Amsterdam is first to mind when it comes to many things – beautifully preserved canal houses, perilous biking, vintage shopping, techno and tasty beer. But food, historically, has not been one of them.
While visitors to Amsterdam will encounter a steady stream of canal-side terraces and gorgeous modern interiors, the Dutch cultural capital’s culinary scene is still relatively nascent. In layman’s terms? It’s expensive and easy to step a foot wrong.
But there are still plenty of gems to be found. Amsterdam is a truly international city, and nowhere is this better represented than in the city’s best restaurants — no offence to those offering more traditional fare. And while the Netherlands has some of the best bar snacks in the world, bitterballen, cubes of gouda and kaastengels alone won’t sustain a day of biking in the rain. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Here are 23 of the best restaurants in Amsterdam right now.
A laid-back dinner spot in Amsterdam-West, Cafe Binnenvisser serves natural wines and seasonal plates. Dishes such as yellow beets with pistachio, buttermilk and smoked trout sit alongside raw halibut and bone marrow on the daily-changing menu. The food is good, and most dishes are vegetarian-friendly, but the winner here is definitely Binnenvisser’s atmosphere – a rustic, unfussy space with a large terrace on a quiet neighbourhood corner that always seems to catch the sun… yes, even in the Netherlands.
Dish to order: The menu changes daily, but our recommendation would be to try the five-course “menu binnenvisser” dinner.
A spacious restaurant housed in a former engine room near Westerpark, Cafe-Restaurant has all the buzz of a bustling Parisian bistro, along with an air of old-school grandeur despite its industrial, stripped-back interiors. Serving an expansive pan-European menu for lunch through to supper, expect lots of excellent seafood dishes, and an impressive range of puddings, from freshly baked madeleines to apple pie.
Dish to order: Shrimp Croquettes – Gambas with Aioli
Make sure to get to either of Little Collins’ locations in De Pijp or Oud-West early on a weekend, as the queue here often winds around the block – for good reason. You’ll find speciality coffee and intriguing flavour combinations on their brunch menu, such as kimchi and gruyere scrambled eggs or roasted peach French toast. Come back in the evening for a tasty supper menu, where you can sample Mediterranean-inspired sharing plates such as Padron peppers and labneh, or fresh burrata and tomatoes.