Looking for best restaurants in Amsterdam? Read our Amsterdam restaurant guide to the best places to eat and drink in Holland’s capital, Amsterdam. We’ve found the best restaurants, bars, cafés and food markets in the city…
Best restaurants in Amsterdam
For fine dining – Daalder
The chef’s tasting menu at Daalder is arguably the finest food you’ll find in Amsterdam right now. Chef patron Dennis Huwaë’s salted caramelice cream sandwich take on the stroopwafel is divine. In summer, tables spill out onto the pavement and the atmosphere is so laid back that you’ll be happy to linger over a number of courses.
Amsterdam’s former municipal nursery is now a restaurant aptly named De Kas (‘greenhouse’). With an emphasis on vegetables, fresh produce is grown on site or on a farm in nearby Beemster. Go for lunch to sit outside in the herb garden and feast on baked endive with gremolata, millet, salted lemon and rocket vinaigrette.
Hop aboard the free ferry to the Noord for lunch at Pllek, a beach bar housed in an old shipping container. Order the steamed mackerel with dill-horseradish crème fraîche and capers on sourdough and enjoy it outside with a local beer and panoramic views of the IJ river.
The Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk are long foodie streets with sustainable shops, organic delis and a farmers’ market on the Haarlemmerplein each Wednesday. Visit vegan-friendly salad bar SLA for a green pea and mint falafel bowl or a raw strawberry and vanilla cheesecake.
One of the hottest restaurants in Amsterdam is Breda. Choose from a range of tasting menus featuring seasonal ingredients prepared with creativity and flair. The Chinese greens with wild garlic and horseradish may sound simple but they’re served with an umami-rich jus that elevates the dish into something much more than the sum of its parts.
If you really want to push the boat out, you can do it literally; guests can now book in for a floating chef’s table experience at Vinkeles on the Water, a renovated 19th-century salon boat called The Muze. The boat seats four people in its luxurious wood-panelled dining room.
After apéritifs, champagne and canapés, Chef Kuipers cooks a seven-course tasting menu in the tiny galley kitchen while the boat cruises up and down Amsterdam’s canals, each course expertly paired with wines by the on-board maître’d. The meal unfolds over a leisurely four hours so it’s an indulgent way to take in the city’s sights.
Locals’ favourite, the cosy Bistrot des Alpes, comes into its own in winter. Diners wait for their table in a former ski-lift gondola but the gimmickry stops there. The owners used to live in the Haut Savoie and produce highly accomplished cooking. Try hearty Alpine favourites like tartiflette and charcuterie platters, or more delicate dishes like pan-fried char with beurre noisette.
Ambitious young chef Joris Bijdendijk of the Michelin-starred Bridges restaurant has a flair for fish and a passion for often overlooked fruit and vegetables. A recent creation paired pike perch with chanterelle mushrooms, turnip tops and green elderberries (£17) to glorious effect.
Dutch with a light touch sums up the food at Wilde Zwijnen. As its name suggests, the restaurant’s signature dish is wild boar, slow-cooked in an earthy stew and served with a side of sweet parsnip crisps (£16).
It earned a Michelin star last year, but RON Gastrobar has remained refreshingly low-key with its almost Scandi-influenced, canteen-style interior. A menu of imaginative small plates (all £12) features sweetbreads fried with Balinese spices and apple sauce.
Indonesia was once a Dutch colony so it’s no big surprise that Amsterdam is well known for its Indonesian food. For some of the best – and spiciest – in town head to Blauw, on the city’s southern outskirts. Order the rijsttafel (literally rice table) and experience the full gamut of dishes. There’s also a branch in Utrecht, the leafy town half an hour from Amsterdam that has a buzzing food and drink scene thanks to the town’s young entrepreneurs.
Once a wood-panelled ‘brown café’, Bar Oldenhof is now a tribute to old-school cool. A jazz soundtrack, waistcoated bartenders and a gleaming brass bar top complement its meticulously made cocktails. Try a Flying Dutchman (£9.50) – Rembrandt korenwijn (corn brandy), yellow chartreuse, benedictine and lemon juice.
Amsterdam has a beer for every season, and in autumn and winter that’s the herfstbok: a strong, dark beer with a hint of caramel. Taste it with a portion of ossenworst (cold-smoked beef sausage) at Café de Dokter, an atmospheric spot packed to the rafters with curios collected over more than two centuries of operation.
A distillery dating back to 1679, Wynand Fockink is still serving genever (the Dutch precursor to gin) in tulip-shaped glasses to thirsty patrons. Located just off Dam Square, it attracts tourists and locals with liqueurs and an atmospheric setting.
In Amsterdam, a borrel (drink) calls for a hapje (snack). It’s a short hop on the free ferry behind Central Station to THT in Amsterdam North, where you can enjoy stunning city views over a glass of Mama beer from local micro-brewery Oedipus Brewing and a plate of venison sausage and cured wild boar. Or try traditional deep-fried meatballs, bitterballen.
Set up by friends Bob Nagel, Maarten Bloem and Guus Lourijsen, from the outside Café Binnenvisser looks like any buzzy neighbourhood wine bar. But the food far exceeds expectations and small plates change weekly according to what’s available. The celeriac fritters are so delicious you’ll want to order seconds.
Start with morning coffee at this traditional, brown café – so named because it’s where men used to come to drink and smoke (not a ‘coffee shop’). Try the house speciality Prins Poffertjes (tiny pancakes with vanilla ice cream and icing sugar).
This ‘showroom’ for Holland’s top coffee roaster (and previous winner of the best artisan roaster in Europe in the European Coffee Awards) is a slick space where you can learn about the latest blends and coffee equipment. The huge coffee bar separates the room into an area for punters to come and taste coffee, and a swish training area for baristas. So you can enjoy your brew of choice while watching the finest of coffee geekery!
Meaning ‘time’ in Japanese, Toki is where you’ll find hip Dutch dads drinking matcha tea alongside MacBook-wielding freelancers. The pastries from neighbouring Petit Gateau are a must with your morning coffee (try the croissant doughnut).
Amsterdam’s red-light district is undergoing a long-term clean-up operation, to some residents’ delight and others’ dismay. A positive response is that a swathe of new businesses has opened, including shops and cafés. At KOKO Coffee & Design, you can enjoy a koffie verkeerd – the local take on a latte (£2.40) – then browse the designer fashion, shoes and accessories on sale.
Ruud Joinking’s warm, gooey stroopwafels (syrup waffles, £1.50) are widely considered to be the best in town. He makes them at his Goudse Stroopwafel stall at Albert Cuyp Market
Albert Cuypstraat 182
Frites uit Zuyd
The celebrated chip is at its finest at Frites uit Zuyd. Plump, crispy fries are served in red-and-white checked paper cones with a choice of homemade sauces, including a punchy piccalilli mayonnaise (£2). Buy a cone to go – or buy by the meter (8 cones’ worth). You can also enjoy them as part of a meal in the brasserie next door.
Make like a local and head to the Saturday morning Noordermarkt in the pretty Jordaan neighbourhood to pick up artisanal produce from farms outside the city. Vendors have been selling produce outside the Noorderkerk since 1623 and the market is famous for its mushrooms, some of which are collected in Dutch forests. Stop at the pancake stall for a gouda and mushroom crêpe (check out our best pancake and crêpe recipes here).
Every size, colour, make and model is sold at kitchen emporium Duikelman in De Pijp. A cook’s paradise, the Dutch institution now has several shops along the same street, stocking anything from tiny teaspoons to state-of-the-art espresso machines.
It’s far easier to find a beer than a green juice in Amsterdam. For the latter, make a beeline for one of the city’s four Cold Pressed Juicery sites and order a MOAJ (mother of all juices), packed with zingy good stuff from spinach to nettle.
In winter sugar-scented oliebollen are as ubiquitous in Amsterdam as stamppot. Translated as oil balls, they’re essentially a Dutch take on the beignet, served dusted with icing sugar and sometimes studded with currants (in which case they’re called krentenbollen). You’ll find them served from stalls on almost every corner but, for something different, head to Hartog’s Bakery for an unusual wholewheat version.
Return train fares from London St Pancras to Amsterdam cost from £58 with Eurostar (eurostar.com).
WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM
Doubles at Conscious Hotel’s new Westerpark location cost from €140, b&b (conscioushotels.com).
If you want a grown-up break in Amsterdam, this boutique hotel pairs luxurious living with Michelin-starred dining. In a 17th-century building that served variously as a theatre, poorhouse and bakery before its current Anouska Hempel-designed incarnation, 40 individual bedrooms range from large elegant suites to cosy but minimalist rooms up in the eaves.
The hotel’s Restaurant Vinkeles was awarded its first Michelin star in 2009, under head chef Dennis Kuipers, and today the menu is influenced by classic French cooking but with a contemporary twist; we went for the chef’s tasting menu which, on the night we visited, included a fabulously decadent plate set with black truffle braised in its own jus, served with truffle butter and toast.
Polished wooden floors, pristine white walls and bedding, the odd piece of early 20th-century furniture, and canal views from every room make the Brouwer a gem. In a 17th-century building in the heart of town, the hotel has been run by the same family since 1917.
Cake Under My Pillow
The owners of Amsterdam’s campest cake shop (detaart.com) segue into the world of b&b with a hotel whose rooms are just a touch less zany than the cakes.
Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 66
Chic & Basic
Just what it says, this hotel in a canal house offers designer-smart rooms (some quite small) with no fuss, in the historic centre of town.
On Amsterdam’s premier fashion street, Patou has rooms designed with an appropriate touch of luxury by top local interiors architect Jen Alkema. The main museums are just a few minutes’ walk away, and, once the shoppers have gone home, the neighbourhood is quiet. From €175, though ask about special offers.
PC Hooftstraat 63
Written by Daisy Allsup, Cecily Layzell, Adrian Morby