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. Bord'Eau

    $$$$ | Red Light District | 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

  • 2. Felix

    $$$$ | Dutch

    Named for the Felix Meritis cultural center in which it resides, a "home for the curious mind," this restaurant, which opened in January 2020...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Sea Palace

    $$ | Oosterdok | Chinese

    You can't miss this over-the-top floating Chinese restaurant, moored on the Oosterdok near Centraal Station—the ornate atmosphere of red paper...Read More

  • 8. Babel

    $ | Oosterdok | Eclectic

    You don't need to borrow a book to visit this informal cafeteria on the seventh floor of the public library. Order a salad or slice of cake...Read More

  • 9. Bickers aan de Werf

    $$ | Western Islands | Eclectic

    It's worth finding your way to this eclectic restaurant on Bickers Island, where the funky design is vaguely nautically themed–-a tall communal...Read More

  • 10. Brasserie NeL

    $$ | Eastern Canal Ring | International

    In part of a 17th-century wooden church, NeL has a large and lovely terrace—perfect for Amsterdam's eagerly anticipated sunny days, especially...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Café Luxembourg

    $$ | Centrum | Café

    One of the city's best-known grand cafés, Luxembourg has a stately interior and a view of a bustling square, both of which are excellent for...Read More

  • 13. Café Van Puffelen

    $$ | Western Canal Ring | European

    The menu at this popular, well-established spot highlights typical café items, from pasta to fish to grilled steak, with a local and organic...Read More

  • 14. Café-Restaurant De Plantage

    $$ | Plantage | Mediterranean

    The stunning decor in this expansive space on Artisplein at the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is reason enough to visit, but the Mediterranean-influenced...Read More

  • 15. Ciel Bleu

    $$$$ | De Pijp | International

    This elegant two–Michelin star dining room nods to modernity with gleaming metallic design touches, but the French-international food at the...Read More

  • 16. De Belhamel

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | European

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

  • 17. De Roode Leeuw

    $$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Since its 2019 renovation, this Dutch brasserie has become a beacon on an otherwise uninspiring road; it's one of the few non–fast food restaurants...Read More

  • 18. Incanto

    $$$ | Rembrandtplein | Italian

    Hidden amid a cluster of fast-food joints near Rembrandt Square, this cozy gem of a restaurant serves high-end contemporary Italian food prepared...Read More

  • 19. Jansz

    $$$$ | Western Canal Ring | European

    The decor of this stylish Pulitzer Hotel restaurant is an updated take on old-world elegance, featuring green velvet banquettes, white marble...Read More

  • 20. La Rive

    $$$$ | Plantage | French

    Inside the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam Hotel—the lodging of choice for royalty, dignitaries, and movie stars—La Rive remains a stalwart...Read More

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