Amsterdam tasting tour with chef Kokmeijer
What makes Amsterdam so special is the variety of restaurants,” says chef Onno Kokmeijer about his home city’s vibrant food scene. Whether it’s cutting-edge fine dining, or exciting street food, the head chef at 2 Michelin star Ciel Bleu restaurant is always on the lookout for new and interesting places to eat in the Dutch capital.
“We have very nice concepts, many different cultures, and of course high-end restaurants. But we also have a lot of restaurants that are good value for money,” says Kokmeijer. “It’s interesting for food travellers and for locals, not only in the centre of Amsterdam but the whole city now.”
From breakfasts and markets, to cocktail bars and late night eateries, Onno Kokmeijer gives us his pick of Amsterdam’s best.
Former Ciel Bleu chef Dennis Huwaë’s restaurant is relaxed and welcoming, but dedicated to excellence. “It’s good value for money with good fresh products, just three or four ingredients on the plate, but a lovely taste. The setting and ambience is really nice.”
“It’s easy food with a lot of wine pairings by the glass, and the combinations are outstanding.”
Ciel Bleu chefs’ late-night bites
“It’s open until 3 or 4am. When we’ve finished in the kitchen, at least once a month, we go there to eat really good traditional Chinese food, dim sum and Peking duck.”
Brasserie Bark Van Baerlestraat
“It’s lobster, fruits de mer, seafood. Really interesting to eat here at night.”
“It’s open ‘til 3am, for a big piece of meat. Good quality, always fresh and prepared in the right way.”
“You can order more than 45 different omelettes. There’s always a queue because it’s very nice for breakfast and lunch.”
This old pigeon and canary market is now the go-to place for fresh organic produce in Amsterdam. “It’s the best real food market in the city, every Saturday from 4am to 2pm. A lot of chefs buy products there.”
“I like to go there to meet people for a cocktail or to eat before we go onto a restaurant in the city. It has over 25 street food stalls, food from all around the world. It’s a real meeting point for foodies.”
Street food stands serving international favourites. “It’s really nice for lunchtime, and popular with business-people.”
The best place for kroket - the traditional cigar-shaped deep-fried, meat-filled street snack of Holland. “You have to have it in Amsterdam!”
“There’s a lot happening. In the last five years many chefs from outside Amsterdam came to the city. It makes it a destination for food travellers. And Michelin recognise it, with more one and two star restaurants in the city. I’m proud we are part of it.” “Chef Sidney Schutte worked with Jonnie Boer at De Librije (3 Michelin stars), and with Richard Ekkebus in Hong Kong. Really innovative kitchen and totally different from what we are doing. Different thinking, different ambience.”
“It’s typical Amsterdam food, in a new way. You have to go there,” says Kokmeijer about Sidney Schutte’s latest concept based around that old cliché of simple, home style food.
Named Best Newcomer of 2019 by the Gault & Millau guide, 212 is the brainchild of Richard van Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot. “It’s chef’s table style, where guests sit around the kitchen,” says Kokmeijer. “They do a great job. A very nice concept, very innovative, less ingredients on the plate, but very exclusive.”
“There is one windmill in the city of Amsterdam and it’s a brewery with many local beers and nice snacks. It’s a nice meeting place in the daytime as they close around 8pm. You have to visit it if you are in Amsterdam.”
“You have to make reservations. The price is high, but the atmosphere and service are very high end.”
The Tailor Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
“Tess Posthumus is one of the best cocktail bartenders in the Netherlands. She’s doing a great job. The cocktails are really good.”
“It’s an easy 45 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Ex-Fat Duck chef François Geurds is a very innovative chef. Just say to the chef ‘make something nice.’ If you go for lunch you could be there for six or seven hours! He’s such a nice guy. A real foodie who’ll travel with you around a world of flavours.”