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. Bazar Amsterdam

    $ | De Pijp | African

    A golden angel–capped church provides the setting for this kitsch-filled restaurant, where inexpensive and flavorful North African cooking—from...Read More

  • 2. Bistrot des Alpes

    $$$ | French

    Considering its Northern European location, it is, of course, entirely possible to encounter miserable weather in Amsterdam any time of the...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Albina

    $ | De Pijp | Chinese

    While you're in Amsterdam, do try Surinamese food, a unique fusion of Amerindian, Caribbean, Chinese, Jewish, Dutch, and Indonesian cuisines...Read More

  • 5. Bakkerswinkel

    $ | Red Light District | European

    This unpretentious bakery and tearoom evokes an English country kitchen—one that lovingly prepares and serves breakfasts, high tea, hearty sandwiches...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Cafe 't Gasthuys

    $ | Red Light District | Café

    Bustling and student-filled, this cozy restaurant near the university serves large portions of traditional Dutch home cooking—chicken satay...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Eetsalon van Dobben

    $ | Rembrandtplein | Dutch

    It doesn't get more deeply Dutch than at this white-tiled shrine to Dutch sandwich culture, where the broodje kroket (a crispy veal croquette...Read More

  • 12. FEBO

    $ | Leidseplein | Dutch

    Amsterdam isn't generally a city where food comes quickly, but FEBO is an exception: this Dutch chain of restaurants functions like an old-school...Read More

  • 13. Full Moon Garden

    $$ | Eastern Canal Ring | Chinese

    The Kwok family's award-winning Cantonese restaurant is known for its steamy open dim sum kitchen, but the crispy scallion pancakes, hor fun...Read More

  • 14. Goodies

    $ | Western Canal Ring | European

    Free from all pretension, this cozy lunch café in the always-busy Nine Streets shopping district serves filling sandwiches on wedges of hearty...Read More

  • 15. Kilimanjaro

    $$ | Oosterdok | African

    This relaxed and friendly restaurant serves dishes from all over the African continent, but focuses on the food of Ethiopia, which is eaten...Read More

  • 16. Maoz

    $ | Leidseplein | Fast Food

    A popular staple for vegetarians on the go, Maoz first opened in Amsterdam back in 1991 and now has four locations across the city center (plus...Read More

  • 17. O Mai

    $ | Rembrandtplein | Vietnamese

    Freshly prepared Vietnamese classics, relatively brisk service (for Amsterdam), and a relaxed vibe has made O Mai a favorite with young locals...Read More

  • 18. Oleg Pelmeni Bar

    $ | Plantage | Russian

    If the weather gods have been dishing out dreary weather and it's comfort food you crave, make a beeline for this Russian-owned pelmeni bar...Read More

  • 19. Onder de Ooievaar

    $ | Eastern Canal Ring | Dutch

    The name of this café means "Under the Stork," (there's a tile panel of a stork on the turret). The meatballs here are rather famous, and they...Read More

  • 20. Rotisserie East

    $ | Amsterdam-Oost | American

    Located on bustling Beukenplein, this self-proclaimed ''guilty pleasures bar'' serves from-scratch renditions of crowdpleasers such as succulent...Read More

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