The objective of this experiment was to study milk productivity, metabolic adaptation and effect of a short-term feed restriction (FR) on key performance indicators during early lactation in cows classified according to energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield and milk protein concentration. Twenty-three multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows were categorized in four groups according to respective averaged values on Days 23-25 postpartum: high ECM yield and high protein concentration; low ECM yield and low protein concentration; high ECM yield and low protein concentration and low ECM yield and high protein concentration. Dry matter intake was reduced to 68.3% for three subsequent days. Our results showed that short-time FR in early lactation succeeded in enhancing energy deficit of cows in all groups. Milk fat, milk protein and lactose concentrations as well as milk fat yield were not influenced by FR. Several hepatic genes encoding for enzymes involved in catabolism of amino acids, β-oxidation, gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis as well as mRNA encoding for insulin receptor showed increased transcript abundances after FR, primarily in cows with high milk yield and low milk protein concentration.