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. &samhoud places Restaurant

    $$$$ | Oosterdok | Eclectic

    This bi-level waterfront restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Oosterdok serves some of the most creative (and dearly priced...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Bolenius

    $$$ | Oud-Zuid | Dutch

    For innovative "new Amsterdam" cuisine, head to this modern restaurant near the Station Zuid Metro stop, by the World Trade Center. The design...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Choux

    $$$$ | Oosterdok | Contemporary

    A delight for vegetarians and omnivores alike, this organic, veggie-centered eatery (with meat and fish as accents, if you choose) on a nondescript...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. De Kas

    $$$$ | Amsterdam-Oost | Mediterranean

    Chef Gert Jan Hageman turned Amsterdam's 1926-built municipal greenhouses into a lovely, modern, and light-filled restaurant (with a glass roof...Read More

  • 9. 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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  • 10. Incanto

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | Italian

    Hidden amid a cluster of fast-food joints near the historic Art Deco Pathé Tuschinski theater, this cozy gem of a restaurant serves high-end...Read More

  • 11. La Perla

    $ | Jordaan | Pizza

    It's tough to find good pizza in this town, but the folks at this restaurant, tucked away on a side street, have it nailed. Their brick-oven...Read More

  • 12. Librije's Zusje

    $$$$ | Eastern Canal Ring | Dutch

    You can expect great things from this elegantly understated sister restaurant to the three–Michelin star Librije in Zwolle, northeast of Amsterdam...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Ron Gastrobar

    $$$ | Oud-Zuid | Contemporary

    Revered Dutch chef Ron Blaauw lends star power to this casual, stripped-down space, where each small plate costs a modest sum (dry-aged steaks...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Yamazato

    $$$$ | De Pijp | Japanese

    Traditional Japanese food is sublimely presented at this elegant restaurant where a Zenlike sushi bar, kimonoed waitstaff, and views over a...Read More

  • 20. 1e Klas

    $$ | Centrum | Café

    This restaurant is a stylish place to wait for your train. The original Art Nouveau brasserie interior, no longer restricted to first-class...Read More

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