Amsterdam is a quirky enclave of bikes, boats and old world charm that draws visitors from all over the world. In a city that defies easy description, tourists flock there for the forbidden (“coffee shops” and the infamous Red Light District) as much as they do for the renowned architecture, museums and culture. And when it comes to food, Amsterdam’s options are equally indefinable and diverse, from cozy canal-side bistros, to on-the-go market snacks and a host of eateries serving cuisine from around the world. Here are a few restaurants to put on your map while exploring the city.
Credit: The Pancake Bakery
In Amsterdam, pancakes are not just for breakfast. Go to The Pancake Bakery to get a taste of the traditional Dutch favorite, with a typical topping of powdered sugar and syrup, or more creative accouterments like chocolate-y Nutella or spicy Thai red curry. If you’re missing home, there’s an ‘American’ pancake filled with Cajun chicken, baby corn, green paprika and onions, served with BBQ sauce and a green salad.
The Pancake Bakery / Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam / +31 20 625 1333
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Credit: Bedrijfs Fotografie
Gebroeders de Wolf owners and operators Martijn van de Reep and Tom Zinger are helping Holland solve their wild goose problem by putting goose charcuterie front and center on the menu. The smoked goose breast, dried goose sausage and wild goose terrine are excellent. You can stop by, grab a few meat-y packages and have a nice bread, cheese, wine and charcuterie picnic in Vondelpark. What a good way to waste away an afternoon.
Gebroeders de Wolf / Schipluidenlaan 14, Amsterdam / +31 6 24665951
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Worst is a cozy, candle-lit wijn café (wine bar) with excellent sausages and charcuterie. The chorizo and lobster sausages are popular, juicy, packed with flavor and even come with their own wine-pairings. Highly recommended is the Pied de Cochon served with brussels sprouts and beans. To add to the tapas style meal, opt for a tasting plate of charcuterie and cheeses, and relish the intimate space and flow of conversation.
Worst / Barentszstraat 171, Amsterdam / +31 20 625 6167
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Quality and originality shine at this seafood restaurant in central Amsterdam. The inventive menu is inspired by Chef Ron Blaauw and boasts delicate dishes like Oosterschelde lobster with a duck liver crème, mackerel ceviche with mussels and wasabi beurre blanc, and prawn carpaccio with foie gras and hibiscus.
Bridges / Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197, 1012 EX Amsterdam / +31 20 555 3560
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Credit: Leo Veger
Located in the Jordaan neighborhood, Balthazar’s Keuken offers a three-course fixed menu in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. The menus change weekly based on what’s fresh and in season.
Balthazar’s Keuken / Elandsgracht 108, 1016 VA Amsterdam / +31 20 420 2114
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Credit: Bram Tackenberg, Tackenvogel
A small, modern-meets-rustic restaurant with blackboards featuring the daily menu, this is a place that every visitor should go. They source local ingredients and create 6-course meals using the freshest produce and all parts of the animal. The food is smart, simple and brilliantly cooked, making De Gebroeders Hartering one of my favorite restaurants, period.
De Gebroeders Hartering / Peperstraat 10HS, 1011 TL Amsterdam / +31 20 421 0699
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Newly opened by Australian natives, Little Collins is quickly becoming the go-to place for brunch. With items like caramelized banana French toast with toasted coconut and lime curd or confit salmon with poached eggs, pickled beetroot and a fresh celery apple salad, it’s not hard to see why the locals are flocking to this trendy restaurant. For dinner you can feast on an assortment of small plates while sipping your favorite classic cocktail.
Little Collins / Eerste Sweelinckstraat 19F, 1073 CL Amsterdam / +31 20 673 2293
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The oldest and biggest outdoor covered market in Amsterdam, Albert Cuyp Market is a must. You can get everything from fresh farmers market finds to beautiful tulips and briny herring sandwiches. Open everyday except Sunday, one of my favorite things here the poffertje—tiny, fluffy pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar. Airy and soft with a crispy edge, they’re the perfect bite for browsing the large market. For more sweets, head to the stroopwafel stand where they make delicious waffle patterned cookies to order, filling them with thick, sweet caramel. For a classic Dutch snack, seek out the herring fillets with pickles and onions.
Albert Cuyp Market / Albert Cuypstraat, Amsterdam
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Housed in a former church on the edge of Beatrixpark, Restaurant As is equally known for its serene atmosphere (think long wooden communal tables, a large patio with chickens and a vegetable garden, and an overall industrial-chic vibe) as it is for Dutch menu. Simplicity is key for dishes like linguine with fresh tomatoes, steak tartare with a poached egg and their Dutch bean salad.
Restaurant As / Pr. Irenestraat 19, 1077 WT Amsterdam / +31 20 644 0100
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Located in the historic Schreierstoren or Weeping Tower, Voc Café is one of the best places in Amsterdam for the Dutch favorite, bitterballen—a deep-fried breadcrumb-coated ball of meaty gravy (and despite its name, there is with absolutely no bitter taste).
Voc Café / Prins Hendrikkade 94 BG, 1012 AE Amsterdam / +31 20 428 8291
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Tempo Doeloe is the place for an unforgettable Indonesian feast in Amsterdam. The authentic rijstaffel, or rice table, is a miscellany of spicy vegetable dishes, meats or fish and rice with toppings like toasted coconut and foamy prawn crackers. It’s best for a group and it’s recommended to make a reservation, even on the weekdays.
Tempo Doeloe / Utrechtsestraat 75, 1017 VJ Amsterdam / +31 20 625 6718
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Credit: Ronald Hoeben
Housed in a gorgeous glass conservatory, De Kas’ airy, bright dining room overlooks Frankendael Park. The menu features herbs, vegetables and fruits grown on-site, as well as proteins from local purveyors. There’s just one menu at lunch and one at dinner, with a comprehensive wine list for pairings.
De Kas / Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam / +31 20 462 4562
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Located in the Northern part of the city, this bright retro Café has a four course prix-fixe menu that changes weekly. Expect dishes such as clam chowder with croutons, cod with octopus and aster, and hangar steak with white asparagus and chicory.
Café Modern / Meidoornweg 2, 1031 GG Amsterdam / +31 20 494 0684
Feature Image Credit: Moyan Brenn