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Restaurants in Amsterdam are often overshadowed by their southern neighbors in Brussels and Paris. This is a shame as the Dutch capital has plenty to offer discerning diners. We uncover five local gems.
1. Open. Perched in a section of disused railway bridge that has been given a second life as a glass-encased restaurant, Open is worth a visit for the setting alone. Food is seasonal European with a Dutch touch.
2. Lastage. Located in a modest 17th-century building, Lastage serves creative Dutch/French fare that earned the restaurant its first Michelin star in 2011. Despite the accolade, prices have remained surprisingly reasonable. Chef Rogier van Dam heads the kitchen, while sommelier Elise Moeskops presides over a well-curated wine list that includes cellar finds bought at auction and wines made from lesser known grapes such as Nerello Mascalese and Treixadura.
3. Bussia. This is widely regarded as one of Amsterdam's best Italian restaurants. Flavors are pronounced but not overbearing, with a dinner menu that features sautéed sweetbread, North Sea crab and homemade ravioli stuffed with celeriac and thyme.
4. Blauw. Celebrating the culinary influences of the Netherlands' colonial past, this restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Indonesian dishes, including chicken satay with peanut sauce and spicy beef stew. For a real taste of the cuisine, we recommend the “rijsttafel,” a sort of Eastern version of tapas made up of small portions of a number of dishes.
5. Rijsel. Located in a former school, Rijsel is a lesson in simple food done well. Its signature dish is the rotisserie chicken, which can be seen browning on a spit in the open kitchen, cooked with lemon and aromatic rosemary.