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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Hotel de Goudfazant

    $$$$ | International

    In a high-ceilinged former garage—still housing a number of classic cars—this large, modern, and convivial restaurant is worth the trek across...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Burgerlijk

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Burger

    Both the menu and the seating are rather limited, but burger aficionados line up in droves for the large, juicy beef patties at this tiny eatery...Read More

  • 10. Café Loetje

    $$ | Museum District | Steakhouse

    Amsterdam locals closely guard their pick for the best (and least expensive) steak house in the city—but that doesn't prevent hordes of diners...Read More

  • 11. CT coffee & coconuts

    $$ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    This lively spot with soaring ceilings and three levels of seating—a former 1920s cinema—attracts a young crowd for the eclectic but generally...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. La Oliva Pintxos y Vinos

    $$$ | Jordaan | Spanish

    The name of this restaurant describes what's served here: a huge selection of warm and cold pintxos (Spanish Basque tapas that run the gamut...Read More

  • 15. Le Garage

    $$$ | Museum District | French

    For more than a quarter century, this former garage has been a brasserie awash in red-plush seating and mirrored walls—perfect for local glitterati...Read More

  • 16. Little Collins

    $ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    One of Amsterdam's brunch pioneers, this intimate Australian-run eatery has a laid-back vibe and friendly servers. Although you'll inevitably...Read More

  • 17. Mossel & Gin

    $$ | Seafood

    The name says it all: fresh steamed mussels paired with gin-tonics, with a handful of other seafood snacks (shrimp bitterballen, grilled octopus...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. REM Eiland

    $$ | Eclectic

    A meal at this former offshore TV tower transported from the North Sea—and perched (thankfully not precariously) out on the IJ River—is one...Read More

  • 20. Toscanini

    $$ | Jordaan | Italian

    This stylish, expansive Florentine trattoria is a perennial favorite; the open kitchen, skylighted ceiling, wooden floors and tables, and attentive...Read More

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