Amsterdam’s foodie scene is a melting pot of various cuisines from all over the world which really does make the city’s culinary scene more exciting by the day. From an innovative and new dining experience by Dutch Michelin starred chef Peter Gast, to a restaurant that creates gastronomical masterpieces from food that is deemed unfit to sell from local markets, to a delectable Israeli wine list; our girl Aisha Bennett rounds up the best and most diverse places to eat and drink in Amsterdam following a recent visit.
Nestled in a secret location which is sent directly to customers following their booking, Graphite is a new and innovative restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Peter Gast. Customers also receive a QR code when they book and this acts as their golden ticket into the mysterious and sexy restaurant that is Graphite. We can’t give too much away but the whole restaurant experience almost feels like you’re in a future-world. Food-wise, the menu is varied and full of delicious surprises. Guests have a choice of the ‘small’ menu (10 courses), the diamond menu (15 courses) or the Graphite large menu (20 courses). The beginning of the ten course journey starts with the signature Graphite dish – mouth-watering melon ravioli with a beautifully crafted vegetable garden. The dishes are all explained to you in such detail that you come away feeling rather full, but rather knowledgeable about local produce and the wines that match. The wines that are paired with the different courses have been carefully selected – the favourite was the Die Velore Bokooi – a juicy and uncomplicated red wine. It is an upcoming red wine that is only served at two places in the Netherlands. Graphite is an incredibly indulgent treat but a must if you can when you’re next in Amsterdam.
https://graphite.amsterdam/ (open from Tuesdays to Sundays)
Bringing the streets of Tel Aviv to Amsterdam, Bar Fisk showcases the very best of Israeli cuisine in a relaxed and informal way. As soon as you walk in, the restaurant is filled with high tables in an intimate setting with an open kitchen, which immediately creates a connection between the guests, the chefs and their food. It is exactly this type of unexpected restaurant that makes a city special. Every single dish here is worth trying but the #TeamCoco top recommendations would be the tuna tartar with red grapefruit and pistachios, the pan fried calamari with oregano and tahini, as well as the mussels which are steamed in a white wine and tarragon sauce, and the polenta chips with lime mayonnaise. The Jerusalem bread with herbs and pickles is brought to your table on demand which is also heaven on earth. Bar Fisk also has an impressive and extensive wine list – one full of wines from all over the world and one dedicated to Israel.
https://www.barfisk.nl/ (open seven days a week)
We’d highly recommend heading to Bardak after you’ve feasted at Bar Fisk. This is for two reasons, they are both owned by the same person (who is fantastic!) and they are really close to each other in distance. As you’d expect with an owner’s restaurant and bar, both carry similarities. Like Bar Fisk, Bardak is effortlessly cool and relaxed. The cocktail menu is unique and changes often. Classics that are always on there include a chilli margarita, a smoky negroni and a wide range of gin and tonics. We would highly recommend going for the Heidi Montag (just because of the name), as well as being an elderflower and vodka delight. Another favourite was the solero sour – the flavour is in the name and brought back all those sweet summer memories. The Middle-Eastern spirit Arak has also leaves its trace on the cocktail menu. Minutes turn into hours here and it is very easy to get lost in moment. We would highly recommend visiting here at least once if not more when you’re in Amsterdam. The restaurant also serves up a mixture of Tel Aviv street snacks.
https://www.bardak.nl/ (open five days a week from 12pm bar Monday and Tuesday where it opens at 5pm)
Razmataz feels like an old friend’s living room – with its mellow background music and low lit lighting, it is the perfect place to enjoy an evening. The restaurant itself is super stylish and this is complemented by its simple yet creative menus. Razmataz also has a huge gin menu, a vermouth menu and a negroni menu. Does it get much better?! Once you’ve enjoyed a pre-dinner drink or two, there is a selection of menus to choose from. Team Coco would recommend the chef’s menu which is five courses with selected wines. This changes monthly but we enjoyed a variety of pescatarian dishes. The all-time favourite at Razmataz was the dessert – a light gingerbread cake with a chilli and mango glaze. We’d highly recommend booking a table here far in advance as it’s very popular with the locals. It is the perfect place to spend a Friday or Saturday night.
http://www.razmataz.nl/ (open seven days a week)
A short journey from Razmataz is the Park Hyatt where Mama Makan bar is located. This bar is dressed head to toe in plants and has infinitely cool interiors. Considering the bar is part of the worldwide renowned Park Hyatt chain, it does a very good job of making you feel like you’re in an exclusive and independent bar (with exceptionally good service). The cocktail menu is huge; however we were told that this is going to be condensed soon with more of a focus on seasonal cocktails. The bar does everyone’s favourite cocktails very well – Moscow mules and porn star martinis. We would also recommend trying The Fig and their espresso martinis. Team Coco would definitely recommend trying a selection of the Dutch bar snacks which are delicious (and very fried!).
https://mamamakan.com/ (open seven days a week)
Located in the north of Amsterdam, Hangar is a contemporary, industrial- chic restaurant. Think tin walls splashed with multi-coloured pastels, hanging light bulbs and an open planned kitchen. The restaurant is right on the water, so in the summer we are told that crowds flock for cocktails and Hangar’s best bar snacks. We can certainly envisage the restaurant turning into a summer oasis as there are palm trees dotted around the outside by the water. The bar snacks menu is simple but full of tasty treats including dips – Baba ghanoush, olive tapenade and hummus, spicy chicken wings and a falafel with tahini. Mains include a variety of favourites, from oysters and hazelnut tagliatelle to a beef burger. For the winter months, we would recommend Hangar as a fab brunch spot. For the summer months, we can imagine accidentally spending the day here (but not regretting it!).
https://hangar.amsterdam/ (open seven days a week)
Innovative restaurant Instock is Amsterdam’s voice for combatting food waste. According to the restaurant’s research, one third of food goes to waste every year and they have taken a stand by creating dishes out of the food that is deemed unfit to sell from local supermarkets. Instock is part of a new movement of restaurants that want to make a social change, and they are doing a phenomenally good job of it. The restaurant itself is airy, modern and the ambience is friendly and relaxed (they also have a fantastic disco/funk playlist that echoes through the restaurant during the day). In terms of the food, Instock not only is making a difference, but the dishes are delicious. Due to the nature of the restaurant the menu inevitably changes daily, but there are a couple of dishes that are constantly on there – the fish burrito with homemade fries really are the must have! We can confirm that it is great to eat and also feel like you are doing some good as well…
https://www.instock.nl/en/ (open seven days a week)