In most places you drink in the sights but in Amsterdam you should plan to eat in them too. If time is tight then instead of heading from museum to restaurant, dine at the museum. 'The restaurant at the Rijksmuseum currently has some of the best food in the city,' I was told recently by Felix Wilbrink, food columnist for De Telegraaf newspaper and one of the country's leading food writers.
In the last few years major museums including the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and Van Gogh Museum have benefited from major renovations, and they have also taken the opportunity to update their eating options too. No longer are museum cafés and restaurants places to grab a quick bite, but many are now restaurants in their own right, aimed at attracting outside diners as well as museum visitors.
Here are six of the best eating options in Amsterdam's museums and other attractions:
Located in the Rijksmuseum's newly-refurbished Philips Wing, the RIJKS Restaurant is attracting the city's diners by being open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner, until 11pm. Chef Joris Bijdendijk is not only serving his personal take on Dutch cuisine, using local ingredients as much as possible, each month he invites a guest chef to prepare a menu to run alongside his own. The result is a delightful and exciting choice for diners, and a restaurant that gets talked about in the city. Definitely book ahead if you hope to eat dinner there.
By contrast Le Tambourin at the Van Gogh Museum is limited to museum visitors, and while it has a conventional museum café menu – sandwiches, pastries, and several hot meal choices – the food is largely home-made and it does offer a nice view of the Museumplein. It's a light and airy space, named after one of the artist's favourite bars when he was living in Paris and which features in his work.
Not to be outdone by the Rijksmuseum, the Restaurant Stedelijk down the street at the Stedelijk modern art museum is open till midnight every day. It has an outdoor terrace and indoor seating with large windows to give a light and airy feel, and is also open to non-museum visitors. It has a good wine list with many available by the glass, and a menu that ranges from cheap snacks to oysters and steak béarnaise.
The Stalpaert Restaurant at the Maritime Museum is bright, modern and airy, with huge windows providing lovely views out over the water. The food matches the feel – light and fresh, with soups of the day, a wonderful apple pie, and a choice of tasty salads and sandwiches, such as a dried smoked ham, tapenade and roasted peppers sandwich or a kipper salad with red beet, potato and horseradish. Like the museum, the restaurant is open daily 9am-5pm.
The Grand Café at the Tropenmuseum is a stylish place which provides a casual eating option during the day with sandwiches and soups and a few main courses, but in the evening it's transformed into a full-service restaurant. The menu takes its inspiration from the museum's international theme and might feature dishes such as Thai Pumpkin-Coconut Soup or Mexican Vegetable Pie.
The Museum Café at the Botanical Garden in the delightful Plantage district, slightly east of the city centre, has one great advantage. It's located in the Orangery, which was built in 1875 as a lecture hall and now makes for one of the best café locations in the city whether you sit inside or out, surrounded by the garden's exotic plants. The menu is simple but uses all-organic ingredients, and there's a three-course fixed-price lunch option, which includes a glass of wine or other drink. The Museum Cafe is open daily 10am-3pm.
The Artis Royal Zoo has always had a choice of eating options in the grounds, which were aimed at families and safe but not very exciting. But these days the zoo is undergoing a major makeover under a new director, which resulted in it being named the best zoo in the Benelux countries in 2015. As part of this reinvigoration, an impressive new café-restaurant, De Plantage is open to visitors and non-visitors alike. The décor is cool and modern, as is the menu (e.g. linguini with roasted octopus, clams, merguez, parsley and tomato), but the location is the eye-opener – it's a 19th-century conservatory, a listed historic building with vast picture windows and opening out onto a terrace in summer. It's open daily till 1am, with the kitchen open till 10pm.
Dec 26, 16 03:03 AM
Beyond London Travel visits Floors Castle near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, family home of the Duke of Roxburghe and one of VisitScotland's 5-star visitor attractions, a Scottish Downton Abbey.
Dec 04, 16 12:37 PM
The Beyond London Travel Books page reviews guidebooks, history, mysteries and fiction to help readers enjoy their visits to England, the UK, France, and beyond.
Dec 04, 16 12:20 PM
Beyond London Travel reviews Food Trails, a new guidebook from Lonely Planet for the culinary traveller which helps you plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the world's tastiest destinations.