Searching for the Amsterdam restaurant of your dreams? You know – that dreamy canal-side spot with amazing food, a cosy interior and killer views.
Trust me, De Belhamel is the place you’re imagining.
Often cited as Amsterdam’s most romantic restaurant, the moniker doesn’t really do this wonderful place justice. You see, this isn’t some twee little spot for couples looking for a Disneyfied version of Amsterdam but rather something that just effortlessly ticks all the boxes.
In Summer enjoy one of the handful of tables necklaced over a bridge and along the junction of Amsterdam’s two most beautiful canals – the Brouwersgracht and Herengracht – right on the edge of the Jordaan.
In Winter hunker down in the original art-nouveau interior which shimmers against tables of twinkling candles.
Still undecided? How about enjoying a sneaky preprandial whilst you perch on a stool in an intimate little bar hidden away at the back.
And I haven’t even told you about the food.
De Belhamel – Dutch for rascal or ringleader – is a must visit. And we aren’t the only ones who think so. The TV series Killing Eve featured two iconic scenes that were filmed here – one in the bar and one on the terrace.
But people don’t come here because it’s famous, or it because it tops top-ten lists (even though it does), they come back time and time again because its authentic, the food is wonderful, the Dutch serving staff are an absolute delight (not a given in Amsterdam these days I’m afraid) and it’s just one of those places that everyone feels is uniquely special to them.
As soon as we arrived for our first visit I immediately knew it would become one of ‘our places’. Somewhere we’d return to for special occasions and and serendipitous ones.
In a nutshell, the ‘gezelligheid’. The tables of Dutch friends on the terrace; the couple celebrating their tenth anniversary (Marc noticed the waiters immediately tip off the bar staff who effortlessly whisked two glasses of prosecco to their table) and yes, a few international visitors too. Our spot by the entrance meant we were witness to numerous walk-ups who were turned away. Its such a stunning spot, genuinely the Amsterdam of your imagination, that its inevitable demand outstrips supply. If you want a table you really are going to have to book in advance.
But what of the food? Best described as Modern European it features Franco/Italian favourites with a good dose of the best of Dutch sprinkled in between,
We opted for the sensational Tarte Tatin of Shallots to start (with silver onions, blue cheese and mustard caramel) and the Sirloin Carpaccio wrapped around rocket with roccolino al Tartufo cheese, deep fried potato matchsticks, truffle vinaigrette and pine nuts.
For mains, Monkfish with gratin dauphinois, wild spinach and anchovy-chilli beurre blanc and the eponymous Entrecote Belhamel served with anise mushrooms, green beans, fondant potatoes and trompette de la mort sauce.
We even managed to squeeze in desserts of Creme Brulee and Chocolat Moelleux with miso caramel and hazelnut mocco-ice.
It’s almost impossible to do this restaurant justice with photos. The interior, the exterior, the way it changes with the seasons or at dusk. But maybe that’s the best thing of all. Because this is true magic not Instagram and its best experienced in real life.
Book your spot. I know it will be somewhere you dream about long after you’ve left.