During my stay in Amsterdam, I couldn't resist the call of the superb restaurant Yamazato, awarded a Michelin star. As you know, I'm a huge fan of Japan (6 trips under my belt!) and finding high-quality Japanese cuisine was a way to get closer to that beloved country for an evening. Immersion in pictures!
An Ideal Location
Since its opening in 1971, the Okura Hotel has been among the most luxurious hotels in Amsterdam. Its style is greatly influenced by Japanese culture, with a minimalist look and the use of natural materials such as wood. It offers 300 rooms and suites for discerning travelers who appreciate subtle luxury.
The best Japanese restaurant in Amsterdam, named Yamazato, is located in the heart of this luxury hotel. From the first steps, it's a one-way ticket to Japan! The delicate beauty dear to the Japanese is found here, with the use of natural materials, but the highlight is the view: a superb Japanese garden that can be comfortably admired from the dining room. And in April, it features beautiful pink flowers delicately reflecting in the pond, truly a feast for the eyes!
A High-flying Reputation
Yamazato was the first traditional Japanese restaurant to receive a Michelin star in 2002. Since then, the talented executive chef, Masanori Tomikawa, has kept it at the highest level by offering cuisine based on Japanese ingredients in traditional recipes. Born in Japan, he then traveled the world before returning to his native country and joining the Okura Group. He went to Amsterdam in 1983, joined Chef Akira Oshima, and worked with him for more than 20 years before taking over the reins of Yamazato in 2010.
A Dinner Rich in Emotions
The cuisine at Yamazato is a kaiseki cuisine, consisting of a multitude of small dishes based on seasonal products that are subtly sublimated. I had the pleasure of discovering it on my first trip to Japan, either by staying in a traditional ryokan or the absolute top-notch Asaba, a sublime Relais & Châteaux!
On the menu, we had a choice between the Aoi Kaiseki (which is the menu we chose), the Icho Kaiseki, and the Tsuki Kaiseki, which is vegetarian, all of which can, of course, be accompanied by a wine/sake pairing.
We began our dinner with the first dish called Tsukidashi, which was very light and fresh, a real fireworks display of flavors. From the first bites, we were transported directly to Japan, with the flavors really delivering! Next, we tasted a soup called Owan, a selection of sashimi (Tsukuri), before discovering the dish named Yakimono, which was a grilled sea bass, absolutely divine.
We continued our sensory journey with Shinogi, which consisted of scallops, before moving on to the serious stuff with Shiizakana: thin slices of beef wrapped in burdock, a true delight with two very different textures, with the tenderness of the meat on one side and the crunchiness of the vegetable on the other. This was my favorite dish of the dinner at Yamazato! The last dish, refreshing and refined like Japanese sweet creations, was called Shokuji, which is a chirashi accompanied by miso soup.
We finished this delicious dinner with a refreshing and refined dessert, like the sweet creations of Japan. The menu was designed as a journey through the Land of the Rising Sun and its different regions, transporting us with each dish!
Whether in the aesthetic of the room or with the waitresses wearing traditional kimonos, we were perfectly immersed in Japanese culture. The professionalism, discretion, and gentleness of the staff immediately brought to mind the Land of the Rising Sun! The art of receiving guests in the Japanese style is perfectly respected!
The Yamazato restaurant is a true Japanese gem in the Netherlands! It is undoubtedly one of the best Japanese restaurants outside of Japan where I have had the pleasure of dining. The experience for the taste buds but also for the eyes was a true delight. A good discovery (or rediscovery) of Japanese cuisine that I warmly recommend!
What I liked:
- The beauty of the room in pure Japanese style
- The art of receiving guests in the Japanese style
- Refined dishes and delicious flavors
What I regretted:
- A bit out of the city center of Amsterdam (but easily accessible by taxi)
Open Wednesday to Monday, arrival between 6pm and 8pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Remember to book online on their website
About Florence Consul
Editor of Experiences Luxe since 2015, I love discovering new exclusive and authentic experiences all over the world. I left my home country (France) 6 years ago to become a global citizen, traveling 365 days out of the year. I am a foodie person and I make a point of tasting local specialities.