Amsterdam Restaurants

Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried sausages)—along with thick pea soup and hearty meat and potato dishes. These days, however, Amsterdam restaurants serve much higher-quality and more varied food than ever before.

Many forward-thinking Amsterdam restaurants have embraced a "New Dutch cuisine," using organic and locally sourced meat, fish, and seafood, and expertly cooked vegetables served with interesting sauces and side dishes. Some chefs are taking it a step further and growing produce and herbs on land or rooftops attached to their restaurants—garden to table cooking, if you will. Multicourse tasting menus or small plates that you can mix and match are popular at upscale eateries, making use of what's freshest at the moment, perhaps farm-fresh asparagus or North Sea mussels. The classic standbys are still widely available, too—it's hard to resist those delicious bitterballen—but they're often prepared in updated, modern interpretations.

Amsterdam has a wealth of international cuisines. The city has long been known for its Moroccan, Turkish, and Indonesian food, and there are excellent Vietnamese eateries, where you can finally get a decent bánh mì, as well as pretty much every type of cuisine you might be craving. Another thing that's big on the Amsterdam food scene these days is brunch. Traditionally, the Dutch opt for relatively simple breakfasts of buttered toast with chocolate sprinkles (called hagelslag), but places for more American-style brunch—eggs Benedict or oatmeal with fresh fruit—have popped up throughout the city, attracting the city's trend-followers. Although steak restaurants have existed for years (and continue to open on a regular basis), hamburgers are also trendy, with tiny spots elbowing their way in to become the most popular in town.

Pockets of interesting dining are emerging away from the city center, too, but Amsterdam is a small city, so don't be daunted by distance. Everything's still easy to reach by cab, tram, or bus—or make like a local and burn off some calories by renting a bike.

Despite all these changes, one thing's stayed relatively the same: the pace of service. Expect a wait to get menus, to order, and then to receive your food. You just have to go with it: it's the Dutch way!

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  • 1. Bazar Amsterdam

    $ | De Pijp | African

    A golden angel–capped church provides the setting for this kitsch-filled restaurant, where inexpensive and flavorful North African cooking—from...Read More

  • 2. Mamouche

    $$ | De Pijp | Moroccan

    Romantic and charming, this candlelit North African restaurant with exceptionally friendly service has been a hit with locals and tourists alike...Read More

  • 3. Restaurant Sinne

    $$$$ | De Pijp | Mediterranean

    This candlelit French-Mediterranean restaurant with exposed brick walls and whimsical cartoon paintings is a true local favorite. Choose a set...Read More

  • 4. Albina

    $ | De Pijp | Chinese

    While you're in Amsterdam, do try Surinamese food, a unique fusion of Amerindian, Caribbean, Chinese, Jewish, Dutch, and Indonesian cuisines...Read More

  • 5. Balti House

    $$ | De Pijp | Indian

    If you find yourself craving curry, the dishes at this purveyor of Indian cuisine do have a subtle variance in flavors, though the spicing has...Read More

  • 6. Ciel Bleu

    $$$$ | De Pijp | International

    This elegant two–Michelin star dining room nods to modernity with gleaming metallic design touches, but the French-international food at the...Read More

  • 7. Coffee & Coconuts

    $ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    This lively spot with soaring ceilings and three levels of seating attracts a young crowd for the eclectic but generally healthy menu of all...Read More

  • 8. De Taart van m'n Tante

    $ | De Pijp | Café

    The indoor and outdoor seating areas of "My Aunt's Cake" look more than a little bit like the set of a children's television program, with funky...Read More

  • 9. Griekse Taverna

    $$ | De Pijp | Greek

    This comfortable taverna scores points for its excellent, affordable, and fresh-herbed meze, brought to table en masse for you to choose from...Read More

  • 10. Kingfisher Café

    $$ | De Pijp | International

    For a taste of the neighborhood's regentrified café culture, check out this favorite corner bar that fills up most nights with parched Pijpers...Read More

  • 11. Little Collins

    $ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    One of Amsterdam's brunch pioneers, this intimate Australian-run eatery has a laid-back vibe and friendly servers. Although you'll inevitably...Read More

  • 12. Warung Spang Makandra

    $ | De Pijp | Indonesian

    The Indonesian-inspired Surinamese food at this often-cramped local favorite includes many simple but well-prepared variations of chicken, fish...Read More

  • 13. Yamazato

    $$$$ | De Pijp | Japanese

    Traditional Japanese haute cuisine is sublimely presented at this elegant restaurant where a Zenlike sushi bar, kimonoed waitstaff, and views...Read More

  • 14. Oolong Restaurant & Cocktail Bar

    $$ | De Pijp | Chinese

    Though Chinese food options in Amsterdam can often be greasy and overfried, this modern spot along busy Ferdinand Bolstraat bucks the trend...Read More

  • 15. Braque

    $$ | De Pijp | French

    This conveniently located modern bistro serves classic delights like escargots, bouillabaisse, vitello tonnato (sliced, braised veal tenderloin...Read More

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