Amsterdam may be better known for other activities, but ignore the food fun in the Dutch capital at your own peril. Ideas are nurtured in Amsterdam, and gastronomic innovation has flourished as a result, all without losing sight of tradition along the way. Here, old recipes shine with new layers of color, and that can only mean good things for hungry patrons.
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Amsterdam is also a very diverse city, one of the main cultural meeting places in Europe, and this is proudly displayed on its menus. People have been trading goods and ideas here for centuries, and what better way to bridge cultural divides than with tasty treats? The best restaurants in Amsterdam are located both young and old, nearby.
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Classic with a modern twist is the name of the game at this old vet overlooking the canal. Spread over several rooms that have simple but tasteful decor, there is an unmistakable elegance here in everything from the food to the imported marble countertops. Whether it’s turbot, pea ravioli or the exciting Jansz burger, chef Arnout van der Kolk’s cooking is robust and delicious, and while dinner is the real star, they also do a wicked lunch and they are happy to attend to children. This is modern Dutch production at its best.
Those on a budget should head to ‘Yummy Bite’, which has been serving traditional Dutch food since 1935. Buttery soft steak, excellent steak and meatballs won’t break the bank, and the portions you hungry. It’s a cozy little place and they don’t take reservations, so get there early or be prepared to wait in line – that’s it
The industrial, shabby-chic interior and the constantly changing daily menu of modern Dutch cuisine have made ‘Wild Boar’ a trendy (and increasingly popular) place in Oost . The idea is simple – choose three or four courses, order wine and let the kitchen work its magic with fresh seasonal produce (try the boar though). And if something a little lighter is needed, head to Eetbar next door, where they offer smaller, individual plates at great prices.
For a modern take on Indonesian cuisine, head to this upscale restaurant in the Oud-Zuid district, southwest of Vondelpark. It might be called “blue”, but this colorful space is done in black, white, and red, with a wall-sized family photo dominating one wall. Here you can enjoy a traditional rijsttafel (including a vegan option) or choose the “Experience Menu” to choose from a selection of Indonesian street food.
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There are few better places for fresh fish and seafood than Stork, a cavernous, south-facing location on the banks of the river IJ. A free ferry takes you across the water to Noord and this former factory which now serves whole lobsters, oysters, ‘catch of the day’ specialties and exciting seafood platters. If it’s sunny, order a chilled white wine, take a seat on the patio and watch the river traffic move back and forth.
It’s all about branding at ‘Mothers’, a quirky downtown restaurant decorated with pictures of customers’ real mothers. As close as the Dutch have to a national dish, the combination of mashed potatoes, cabbage, bacon and sausage is quite a plateful, especially when it comes with an extra meat ball. There are plenty more to choose from, but bring a good taste and don’t bother with starters – the portions are huge.
Across from Artis Zoo, this Aussie-style restaurant serves snacks every day until 4pm, making it the perfect place to work off a hangover after a big night out. out. Come evening, a menu flirting with Asian and Australian influences will awaken your taste buds. Add excellent coffee and better drinks and you have something special.
If the best, freshest, beautifully cooked produce is what you’re looking for, a visit to De Kas is a must. Tucked away within a series of greenhouses dating back to 1926, they serve a set daily menu – you simply choose as many dishes as you like – prepared with vegetables and herbs grown in their own nursery. Their farm-to-table credentials are impeccable, and the dishes showcase every ingredient at its best.
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Have you ever been to the theater of the self-proclaimed fish? We assume not. But what exactly does that mean? On arrival at Pesca, the staff offer a glass of champagne to enjoy while you watch the day’s catch – cod, mussels, octopus, scallops – delicately arranged on ice. Once you’ve made your selection, drinks and side dishes are added, you grab a table and a plate of almost perfectly cooked fish awaits. It has a strong, fast-paced atmosphere that complements the food, making it the perfect starting point for a night out on the town.
If you arrive early for dinner, this charming wine bar near the Dappermarkt offers one of the best deals in town. Pappardelle with ragù is a favorite, and gnocchi changes seasonally to feature strong flavors like smoked scamorza in winter and fresh green peas in spring. It’s a lovely place for couples and small groups, with close seating and plenty of plates and cakes.
Surprisingly for a city with so many Italian restaurants, quality pizza used to be a rarity. We said ‘rarity’, not ‘impossible’; in Sotto. Tender dough with a very brown crust, sauces made with San Marzano tomatoes and gooey puddings of Buffalo mozzarella have given way to two more branches and membership in the prestigious Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana – one of only two pizzerias
Meat lovers rejoice, because this hotel hidden at the foot of De Pijpo is a mecca for all things grilled. Flawless hamburgers – try the house specialty, with pulled pork – jerk chicken and the best ribs in town are just some of the delights on offer. Do you love steaks and hungry? Their 1kg Absurde, which must be ordered 24 hours in advance, has you covered. Their craft beer menu is also excellent, with an ever-changing selection of local beers on tap.
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When you want great grilled chicken, come to this French-Flemish restaurant by the Amstel River. Located in an old domestic science school, it is a simple place with an open kitchen. The menu changes daily, but always features French bistro classics with a Flemish twist – after all, Rijsel is the Flemish name for the French city of Lille. This is a local favorite that is always packed, so make reservations in advance.
This tiny place in the Czaar Peter shopping district is all about the details. The young owners speak passionately about their home-cooked Italian cuisine, and their seasonal dishes shine – think homemade ravioli, beautifully prepared meat and fish, and chicken liver candies that explode with taste For the best experience, try to grab a spot on the sidewalk in front.
Forget the more numerous (and overpriced) Italian restaurants in the city center and west and come to this cozy little restaurant on Oost. Their pasta menu is short but current – think linguine all cozze, all’arrabbiata and juicy lamb ravioli – while pizza is a thin crust delight. Leave room for the homemade tiramisu, and if you’re feeling unsure, ask the bartender for a negroni – they serve one of the best in town.
Right next to the city zoo, this ultra-modern bistro has a beautiful ambiance. There is also an extensive bar serving cocktails and snacks, while the restaurant is housed in a 19th-century cave glasshouse. Contemporary European dishes – some of which are available in small and large sizes – sit side by side with sandwiches and lighter lunch plates. Weather permitting, secure a table on the terrace which overlooks part of the zoo and is lit by fairy lights.
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With a Michelin star, an award-winning wine list and a stunning canalside location, this is the ultimate restaurant for special occasions. Head chef Bas van Kranen’s set menus focus on showcasing premium ingredients through simple yet modern flavor combinations and elegant plates. The service is impeccable, and the environment is classy but small. Reservations are required.
If you fancy a Sunday roast, head to The Cottage for a hearty plate of meat, veg and Yorkshire pudding. Although the owners are Dutch, they have mastered British classics such as sausage rolls and shepherd’s pie – and have also introduced a number of vegetarian options. The scones are good, but the homemade orange and cardamom jam takes them to the next level. Don’t miss the triple ginger cake for dessert.
What started as a pop-up restaurant has become a favorite destination in a former wooden port in Amsterdam. After climbing the wooden staircase to the third floor of the old warehouse, you enter a minimalist painted room with large windows overlooking the river IJ. BAK was originally a vegetarian restaurant, and although the set menus feature local meat and fish, vegetables are still the main star.
Just around the corner from Rembrandtplein, you’ll find this hot spot on two floors
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