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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Blauw aan de Wal

    $$$$ | Red Light District | Mediterranean

    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. Original...Read More

  • 5. Breitner

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | Mediterranean

    With a formal interior of rich red carpeting and muted pastel colors, and a view across the Amstel River that takes in both the Muziektheater...Read More

  • 6. Café-Restaurant De Plantage

    $$ | Plantage | Mediterranean

    The stunning decor in this expansive space next to the Artis zoo is reason enough to visit, but the Mediterranean-influenced food is excellent...Read More

  • 7. Envy

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | Mediterranean

    The atmosphere at this trendy restaurant is sleek and modern and the lighting, from low-hanging spotlights, is seductive—all the better to set...Read More

  • 8. Kingfisher

    $$ | De Pijp | Mediterranean

    This trendy narrow eatery on a bustling corner attracts a hip young crowd for snacks, drinks, lunch, or dinner. Daytime means excellent sandwiches...Read More

  • 9. La Vallade

    $$$$ | Amsterdam-Oost | Mediterranean

    A cozy candlelit atmosphere and revered country cooking inspire many to take Tram No. 9 to this somewhat out-of-the-way restaurant on the Ringdijk...Read More

  • 10. Pianeta Terra

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | Mediterranean

    This intimate and softly lighted restaurant has a menu that embraces the whole Mediterranean region and follows the Slow Food philosophy, paying...Read More

  • 11. Pulpo

    $ | Museum District | Mediterranean

    Friendly service, reasonable prices, and jazzy tunes make this trendy hot spot a comfortable place indeed. The main courses are simple but always...Read More

  • 12. Van de Kaart

    $$ | Mediterranean

    This subcanal-level eatery with its peaceful dining room offers a savvy and stylish balancing of Mediterranean tastes. Though the menu is in...Read More

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