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. Bord'Eau

    $$$$ | Rembrandtplein | French

    Inside the regal Hotel de l'Europe, this playfully modern French restaurant is elegant without being stuffy. Of course, the ingredients are...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. Ciel Bleu

    $$$$ | De Pijp | French

    This elegant two–Michelin star French dining room nods to modernity with colorful design touches, but the food at the "Blue Sky" leans more...Read More

  • 4. Johannes

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | French

    Small-plates tasting menus are all the rage in Amsterdam, and this intimate 15-table eatery in a historic canal house with Dutch Puritan decor...Read More

  • 5. La Rive

    $$$$ | Amsterdam-Oost | French

    Inside the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam Hotel—the lodging of choice for royalty, dignitaries, and rock stars—La Rive is the city's unparalleled...Read More

  • 6. MOS Amsterdam

    $$$ | French

    On the southern banks of the IJ River, in an area with few places to eat, this Asian-inflected French restaurant ups the bar by using international...Read More

  • 7. Brasserie FLO Amsterdam

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | French

    Everything shines here: the copper, the mirrors, the white tablecloths and, of course, the food. Part of a popular chain, Flo is centrally located...Read More

  • 8. Brasserie van Baerle

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    If it's Sunday and you want to brunch on the holiest of trinities—blini, caviar, and Champagne—look no further than this elegant brasserie....Read More

  • 9. Café Americain

    $$$ | Leidseplein | French

    Although thousands of buildings in Amsterdam are designated historic monuments, few have their interiors landmarked as well; this one does,...Read More

  • 10. Le Garage

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    For more than a quarter century, this former garage has been a brasserie awash in red-plush seating and mirrored walls—perfect for local glitterati...Read More

  • 11. Restaurant Elkaar

    $$$ | Plantage | French

    This small restaurant in a white-and-red corner building near the Tropenmuseum is easy to spot and inside, the dark-wood paneling, pressed linen...Read More

  • 12. Restaurant Sinne

    $$$$ | De Pijp | French

    This cozy French-Mediterranean restaurant with exposed brick walls and whimsical cartoon paintings is a true local favorite. You basically create...Read More

  • 13. Christophe

    $$$$ | Western Canal Ring | French

    Suave and sleek, the William Katz–designed interior—which evokes this artist's acclaimed ballet scenery (thanks to all the silver ribbons and...Read More

  • 14. D' Theeboom

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | French

    Proprietor George Thurbert has been setting high standards for the city's French restaurants for decades in this formal and Art Deco–stylish...Read More

  • 15. Excelsior

    $$$ | Centrum | French

    amp;lt;QUERY> Yes, Steve please follow up with this review and let me know the progress.</QUERY> Excelsior. This famously...Read More

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