Dijksgracht 4, 1019 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amazing brew and an even better view—what’s not to love about Hannekes Boom, a relaxing beer garden in the revitalized neighborhood surrounding Amsterdam’s Central Station? In addition to drinks and hearty nachos, sandwiches, and burgers (all made with organic ingredients), this place offers stunning vistas of the city and of Nemo (the interactive science museum that resembles a green whale). Pull up a barstool, grab a terrace bench, or plunk down on the dock to dangle your toes in the water while watching small boats bob past.
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.
Keizersgracht 234, 1016 DZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Unlike in many European cities, the craft-cocktail movement is just catching fire in Amsterdam. This swanky watering hole, tucked inside the historic, canal-fronted Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel, is one of the best examples. The vibe is vintage gentlemen’s club, befitting its 17th-century-canal-house setting: Comfy leather armchairs, antique furnishings, deep-green walls lined with books, oil portraits of stern Dutch ancestors, and a roaring fireplace. Its cozy, candlelit nooks are ideal for a clandestine beverage. Or grab a stool at the long wood bar and watch the suspendered, bow-tied bartenders whip up signature updates of classic cocktails, like an old-fashioned made with jenever (Dutch gin), fermented pineapple syrup, and Creole bitters.
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.
Jacob Bontiusplaats 1, 1018 LL Amsterdam, Netherlands
This funky spot stands out among Amsterdam’s many urban “beach bars.” You can laze away a sunny afternoon at one of the picnic tables or chairs set up on a wide stretch of sand. Cocktails and beer slake your thirst, while decent pulled-pork tacos, burgers, and poke bowls keep hunger at bay. If the weather isn’t agreeable, the café—located inside a converted warehouse—strikes all the right hipster notes: Think distressed, graffitied concrete walls; leather sofas; vintage television sets; and groovy lighting. An adjacent warehouse hosts all sorts of events, from flea markets to film screenings to dance parties.
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.
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.
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.
Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its relatively low skyline, Amsterdam doesn’t have many rooftop bars; this one, seven stories up on peak of the Volkshotel, offers a panoramic look at the city from both its spacious, windowed interior and its generously sized terrace. By day, it’s a quiet spot for breakfast and lunch; come early evening, it shifts into lively post-work-cocktail mode, with young Amsterdammers flocking here for the excellent sunset views and affordable drinks. On Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. until the wee hours, the space transforms into a throbbing nightclub, with DJs spinning a mix of house and disco.
Pijlsteeg 31, 1012 HH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wynand Fockink founded his namesake distillery on this narrow alleyway off Dam Square in 1724 (and the building is even older, dating to 1679); some 70 varieties of jenever (Dutch gin), fruit brandy, and liqueur are still produced here today. In the small, beautifully preserved tasting tavern you can learn about—and more importantly, sample—both oude (old) and jonge (young) jenevers, as well as classic Dutch liqueurs like Bruidstranen (bride’s tears), an orange-flavored cordial with flakes of silver and 22-karat gold. Let the bartenders guide you on the traditional method: Bend down and slurp from the tulip-shaped glass—no hands allowed! You can also sign up for a one-hour tasting session and tour of the distillery; the cost is €17.50 (about $20).
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.
T.T. Neveritaweg 59, 1033 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hop on the free ferry from the city’s Central Station for the 15-minute ride to the NDSM wharf, an old shipyard that’s transformed into a hipster haven with restaurants, bars, and artists’ studios. The waterfront “beach bar” Pllek is a popular spot here; built out of old shipping containers, the soaring, dual-level space has an industrial vibe, with corrugated-metal walls warmed by bright artwork, an indoor fireplace, and huge windows looking out over the IJ River. But it’s the man-made beach that draws crowds in warm weather, with comfy beanbags and loungers where you can while away the afternoon. There’s a nice selection of beer and wine; the food is simple but surprisingly good, and it’s crafted with fresh, organic ingredients. Pllek also hosts live-music events, DJs, dance parties, films, and morning yoga classes.
Gravenstraat 2, 1012 NM Amsterdam, Netherlands
With just a few tables and a handful of barstools, this bar may be tiny, but it packs a lot of character into its diminutive space. Walls are decorated floor-to-ceiling with a mix of beer posters and racy street art; at the small wood bar, eight curving brass taps dispense top-notch Belgian-style draughts like La Chouffe and La Trappe. Around 50 specialty beers are also available by the bottle, many of them rare craft brews. During evenings, the bar even manages to squeeze in a DJ, who spins funky old-school jazz.
By day, the low-slung leather chairs and chesterfield sofas at this spacious bar-restaurant in the trendy Hoxton hotel on the Herengracht canal belong to the laptop-and-coffee crowd. By night, the same lofty, mod-chic space morphs into a buzzy but sophisticated spot for drinks and bites. If you’d prefer a proper table, the restaurant area at the back—with a retractable roof that opens on temperate days—serves an Italian-influenced menu; it’s especially popular for weekend brunch.
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.
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.
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.
Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands
Unexpected surprises abound in Amsterdam. On the city’s east side, you’ll find one denoted by a tall windmill: Brouwerij ‘t IJ (the IJ Brewery), a small brewery and pub situated in the former Funen bathhouse, next to the De Gooyer windmill. Opened in1985 by former musician Kaspar Peterson, Brouweij ‘t Ij prides itself on a large selection of unfiltered, non-pasteurized beers and seasonal offerings. All are certified organic and made on the premises. Belly up to the bar next to the big mill and order your beer from a chilled tank. Follow the scent of hops onto the large outdoor terrace, where you can enjoy your brew with an order of peanuts, boiled eggs, abbey-made cheese, salami, ossenworst from Slagerij de Wit or Skeapsrond cheese from Dikhoeve Farm. The adjacent pub serves more substantial meals, as well as drinks and snacks. In addition to beer, Brouwerij ‘t Ij’s menu includes wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Guided tours are offered on weekends.
Oosterdokskade 5, 1011 AD Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of just a handful of two-Michelin-starred restaurants in Amsterdam, &moshik is helmed by Israeli-Dutch chef Moshik Roth, whose tasting menus are influenced by such far-flung places as Morocco, Vietnam, Japan, and Turkey—as well as The Netherlands. Seasonal menus feature an array of inventive, artfully presented dishes, such as a raw scallop topped with Dutch caviar and pheasant jelly; lamb and pigeon with swirls of fermented lemon gravy and nettle sauce; or North Sea cod and cockles in green pea miso. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the elegant, 55-seat dining room provide beautiful views overlooking the scenic Oosterdok harbor, just steps from Centraal Station. If you can’t swing the cost of the tasting menus (€175 for five courses or €230 for seven courses, excluding wine), opt for the far more affordable three-course business lunch, offered Fridays and Sundays (€64.50 without wine).
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.
Founded in 1519, In’t Aepjen is one of the city’s oldest brown bars (the Dutch version of an English pub), and the cozy room regularly draws a large crowd given its proximity to the main train station. It’s also curiously decorated with monkeys—monkey statues, stuffed monkeys, monkey posters—a nod to its name, which translates to “In the Monkeys.” The legend goes that sailors returning from the Dutch colonies were cash-poor, so they settled their bill with exotic pets (namely monkeys) acquired on their journeys. You’ll have to pay with euro, but the beer selection is decent and you can also try the local spirit, jenever.