I’m not sure how when picking a restaurant I always pick them in the most obscure of places. Restaurant Bureau is the perfect example. Amsterdam has a host of restaurants on my list – most of which are central – but I chose Bureau. Which meant an Uber rather than a bike ride, and even a stretch of motorway. And then we arrived and it felt like we had been dumped in an industrial terrain, as far from the picturesque canals as you can get. But that’s where the negatives stop.
The restaurant is the 5th (top floor) of a fairly unattractive building (used to be the old IBM head office) called B. Amsterdam, which is an office space, co-working space and event space, focused on startups. I think the official term is ‘an incubator’. Anyway, it’s as trendy as these sorts of places tend to be, complete with gym (of course) and cinema. But the real show stopper is when the lift doors open to the restaurant, a large, high-ceilinged space, divided in two by a very cool bar. One half of it is the restaurant and the other a lounge type space, with sofas and comfy chairs, and also some private dining rooms set slightly back.
Before I talk about the food I should probably mention their pièce de la résistance: their roof terrace. It’s so big they in fact call it a ‘roof park’, and rightly so, it being the largest roof terrace in Amsterdam. Two companies, GrownDownTown and DakDokters have turned this space into a green oasis, not only pretty to walk through and enjoy, but also useful and ‘fruitful’. Think a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chicken pens, the whole shebang. This beautiful park is not just for those enjoying the restaurant – it is mainly for those working in the building to come and relax, meet and discuss ideas. In the summer this will be the ultimate chill out place (there are even some hammocks), the perfect roof terrace to enjoy some drinks and some sunshine. FYI my Instagram photos below do not do it justice, so I borrowed a photo from GrownDownTown to show how pretty it actually is.
Back to inside, and the food. Firstly, the staff are super friendly. We were late but were still received with a warm handshake and welcome and were led to our table. Our waitress was bubbly and enthusiastic. We opted for their 3 course menu (a bargain at EUR31). The chef used to cook at Choux, which is one of Amsterdam’s top restaurants, but also known for its more complicated food. Here there’s none of that. The food is excellent, beautifully presented and affordable. My bavette steak was perfect. They have a good range of fish on the menu which I enjoyed (oysters, cod, perch), but also good options for vegetarians.
Maybe steer clear of their organic prosecco unless you want to drink what effectively tastes like cider. Their house red wine (EUR 21 per bottle) was very drinkable. The coffees to finish were too.
All in all, I left feeling somewhat elated. Restaurant Bureau is an amazing, unique find, and for those who know Amsterdam well and want to try something different a place I highly recommend. While yes, it’s unusual to get a taxi anywhere in Amsterdam, it’s only a 20 minute drive from the centre of the city (and you can also cycle here of course). As the Netherlands is known for its start up culture I also think it’s worthwhile visiting B Amsterdam as a bonus.
B. Amsterdam – 5e etage
Johan Huizingalaan 763a (navigatie 761)
1066 VH Amsterdam
Note: They are usually only open on weekdays, but from 20 May they will also be open for dinner on Saturdays.