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. Carstens Brasserie

    $$ | Centrum | Dutch

    With a dizzying array of recently opened restaurants offering so-called New Dutch Cuisine, it's looking like Dutch food has finally been given...Read More

  • 2. Mamouche

    $$ | De Pijp | Moroccan

    Romantic and charming, this candlelit North African restaurant with exceptionally friendly service has been a hit with locals and tourists alike...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Rijsel

    $$ | Amsterdam-Oost | Belgian

    With a bright, modern dining space lined with white-clothed tables and an open kitchen, this popular French-Flemish eatery is one of the liveliest...Read More

  • 5. Sea Palace

    $$ | Oosterdok | Chinese

    You can't miss this over-the-top floating Chinese restaurant, moored on the Oosterdok near Centraal Station—the ornate atmosphere of red paper...Read More

  • 6. Sushi Samba

    $$ | Leidseplein | Asian

    This international chain is well-known for their inventive, gourmet Asian fusion dishes. Inspired by Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine...Read More

  • 7. Thúskomme

    $$ | Amsterdam-Oost | Dutch

    With the northern Dutch province of Friesland's wealth of local ingredients from fertile pastures and seafood-rich seas, this hidden bar-restaurant...Read More

  • 8. An

    $$ | Eastern Canal Ring | Japanese

    At this friendly and long-popular Japanese-owned neighborhood eatery, you can enjoy a relaxed evening meal accompanied with excellent plum wine...Read More

  • 9. Balraj

    $$ | Jordaan | Indian

    This is the oldest Indian restaurant in Amsterdam (it opened in 1977), and it's a longtime favorite of curry connoisseurs. Although the decor...Read More

  • 10. Balti House

    $$ | De Pijp | Indian

    If you find yourself craving curry, the dishes at this purveyor of Indian cuisine do have a subtle variance in flavors, though the spicing has...Read More

  • 11. Bar Kantoor

    $$ | Oud-West | International

    This sustainable eatery is associated with the Conscious Hotel next door. Sit outside on the expansive terrace overlooking Westerpark and watch...Read More

  • 12. Bickers aan de Werf

    $$ | Western Islands | Eclectic

    It's worth finding your way to this eclectic restaurant on Bickers Island, where the funky design is vaguely nautically themed–-a tall communal...Read More

  • 13. Bird

    $$ | Red Light District | Thai

    The large menu of Thai standards—including some very good vegetarian options—doesn't hold many surprises, but everything's fresh and tasty;...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Box Sociaal

    $$ | Plantage | Australian

    A quirkily named Australian-owned all-day brunch and dinner café can be a surprisingly fun place to stop by for locally roasted specialty coffees...Read More

  • 16. Brasserie NeL

    $$ | Eastern Canal Ring | International

    In part of a 17th-century wooden church, NeL has a large and lovely terrace—perfect for Amsterdam's eagerly anticipated sunny days, especially...Read More

  • 17. Café Bern

    $$ | Nieuwmarkt | Swiss

    This dark, woody, and well-loved café—as cozily cluttered as a Jan Steen painting seen through a ’70s filter—has been serving the same simple...Read More

  • 18. Café de Reiger

    $$ | Jordaan | Dutch

    This excellent neighborhood brown café has a long history of being packed with boisterous drinkers and diners. Its past is reflected in its...Read More

  • 19. Café Loetje

    $$ | Museum District | Steakhouse

    Local students, sophisticates, and families all love this bustling bistrolike Dutch institution, where the prime attraction is the beef fillet...Read More

  • 20. Café Luxembourg

    $$ | Centrum | Café

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

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