wild boar” but this cosy, rustic restaurant serving Dutch inspired seasonal food also caters to those who are more interested in fish or veg.  The 3 or 4 course tasting menu which varies with the seasons inspired many of the city’s more recent culinary gems, and its locally sourced and highly rated food combined with its location in the hip eastern Javaplein has helped it to consolidate its position right at the top of the foodie charts ever since.  Hoping for a table for date-night or a chilled evening with friends?  Booking is essential.  One of the best things about it is that you’re pretty unlikely to be rubbing shoulders with other tourists.  This is a place where the clientele speak Dutch – a real Amsterdam food-lovers’ spot for those very much in the know.
  • More recently (about 18 months ago) they opened up an “Eetbar” next door best described as Wilde Zwijnen’s younger brother.  Serving up tapas-style small plates inspired by French and Spanish cuisine, 5 days a week (its closed Sundays and Mondays) has if anything if anything further enhanced Wilde Zwijnen’s reputation and it means securing a seat at the bar or at one of the small tables is only available to forward-planners.  I’m not the biggest fan of Amsterdam’s endless tasting menus (I tend to know what I want to eat and prefer not to have surprises) so its the Eetbar that I’m itching to head to next time I’m in town.

 

  • Guts and Glory
    • I’m dying to try out Guts and Glory which attracts loads of buzz on the Amsterdam dining scene.  It’s quite high-concept, delivered by a pair who run some the city’s best eateries, but by all accounts despite its theming, it is unpretentious and ultimately all about the food.  Once again, the menu is a surprise – you pay by the number of tasting courses you opt for (this time it’s a heady 5, 6 or 7) – and they reinvent themselves with a new theme every few months.  Listed in “chapters”, previous themes have included Italy and Latin America, and right now it’s Vive La France.  It’s a special, gourmet dining experience and one I’m hugely looking forward to checking out.

 

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  • Blue Boy
    • Infamous bad-boy of Amsterdam’s bar and restaurant scene Caspar Reinders (founder of Jimmy Woo and Lion Noir) has a brand new venture in town.  This upscale restaurant and cocktail bar is based in a monumental warehouse and former gay club in the red light district which has been completely reinvented as a fine dining destination with edge.  Expect astonishing tasting menus (there’s no a la carte, just 4, 5 or 6 course menus – you get to confirm in advance if there’s anything you don’t eat) and a bold mix of antique and contemporary art and furniture.  Book-up, it’s getting hot reviews.

 

  • Rijks
    • I haven’t recently had an occasion that demands a smart fine-dining lunch or dinner in Amsterdam but if I did, I think Rijks is where I’d head.  Based in the museum complex and run by a chef who has experience at some of the city’s finest michelin establishments it is by all accounts a fabulous (if pricey) place to dine and has recently earned its first star.

 

  • De Plantage
    • This beautiful restaurant in the gardens by Artis Zoo looks like a wonderful place for a Summer lunch.  Bistro food, flamingo lake nearby.  Seriously, why I haven’t I been already?

 

  • De School
    • As you might have gathered by now, Amsterdam has a bit of a thing at the moment about tasting menus.  I’m not the biggest fan particularly when they make a point of being veg heavy, BUT there’s a place that opened recently which might make me want to reconsider.  Right now, it’s probably one of the city’s hippest spots, based in an old technical college in the West.  Their ambition is to be a round-the-clock venue (it has a 24 hour license) so you can party in the club downstairs until 10 in the morning, and then head straight into work at one of the onsite creative businesses.  Of interest to me is the restaurant which has received a great deal of blogger love of late and the venue is by all accounts fantastic.

 

  • Meneer Nieges
    • Meneer Nieges means Mr “Doomed”.  This recently opened hot-spot replaces a series of failed restaurants on the same site,  Aside from the wonderfully ironic name, it sounds promising for other reasons too.  A cosy place to eat, drink and even dance, it’s by the guys behind the ever popular and trendy Hanneke’s Boom and Disco Dolly and is on lots of “hot and hip” Amsterdam lists right now.

 

  • The Roast Room
    • From the guys behind the wonderful fish restaurant Visaandeschelde comes a tribute to all things meat.  Based at the rather uninspiring convention centre, The Roast Room has recently upped the game for conventioners and Amsterdammers alike.  The Roast Bar is a ground floor brasserie whilst the Rotisserie offers fine dining upstairs.  Vegetarians look away now!

 

  • The Harbour Club
    • Another mecca to fish.  This time of the highest quality by the sound of it.  Vast canal-side terrace terrace at the junction of Amsterdam’s 5 major canals in the posh Old South part of town. Busy at lunchtime with businessmen sealing their deals and ladies who lunch, it’s sashimi, oysters and black cod ahoy!

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