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. 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. Johannes

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | French

    Small-plates tasting menus are all the rage in Amsterdam, and this intimate 15-table eatery in a historic canal house with Dutch Puritan decor...Read More

  • 3. Mamouche

    $$ | De Pijp | Moroccan

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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. D' Vijff Vlieghen

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

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

  • 8. De Belhamel

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | European

    On the edge of the Jordaan neighborhood, this classic Amsterdam restaurant is blessed with gorgeous Art Nouveau detailing and wallpaper, as...Read More

  • 9. De Kooning van Siam

    $$$ | Red Light District | Thai

    Smack in the middle of the Red Light District, this Thai establishment is favored by local Thai residents, which is an excellent indication...Read More

  • 10. De Silveren Spiegel

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Haesje Claes

    $$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Groaning with pewter tankards, stained glass, leaded-glass windows, rich historic paneling, Indonesian paisley fabriks, and tasseled Victorian...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Restaurant Sinne

    $$$$ | De Pijp | French

    This cozy French-Mediterranean restaurant with exposed brick walls and whimsical cartoon paintings is a true local favorite. You basically create...Read More

  • 15. Restaurant Vermeer

    $$$$ | Red Light District | Contemporary

    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

  • 16. Taiko

    $$$$ | Museum District | Asian

    This isn't your average sushi joint; in fact, sushi is just one of the choices on the sophisticated Asian fusion menu—which straddles Japanese...Read More

  • 17. De Witte Uyl

    $$$ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    Cozy and romantic White Owl offers a truly eclectic menu: a hybrid of Dutch, Mediterranean, and Spanish cooking with interesting combinations...Read More

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