Food continues to be an important part of our European experience. We’ve eaten great food at all price ranges, but many of our most memorable meals relate to ones we’ve eaten at Michelin-starred restaurants. Here’s the list of the ones we’ve visited so far and a bit of the flavor of our experience at each.
Amsterdam has a long history of Michelin starred restaurants, and we’ve been slowly working through many of them. Here is the list of ones we’ve eaten at in a rough descending order of our favorites; however, all are very good and worthy of a visit:
- Ciel Bleu (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017)
Ciel Bleu is one of the Michelin two-star restaurants in Amsterdam. Located on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura, Ciel Bleu has spectacular views over the city. The food matches the surroundings; exquisite food with superbly matched wines. We’ve been
threemany times now and, if treated as theater as much as a dining experience, it’s fabulous. We know the sommelier through our friends who own Seasons and Noel has always made the wines a highlight of the dinner.
- Librije’s Zusje (2015, 2017)
Opened for about a year when we visited the first time, dinner at Librije’s Zusje was top-notch from beginning to end. Highlights included the caviar/coffee 1st dish, the cheese course where we had four types of Dutch cheese and the corn “taco” dessert. Our second trip in 2017 was also memorable.
- Vinkeles (2012, 2013)
Robin and I had my 2012 birthday dinner at Vinkeles in the Dylan Hotel on the Keizersgracht. Our dinner here was spectacular. We’ve been back a second time and I would say it is my favourite of the one-started restaurants here in Amsterdam.
- La Rive (2014, 2015, 2016)
We ate at La Rive in the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam for my 2014 birthday. The setting of the restaurant at water level with dockside sitting for pre-dinner aperitifs is spectacular on sunny summer evenings. Return visits have been equally memorable.
- Aan de Poel (2017)
We finally made it to Aan de Poel in Amstelveen in January 2017. We had a beautiful dinner; highlights included an amuse that came to the table under a cloche holding a delicate smoke that nicely flavored the dish and a stellar grilled beef dish as the main.
- Restaurant Sinne (2015)
We ate at Sinne in June 2015 and had a terrific tasting menu dinner matching with wines. The quality of food was certainly one-star but I was amazed at how inexpensive the dinner was. Highly recommended for its value.
- Bord’Eau (2014)
We ate at Bord’Eau in the Hotel de L’Europe in May 2014 just after it was awarded its second Michelin star. Very thoughtful and immaculately prepared dishes.
- Restaurant Lastage (2013, 2014)
We’ve also been to Lastage, another one-star restaurant, twice. It is a much smaller restaurant than many of the others on the list and one not associated with an upscale hotel. The cooking here is terrific. Recommended.
- Le Restaurant (2017)
Le Restaurant in de Pijp was one of those places that we always seemed to have trouble getting into. Their schedule, our availability; it never seemed to work out. Then in late 2016, Le Restaurant announced that they were shutting down their then-current location and rebuilding at another. As a result, they missed the 2017 Michelin rating cycle and lost their one star. Fortunately, Robin noticed that they had reopened in February 2017 and she jumped in and made a reservation. The long wait was worth it as the food here was stylish and well-thought through. The poached cod with smoked eel was superb.
- &samhoud places (2014, 2015)
Restaurant &samhoud places is the other currently two-starred restaurant. Located in a new building on the Oosterdokskade, &samhoud places has a beautiful view over the city as well as beautiful creative food.
- Rijks® (2015)
Opened in 2014, we finally made it to Rijks® at the Rijksmuseum for dinner at the end of October 2015. We figured that the kitchen clearly had aspirations of Michelin stars and in 2017, Rijks received their first star.
- RON Gastrobar (2015)
RON Gastrobar’s concept of little shareable dishes for the first course is novel and the BBQ spare ribs themselves are worth a visit.
- Restaurant Vermeer (2014)
We ate here in early 2014 and had a good, solid meal here.
- Bridges (2012)
We ate at Bridges in the The Grand Amsterdam a few years before they received their Michelin star. The food here, focused on seafood and fish, was very well executed.
- Yamazato (2015)
The third restaurant we’ve tried at the Hotel Okura was Yamazato. Unfortunately, during our visit, they were renovating the room in which the restaurant sits, so we ate in their breakfast room which removed some of the ambiance. The food and service was excellent though.
We were fortunate enough to be able to land a table at Noma in 2014, so we made a special trip to Copenhagen from Amsterdam to eat there.
- Noma (2014)
What can be said about Noma that hasn’t been written before? It is a very unique food experience. We were very fortunate to share a table with a chef friend of ours who worked at Noma; after our meal, we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen and food laboratory. Pictures of our meal are available here. (As an aside, we had an excellent meal the night before at Amass, also in Copenhagen. I thought the food at Amass was also worthy of a star, but alas so far they do not have one.)
There are only three Michelin-starred restaurants in Lisbon proper and Robin and I made a trip to one of them on our short visit there in March 2016.
- Feitoria (2016)
Situated by the river’s edge in Belem, Feitoria served a wonderful meal based on Portuguese ingredients. Highlights included the various amuse-bouche and the beetroot/raspberry dessert. Paired with a full suite of Portuguese wines, this was a fabulous meal.
While there are many Michelin starred restaurants in London, Robin and I have only recently started seeking them out.
- La Chapelle (2016)
Robin and I visited La Chapelle in late February 2016. The Menu Gourmand matched with wines (and pear cider for the cheese course) was terrific; the guinea fowl, foie gras and bayonee ham terrine was particularly memorable.
We did a food-centric weekend trip to Madrid in November 2015, enjoying a tapas tour one evening and a Michelin-star restaurant the next.
- La Cabra (2015)
We took the 14-course tasting menu with matching wines and had a spectacular meal covering cuisines such as China, Thailand, Hungary, France, Peru and Mongolia. Definitely recommended if you’re in Madrid.