Conscientious Fine Dining | Flore Restaurant, De L’Europe Amsterdam Hotel, Netherlands

By Roger Grody

Showcasing and Elevating Local Dutch Ingredients at Restaurant Flore

Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 2024

• GAYOT’s Rating: 17/20
• Cuisine: French / Contemporary
• Open: Lunch Fri.-Sat. 12 p.m.-4 p.m.; Dinner Wed.- Sat. 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
• Price: €€€€€

Restaurant Flore | +31 (0)20 531 16 19 | View Website
View Map: De L’Europe Amsterdam, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14, 1012 CP Amsterdam, Netherlands

Photo © Chantal Arnts

Situated in the historic De L’Europe Amsterdam hotel, Flore is one of the Netherlands’ most highly-acclaimed restaurants. Young executive chef Bas van Kranen, deeply committed to sustainability, applies meticulous classical technique to elegant compositions showcasing local Dutch ingredients, and offers, in addition to the regular tasting menu, one entirely crafted from plant-based items.

The Chef

Photo © Chantal Arnts

Although his Asian travels may sometimes inspire his craft, executive chef Bas van Kranen is devoted to ingredients found much closer to home. At Flore, he showcases the bounty of artisanal Dutch producers dedicated to sustainable, biodynamic farming, elevating unpretentious local ingredients through precise execution and exquisite presentation. When the restaurant is closed, Van Kranen and his kitchen staff can be found foraging for wild berries and herbs in the wilds outside the Dutch capital.

The Scene

Flore is housed in the historic De L’Europe Amsterdam hotel—the grande dame of Amsterdam hotels received a lavish makeover during the pandemic. The intimate dining room overlooks the river Amstel that runs through the heart of a European capital whose elegance and culture have been reinvigorated. Most luxury hotels’ signature dining rooms tend to be grandiose, extravagant settings, but Flore is a highly-personalized restaurant with fewer than a dozen tables offering views of sightseeing boats navigating the waterway that was a favorite subject of Rembrandt.

White linen-clad, elegantly-minimalist tables, (there are only eleven), sit beneath a sculptural ceiling, and walls wrapped in nature scenes are a nod to the cuisine’s emphasis on sustainability and organic production. Flore’s pretenses—this is, after all, a restaurant of considerable stature—are deftly softened by the warmth of the attentive, precision-minded staff that presents an approachable formality. Diners may unexpectedly be escorted into the kitchen to consume a course at a counter with a view of the action, served by the chefs.

The Cuisine

The tasting menus, both the regular and botanical, involve a parade of technically proficient, exquisitely plated dishes, perfectly paced by a formal but conversational staff. The menus are in constant flux, subject to seasonal availability of ingredients, making every dish fresh and unique.

In fact, the only item regularly repeated is the chef’s “Vegetable of the Moment,” a study in 25 seasonal vegetables with horseradish foam. Nevertheless, representative dishes may include the likes of Japanese chawanmushi custard with rabbit kidney or a unique play on cuttlefish “noodles,” while turbot on nasturtium leaves in wasabi-watercress sauce or langoustine dappled in hollandaise reflect clever tweaks of classic ingredients.

While the aesthetics of dishes are certainly a priority, their simplicity—generally just a few elements smartly presented on unassuming, unembellished vessels—contributes to an elegance that is authentic, rarely overwrought. Unexpected ingredients might be showcased for dessert, such as a porcini mushroom tarte that one’s palate reads more like apple-cinnamon.

Commitment to Sustainability

An entirely plant-based tasting menu—sophisticated dishes crafted from the products of local farmers and foragers—is offered at Flore. Unlike many vegetarian menus that chefs begrudgingly provide, this one does not represent any compromise in Van Kranen’s techniques or plating.

Consistent with the restaurant’s ethos of sustainability is an impressive list of approximately 200 organic or naturally-produced wines assembled by head sommelier Antonello Nicastri. However, those enamored with first-growth Bordeaux or other prestigious bottles from leading wine-producing regions are rewarded by a formidable hotel cellar with more than 1,000 labels.

The restaurant’s staff also produces compelling house-fermented juices, such as rhubarb-pinecone or fig-cherry kombucha with jasmine, which make unique natural accompaniments to the botanical menu.