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 res
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 varie
Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried saus

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. Bolenius

    $$$ | Oud-Zuid | Dutch

    For innovative "new Amsterdam" cuisine, head to this modern restaurant near the Station Zuid Metro stop, by the World Trade Center. The design...Read More

  • 2. Greetje

    $$$ | Oosterdok | Dutch

    For Dutch food at its best, head to this homey—some might even call it old-fashioned—restaurant, where the chef takes rarely seen or forgotten...Read More

  • 3. Librije's Zusje

    $$$$ | Eastern Canal Ring | Dutch

    You can expect great things from this elegantly understated sister restaurant to the three–Michelin star Librije in Zwolle, northeast of Amsterdam...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Bluespoon

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    Traditional Dutch food often gets a bad rap—described as heavy and fried—but this lively restaurant in the Andaz hotel proves that lighter and...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. D' Vijff Vlieghen

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    The "Five Flies" is a rambling dining institution that takes up five adjoining Golden Age houses filled with densely evocative decor—complete...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. De Roode Leeuw

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Timeless and classic, De Roode Leeuw is a light along a strip of otherwise uninspiring road; it's one of the few non–fast food restaurants around...Read More

  • 12. De Silveren Spiegel

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Despite appearances, this precariously crooked building near the solid Round Lutheran Church is here to stay: it's managed to remain standing...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. FEBO

    $ | Leidseplein | Dutch

    Amsterdam isn't generally a city where food comes quickly, but FEBO is an exception: this Dutch chain of restaurants functions like an old-school...Read More

  • 15. Haesje Claes

    $$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Groaning with pewter tankards, stained glass, leaded-glass windows, rich historic paneling, Indonesian paisley fabriks, and tasseled Victorian...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Onder de Ooievaar

    $ | Eastern Canal Ring | Dutch

    The name of this café means "Under the Stork," (there's a tile panel of a stork on the turret). The meatballs here are rather famous, and they...Read More

  • 18. Restaurant BREDA

    $$$$ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    Named after a market town in the south of the Netherlands where its chefs were born, Breda modernizes Dutch cuisine with frequently changing...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Brasserie De Poort

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Restored in the Old Dutch style (complete with polished woods and ceiling paintings), this restaurant—part of the Die Poert van Cleve hotel...Read More

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