Tempura Restaurant is one of the better, maybe the best, sushi restaurants in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, good sushi places in Amsterdam are few and far between. If you do get that sushi craving, I recommend heading to Tempura near Artis. You may also want to try the expensive and Michelin decorated Yamazato in the Okura Hotel. Or make the trip to remote Amstelveen to sample also decent Tanuki.
Either way, don’t expect any extraordinary sushi. Japanese restaurants in Amsterdam tend to be very traditional, serving quality but ordinary food in an impeccable yet distinctly unstylish setting.
Tempura is no exception. The decor is very simple with bare walls, mostly white and brown colors and no adornments other then a few Japanese beckoning cats and lanterns in the window and an emergency exit sign above the door. The dining room does have a cozy feel. It is small with less than 15 tables and split into the main area in the front by the entrance, the slightly lowered back by the open kitchen and an upstairs balcony.
The somewhat quirky but always friendly service adds to the coziness. Tempura is always busy. And while small misunderstandings when ordering or making reservations can create a disorganized appearance, they always do so in a charming way. And the authentic Japanese hostess always makes me feel like a welcome regular, although I can never tell if she actually does recognize me.
The food is very good. Sushi and sashimi are prepared well from fresh fish. The meat of the yakitori is tender and their sauce just sweetish enough. I especially like the duck and scallion yakitori. And – at least for Amsterdam standards – there are a few more interesting dishes such as large shrimp in a sweetened almond crust or the spicy shrimp tempura maki. Tempura has a decent sake, but do not expect to pick your favorite bottle from a sake list.
Tempura is located on Plantage Kerklaan 26hs in the Plantage Buurt – Dutch for Plantation Neighborhood – near the Artis zoo.