Is Amsterdam the World’s New Culinary Capital?

  • Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
    Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
  • Executive chef Jaimie van Heije
    Photo by Annick Meijer Photography Executive chef Jaimie van Heije
  • Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
    Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
  • Rijks’s chefs Jos Timmer, Joris Bijdendijk, and Wim de Beer
    Photo by Erik Smits Fotografie Rijks’s chefs Jos Timmer, Joris Bijdendijk, and Wim de Beer
  • Librije’s Zusje, set in the Waldorf Amsterdam
    Photo by Eric Kleinberg Librije’s Zusje, set in the Waldorf Amsterdam
  • The elegant herring at Wolf Atelier restaurant
    The elegant herring at Wolf Atelier restaurant
  • Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
  • Executive chef Jaimie van Heije
  • Rijks, the Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam
  • Rijks’s chefs Jos Timmer, Joris Bijdendijk, and Wim de Beer
  • Librije’s Zusje, set in the Waldorf Amsterdam
  • The elegant herring at Wolf Atelier restaurant
  • Raphael Kadushin

Amsterdam’s au courant culinary scene has the makings of a dynamic renaissance.

Amsterdam’s Moon restaurant opened in the spring of 2016, and the city’s clamor over it rivals the cheerful clang of plates and pans shuffling through its creative kitchen. For good reason. Built onto the 19th floor of the landmark A’dam tower, the restaurant rises high above the city’s landscape, overlooking its liquid seam of winding canals and revitalized docklands. But skyscraper views aren’t Moon’s only delight: The restaurant’s dining room is laid out on a platform that slowly rotates on its tall perch, continuously circling over a city that suddenly can’t sit still.

That dynamism is something new to Amsterdam, at least with regard to a culinary scene that, until recently, seemed stagnant. Sure, there were some hushed, Michelin-lauded fancy French dining rooms serving haute plates of escargot and duck à l’orange. And there was a range of local homespun cafés offering a catalog of Dutch signature dishes from pea soup to stamppot (a potato-and-vegetable mash). Yet with the exception of a few pioneering locavore restaurants like De Kas, Amsterdam was going hungry; it was mostly famous, at least to travelers, as a place that somehow got sidelined by the global food revolution.

That revolution has finally come to town, and Moon isn’t the only high-wire act in Amsterdam. The city is suddenly dense with restaurants seized by creative ambition, sizzling energy, and a taste for big, high-concept surprises, as if determined to make up for all those decades of culinary caution.

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