Sushi of all stripes is having its moment in the Dutch culinary spotlight. The Amsterdam Foodie is here to sort the sashimi from the uramaki.
While sushi has been available in Amsterdam for at least a couple of decades, it always flew a little under the radar. Unlike ramen or tacos, it was never a trending topic on Amsterdam’s food scene. But now, sushi seems to be having a moment.
You’ll still find the traditional sushi restaurants serving fresh sashimi and well-crafted nigiri. But you’ll also find far more creative rolls, vegan sushi in abundance, and even Peruvian sushi. So whatever you favour, you’ll find your flavour.
While A-Fusion serves much more than just sushi, you can’t visit this Amsterdam old-timer without tasting a plate or two of their famously delicious nigiri or uramaki. If you order A-Fusion’s Bib Gourmand menu, you’ll get a couple of rounds of sushi as part of the chef’s selection.
But if you want to be sure of what you’re buying, put the rib-eye truffle nigiri and the flambé salmon nigiri on your order sheet. A-Fusion also offers a monthly sushi box for takeaway and delivery – that’s Saturday night, sorted.
For the ultimate in high-end sushi, however, book the ‘omakase’ or ‘kappo’ 12-course menu at Undercover. Again, you’ll be strapping in for a ride that’s far more than California rolls and cucumber maki. And make no mistake – this type of sushi is not for everyone, and not for everyone’s budget (dinner currently costs €125). But Undercover is certainly an experience you won’t forget.
Possibly the biggest sushi trend in Amsterdam right now is vegan sushi. And no one is making it better than the aptly named Vegan Sushi Bar. Doing what it says on the tin (and doing it excellently), Vegan Sushi Bar’s two locations – in Oost and West respectively – currently serve up a menu of 10 meat-less and fish-less signature red rice rolls plus various other inari, maki, gunkan and side dishes.
Try the flambé salmon for an extremely convincing vegan replica of sushi’s favourite fish, or the shrimp-less tempura for a roll that’s more guilty pleasure than vegan virtue. The gyoza are excellent too.
If you’d like to try some other vegan dishes alongside your sushi, plant-based restaurant Hearth (behind OLVG Oost) is a good bet. But first, get the red quinoa roll with avocado, tofu, spring onions and wasabi mayo, or the green spirulina roll with avocado, black beans, chipotle mayo and sesame. Then move onto cauliflower tartare or broccoli gnocchi with cashew garlic cheese, paired with a glass of one of Hearth’s delicious natural wines.
Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine is a thing, and it’s called Nikkei. Think sushi meets ceviche, and you can imagine a match made in foodie heaven.
To try it in Amsterdam, head to Yokomo in the Rivierenbuurt. Meat eaters will appreciate the crunchy-spicy chicken roll featuring chipotle and plantain, or the chimichurri beef roll that comes with fried onions and aji verde. While those who favour fish will enjoy the ebi shrimp maki with masago roe and mango. Yokomo has a good cocktail list as well, although the service can leave a little to be desired.
No article about sushi in Amsterdam would be complete without at least one recommendation for a traditional, high-quality restaurant at which every authentic piece is crafted by hand.
That’s what you’ll find at Sushi Fanatics, where they are (understandably) fanatical about sushi. If you eat upstairs, you’ll even get to sit at a traditional low-slung Japanese table on a cushioned bank on the floor – although people with knee problems would be advised to sit downstairs.
You can order individual pieces of nigiri or rolls of 4-8 pieces from Sushi Fanatics’ menu (also available for takeaway and delivery). But to get a broader taste experience, go for one of three ‘combo’ options made up of 13 pieces of sushi – one being more traditional, one more creative, and one vegetarian. Sushi Fanatics also has an extensive sake list featuring sakes in a range of different styles – ideal for the sake newbie wanting to try a few options.
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