Besides its outstanding Dutch and international restaurants, Amsterdam also features a number of unconventional establishments that take dining to whole new level. These quirky, unusual and unique restaurants have their own distinctive charms guaranteed to delight anyone looking for an exceptional dining experience. We’ve put together our hand picked list of the best unique Amsterdam restaurants to visit.
REM Eiland Restaurant
Restaurant, Bar, European, Northern European, $$$
REM Eiland is an artificial offshore island in Amsterdam's harbour district that houses a restaurant
During the 1960s, this towering offshore platform stood in the North Sea and was owned by a Dutch pirate radio and TV station that used it to broadcast transmissions into the Netherlands. Soon after this operation began, the Dutch government changed the law to make this type of broadcasting illegal, then sent a task force to raid the platform and shut down the station. In the early 2000s, this now-infamous rig was towed to Amsterdam’s Houthaven docklands, fixed in place, and converted into a restaurant. Though it has been renovated in order to meet modern culinary demands, the platform still features many industrial elements from its time in the North Sea, including old broadcasting equipment and its original metal flooring.
Almost every dish available on Mediamatic ETEN’s menu include vegetables and herbs that were grown inside an on-site aquaponics greenhouse. This innovative facility uses symbiotic processes to cultivate plants and fish in the same environment, creating an agricultural system that uses considerably less water, space and energy than regular greenhouses. Mediamatic ETEN mainly serves vegan meals and any dish that contains animal products is clearly marked on its menu. Its menu changes according to the season, but usually centres around small, mezze-like dishes and artisanal vegan pizzas. The restaurant is part of a larger cultural organisation called Mediamatic, which hosts events and exhibitions related to sustainability inside its stunning, high-tech headquarters on Dijksgracht.
After hopping on-board this rolling restaurant, guests are taken on a breathtaking tour through the Dutch countryside and presented with high-end brunch or diner meals. The train departs from Amsterdam’s Centraal Sation several times every day and travels through Holland’s stunning hinterlands, passing by tulip fields, dikes, and windmills. During these tours, guides are on-hand to point out specific landmarks and explain the ins and outs of each route. Every meal served on-board the Dinner Train is inspired by traditional Dutch cuisine and contains ingredients grown within the Netherlands. The dinner train also caters to private parties and can accommodate up to 150 passengers.
Amsterdam’s only revolving restaurant spins atop A’DAM Tower on the northern side of the river IJ. Its revolving dinning area circles the tower’s 19th floor and stands almost 100 metres above sea level. Many of Amsterdam’s most iconic landmarks are visible from this height, including the Oude Kerk, the Royal Palace, and Vondelpark. Aside from incredible panoramas, the restaurant offers guests the opportunity to order from a high-end gourmet menu that features many classic dishes, from contemporary European to international cuisines.
Restaurant de Kas has seating inside its glass-panelled dining area and outside on its spacious terrace
This stunning, high-end restaurant in Amsterdam-Oost has an expansive, on-site greenhouse and bases its menu around its nurseries’ current harvest. Although it has since been renovated into several different areas dedicated to dining, cooking and crop cultivation, the structure that houses Restaurant de Kas was originally built for agriculture and still features massive, plate-glass windows that reflect its history. The restaurant exclusively offers a table d’hôte menu – inspired by classic Mediterranean cuisine – that changes every day but will alter its selection to accommodate dietary requirements when necessary. While it is always worth experiencing Restaurant de Kas’ monumental dining room, it is also possible to enjoy meals outside on its spacious terrace during the warmer months of the year.
Fish and Chip Shop, Food Kiosk, Fast Food, Street Food, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Over the years, the Dutch have cultivated a special type of take-out cuisine that is epitomised by the nation’s countless snack bars. These establishments almost exclusively sell greasy fried food, including classic dishes such as frikandel or kroket. Natuurlijk Smullen was the first snack bar in the Netherlands to adapt to organic preferences and only sells food made from healthy, natural ingredients. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is extremely popular among Amsterdammers due its guilt-free, fried delicacies.
TonTon Club West’s upper deck features around 20 coin-op arcade machines ranging from classic two-player games such as Street Fighter IV or Time Crisis III, to newer button-bashers like Bishi Bashi and Mega Tetris. While upstairs is reserved for gaming, TonTon Club West’s lower level centres around a long bar, where guests can order arcade tokens, drinks and Japanese-style dishes. There are many tasty dishes on the restaurant’s menu, including two types of ramen bowls, gyoza dumplings, and black Angus beef burgers topped with Japanese cabbage. (Looking for older, more pixellated video games? Then make sure to check out TonTon Club’s other location in Amsterdam-Centrum!)
The EYE screens films and hosts cinema-related exhibitions
This post-modern, multi-purpose landmark stands underneath A’DAM Tower in Amsterdam-Noord and features a spacious restaurant and bar. The restaurant’s dining area is laid out like an enormous staircase, with tables on each level that face towards a ceiling-spanning window looking out over the river IJ. As EYE Film Institute also hosts exhibitions related to filmmaking and features four modern cinemas, it is often worth spending entire afternoons or evenings relaxing inside its halls. Though it may appear far away from Amsterdam-Centrum, a speedy passenger ferry travels almost directly from Centraal Station to EYE Film Institute every 10 minutes.