At the beginning of this decade all eyes were on Paris, which was experiencing the peak of the so-called bistronomie movement. London quickly followed with a restaurant and food truck surge that changed the culinary landscape in the British capital for good. But now Amsterdam is booming. Now that its world-famous museums have reopened in the last few years (after simultaneous closures for refurbishments), the Dutch capital is attracting more tourists than ever, and the rattle of their suitcase wheels can be heard all along the canals.
The Amsterdam food and dining scene is clearly benefiting from these busy times. According to the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, the number of restaurants has grown by 27 percent in the last five years. In 2015, no fewer than four new restaurants opened every week — which is a lot for this compact city of less than a million inhabitants. Amsterdam doesn't have a long and rich restaurant history, and the Dutch are not big on going out for breakfast or lunch (a proper lunch, not just a sandwich), which doesn't help, either. In fact, it would've been difficult to compile an "Essential 38" for Amsterdam as recently as 2010.
But the Amsterdam food/restaurant scene has certainly grown up very quickly. Things really got going when chef Ron Blaauw threw off his fine-dining shackles and relaunched his two-Michelin-starred restaurant as a casual gastrobar in April 2013, paving the way for the next generation of chefs and restaurants. And the Dutch love for burgers, breakfast, brunch, and coffee shops (not the getting-high kind) is growing every year.
With this Essential 38, you will get a bite of Amsterdam's thriving restaurant scene, but also with some traditional eats mixed in. You wouldn't want to leave Amsterdam without having eaten a Dutch herring, now would you?