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. Café Schiller

    $ | Rembrandtplein | French

    Next to the same-named hotel, this landmark has an authentic Art Deco interior, wood paneling, and a cozy atmosphere that makes it especially...Read More

  • 3. De Foodhallen

    $ | International

    Modeled after Madrid's indoor San Miguel market, this always-packed food hall in a former tram-maintenance building is unfailingly popular with...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Pancake Bakery

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    It's hard to go wrong when going out for Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam, but the ones at the Pancake Bakery are the best in town. The 17th-century...Read More

  • 6. Vlaams Friethuis Vleminckx

    $ | Centrum | Fast Food

    One of the best places to try the Lowlands' famous french fries is Vlaams (Flemish) Friethuis Vleminckx, where the fries are freshly made and...Read More

  • 7. Abyssinia

    $ | Ethiopian

    A bit off the beaten track but conveniently close to Vondelpark, Abyssinia specializes in Ethiopian and Eritrean meals eaten with the spongy...Read More

  • 8. Albina

    $ | De Pijp | Chinese

    A local fave that serves up one of the best rotis (Surinamese version of the Indian flatbread) in the city. It comes with a choice of fillings...Read More

  • 9. An

    $ | Eastern Canal Ring | Japanese

    At this friendly and long-popular Japanese eatery, you can enjoy a relaxed evening meal accompanied with excellent plum wine ( umeshuu ). The...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Bakkerswinkel

    $ | Red Light District | European

    This unpretentious bakery and tearoom evokes an English country kitchen—one that lovingly prepares and serves breakfasts, high tea, hearty sandwiches...Read More

  • 12. Burgerlijk

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Burger

    Both the menu and the seating are rather limited, but burger aficionados line up in droves for the large, juicy beef patties at this tiny eatery...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Cafe 't Gasthuys

    $ | Red Light District | Dutch

    Bustling and student-filled, this cozy restaurant near the university serves large portions of traditional Dutch home cooking—choice cuts of...Read More

  • 15. Cafe Checkpoint Charlie

    $ | Eclectic

    Not far from Westerpark and just across the main canal that borders the Jordaan, Checkpoint Charlie serves excellent, locally produced snacks...Read More

  • 16. Cafe Reijnders

    $ | Leidseplein | Dutch

    With one of the biggest terraces on the square, Reijnders is the perfect place to observe the crowd. When the weather turns, this brown café...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. De Amsterdamsche Vishandel

    $ | Red Light District | Dutch

    When in Amsterdam, do as the Amsterdammers do: enjoy some raw herring, the ultimate Dutch snack. At this landmark shop (est. 1938) you can snack...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Eik & Linde

    $ | Plantage | Dutch

    The history of this traditional "brown café" can be traced back to 1832, and the old-fashioned bar has not lost its prewar charm to prefab fittings...Read More

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