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. 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

  • 2. Hotel de Goudfazant

    $$$$ | International

    In a high-ceilinged former garage—still housing a number of classic cars—this large, modern, and convivial restaurant is worth the trek across...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Sea Palace

    $$$ | Oosterdok | Chinese

    You can't miss this over-the-top floating Chinese restaurant, parked on the Oosterdok near Centraal Station. It could easily be a tourist trap...Read More

  • 5. Amsterdam

    $$ | 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Brasserie NeL

    $$ | Eastern Canal Ring | Eclectic

    In part of an ancient wooden church, NeL has a large and lovely terrace—perfect for Amsterdam's eagerly anticipated sunny days, especially at...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Café Van Puffelen

    $$ | Western Canal Ring | European

    The menu at this popular, well-established spot highlights typical café items, from pasta to fish to grilled steak, with a local and organic...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Haesje Claes

    $$ | Centrum | Dutch

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

  • 14. Kam Yin

    $ | Red Light District | Eclectic

    The most centrally located of the many Surinamese snack bars found throughout the city, with the latest hours, Kam Yin offers this South American...Read More

  • 15. Kantjil & de Tijger

    $$$ | Centrum | Indonesian

    Although you can order à la carte at this spacious and airy Indonesian restaurant, most diners opt for one of the four different rijsttafels...Read More

  • 16. New King

    $ | Red Light District | Chinese

    There's almost always a line out the door at this modern-looking Chinese eatery, where the only concession to tradition is the roast ducks hanging...Read More

  • 17. Pendergast Smokehouse

    $$ | American

    Kansas City–style barbecue isn't something you'd expect to see in Europe, but this charming shoebox-size locals' favorite close to Westerpark...Read More

  • 18. Warung Spang Makandra

    $ | De Pijp | Indonesian

    The Indonesian-inspired Surinamese food at this often-cramped local favorite includes many simple but well-prepared variations of chicken, fish...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Brasserie Witteveen

    $$ | De Pijp | Café

    Once upon a time this location was a legendary Dutch grand café complete with Turkish carpeted tables and a distinctive old-world feel. Since...Read More

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