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. La Perla

    $ | Jordaan | Pizza

    It's tough to find good pizza in this town, but the folks at this restaurant, tucked away on a side street, have it nailed. Their brick-oven...Read More

  • 2. Balraj

    $$ | Jordaan | Indian

    This is the oldest Indian restaurant in Amsterdam (it opened in 1977), and it's a longtime favorite of curry connoisseurs. Although the decor...Read More

  • 3. Burgermeester

    $ | Jordaan | Fast Food

    The chefs here are, indeed, "burger masters," and the tasty range of options includes beef, tuna, chicken, and lamb, as well as vegetarian-friendly...Read More

  • 4. Café de Reiger

    $$ | Jordaan | Dutch

    This atmospheric old neighborhood brown café ("brown" because of its nicotine-stained walls) has a long history of being packed with boisterous...Read More

  • 5. De Bolhoed

    $$ | Jordaan | Vegetarian

    This mellow organic vegetarian restaurant, with local artists' works hung on the bright orange-and-green walls, serves tasty homemade soups...Read More

  • 6. La Oliva Pintxos y Vinos

    $$$ | Jordaan | Spanish

    The name of this restaurant describes what's served here: a huge selection of warm and cold pintxos (Spanish Basque tapas that run the gamut...Read More

  • 7. Moeders

    $$ | Jordaan | Dutch

    As you might expect from a restaurant whose name means "Mothers," this comfortable spot is all about Dutch home cooking—with a side of kitsch...Read More

  • 8. Toscanini

    $$ | Jordaan | Italian

    This stylish, expansive Florentine trattoria is a perennial favorite; the open kitchen, skylighted ceiling, wooden floors and tables, and attentive...Read More

  • 9. Winkel 43

    $ | Jordaan | Café

    The appeltaart (Dutch apple pie) served here is said to be the best in Amsterdam, and the lines out front on busy market days attest to Winkel...Read More

  • 10. Winkel 43

    $ | Jordaan | Café

    You can order tasty sandwiches, salads, and pastas at this popular café with traditional wood-beam ceilings, but the crowds come for the appeltaart...Read More

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