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. Bagels and Beans

    $ | Museum District | Café

    This low-key, bustling breakfast and lunch spot is a dependable option, serving the best bagels in Amsterdam. (They might not be up to New York...Read More

  • 2. Brasserie de Keyzer

    $$$ | Museum District | European

    In the shadow of the golden lyre that tops the Concertgebouw (Concert Building), this culinary institution has been serving musicians and...Read More

  • 3. Brasserie van Baerle

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    If it's Sunday and you want to brunch on the holiest of trinities—blini, caviar, and Champagne—look no further than this elegant brasserie....Read More

  • 4. Café Loetje

    $$ | Museum District | Steakhouse

    Amsterdam locals closely guard their pick for the best (and least expensive) steak house in the city—but that doesn't prevent hordes of diners...Read More

  • 5. Cobra Café

    $ | Museum District | Café

    If you need a rejuvenating break from art viewing, head to this café across from the Rijksmuseum for coffee and cake, or for lunch on one of...Read More

  • 6. Le Garage

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    For more than a quarter century, this former garage has been a brasserie awash in red-plush seating and mirrored walls—perfect for local glitterati...Read More

  • 7. Rijks

    $$$ | Museum District | Dutch

    Amsterdam's famed Rijksmuseum displays Dutch-created artworks only, and the adjacent restaurant, with warm but understated decor, shares a similar...Read More

  • 8. Sama Sebo

    $$$$ | Museum District | Indonesian

    This busy but relaxed neighborhood restaurant serves as a gentle introduction to Indonesian cuisine. Since 1969, Sama Sebo has gained nearly...Read More

  • 9. Taiko

    $$$$ | Museum District | Asian

    This isn't your average sushi joint; in fact, sushi is just one of the choices on the sophisticated Asian fusion menu—which straddles Japanese...Read More

  • 10. Tunes

    $$$$ | Museum District | European

    Thanks to the exposed brick, industrial lighting, glass-box kitchen, and young, vibrant crowds, you'll swear you're in a mod New York restaurant...Read More

  • 11. Pulpo

    $ | Museum District | Mediterranean

    Friendly service, reasonable prices, and jazzy tunes make this trendy hot spot a comfortable place indeed. The main courses are simple but always...Read More

  • 12. Ron Blaauw

    $$$$ | Oud-Zuid | European

    Though the casually funky decor at this two-Michelin-star restaurant—street art on the wall above the open kitchen, star-shaped lamps hanging...Read More

  • 13. Vakzuid

    $$ | Museum District | Eclectic

    Slightly off-the-beaten-track, this sprawling bar-café-lounge-restaurant is in Section South of the still-new-looking 1928 Olympic Stadium,...Read More

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