The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam image


The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam

Yes, there will be stroopwafel. But you should also bike for some Surinamese food, ride the canals for some cheese, and have dinner in a greenhouse.

Amsterdam may have built a reputation around red lights, herb-centric coffee shops, and an endless sense of debauchery. But the capital of the Netherlands actually has a diverse and exciting food scene that goes way beyond bitterballen, fries, and Argentinian steaks.

Whether you’re after an intro to Dutch drinking snacks at a bruin café, want to hang with a crew on a canal-side terrace, or looking to explore the many Indonesian and Surinamese warungs, opt to bike all over town. (And if you’re looking for the best bars, we have a full guide for those as well).

A few other things to know about dining out in Amsterdam: Dutch culture prizes gezelligheid, which is roughly translated as a “cozy togetherness,” at mealtimes. They also have a penchant for planning ahead, so reservations are a must. Dinners start as early as 5pm and don’t last til the wee hours of the morning—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.

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. The syrup is freshly made with warming spices, like cinnamon, that most industrial ones skimp on.

Find Rudi’s in Albert Cuyp Markt, one of the largest markets in Europe, where you can also get 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.

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.

For a restaurant that calls itself a culinary museum, d’Vijff Vlieghen’s 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, soup, 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 on the walls. Choose as many dishes that contain Dutch ingredients as you can handle—herring, gray shrimp, and ossenworst. 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.


Mere steps away from the riotous collection of bars, coffeeshops, and clothing stores where several major canals meet the river Amstel, Flore is an oasis you’ll want to dress up for. Plan to 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.

Lunch and dinner tasting menus are hyper-seasonal. The springtime Botanic menu, for example, focused solely on plants: an entire kohlrabi stalk with local wasabi and a side of gazpacho to start, followed by small bites of pumpkin chawanmushi, white asparagus, bee pollen-dusted mochi, negroni gummy bears, and herbs and flowers like dune foot and nasturtium. Service goes above and beyond the typically straightforward Dutch sentiment, and you might even get taken into the kitchen for one of the courses.

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 two-person 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.

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.

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, plus a basic side of salad or fries. Then, walk over to a wall of wines and liquors to choose something to pair with your meal. Whether you’re just looking for a solid plate of fish to share or a celebration dinner in three acts, Pesca will keep you and your group entertained throughout.


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. You may get served some things off the à la carte menu, but expect surprises from this Tel Aviv offshoot, where variety is the theme.

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. 

So, you ignored us when we told you to make reservations ahead of time, and now you’re wandering around aimlessly and not in the mood for a late-night kapsalon (a pile of fries, döner meat, and melted gouda cheese in a metal take-away tray). Get yourself to an eetcafé, a neighborhood Dutch bistro with smaller menus that doesn’t take reservations.

Wijmpje Beukers is on a quiet, tree-lined street and usually has ample space. Ease into their rotating menu with a cava or negroni, proceed to pretty appetizers like honey melon with fennel pollen and gazpacho, and get a main like a corvina fillet with bone marrow. Order an espresso martini nightcap and willfully disregard our advice to plan ahead next time as an excuse to come back here.

It’s not easy to find many taco spots, let alone good ones, in Amsterdam. But Coba is an exception. You’ll have to venture out a bit further and cross the river Ij, but the oyster tostada and soft shell crab taco alone are worth the 10-minute subway ride from Station Centraal.

Come with three or four other friends with a plan to order a bit of everything, and settle into the low stools as you 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 sotol, bacanora, and raicillas, 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, get the free ferry to the NDSM wharf across the Ij and claim any number of spots at the multi-purpose Pllek. There are plenty of communal tables, but they also have bean bags strewn across the gravelly “beach,” a tent-covered dais, and beach chairs for sunbathers looking to store enough sunshine for a rainy day.

The food is mostly plant-based and does the job: falafel, portobello mushroom burgers, and salads. The real draw is the real estate and the frequent happenings, including morning yoga, activities for kids, and even late-night clubbing. Just don’t forget to head back on the last ferry at 11:30pm if you’re not staying in Noord (buses and trains still run, if you forget).


This is supposed to be a restaurant guide, but may we take the opportunity to highly recommend the ARTIS zoo in the Plantage neighborhood? Its compact, winding layout is jam-packed and engaging enough to get lost in for hours. And since this is a restaurant guide, you should start or end your visit with a stop by the neighborhood’s namesake cafe. 

De Plantage 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. 

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) with meat, and sometimes beans, is a favorite. The Surinamese national dish pom is a slightly sweet casserole of grated pomtajer, a root vegetable, mixed with chunks of chicken. If this is actually the end of your bike route, try a shot of their liquors infused with a house blend of spices to help you digest.

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 and order the meat and fish version—you’ll get 14 dishes that come out all at once, from beef rendang and spicy shrimp belado to refreshing acar and their signature tahu peteh. Head here if you’re bringing a crowd hungry from biking around nearby Vondelpark, or just want the variety of a tasting menu except all at once.

The Dutch are some of the biggest consumers of cheese in the world, so you’d be mistaken if you thought all that’s available is a mild gouda that you might find at your local deli. You can sample Dutch cheese at the open-air markets, but for an experience where you can take your time and share with friends, Kaasbar offers a wide selection of local cheeses divided into white, red, hard, and blue types for à la carte sampling or as chef’s choice boards.

Sprawl out on the outside 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 beef jerky 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, making Kaasbar perfect for the chronically indecisive—or those who want to cap dinner elsewhere off with a proper cheese plate.


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), Yasmin (brie) and Frank (smoked salmon) had to order to get immortalized on the menu. 

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 shrimp chips, but a better move is to get a full meal or to-go broodje and head to nearby Sarphatipark.

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 were voted as 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.

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. The grayscale aesthetic, low-slung couches, and minimalist lines will have you feeling like you’re further north in the country.

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. 

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 in particular 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.

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 anytime you just need something quick 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. And if it happens to be that kind of brunch, get the whole young coconut and ask them to spike it.

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 or have a heavier sit-down meal at their Vijzelstraat location where the burgers are also worth a try.

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photo credit: Laila Lopes

The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam image