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. Restaurant Vermeer

    $$$$ | Red Light District

    Culinary surprises are the name of the game at this stately restaurant; instead of a menu, diners are presented with a list of seasonal ingredients...Read More

  • 2. 1e Klas

    $$$ | Centrum

    This Grand Café is a storied place to wait for your train. Architect Pierre Cuypers' original 1889 Fin-de-Siècle interior, no longer restricted to first-class passengers,...Read More

  • 3. Brasserie de Keyzer

    $$$ | Museum District

    In the shadow of the golden lyre that tops the Concertgebouw (Concert Building), this culinary institution has been serving musicians and concertgoers for over a...Read More

  • 4. Cafe 't Gasthuys

    $ | Red Light District

    Bustling and student-filled, this cozy restaurant near the university serves large portions of traditional Dutch home cooking—chicken satay or slabs of steak with rich sauces,...Read More

  • 5. Café Americain

    $$$ | Leidseplein

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

  • 6. Café Schiller

    $ | Rembrandtplein

    Next to the same-named hotel, this landmark has an authentic Art Deco interior, wood paneling, and a cozy atmosphere that makes it especially inviting when...Read More

  • 7. Café-Restaurant De Plantage

    $$ | Plantage

    The stunning decor in this expansive space on Artisplein at the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is reason enough to visit, but the Mediterranean-influenced food is...Read More

  • 8. Coffee & Coconuts

    $ | De Pijp

    This lively spot with soaring ceilings and three levels of seating attracts a young crowd for the eclectic but generally healthy menu of all-day brunch,...Read More

  • 9. D' Vijff Vlieghen

    $$$ | Centrum

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

  • 10. De Belhamel

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring

    On the edge of the Canal District, this classic Amsterdam restaurant is blessed with gorgeous Art Nouveau detailing and wallpaper, as well as views of...Read More

  • 11. De Roode Leeuw

    $$ | Centrum

    Since its 2019 renovation, this Dutch brasserie has become a beacon on an otherwise uninspiring road; it's one of the few non–fast food restaurants around...Read More

  • 12. De Silveren Spiegel

    $$$ | Centrum

    Despite appearances, this precariously crooked building near the solid Round Lutheran Church is here to stay: it's managed to remain standing since 1614, and it...Read More

  • 13. Haesje Claes

    $$ | Centrum

    In a 1520 monument groaning with pewter tankards, stained glass, rich gold leather paneling, original Delftware and other curiosa, this restaurant's "Old Holland" vibe and...Read More

  • 14. Jansz

    $$$$ | Western Canal Ring

    The decor of this stylish Pulitzer Hotel restaurant is an updated take on old-world elegance, featuring green velvet banquettes, white marble tables, beamed ceilings, and...Read More

  • 15. Restaurant-Café In de Waag

    $$ | Nieuwmarkt

    The lofty wood-beam interior of the 15th-century Waag (weigh house), converted into a café and restaurant, is lighted by hundreds of candles that nicely help...Read More

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  • 16. Blauw aan de Wal

    $$$$ | Red Light District

    In the heart of the Red Light District is a small alley that leads to this charming oasis, complete with the innocent chirping of birds....Read More

  • 17. Maximiliaan

    $$$ | Centrum

    An ideal stop for lunch or dinner after strolling Dam Square, this classic Amsterdam restaurant next to the Magna Plaza Shopping Center underwent a radical...Read More

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