Restaurants in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is home to a huge variety of restaurants, with options ranging from French cuisine to Indonesian take-away. Naturally, visitors will find plenty of authentic Dutch dishes, which characteristically use smaller meats such as sausage, and a lot of vegetables. The city also has a very strong tradition of cafeteria dining, including 'brown cafes', so named because of their dark, nicotine-stained walls and wooden fittings. Travellers can sample local beers and staples such as steak and salads in these cosy places. The city's pricey fine-dining establishments contrast sharply with these budget-friendly options.
Visitors should certainly try some local snacks while they're in town, such as savoury pancakes (or pannekoek), pickled herring, frikadel (a snack sausage served with mayonnaise, ketchup and onions), and small windmill-shaped cookies called speculaas.
While breakfast will traditionally be served up until 10am, lunch between 12pm and 2pm, and dinner from around 5pm, the Dutch are flexible in both tastes and preferred eating hours. Indeed, several cafes and restaurants operate into the wee hours of the morning, especially on the city's vibrant Leidseplein and Rembrandtsplein squares, which are dedicated to late night entertainment.
Service is notoriously poor in Amsterdam, as a gratuity is usually included in the bill and waiting staff do not rely on tips. It's polite to round the bill up to the nearest Euro if the service is good, and to leave tips in cash rather than including them on a credit-card payment.
Blauw aan de Wal
Blauw aan de Wal (Blue on the Quay) is one of Amsterdam's most delightful secrets. Located in the city's Red Light District, this charming establishment occupies a 17th-century former herb warehouse, and serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The menu changes seasonally, service is first rate and reservations are necessary.
Address: Oude Zijds, Achterburgwal 99
Telephone: (020) 330 2257
D 'Vijff Vlieghen
The 'Five Flies' oozes an old-world charm that befits one of the world's most famous restaurants. Original Rembrandt sketches decorate the walls of its attractive, country-style dining rooms, and brass plagues on its chairs remind guests that the likes of Orson Welles and Walt Disney have patronised this establishment. All dishes are prepared with fresh Dutch products.
Address: Spuistraat 294-302 (opposite the Amsterdam Historical Museum)
Telephone: (020) 530 4060
Cafe de Jaren
Café de Jaren is both stylish and contemporary, with its chief attraction being a waterfront terrace that overlooks the Amstel River. The establishment is a great setting for pre-dinner drinks, sampling a superb bottle of wine, or enjoying a strong coffee. The menu is varied and attractive, with fare ranging from soups and sandwiches to steaks and pastas.
Address: Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
Telephone: (0)20 625 5771
Amsterdam is well supplied with Asian restaurants, particularly in its rejuvenated Chinatown district. Dynasty is one of the more popular institutions, and serves a mix of Thai, Chinese, Malay, Vietnamese, and Filipino cuisine. Its themed interior is exceedingly beautiful. Reservations are essential.
Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 30
Telephone: (0)20 626 8400
Pasta E Basta
The lively restaurant's waiters and bartenders sing opera arias while they tend tables, creating a jovial atmosphere. Pasta E Basta's excellent wine list and superb Italian fare make it a must for foodies spending time in Amsterdam. Bookings should be made well in advance.
Address: Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 8
Telephone: (020) 422 2222
Amsterdam's most popular Mexican-style bar buzzes with warm Latin-American ambience, and serves up notoriously potent margaritas. The menu includes regular Mexican favourites like burritos, nachos and enchiladas. Fillet steak and burgers are also available and are well complimented with Mexican beer. Open daily from 5pm.
Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 38-40
Telephone: (0)20 625 9797
De Silveren Spiegel
The elegant Silveren Spiegel (Silver Mirror) is one of Amsterdam's best-known traditional restaurants. Set in two historic houses and characterised by beautifully decorated, candlelit rooms, its menu includes meat and seafood dishes done in a traditional Dutch manner.
Address: Kattengat 4-6
Telephone: (0)20 624 6589
Café Luxembourg is an established eatery and a definite must for foodies looking to experience Amsterdam's famous café culture. Its superb food, affordable prices and traditional atmosphere are appealing in any season. Reviewers have called Café Luxembourg 'spacious, elegant and unhurried', and quite simply 'one of the world's great cafés.'
Address: Spuistraat 24
Telephone: (020) 620 6264
Located in a district that includes many beautiful old buildings, Greetje is an essential experience for foodies looking to enjoy authentic Dutch cuisine. It's known for having some of the best service in Amsterdam, and offers traditional Dutch recipes with a modern flair. The restaurant is open for dinner only (6pm), seven days a week.
Address: Peperstraat 23-25
Telephone: (020) 779 7450
This two-man operation serves up savoury and sweet pancakes at reasonable prices. There are only four tables in this charming eatery, and hundreds of teapots hanging from the ceiling. The service can be slow, but locals swear it's worth the wait.
Address: Grimburgwal 2, Medieval Centre
Telephone: (020) 626 5603