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. 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. 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

  • 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. Rijsel

    $$$$ | Amsterdam-Oost | Belgian

    With a bright, modern dining space lined with long communal tables and an open kitchen, this popular French-Flemish restaurant in Amsterdam...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Balraj

    $$ | Jordaan | Indian

    This is the oldest Indian restaurant in Amsterdam (it opened in 1977), and it's a longtime favorite of curry connoisseurs. Although the decor...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Café Bern

    $$ | Nieuwmarkt | Swiss

    This dark, woody, and well-worn café—as evocative as a 17th-century Jan Steen interior—has been serving the same simple cheese fondue for decades...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Goodies

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Italian

    Free from all pretension, this eclectic eatery in the always-busy Nine Streets shopping district serves burgers, salads, and tasty meat and...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Kilimanjaro

    $$ | Oosterdok | African

    This relaxed and friendly restaurant serves dishes from all over the African continent, but focuses on the food of Ethiopia, which is eaten...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. O Mai

    $ | Rembrandtplein | Vietnamese

    Young Amsterdammers can't get enough of the freshly prepared Vietnamese classics served at this simple yet pleasing spot. The sparse decor doesn...Read More

  • 19. Raïnaraï

    $$ | Western Canal Ring | African

    Delicious renditions of North African dishes like couscous, tagines, hummus, baklava, and mint tea are the focus of the menu at this tiny restaurant...Read More

  • 20. Song Kwae

    $$ | Nieuwmarkt | Thai

    This conveniently located Thai restaurant offers speedy service and quality food at a good price for Amsterdam. In addition to the traditional...Read More

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