The historic Jordaan neighborhood, which dates back as early as 1612, was traditionally a working class area that attracted a vibrant community of emigrants. In the post-war years, Jordaan has established itself as an upscale and arty hub, but its dining scene still remains as diverse as its original inhabitants. Whether Moroccan fare, traditional Dutch dishes or contemporary French cuisine takes your fancy, here are ten fantastic Jordaan restaurants to choose from.
La Olivia is a stylish Spanish restaurant situated in the heart of Jordaan offering guests the opportunity to indulge in the tantalizing cuisine of northern Spain’s Cantabria and Basque regions. Resident chef Alfredo Castillo Hoz specializes in the creation of homemade tortillas and pintxos, a small tapas-like snack similar to a tartlet or crostini. These are complemented by a range of Spanish wines from some of the country’s top wine-producing regions. A number of tempting appetizers are available like the Iberian pork loin with basil and pancetta, or the skewer of fresh tuna and duck liver, alongside heartier main dishes like the filet of veal with a caper sauce, anchovies and pata negra ham.
Established back in 1990 by owner Jurriaan, who still runs the restaurant today, Moeders has been a fixture of the Jordaan dining scene for more than 20 years. Moeders means ‘mothers’ and a homely and inviting ambience typified by wholesome, homemade family recipes is exactly the atmosphere conjured up here. The walls are decorated with vintage family photos, antique plates and cookware. Moeders’ specialty is traditional and authentic Dutch food with menu highlights including the ideal comfort dish stamppot, a robust stew-like dish of potatoes, sausage, meatballs, bacon and vegetables; and the fancy filet of pheasant with a pheasant leg confit, turnip root and celery mash with a poultry sauce.
Located on the busy street of Westerstraat, one of the Jordaan neighborhood’s biggest and busiest streets, Cinema Paradiso is a chic and urbane Italian restaurant popular with Amsterdam’s young, fun-loving foodie crowd. The restaurant, blends classic elements like a stunning chandelier and beautiful wood furnishings with industrial details such as a gleaming, metallic open kitchen. A range of hot and cold antipasti is available, including the gorgeous sautéed clams in a spicy sauce or the buffalo mozzarella and Parma ham, alongside plenty of pizza and pasta-based main courses such as the goats cheese and honey-filled ravioli with a sage and butter sauce. Finish with a classic Italian dessert: either tiramisu or a refreshing sgroppino, a cocktail of lemon sorbet, Prosecco and vodka.
Also situated on bustling Westerstraat is SLA, an intimate and inviting salad bar, café and restaurant with an airy and minimalist feel. Established in 2013, the eatery prides itself on providing discerning diners with flavorsome food built around organic, sustainable and seasonal produce. SLA works closely with local suppliers to create healthy, hearty dishes that are both good for the body and the planet, offering a range of salads, soups, spelt breads and dessert items with the option of creating your own salad from a smorgasbord of fresh ingredients. Highlights include the spicy falafel salad with spinach, kohlrabi, carrot, cauliflower and coriander and the Egyptian red lentil soup made with leek and zuccini. Locally brewed beers from the Amsterdam brewery Brouwerij’t IJ are also available.
Balthazar’s Keuken is a cozy yet chic restaurant that was founded by chefs Karin Gaasterland and Alain Parry. The venue features an open kitchen where guests can watch the talented chefs at work and a pavement patio dining area, which is open during the summer months. Specializing in contemporary European fare with creative global flavors, Balthazar’s Keuken produces a new seasonal fixed price menu each week, a three-course affair that begins with a small selection of hors d’oeuvres, followed by a fish or meat-based main course and ending with dessert. Sample dishes include harissa hummus with anchovies, pikeperch with a garlic and chestnut risotto and basil-infused oil, and an almond meringue with pistachio mascarpone and caramel butter.
Owned and operated by American chef Noah Tucker, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, and British chef Anthony Joseph, who has worked for some of the UK’s most renowned chefs including Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey, Restaurant Fraîche is a beautiful, rustic 38-seat French brasserie featuring an outdoor glass-fronted terrace. The restaurant was established in 2011 and bases its cuisine on local produce sourced from the chefs’ daily jaunt through Amsterdam’s markets and suppliers. The simple, seasonal and modern menu changes weekly though guests can expect dishes along the lines of ox tongue and duck liver with a poached egg, shallot puree and rocket, or the turbot and squid served with roasted salsify, leek, a herb veloute, passion fruit and salmon roe. Westersraat 264, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 627 9932
Based in a large, spacious building on Rozengracht, Nomads is an authentic Arabian restaurant that specialises in the cuisines of Morocco, the Middle East and Turkey. The restaurant is designed to reflect its culture with all furnishings and décor handcrafted specially for Nomads by craftspeople in Morocco and Egypt. It features sofa-style seating where guests can kick back and enjoy their food in opulent comfort. Chef Issam Bensaleh creates authentic Arabian fare with subtle western influences, with all dishes prepared halal-style using the freshest ingredients. A number of Lebanese and Iraqi breads are available alongside hot and cold mezze dishes, which include spicy peppers stuffed with goat’s cheese, grapes, dates and kataifi, and the octopus salad with fresh ginger and a saffron vinaigrette.
For the diner with an appetite for classic, artisanal French cuisine with a modern twist, L’invite is a must-visit restaurant. Situated on the banks of the Bloemgracht canal, the restaurant resides in a building dating back to 1628 and features a beautiful terrace dining area with stunning views over the waterway. Designed by local architect Dineke Dijk, the charming restaurant retains original wooden beams complemented by modern white walls and marble tile floors. The menu, built around organic, seasonal produce, is simple and uncrowded but nevertheless inventive. Starters include tuna with watermelon and white beans, and a savory profiterole stuffed with eggplant, cashew nuts and herbs. Main dishes feature baked catfish with a truffle risotto and beurre blanc. The dessert menu offers two equally tempting options, a selection of cheese with marmalade and crackers, or crème brûlée.
Opened in 2003, Proeverij 274 is an intimate restaurant offering guests a modern, fine dining experience in a beautiful listed building which overlooks the Prinsengracht canal and is just a short walk from the iconic Westerkerk church. Head chef Matthias E. Kail has developed a small but creative menu of tempting contemporary food and prides himself on using only the very best regionally sourced organic and seasonal produce. Mouth-watering mains and starters on offer include the terrine of cod made with seaweed, yakon, honey lemon and knäckebröd (a Swedish crisp rye bread) and the filet of duck served with sweet potato, cauliflower, spring onions and tangy tamarind. Alternatively, guests can opt for a three-course fixed price chef’s choice menu.
Established in 1994, Rakang is a cozy and welcoming restaurant that is popular with the local crowd. It serves authentic, typically spicy Thai cuisine based around three principles: simplicity of dishes, vibrant flavors and fresh ingredients. The creatively decorated restaurant is as spirited as the food with wood paneling details, bold and contemporary artworks and beautifully patterned, Eastern-inspired china tableware. Guests rave about the tom kha kai soup, a broth of chicken and coconut milk seasoned with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chlli paste. While tasty mains include beef tenderloin fried with mushrooms, spring onions and broccoli in oyster sauce, and the fried prawns with curry powder, eggs, celery and fiery red spur chilies.