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. &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. Blauw

    $$$ | Oud-Zuid | Indonesian

    It's a bit off the beaten track, near the southeastern end of Vondelpark, but many Amsterdammers believe this is the best Indonesian rijstaffel...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. 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

  • 6. Ciel Bleu

    $$$$ | De Pijp | French

    This elegant two–Michelin star French dining room nods to modernity with colorful design touches, but the food at the "Blue Sky" leans more...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Greetje

    $$$ | Oosterdok | Dutch

    For Dutch food at its best, head to this homey—some might even call it old-fashioned—restaurant, where the chef takes rarely seen or forgotten...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Brasserie van Baerle

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    If it's Sunday and you want to brunch on the holiest of trinities—blini, caviar, and Champagne—look no further than this elegant brasserie....Read More

  • 17. Kantjil & de Tijger

    $$$ | Centrum | Indonesian

    Although you can order à la carte at this spacious and airy Indonesian restaurant, most diners opt for one of the four different rijsttafels...Read More

  • 18. Pendergast Smokehouse

    $$ | American

    Kansas City–style barbecue isn't something you'd expect to see in Europe, but this charming shoebox-size locals' favorite close to Westerpark...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Segugio

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | Italian

    Inside this Italian temple to the taste buds, tucked away on the busy Utrechtsestraat, Venetian-style white stucco walls give the dining room...Read More

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