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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. In de Waag

    $$$ | Nieuwmarkt | International

    The lofty wood-beam interior of the 17th-century Waag (weigh house), converted into a grand café and restaurant, is lighted by hundreds of candles...Read More

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  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 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. Sea Palace

    $$$ | Oosterdok | Chinese

    You can't miss this over-the-top floating Chinese restaurant, parked on the Oosterdok near Centraal Station. It could easily be a tourist trap...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Brasserie de Keyzer

    $$$ | Museum District | European

    In the shadow of the golden lyre that tops the Concertgebouw (Concert Building), this culinary institution has been serving musicians and...Read More

  • 12. Brasserie FLO Amsterdam

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | French

    Everything shines here: the copper, the mirrors, the white tablecloths and, of course, the food. Part of a popular chain, Flo is centrally located...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Bridges

    $$$ | Red Light District | Seafood

    When you enter this classy restaurant inside the Sofitel Amsterdam hotel, you'll pass a Karel Appel wall mural, before getting distracted by...Read More

  • 16. Café Americain

    $$$ | Leidseplein | French

    Although thousands of buildings in Amsterdam are designated historic monuments, few have their interiors landmarked as well; this one does,...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. De Roode Leeuw

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Timeless and classic, De Roode Leeuw is a light along a strip of otherwise uninspiring road; it's one of the few non–fast food restaurants around...Read More

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