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“Best Meal of the Trip”
Review of Willems

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Ranked #492 of 3,909 Restaurants in Amsterdam
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Museum Quarter (Museumkwartier)
New York
Level 6 Contributor
97 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Best Meal of the Trip”
Reviewed July 13, 2014

In the 20 days of travel that included Amsterdam, Lyon, Bordeaux, and London, Willems was by far the best and most memorable restaurant.

We called for a reservation only to be told that they were fully booked, but if we came at 9:00 or later they then could accommodate us at the bar. When we arrived, we found that it really was not a bar at all, but stools at the pass-thru table where the plates that were ready to go to the dining room were staged for the servers. We sat a few feet away from the compact cooking area where as we were to find out later, chef Nick Holter and sous chef Ruben Bos were going mile a minute cooking for the capacity crowd. It didn't take long before we found ourselves engaged in conversation with the chefs, getting a run down on what and how they were making the plates.

While the pace in the kitche was quick, once in a while the chefs still found the time to do a mid air juggling of tools to break the tension and inject a bit of fun. As we showed interest in what was being prepared, a few times a small plate of that particular ingredient would appear in front of us to do a taste. In the 2 1/2 hours there, we bought two dinners, but, managed to sample a good fraction of the menu. Other thing we could see from our vantage point by the kitchen was the very supportive way the chefs worked with the staff. So, besides first class food, they also have their act together on how to run a restaurant.

We got the story of the restaurant of which Nick is the owner and that he founded it 2 years ago at the age of 25. He had attended culinary school and worked for some big name chefs, but he said, it was not until he got out on his own that could find his groove. And that groove is a fusion of modern French with influences from the rest of the continent and just about everywhere else as well. To keep evolution going, he introduces a new main plate every week which in a couple of months resuslts in a complete menu redo. And good it all is. The combinations of flavors is always a bit unusual making for interesting plates. You know what it is, but are always asking what's that extra unexpected thing. Makes for good conversation when we try out each others plate.

After the first night, it was a no brainer to return the following night. This time when we arrived, Nick came out from the kitchen to greet us at the door and get us settled in. We put ourselves in his hands asking him to compose the dinner and wine per the chefs choice. Never looked at the menu and just sat back and enjoyed the suprise of every plate that arrived.

As the title of this review says it all -- without doubt the best meal of our trip. This is a chef on the rise, not to be missed should your travels bring you to Amsterdam.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank NYorkAl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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129 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Excellent Restaurant”
Reviewed July 6, 2014 via mobile

This place was steps from our hotel The Neighbors Magnolia and as previous reviewers noted, it's an excellent restaurant in this upscale neighborhood just outside the city center. It's reasonably priced for such finely crafted food. It was a quiet evening, with a few other couples, some tourist some locals. Excellent service, charming setting, excellent food.

1 Thank tioBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Goshen, New York
Level 6 Contributor
320 reviews
203 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
“"Right Choice"”
Reviewed June 30, 2014

The food is very tasty and artistically prepared. You can watch the chefs prepare your food as the kitchen is open to the restaurant. The only drawback that we found is that the menu is limited to five entrees. I don't know how often the menu is changed. Good selection of wines. Would repeat if we return to Amsterdam.

Visited June 2014
Thank plasmid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Really Good Food”
Reviewed June 27, 2014

Had a meal here when I stayed at a local hotel. Excellent in every way with great food and service. The food was French style but really well cooked and some unusual and interesting choices. Considering the quality the prices are modest and service and welcome are good. Highly recommended!

Visited June 2014
Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Just outstanding!”
Reviewed June 26, 2014

Willems restaurant has only been open two years, but even on a Monday night it was just as well that we had booked - very busy.
The cuisine was exceptional and we rated the meal amongst one of the best we have ever had.
Willems is in a street called Willemsparkweg which runs parallel to Vondelpark and right outside the door is the tram stop.
Try this restaurant, you won't regret it!

Visited June 2014
2 Thank TheoneRoberto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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