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. Cheesy Cakes

    $ | Eastern Canal Ring | Bakery

    Blink and you'll miss this hidden specialist, where you can indulge in the best (and most beautiful) cheesecake in the city. While you'll always...Read More

  • 2. De Foodhallen

    $ | Oud-West | 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

  • 3. Gebr. Niemeijer

    $ | Centrum | Bakery

    Fix your morning woes with some of the city’s richest croissants, butteriest brioche, and most perfect pain au chocolat at this artisan French...Read More

  • 4. Pllek

    $$ | Eclectic

    Befitting its location in the former shipyards of the newly hip NDSM area, this quirky restaurant is housed in a series of cavernous shipping...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Café Americain

    $$$ | Leidseplein | French

    Although thousands of buildings in Amsterdam are designated historic monuments, few have interiors as stunning as the facade. This cafe is an...Read More

  • 7. Café Luxembourg

    $$ | Centrum | Café

    One of the city's best-known grand cafés, Luxembourg has a stately interior and a view of a bustling square, both of which are excellent for...Read More

  • 8. Cafe Restaurant Amsterdam

    $$ | Oud-West | International

    This airy spot west of the Jordaan is an industrial monument: for a century, it housed a plant that pumped water from coastal dunes. Now, under...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Frietboutique

    $ | Oud-Zuid | Fast Food

    Frietboutique is famous in Zuid and beyond as the purveyor of ''all your guilty pleasures.'' From fresh hand-cut friet (Dutch fries) and crispy...Read More

  • 12. The Pancake Bakery

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    It's hard to go wrong when going out for Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam, but the ones at this 40-year-old stalwart are among the best in town....Read More

  • 13. Winkel 43

    $ | Jordaan | Café

    Tasty sandwiches, salads, and pastas are available at this popular café, but the crowds come for the appeltaart . Locals, students, and tourists...Read More

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