The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam

Yes, there will be stroopwafel. Also bike for some Surinamese food, ride the canals for cheese, and have dinner in a greenhouse.
The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam image

photo credit: Laila Lopes

Amsterdam may have built a reputation around red lights, herb-centric coffee shops, and an endless sense of debauchery. But the food scene in the capital of the Netherlands goes way beyond bitterballen, fries, and Argentinian steaks. Get an intro to Dutch drinking snacks at a bruin café, hang with a crew on a canal-side terrace, and explore Indonesian and Surinamese warungs, all by bike. (And if you’re looking for the best bars, we have a full guide for those as well). The Dutch value gezelligheid, which roughly means “cozy togetherness,” at mealtimes and have a thing for planning ahead, so reservations are a must. Dinner starts as early as 5pm and doesn't last till the wee hours—restaurant staff want a bit of gezelligheid, too.


photo credit: Laila Lopes



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Grabbing an appeltaartje (a Dutch apple tart) with whipped cream at a canal-side café is about as Dutch of an experience as it gets. The ones here are piled tall, with minimal sugar masking the slightly crisp apples. With views of intersecting canals, a cozy upper room for cooler days, and a slower pace, Café ‘t Papeneiland should be your pick when you need to escape the Noordermarkt crowds or you’re just wandering around the Jordaan and need a bite to eat. Standard bruincafé fare (beer and fried snacks) are also available, if you’d rather go in that direction later in the day.

For a restaurant that calls itself a culinary museum, d’Vijff Vlieghen seems to cater to out-of-towners looking to experience something both Dutch but also safely familiar menu-wise: there are delicious but recognizable things like pan-fried fish, roasted vegetables, and a duck breast. Depending on which of the individually-themed, 17th-century dining rooms you’re in, you might find original etchings by Rembrandt, chairs stamped with the names of famous celebrities who’ve sat in them, or antique suits of armor and Delft blue tiles adorning the walls. If you’re here with a crowd for dinner on a cool, autumn night, you’ll feel like you’re in your own private house at Hogwarts.

The Plantage neighborhood’s namesake cafe functions somewhat like your run-of-the-mill museum or tourist attraction eatery, but feels more like the lobby of a nice hotel. The globe-trotting lunch menu has several varieties of shakshuka, a chicken liver parfait with madeira gelée, and Amsterdams pekelvlees, an open-faced sandwich topped with Dutch corned beef, horseradish, and pearl onions. This is where you'll want to start or end a visit to the ARTIS zoo—its compact, winding layout is jam-packed and engaging enough to get lost in for hours.

Eating fries is pretty essential in Amsterdam, and while there is surprisingly little variation in town, the real spin is in the dozens of sauces. And yet the friethuisjes frequented by most usually list the same ones from the mayo-like frietssaus to the nutty oorlog. Not at Ter Marsch though, which has one that’s topped with black truffles, parmesan, dried sausage, and fried parsley. Get a portion to go at their Kalverstraat outpost—and for a heavier meal, the burgers are also worth a try. If you’d rather sit and eat, head to their Vijzelstraat location, where tables are ample.

Steps away from the riotous bars, coffeeshops, and clothing stores where several major canals meet the river Amstel, Flore is an oasis you’ll want to dress up for. Lunch and dinner tasting menus are hyper-seasonal, like the springtime Botanic menu focused solely on plants: an entire kohlrabi stalk with local wasabi, bites of pumpkin chawanmushi, bee pollen-dusted mochi, and herbs and flowers like dune foot and nasturtium. Nab an aperitif at Freddy’s Bar, since you’ll pass through it (they’re both located in the De L’Europe hotel) and try to book table #1 or #4 (of 11) by the windows overlooking the canals. Service goes above and beyond the typically straightforward Dutch sentiment, and you might even get taken into the kitchen for a course. 

The theatrics of this self-proclaimed “theater of fish” in Jordaan may be more subdued than a Vegas clubstaurant, but they still know how to make their seafood the star of the show. You can’t go wrong with appetizers like oysters (French ones will do, the Dutch options even better) or whatever crudo or ceviche is on hand, but definitely check if they have soft shell crabs—on one of our past visits, they were so good that we had them as a starter and dessert. Select one or two of the gleaming fish laying on ice in the front of the restaurant for your main with a basic side of salad or fries. Then, you’ll walk over to a wall of wines and liquors so you can choose something to pair with your meal. 

Dignita should be your all-day brunch move in Amsterdam, especially if you’re looking to be closer to calmer canals. The Hoftuin location by the Plantage has a spacious lawn to stretch out on, a hefty buttermilk fried chicken sandwich called the Chook Norris, and sits a mere five-minute walk away from the Magere Brug. Another reason we love this place: all of the Dignita restaurants are non-profit social enterprises opened by Not for Sale, an organization fighting modern slavery and providing career opportunities for former victims.


The Dutch certainly know a thing or two about greenhouses, so when you want to experience the best of the produce that grows in them, come to De Kas. You’ll dine inside one (De Kas literally means “the greenhouse” in Dutch), eating things that will make you say things like “so THIS is what a tomato should taste like.” It’s a perfect location for group dinners, and somewhere you should take your proudest vegetarian or vegan friend. Ask for a corner table and check out the actual working greenhouse and gardens in between courses.

If you’re gearing up for a heavy day of biking and need a good source of fuel, come to New Draver and order a plate. While you can still get the usual nasi, bami, and roti, the best stuff from the constantly-changing Surinamese menu are the Creole dishes they specialize in. The moksi alesi, or“mixed rice,” is a favorite with meat and sometimes beans, while the Surinamese national dish of pom is a slightly sweet casserole of grated pomtajer, a root crop, mixed with chunks of chicken. If this is actually the end of your bike route, get a shot of their liquors infused with a house blend of spices to help you digest.

Dutch directness is epitomized at the aptly named Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs. What do they serve? Pannenkoeken. Where do they serve it? Upstairs, in a snug, 4-table space surrounded by old-timey photos under a canopy of suspended tea pots. If you’re new to the thinner, crepe-like Dutch pancake, go for the classic King with strawberries and whipped cream, or go savory with bacon and cheese. Call and make reservations up to a week in advance if you don’t want to be among those who gingerly descend the flight of narrow stairs empty-stomached.


This entire guide could be dedicated to Surinamese cuisine in the Netherlands and we’d easily run out of space. The typical menu blends influences from China, Africa, India, and Indonesia (among others), and is a mainstay of the Dutch culinary landscape given their colonial ties. If you’re new to the cuisine, you’ll be in good hands at Warung Mini. Order some of the thick, yellow-pea-filled roti, plus some chicken or lamb curry that you can pair it with. They have a few tables inside if you just want to quickly slurp on some saoto soup and snack on some banana or prawn chips, but a better move is to get a full meal or to-go broodje and head to nearby Sarphatipark.

Aside from friets, the stroopwafel is an inescapable Dutch eating to-do. Many a stroopwafel slinger will claim theirs as the best, but for the actual best, head to Rudi’s. The thin wafel comes out softer (use both hands to hold it vertically) with a slight crunch compared to other doughier, shatter-prone versions, and the syrup is freshly made with more warming spices, like cinnamon, that most industrial ones skimp on. They’re located in Albert Cuyp Markt, one of the largest markets in Europe, where you can also find other local specialties like cured herring, fried cod, and poffertjes. There are plenty of other stalls that have fancier digs and toppings, but Rudi's is where you should buy stroopwafels to bring back home with you.

Because of the centuries-long Dutch occupation of the islands, it’s pretty easy to find Indonesian food in the Netherlands. Popular dishes include nasi rames, loempia, and spekkoek, but to get an expansive intro to the Dutch-Indonesian table, order a rijstafel at Restaurant Blauw. Originally a Sumatran meal, rijstafels can only really be found in the Netherlands and the one at Blauw comes with the requisite rice and multiple shareable dishes. Bring at least one friend, order the meat and fish version, and you’ll get 17 dishes that come out all at once, from beef rendang and spicy shrimp belado to refreshing acar and gado gado. 

A restaurant that can straddle the line between comforting familiarity and buzzy newness is a rare find. If you want something interesting but aren’t necessarily willing to gamble on the hottest spot in town, 101 Gowrie is where you want to be. The kitchen churns out culture-straddling dishes like tagliolini bolognese with ramen and North sea squid, Chinese pancakes doused in hollandaise, and crispy new potatoes floating on vanilla espuma that remind us of dipping McDonald's fries in ice cream. Come here when you’re looking for food that’ll surprise you, but know that the dining room atmosphere is more straightforward than the menu and the background hip-hop adds to the low-key feel.

There’s plenty of bread and cheese to eat in Amsterdam, but much of it ends up consumed in a utilitarian affair: cold slices of cheese stuck between thick slices of equally cold bread. For a different approach, head to Batoni Khinkali for the acharuli khachapuri, a boat of warm dough filled with melted, salty cheese, pats of butter and an egg. Order one for yourself, or share it and save room for the khinkali, which are some of the best dumplings in Amsterdam. The Caucasus Mountains region lays claim to being the oldest wine-producing area in the world, so there’s a great selection of Georgian vintages.

So you ignored us when we told you to make reservations ahead of time and are now wandering around aimlessly but not in the mood for a late-night kapsalon that comes with layers of fries, döner meat, and molten gouda cheese. You want an eetcafé, a Dutch bistro that caters to the neighbors and focuses on smaller menus, doesn’t take reservations, and in the case of Wijmpje Beukers, usually has ample space on a quiet, tree-lined street. Ease into their rotating menu with a cava or negroni, proceed to pretty appetizers like mackerel with buttermilk, green tomato, and dashi, and get a main like a corvina filet with bone marrow. Order an espresso martini nightcap and wilfully ignore our advice to plan ahead next time as an excuse to come back here.

Don’t let the communal table packed with laptop jockeys on Coffee & Coconuts’ first floor fool you into thinking this is your run-of-the-mill digital nomad hotspot. This renovated cinema is also great for breakfast or lunch any day you just need some quick nourishment that you can pair with the extensive drink menu. Sit at the calmer top floors if it’s raining outside and get the coffee that’s being roasted right below you or grab a table outside on a sunny day and order fresh juice—which they can spike for you, if it happens to be that kind of brunch.

While you can sample Dutch cheese at the open-air markets, take your time and share with friends at Kaasbar. Their wide selection of local cheeses is divided into white, red, hard, and blue types for a la carte sampling or as chef’s choice boards. Sprawl out on the terrace for prime people-watching or sit at the counter and choose off a conveyor belt. Each cheese comes with a paired garnish, so you could go with the Alphenaer with coffee grounds and honey, Brabants Blauw with mejdool date and hazelnuts, or an aged option with cumin that’s paired with curry mayo and lemon zest. They also come with a suggested wine pairing and optional charcuterie add-ons.

De Pijp locals flock to this wine, bread, and cheese shop to prep for a picnic or pre-dinner party spread. But before filling their shopping bags, their move is ordering a sandwich, like the 43 Special with giant meatball slices, aged cheese, truffle mayo, and mushrooms. Some are even named after regulars who frequent the place—we wonder how many sandwiches Robert (pata negra) and Yasmin (brie) had to order to get immortalized on the menu. 


Considering that Night Kitchen has a “Dinner with Friends” menu, you really should be coming here with a big group. The menu is personalized and tailored to different tastes—picky eaters welcome—and the food comes out family style. Expect ceviche that took a detour through the Mediterranean with medjool dates, chickpeas, and yogurt. Or a flat iron steak you can top with rich marrow and even richer garlic confit. If you’d rather just take that one person you insist is “just a friend”, sit in the adjoining bar and sample the cocktail menu that features a hibiscus and chamomile long island iced tea, and a mule with just a hint of cardamom. 


If you’re on the Noord side of the river and want something a little more pensive than the massive joints the rest of the public frequents by the ferry stops, head to Public Space. There are pastries in the morning, milk bread sandwiches midday, and seasonal spring peas with chermoula for a light dinner. Drink specialty coffee from Brooklyn, craft beers from Sweden, and wines with labels that don’t take themselves too seriously. With laptops only welcome til noon—tempting as the long wooden tables are for deep work sessions—the space will feel private enough no matter what time you pop by. 

It’s not easy to find many taco spots, let alone good ones, in Amsterdam. Case in point: Coba. You will have to venture out a bit further and cross the river Ij on a 10-minute subway ride from Station Centraal, but the daily-changing menu with things like an oyster tostada and soft shell crab taco alone is worth it. Come here with three to four other friends and order everything, then settle into the low stools and soak in the abundance of agave plants and groups sipping on small glasses of mezcal and beer. Follow suit and sample something from the extensive list of agave spirits that also includes things like sotol, bacanora, and raicilla before taking a short walk and hopping on the free ferry back instead of the train.

No one comes to Amsterdam for the balmy weather and beaches, so if you find yourself in the city on the rare warm day, you’ll want to hop on the free ferry to the NDSM wharf across the Ij and claim any number of spots at the multi-purpose Pllek. The food is mostly plant-based and does the job in between morning yoga and late-night clubbing: falafel with eggplant cream and pomegranate, portobello mushroom burgers with kimchi mayo, and salad with fried cod. Just don’t forget to head back on the last ferry at 2am if you’re not staying in Noord (buses and trains still run if you forget).

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