The Best Restaurants in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s diverse population is reflected in its dining scene. In addition to traditional Dutch food (and its reinterpreted versions), travelers can sample Indonesian food, delicious shawarma, and ramen.

172 Spuistraat
A true feast for the eyes, this Belle Époque brasserie inside a century-old former bank building (now part of the W Amsterdam) is one of the loveliest dining spaces in the city. Beneath a soaring, stained-glass ceiling, immense circular lighting fixtures hang over sleek black-marble tables; an intricate tiled floor, gold accents, and a mirrored bar round out the glamorous vibe. The sophisticated French and Italian dishes are beautifully executed, and don’t miss the cocktails—especially the selection of classic punches. High tea is served in the elegant adjacent tearoom every afternoon.
Dam 9, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Overlooking Dam Square, this sumptuous white-and-gilt dining room—the oldest in Amsterdam (it dates back to 1885)—is the setting for chef Jacob Jan Boerma’s strikingly innovative cooking. Creative flavor combinations artfully balancing acidity and spice are evident in dishes like tartare of dorade, dressed with lime and olive oil and dotted with fresh wasabi and cucumber granita. The list of mostly biodynamic wines, assembled by talented young sommelier Isabel van Bueren, features some surprisingly interesting and lesser-known labels. Dinner tasting menus are four, six, or eight courses, priced from €65 to €105 ($76 to $124); lunch has two- and three-course tasting menus priced at €32.50 ($38) and €37.50 ($44) respectively. An à la carte menu is also available.
Kattengat 4-6, 1012 SZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
The precariously leaning, step-gabled houses that were joined to form this elegant dining room date back to 1614, and many of their original interiors remain intact, with beautiful delft-tiled walls, wood beams, and wide-plank floors. The restaurant’s name, which translates to “the Silver Mirror,” serves locally sourced ingredients, such as Zeeland mussels, North Sea shrimp, and Dutch beef, with a contemporary flair; the award-winning wine list includes some 225 bottles from around the world. Order à la carte or try one of the tasting menus, which run from four to seven courses and are priced from €49.95 to €79.95 (about $60 to $95) without wine.
Museumstraat 2, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Adjacent to the famed Rijksmuseum, this restaurant has garnered praise—and a Michelin star—for its inventive, Dutch-influenced cuisine that emphasizes locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Given the Netherlands’ proximity to the North Sea, the menu leans heavily on seafood—Zeeland oysters and mussels are particular standouts—but its chef, Joris Bijdendijk, also has a way with vegetables, bringing out their full flavor in dishes like spit-roasted celeriac or a beautifully composed tribute to Dutch beans. There’s a six-course tasting menu priced at €67.50 (around $80) and an abbreviated three-course lunch menu for €37.50 (around $45). Reservations are recommended.
Korte Ouderkerkerdijk 45, 1096 AC Amsterdam, Netherlands
As glassy high-rises sprout up on the site of a former gasworks complex on the Amstel River, this early-20th-century red-brick house, where the factory’s director once lived, has been preserved and turned into a smart café and art space. All rooms in the two-story home have been outfitted with mod, vintage furnishings and rotating artwork from area artists, and you’re free to grab a drink or coffee at the bar and enjoy them wherever you wish. The riverfront terrace is the perfect spot for a coffee and a bite; the menu includes sandwiches and goods baked on-site using locally sourced ingredients. Arrive early for a table for the busy Sunday brunch, which occasionally features live music.
Zeedijk 4-8, 1012 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Skek describes itself as “loving, honest and curious.” Run by and for students (get 25% off with student ID), this eco-friendly café off Amsterdam’s Red Light District serves no-frills, mostly organic snacks, meals and drinks. Portions are generous on lunch/dinner menus featuring Dutch classics like bitterballen and tosties, plus burgers, soups, salads and creative entrées that are great values even if you’re well past your student years. Fronted by a cozy living room and bar serving wine, beer and cocktails, Skek has no manager, maître d’, five-star chef or snooty sommelier. A staff of 30 students cooks, serves and entertains, learning the restaurant business as they go. Use of seasonal products means the menu changes frequently, with new creations showcased at Tasting Evenings featuring 10–15 previews of menu additions for €15. As Skek is both restaurant and talent showcase, young musicians perform four evenings a week. Open Mics, themed parties, game nights and pub quiz challenges are regularly scheduled. On the high walls of the dining room, young artists display papier mâché cows, abstract landscapes, arty portraits and other works. Don’t expect haute cuisine or five-star service at this mellow pub. What you’ll get is no-fuss food served with a side of talent that may include klezmer bands or singers belting out pop/hip-hop tunes. While their performances may bowl you over, the bill won’t, especially if you’re a student entitled to that deep discount.
Flevopark 13a, 1095 KE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nestled in the heart of Flevopark, a sprawling green space in the eastern corner of the city, this distillery and tasting room serves around 100 different jenevers, vodkas, and liqueurs—all made on-site in a restored 19th-century pump house. Exotic liqueur flavors, many of which are based on age-old recipes, include Rose Without Thorns (which has infusions of rose and geranium petals) and Kraamanijs (a blend of anise, coriander, and fennel). There’s also beer, wine, and cider on offer. In the warm months, the terrace is a tranquil setting for a drink, bordered by a pond, fruit trees, and an herb garden.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 38, 1017 BM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1982, Rose’s Cantina has been drawing locals for Latin American flavors on a street known for its plethora of dining options. On a busy night, don’t expect intimacy or romance, as the Reguliersdwarsstraat establishment is big, boisterous and noisy. But if it’s a fiesta you’re after, this is the spot for killer nachos and Pan American favorites like chili con carne, enchiladas and flaky empanada pastries. For more adventurous eaters, braised octopus and duck breast with pineapple-raisin salsa are on the menu. Enormous burgers are topped with jalapeños, melted cheddar, bacon and guacamole. At €18, they’re pricey, but will easily feed two, especially if you order appetizers like classic ceviche, chicharrones or quesadillas. Finish off with chocolate mousse splashed with tequila, Dulce De Leche and crunchy sea salt. Rose’s also is known for its fine cocktails and tequila library. Choose from tiramisu, pomegranate or frozen fruit margaritas or order a Jalapeno Margarita spiced with subtle agave. Mojitos are great, made with Bacardi Superior Rum, mint and lime. Rose’s is the brainchild of restaurateur Casper Reinders of Jimmy Woo, Bocinq, Lion Noir and Chicago Social Club fame. Like his other Amsterdam establishments, this one is unique―furnished with leather couches, Chesterfield chairs and exposed beams. The turquoise-green paint is an original recipe, fabricated to recreate a Mexican cantina. With a group of 50, host your private fiesta in the heart of Amsterdam.
Overhoeksplein 1, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The trendy Amsterdam-Noord district is home to the city’s newest outpost of the famed burger joint called the Butcher. Set inside the hip designer hotel Sir Adam, the sprawling, dual-level space is pure fun, with table tennis, pinball, billiards, and live DJs five nights a week. Open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 1 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, this is where you’ll find chic young locals devouring gourmet burgers and fries and sipping fancy cocktails. The waterfront terrace offers excellent views of the IJ River. It’s a free five-minute ferry ride to the restaurant from Amsterdam’s main train station.
381 Prinsengracht
If artful cuisine served in sleek yet homey ambiance appeals, it would be sinful to miss Envy, a chic pearl on Prinsengracht, honored for the sixth consecutive year by Michelin. You’re not likely to commit gluttony at this Italian deli-inspired tapas bistro, unless you opt for a tasting menu by award-winning Chef Michael Wolf. Starring such delicacies as pig cheeks and lacquered eel, plus cold dishes, deli meats, cheeses and desserts, these feasts are great for special splurges. In Envy’s narrow interior, a world of food preparation opens, with chefs preparing culinary masterpieces in full view of diners. Perched on high stools at a long wooden table, we lusted after sausages, cheeses, oysters, jams and wines showcased in 26 oak-finished refrigerators with gleaming chrome handles. While nothing is for sale besides menu offerings, the display inspired us to dive into Dutch raw oysters served with a shot of shallot vinegar and lemon garnish. A selection of Dutch sausages followed, seasoned with wine-preserved garlic, rosemary, lavender, black pepper, chili and fennel. The Envy concept came to owner Bert van der Leden after he visited many Roman delicatessens that offer samples of their products. In that tradition, Envy proudly serves sausages by Brandt & Levie, run by three former chefs who traveled around Italy searching for the best meat shops’ secrets. The chefs-turned-butchers now make their own sausages just outside Amsterdam, using Dutch pigs and fine herbs.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 28, 1017 BM Amsterdam, Netherlands
On bustling Reguliersdwarsstraat—a street filled with gay cafés and clubs—Lion Noir stands out for its sophisticated, French-tinged menu and wildly eclectic, nature-inspired decor. The dual-level restaurant’s deep-green interior is accented with assorted taxidermy, framed tapestries of forest scenes, tiny animal skeletons, and birdcages; over the working fireplace presides a large stuffed peacock. The casual first-floor bar is a cozy spot for cocktails and light bites; upstairs offers a more extensive menu of seafood and meat entrées, priced around €25 ($30). The garden terrace, open seasonally, is a calm oasis.
Leidsekruisstraat 28, 1017 RJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam isn’t exactly known for its stellar food, so finding delicious Dutch food on a busy tourist street at an affordable price on my latest trip was a big surprise. A few friends and I wanted to try Dutch food on our last night in Amsterdam, so we decided to try a place we had passed earlier on Leidsekruisstraat, a street near the popular Leidseplein that’s lined with tourist restaurants. Between the three of us, we had eaten dozens of meals in the Netherlands. Very few of them were memorable, so we weren’t getting our hopes up. But inside De Blauwe Hollander, we discovered the magic that is hotchpotch. Hotchpotch is a traditional Dutch dish made of potatoes mashed with vegetables and garnished with meat or with cheese croquettes, pictured above. I tried the vegetarian hotchpotch with carrots, but kale, sauerkraut, sausage, bacon and liver are common ingredients. It may just be the best meal I’ve had in Amsterdam, and for under 20 Euro each including a shared bottle of wine and dessert, it may be also be one of the better dining deals in Western Europe.
Brouwersgracht 60, 1013 GX Amsterdam, Netherlands
De Belhamel restaurant is located near the Central train station in a very quiet residential neighborhood. It would be hard to find a prettier location for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner - the restaurant sits at the junction of the Brouwersgracht canal and the Herengracht canal and provides a magnificent view. The interior is decorated in an Art Noveau style. The award-winning menu focuses on seasonal Dutch dishes with Mediterranean influences. The view and the food are equally impressive - highly recommended if you are looking for a beautiful, quiet spot for dinner away from the crowds. 60 Brouwersgracht, Amsterdam
23 Polonceaukade
With its chill vibe, funky decor, warehouse-like interior and spacious terrace, Pacific Parc is a rock ‘n’ roll bistro with an edge. Situated in a former treatment plant at Westergasfabriek, the café-nightclub on Amsterdam‘s west side clearly represents its mantra, “Do not beg for the right to live, take it.” Life is good over international favorites like satay with coconut-peanut sauce, Indian lentil curry, Black Angus burgers and Dutch pannenkoeken, all priced under €20 on lunch and dinner menus. For kids, chicken drumsticks, chips, cucumber and ice cream are on a children’s menu for €8. While little ones romp on the spiral staircase, you can dine at the bar or at wooden tables in the open-zoned dining area, under a whimsical chandelier hanging from the sunroof. If you’re attending a Westergasfabriek event, Pacific Parc is a great place to meet up with friends. But there’s more to this place than relaxed ambiance, good drinks, reasonably priced fare and a menu based on seasonal ingredients. Thursday through Saturday, DJs mix hip-hop with disco and swing tunes. By 23:00, dinner seats are pushed aside and anyone who sticks around may be in for a wild night. A special “Dinner and a Movie” deal entitles you to a flick at Ketelhuis, Westergasfabriek’s cinema, plus a starter and main course (excluding drinks) at Pacific Parc for €25. While the restaurant may lack for romance, it’s a fine place to get your weekend date off to a savory start.
Elandsgracht 108, 1016 VA Amsterdam, Netherlands
On a rainy summer night (thunder! lightening!), we had very low expectations of getting a table at Balthazar’s Keuken—mostly because something I read said that it was hard to get in. But there was a table, right in the back by the open kitchen, waiting for us. (The photo is of our view of the kitchen.) They serve a fixed menu. First course was a platter of appetizers, including paprika-y sobressada on bread with fried sage, beautifully anchovy-laden fried artichokes, shrimp in sage butter, and smoked mussels. For the second course we had a choice of fish (they called it red bass, not sure what that is but it was great) or meat (veal in a hearty sauce). And dessert was fresh strawberries with mascarpone laced with ginger.
2II Prinsengracht
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a stop in one of the bruine kroeg, or brown cafés. These are the Dutch equivalent of Irish pubs, cozy spaces where people gather to relax over beers and comfort food. And Café Papeneiland is a classic. Stop in for a sip of jenever and a slice of Dutch apple pie.
Singel, 1013 GA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Eating raw herring is a right of passage for many who visit Amsterdam. Order yours from the friendly Dutch matrons in blue and white-striped aprons at Stubbe’s Haaring, a herring stand with a view on the bridge over Singel Canal, just off Haarlemerstraat. For decades, this local institution has satisfied the fish cravings of Dutchies and visitors with lightly brined herring, smoked eel and other delicacies from the North Sea. Unless you want bragging rights, there’s no need to eat your buttery snack Dutch style, grabbing it by the tail, throwing your head back and lowering the fish whole into your gaping mouth. Most locals eat it in a less flashy way: cut up into small pieces, covered with onions and sweet pickles, topped with a Dutch flag. It’s served on a waxed paper plate, sans bread or cutlery. Use the flag-festooned toothpick to stab the soft, mild-flavored morsels and bring them to your mouth. For a more filling meal, order a broodje haring (herring sandwich) on a soft, white bun, filled with fish, pickles and onions. Eet smakelijk!
158HS Bilderdijkstraat
Although it’s in Amsterdam‘s Oud-West, you’ll feel like you’ve landed somewhere in the Far East when you dive into the Asian-inspired street fare at HappyHappyJoyJoy. The latest brainchild of Chef Julius Jaspers of TV’s Top Chef fame, as well as the inspiration behind such popular Amsterdam hotspots as Julius Bar & Grill, Supperclub and Nomads, features a fusion of Asian flavors in starter-size dishes with Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese and Korean influences. Bring a few friends and order two to four dishes each for an evening of tapas-style sharing. Choose from typical dim sum specialties like steamed dumplings and spring rolls. Or opt for bao buns, curry and noodle dishes, salads, soups and sweets, all spiced according to your taste. A selection of Asian sodas, teas and beers rounds out HappyHappyJoyJoy’s drink menu. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, for dining in as well as take-out. But why would you want to eat at home when you can dine in buzzing surroundings in an upcoming Amsterdam neighborhood, with a view of sizzling woks and hissing steamers, under a ceiling of bright red umbrellas?
NDSM-Plein 102, 1033 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands
On a hopping night, Noorderlicht (Northern Lights) blazes with colorful lights visible clear across the IJ River—hence its name. For those drinking and jamming to live music on a waterfront terrace warmed by a roaring bonfire, the setting is more intimate. We’ve reached Noorderlicht, a “cultural café" in Noord-Amsterdam, via free ferry from Central Station. Destination: NDSM yard, a revitalized shipyard that belies its maritime/industrial heritage with warehouses and shipping containers transformed into nightclubs, hotels and student housing. Dotted with fishing villages, condos and restaurants, the eclectic neighborhood calls itself “Art City.” With its airplane hangar shape and greenhouse-like architecture, Noorderlicht enhances the funky landscape. The popular café draws creative types who come for waterfront dining, drinking and dancing. Inside, warm-hued wall hangings, wooden flooring, tables ornamented with polished driftwood and a disco ball contribute to an inviting ambiance. Seasonal lunch and dinner menus feature organic and regional dishes, plus casual fare like frites and burgers. Noorderlicht’s grassy terrace offers a spectacular view of Amsterdam city center from the other side of the Ij River. Dine on wicker chairs, cushioned couches and picnic tables as musicians perform overlooking the waterfront. A roster of events ranges from campfires and poetry readings to DJ nights that usually inspire some pumping and grinding in a young, energetic crowd.
Warmoesstraat 21, 1012 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands
This is not your everyday burger joint. From the outside, Burger Bar looks like a typical fast food dive, with a neon sign above a door leading into a narrow, brightly lit interior. Outside tables are likely to be packed with Amsterdammers and there might be a wait for a stool at the bar or one of a few tiny side tables. There’s no ambiance whatsoever, but when your order arrives, you’ll know why you came. For simple, quality food, from juicy burgers to chicken and portobello mushroom sandwiches, Burger Bar does not disappoint. Especially if you’re looking for a quick snack or meal at 4am. With three outlets in Amsterdam, this local favorite offers gourmet burgers in 200- or 270- gram sizes. For a few euros more than a Bic Mac, bite into a juicy patty made with 100% freshly ground Irish, prime aged U.S. Black Angus or Wagyu beef—pure Kobe deliciousness on a locally-baked sesame seed bun. Burgers are grilled as you watch and served with fresh lettuce, tomato, pickle and creamy sauce. Optional toppings include bacon, cheese, grilled onions or mushrooms, avocado, fried egg and/or jalapenos. A side of Belgian fries—crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, delectable with mayo, samurai sauce, blue cheese or other gooey toppings—completes your meal. The outlet on Reguliersbreestraat is a great spot to grab a meal before a movie at the Tuschinsky, around the corner. Others on Kolksteeg and Warmoesstraat fit the bill after the bars and everything else in town has closed.
Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam, Netherlands
You can find cozy Café de Sluyswacht on a bustling street in the heart of Amsterdam, steps away from the Rembrandt House. Originally constructed in 1692 as a home for the sluyswacht, the man who controlled the neighboring lock, the charming building has been converted into a welcoming gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. Sip your Jupiler beer on a patio overlooking the canal, or break for tea and hot chocolate at one of the adorable tables inside. If you’re hungry, try the bitterballen—Dutch meatballs.
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam isn’t known for great service, but this casual restaurant inside the Kimpton De Witt hotel is a welcome exception. In the spacious, modern dining room, the friendly, attentive staff serves up an international menu that particularly excels at wood-fired dishes, including octopus, swordfish, and steaks. An American-style Sunday brunch includes chicken and waffles, avocado toast, and unlimited Bloody Marys and Mimosas.
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