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. Café Luxembourg

    $$ | Centrum | Café

    One of the city's top grand cafés, Luxembourg has a stately interior and a view of a bustling square, both of which are excellent for people...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. In de Waag

    $$$ | Nieuwmarkt | International

    The lofty wood-beam interior of the 17th-century Waag (weigh house), converted into a grand café and restaurant, is lighted by hundreds of candles...Read More

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  • 6. Marius

    $$$$ | Mediterranean

    This casual neighborhood bistro draws a relaxed local crowd with its seasonal preparations of seafood and meat served with farm-fresh vegetables...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Pllek

    $$ | Eclectic

    Befitting its location in the former shipyards of the newly hip NDSM area, this quirky restaurant is housed in a series of cavernous shipping...Read More

  • 9. Restaurant As

    $$ | Oud-Zuid | Mediterranean

    A Chez Panisse–trained chef whips up frequently changing menus with local ingredients and a Mediterranean flair at this lively restaurant in...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Cafe Checkpoint Charlie

    $ | Eclectic

    Not far from Westerpark and just across the main canal that borders the Jordaan, Checkpoint Charlie serves excellent, locally produced snacks...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. 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

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