You can cover some serious ground exploring the Museumplein and the museums that surround it. The Rijksmuseum alone has 130,000 sq ft (12,000 sq m) of exhibition space. Add the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum to your itinerary and you’re guaranteed to work up an appetite. Fortunately, this part of Amsterdam is dense with restaurants serving everything from pancakes to sushi.
Just like the museum it’s located in, Rijks’ dishes showcase Amsterdam culture combined with the international influences that helped shape the city (Credit: Jan-Kees Steenman)
Rijks is conveniently located inside the Rijksmuseum. Just as the museum is dedicated to showcasing Amsterdam’s history and culture, this eatery is devoted to showing off the city’s traditional cuisine and bringing to light all the international influences that have shaped it over time. You can eat here at both lunch and dinner. Order dishes like scallops with hazelnut and pumpkin and dry aged duck breast from the à la carte menu, or go for the six-course tasting menu, which costs €70. The restaurant is open 1130–2200.
Cross the bridge over the Spiegelgracht Canal, just north of the Rijksmuseum, and you’ll arrive at Levant in two or three minutes. It’s a Turkish restaurant, so you’ll find mezze on the menu for starters and dishes like Turkish bouillabaisse, prawns and tabbouleh, and Turkish meatballs on offer for your main course. The restaurant is open 1730–2300.
Head to Mankind for a dinner that won’t break the bank, served with a side of no-nonsense Dutch charm
Just across the Museumbrug bridge from the Rijksmuseum, Mankind has a reputation for serving tasty food that won’t break the bank. Its menu features a range of salads and hot sandwiches, including a meatball one made to grandma’s secret recipe. In the evenings, a daily dinner special is available for €11. The restaurant also has an outdoor terrace, which looks out over the canal and Amsterdam’s gabled houses. It’s closed on Sundays. The restaurant is open 1200–2300.
This restaurant, five minutes from the Rijksmuseum, is Dutch through and through. Inside The Pantry you’ll find sturdy dark wood tables and chairs and walls adorned with watercolour landscapes and traditional Delft plates. The menu flies the national flag, too. Starters include salted herring with onions and pickles and Dutch sausages with bread, mustard and pickles, and the main course menu features dishes like Boerenkoolstamppot – a potato, kale, sausage and meatball dish – and Zuurkoolstamppot, which is similar to Boerenkoolstamppot but with sauerkraut. The restaurant is open 1100–2230.
Eating pancakes is a rite of passage in Amsterdam. De Vier Pilaren, a five-minute walk from the Rijksmuseum, dedicates almost its entire menu to them. You can order savoury options such as ham and cheese or chicken and vegetables or you can buy sweet versions like apple and cinnamon or Nutella. De Vier Pilaren also serves traditional poffertjes – plump pancake balls served with butter and powdered sugar. There’s also an outdoor terrace with patio heaters that keep it cosy in the colder months. The restaurant is open 0900–2000.
“Pannekoeken” — pancakes —and “poffertjes” – plump pancake balls served with butter and powdered sugar — are the focal point of De Vier Pilaren’s menu
Amble over the Spiegelgracht and Lijnbaansgracht canals behind the Rijksmuseum and you’ll find yourself at La Cacerola in three minutes. This restaurant has been up and running for almost 60 years. It describes its cuisine as comfort food and its menu features dishes such as paella, wild boar skewers and wild duck. If you want a surprise you can plump for the chef’s choice menu, which gives you the option of either three, four, five or six-courses. The eatery is open 1800–2130, closed Sundays and Mondays.
The timeline of De Blauwe Hollander can be traced back more than 40 years, when its owners named the place after the blue uniforms of the navy men who used to be sent to Indonesia and Suriname as permanent representatives of Holland. It’s had a refurb since it was opened all those decades ago, but it still serves traditional Dutch food like croquettes and stampotten – warming stews made with sausages and meatballs. The restaurant is open 1200–2300.
This contemporary Far Eastern restaurant is located inside the Conservatorium Hotel, a two-minute walk from the Van Gogh Museum. The dishes at Taiko look like they belong in a picture frame rather than on a plate. You can choose to order from the à la carte menu, which features dishes like sashimi, sushi and dim sum or you can opt for one of the omakase menus. Omakase means chef’s choice and comes in ‘progressive’ or ‘classic’ varieties. The restaurant is open Monday–Thursday 1830–2230, and Friday to Saturday 1830–2330.
Tram: Van Baerlestraat
Taiko’s dishes are not only pleasing for the taste buds, but pleasing on the eye as well