Amsterdam

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Ask a local about Dutch cuisine and you'll probably get a laugh, unless you're looking for a stamppot (Dutch stew) or pannekoeken (crepe-like pancakes). International fare dominates Amsterdam restaurant menus, especially Indonesian cuisine due to the large number of immigrants who came as a result of Dutch colonization of the islands. Although the bar for quality food has certainly been raised in the past few years, you’re paying for the imported or organic greenhouse-fresh ingredients–you may want to make sure the restaurant you select takes credit cards. And don't forget to eat like the locals–early. Most kitchens close by 9pm.

Top Restaurants in Amsterdam

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Situated in Amsterdam’s coolest arts and design space, this hotspot serves delicious, Tuscan inspired slow-food dinners. Long communal tables make it easy to meet the trendy locals who hold court nightly.

Prinses Irenestraat 19, 011-31-20-644-0100, www.restaurantas.nl
Tags: expensive | editor pick | trendy | organic

Bazar Amsterdam

If you don’t go for the excellent Middle Eastern and North African fare–think stuffed grape leaves, grilled sardines, kebabs and couscous–it’s worth a stop just to gawk at the décor: Bazar is located in a former Church and the space is as atmospheric as it is funky. Head elsewhere if you’re looking for a quiet dinner as it’s always busy and the architecture seems to amplify the noise. Still interested? Look for the golden angel sculpture hovering outside the entry and keeping watch over the always busy Albert Cuyp street market just outside. The restaurant is also a good breakfast option, serving omelets, pancakes, and Turkish yogurt and most of the sandwich options at lunch are less than 10 euros.

Albert Cuypstraat 182, 011-31-20-675-0544, www.bazaramsterdam.nl
Tags: moderate | trendy | middle eastern

Blauw aan de Wal

The Red Light District is gritty enough, but this hidden gem is located at the end of a long, graffiti-covered corridor, making the most unlikely situated eatery in town. The menu shows off contemporary, Mediterranean meets Dutch cooking (think salmon with oyster vinaigrette and truffle gnocchi) along with a smart selection of wines served in a 17th-century herb warehouse. It’s perfect for surprising dinner companions but we’d prefer you kept this one a secret.

Oudezijds Achterburgwal 99, 011-31-20-330-2257
Tags: romance | expensive | contemporary dutch

Bordewijk

Chef Wil Demandt creates culinary experiences that are perfect from start to finish, rightfully making Bordewijk one of the city’s perennially hardest to score reservations. The somber, if chic, interior – think stark white walls with metallic black tables – stands in contrast to the beautiful creations that grace the plates. The menu changes frequently but never falters. Among the popular specialties are the lobster fettuccini and the impressive cheese plates. The wine list is extensive and rounds out one of Amsterdam’s finest culinary experiences.

Noordermarkt 7, 011-31-20-624-3899, www.bordewijk.nl (Dutch only)
Tags: international | moderate | notable chef | great value

Cafe 't Sluisje

Have your pick of three-course menus consisting of staples like steak frites with mushrooms and baked salmon with cream of parsnips. 

Torensteeg 1, 1012 TH, +31 20 624 0813, www.sluisje.nl
Tags: nightlife | gay

De Jaren

One of Amsterdam’s grandest cafés is in a soaring post-industrial space with picture windows overlooking one of the inner channels of the Amstel River. Try Dutch sandwiches (served cold or hot) and a salad bar for lunch; and pastas, roast fish, and pan-fried meat for dinner. The banana-cream pie is a classic, as is the coupe de Jaren: ice cream with armagnac. Or just make like a local and linger over a beer and a novel.

Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22, 011-31-20-625-5771, www.diningcity.nl/cafedejaren
Tags: moderate | views | open late | cafe

De Kas

When a restaurant is located in a functioning greenhouse–constructed in 1926 as the Amsterdam Municipal Nursery–you know you can expect the freshest ingredients. This local foodie-favorite is renowned for sophisticated meals assembled by chef Gert Jan Hageman from organic ingredients; some of which were grown just steps from your table. There are no selections to be made; all guests dine on a five-course menu that changes daily and includes starters, a main course, and dessert (diners can, however, elect to finish their meals with a delicious cheese plate). Adventurous gourmands should book the highly sought after chef’s table).

Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 011-31-20-462-4562, www.restaurantdekas.nl
Tags: expensive | editor pick | smart splurge | organic

Hap Hmm

Dutch home cooking is never going to get top ratings on the Food Network, but if you are curious, where better to try it than Amsterdam? This humble room touts itself as serving food to locals the way they “remember grandmother’s cooking” since 1935 and all of that at bargain prices! They dish out a fine bal gehakt (meatball) and stamppot (meat and potato stew) and throw in a few surprises like a decent carpaccio or baked pears with warm cream.
Open Monday through Friday only; closes 8pm.

Eerste Helmersstraat 33, 011-31-20-618-1884, www.hap-hmm.nl
Tags: family | budget | dutch

In de Keuken

It’s fresh and fabulous at this small space where menus organized around an ingredient or culinary destination change weekly and where diners construct three-, four-, or five course meals according to their appetites. The menu now also includes the option of ordering single dishes, a la carte. An open kitchen, blackboard with recipes and shopping lists, and wall of cookbooks emphasize the love of food that comes through in delicious Mediterranean, and especially Italian, dishes.

Utrechtsestraat 114, 011-31-20-616 7414, www.indekeuken.com
Tags: moderate

Nevy

Seafood lovers with a passion for contemporary style will fall in love with Nevy. Sustainable fish, guaranteed to be on your plate no more than 48 hours after they were hauled from the sea, makes up an inventive menu of sushi, sashimi, and mostly fish entrees (though there are duck and entrecote options). Meals are served in two stylish cutting edge spaces–a raw bar and cocktail space and the popular main dining room.

Westerdoksdijk 40, 011-31-20-344-6409, www.nevy.nl
Tags: expensive

Proeverij 274

Tucked into cozy, canal-side quarters near Westertoren Church, Proeverij 274 is an intimate spot offering fresh continental cuisine. Proeverij, the Dutch word for “tasting,” lives up to its name with an eclectic international menu that lets diners sample flavors from around the world (try the ravioli garnished with truffle mascarpone and the filet of plaice served with parmesan risotto croquettes are especially tasty). The wine list isn’t especially extensive, but the dozen or so reds and whites are good values.  Simple wooden tables, stone floors, and attentive service create a welcoming, warm atmosphere.

Prinsengracht 274, 011-31-20-421-1848, www.diningcity.nl/proeverij274
Tags: moderate | eclectic | jim's pick

Red

Since guests at Red have only two main course options to choose from – every night it’s either lobster or tournedos of beef, with only two variations on each – it’s a good thing that Red does both well. A baroque-chic interior serves as the backdrop for the mouth-watering dinners that are executed with elegant simplicity. If you feel insufficiently stimulated, opt for a window seat and watch the world go by or ask to see the impressive and tantalizing dessert menu.

Keizersgracht 594, 011-31-20-320-1824, www.restaurantred.nl
Tags: expensive

Tempo Doeloe

Aromatic Indonesian food isn’t hard to find in Holland but it is difficult to find it this skillfully and authentically prepared. You can’t go wrong with Nasi Goreng (fried rice) served with satay beef covered in mouth-watering peanut sauce, but save your appetite and opt for the Rijstafel Istemewa; The 25-dish tasting menu is the perfect immersion into the delicious cuisine, but be sure to pay close attention when your server debriefs you on the spiciness of each individual creation. Chef Gabriel’s hottest dishes are the stuff of local legend. 

Utrechtsestraat 75, 011-31-20-625-6718, www.tempodoeloerestaurant.nl
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | indonesian

The Pancake Bakery

You can’t leave Holland without trying a traditional, and delicious, pannenkoeken (Dutch pancake). This cheap-eats classic, located in a 17th-century, canal-side warehouse, delivers the goods and the atmosphere. There’s an astonishing selection of pannenkoeken on the menu and while you may be tempted by some of the more exotic selections – the “international” versions (like the lamb gyros Greek one and the tomato and mozzarella Caprese) seem custom made to please tourists–you’d be wise to do like the locals and stick to simple savory or sweet concoctions.

Prinsengracht 191, 011-31-20-625-1333, www.pancake.nl
Tags: family | budget | editor pick | great value | dutch

Tujuh Maret

One of Amsterdam’s true pleasures is rijsttafel (rice table), up to 20 or so small plates of exotic Indonesian fare. Though it’s not as flashy (nor as touristy) as some of the better-known Indo places in town, many locals swear by the quality and low-key atmosphere of this classic restaurant located on one of the city’s most popular dine-out strolls. The “Northern Sulawesi” cooking is a parade of heady and aromatic spices that makes for a delicious foray into the world of Indonesian cuisine.

Utrechtsestraat 73, 011-31-20-427-9865
Tags: moderate | indonesian

van Dobben

The Dutch have a passion for kroketten (croquettes) and you’ll be challenged to find a local who doesn’t agree that little Van Dobben makes the city’s best. An institution since 1945, what this antiseptic little shop lacks in style it makes up for with authenticity. Most diners opt for the standard beef krokette, served alone or with mustard on a fluffy bun, but sandwiches featuring a dizzying variety of meats–including “filet Americain” (that’s steak tartare to us non-Dutch)–and local specialties like smoked eel or herring also draw the hungry through the doors.

Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5-9, 011-31-20-624-4200
Tags: family | budget | open late

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