The 20 best Amsterdam restaurants and cafés

Amsterdam’s Michelin-starred restaurants meet cosy cafés in a city of culinary surprises

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There's an almost endless stream of new and daring places to eat in Amsterdam, and gossip is most fevered around places that combine culinary delight with eccentric locations. These tend to be the best restaurants in Amsterdam.


De Kas, for example, is in an old greenhouse; Hotel de Goudfazant is in a warehouse; Dauphine is in a former Renault showroom; and Pont 13 is in a retired ferry. Just across the way from the latter, REM Eiland (Haparandadam 45, 688 5501, www.remeiland.com) is perhaps the boldest architectural addition of recent years. A pirate radio broadcasting rig in its former life, this dizzying structure was towed from the waters of the North Sea and now boasts heady views across new and old Amsterdam from atop its helipad.


Restaurant Freud (Spaarndammerstraat 424, 688 5548, www.restaurantfreud.nl), offers 'insanely tasty food', prepared and served up by former psychiatric patients, whereas out east, excellent new addition Rijsel (Marcusstraat 52b, 463 2142, www.rijsel.com) has made light of the less-than-stellar reputation of Dutch cuisine by setting up shop in the former home of a school for home economics.


The term 'Dutch cuisine' once inspired peals of laughter. But well-travelled chefs such as Ron Blaauw have returned home to apply their lessons to fresh local and often organic ingredients (you can source your own at Noordermarkt's Saturday organic market). Transcending its setting as a land best suited to spuds, cabbages, carrots and cows, the nation is now employing its greenhouses to grow an array of interesting ingredients. Eet smakelijk!


A Fusion

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This loungey affair obviously took notes from the hip side of NYC's Chinatown. The dark and inviting interior harbours big screens playing Hong Kong music videos, bubble teas (lychee!) and some of the tastiest confusion-free pan-Asian dishes in town.

  1. Zeedijk 130
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Amsterdam

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This spacious monument to industry just west of the Jordaan pumped water from the coast's dunes for around a century. Now it pumps out honest Dutch and French dishes - from krokets to caviar - under a mammoth ceiling and floodlighting rescued from the old Ajax stadium.

  1. Watertorenplein 6
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Balthazar's Keuken

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This tiny restaurant is always packed tight, so you really need to book ahead to make sure of enjoying its excellent set menu of meat or fish dishes.

  1. Elandsgracht 108
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Bazar

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This former church, now an Arabic-kitsch café, is one of the glories of Albert Cuypmarkt. Sticking to the winning formula set by its Rotterdam mothership, its menu lingers in North Africa.

  1. Albert Cuypstraat 182
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Beddington's

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Proprietor and chef Jean Beddington is doing what she does best: cooking up creations in which one single dish can hint at French haute cuisine, Japanese macrobiotic and English country cooking all at the same time. The restaurant's peaceful interior allows you to

  1. Utrechtsedwarsstraat 141
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Blue Pepper

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

An Indonesian restaurant near Leidseplein that combines tongue-tantalising food with designer decor. Add a decent bottle of wine and it's the perfect date, fashionable without being fussy and always impressive both in terms of atmosphere and eats.

  1. Nassaukade 366
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Bordewijk

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Ideal for sampling some of the city's finest original food and palate-tingling wines in a decent designer interior. The service and atmosphere are both relaxed, and Bordewijk has a very reliable kitchen.

  1. Noordermarkt 7
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Brasserie Harkema

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A new landmark, this former tobacco factory has titillated the local scene with its sense of designer space, excellent wines and a kitchen that stays open late pumping out reasonably-priced French classics.

  1. Nes 67
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Bridges

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Exquisite and inventive take on fish, devised by Joris Bijdendijk, protégé of Michelin-star winning Ron Blaauw.

  1. The Grand, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197
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Café de Jaren

  • Critics choice

All of Amsterdam – students, tourists, lesbigays, cinema-goers, the fashion pack – come here for lunch, coffee or something stronger all day long, making it sometimes difficult to bag a seat. Upstairs becomes a restaurant after 5.30pm. Be prepared to fight for a

  1. Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
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De Taart van m'n Tante

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

'My Aunt's Cake' started life as a purveyor of over-the-top cakes (which they still make) before becoming the campest tea-room in town. In a glowing pink space filled with mismatched furniture, it's particularly gay-friendly (note the Tom of Finland cake). A genuine

  1. Ferdinand Bolstraat 10
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District V

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

District V not only offers a good and economical French-inspired daily menu, but sells the locally designed plates, cutlery and tables it is served on. The patio is a lovely spot to sit in summer.

  1. Van der Helstplein 17
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D'Vijff Vlieghen

  • Price band: 4/4

'The Five Flies' achieves a rich Golden Age vibe - it even has a Rembrandt room, with etchings - but also works as a purveyor of over-the-top kitsch. The food is best described as poshed-up Dutch. Unique.

  1. Spuistraat 294-302
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Envy

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

A poshed-up designer deli-cum-restaurant serving an arsenal of delicacies from the streamlined refrigerators that line the walls, and from their able kitchen. The perfect place for those times when you want to try a bit of everything.

  1. Prinsengracht 381
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Fifteen

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This culinary franchise of sorts belonging to Jamie Oliver seeks to transform challenged street kids into a well-oiled kitchen brigade. It's inspired by his love for dishes honest and fresh, offering a pre-set four-course tasting menu, which changes weekly.

  1. Pakhuis Amsterdam, Jollemanhof 9
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Flo Amsterdam

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Part of a French brasserie chain, Flo stands for bourgeois cooking at its best, especially when it comes to classics such as steak tartar and its shellfish platter. It actually competes with its sister operations in Paris. A city first!

  1. Amstelstraat 9
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Getto

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Cheap, cheerful, tasty, filling. That's what the food is like at this sparkly diner at the back of the thoroughly mixed lesbian and gay lounge. On Wednesday night all burger dinners (a house speciality) cost just €10. Combined with the weekday,

  1. Warmoesstraat 51
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Greenwoods

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Service at this teashop is friendly but can tend to be on the slow side. Everything is freshly made, though, so forgive them: cakes, scones and muffins are baked daily on the premises. In summer, take your purchase and sit on the terrace by the canal for the ultimate

  1. Singel 103
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Hotel de Goudfazant

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Huddled among unsightly industrial buildings on IJ waterfront, this refurbished warehouse in the north of Amsterdam possesses an air of effortless class. Its stripped back interior is elegantly shabby, with exposed rusty beams sitting comfortably alongside a glassy

  1. Aambeeldstraat 10H
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La Oliva Pintxos y Vinos

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

From yuppies to genuine Spaniards, many praise La Oliva's authentic food and tapas, as well as the rich selection of wines by the glass. If it's too full (and there's a good chance it will be), there are plenty of other options along this strip, recently nicknamed

  1. Egelantiersstraat 122-4
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Latei

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Packed with kitsch and funky Finnish wallpaper - all of which, including wallpaper, is for sale - this little café serves up healthy juices and snacks all day long, plus vegetarian dinners based around couscous (from 6pm Thur-Sat).

  1. Zeedijk 143
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Le Garage

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Don your glad rags to blend in at this fashionable brasserie, which is great for emptying your wallet while watching a selection of Dutch glitterati do exactly the same. The authentic French regional cuisine - and 'worldly' versions thereof - is pretty good. They also

  1. Ruysdaelstraat 54-56
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Little Collins

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Dishes at this Aussie-run brunch hero range from wholesome homemade muesli to a gut-busting ‘big one’: homemade sausage with bacon, eggs and all the trimmings. Whichever you choose, wash it down with a spicy Bloody Mary.

  1. Eerste Sweelinckstraat 19, De Pijp
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Los Pilones

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A splendid Mexican cantina with an anarchic bent, Los Pilones is run by two young and friendly Mexican brothers; one of them does the cooking, so expect authentic grub rather than standard Tex-Mex fare. There are 35 - yes, 35 - tequilas on offer, so don't be surprised

  1. Kerkstraat 63
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Nam Kee

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Cheap and terrific food has earned this Chinese joint a devoted following: the oysters in black bean sauce have achieved classic status. If it's busy, try massive sister operation and dim sum maestros Nam Tin nearby (Jodenbreestraat 11-13, 428 8508) or equally stellar

  1. Zeedijk 111-113
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Pastis

  • Critics choice

Not to be confused with its New York namesake, Pastis may not be in the Meat Packing, but this neighbourhood favourite sure packs a punch when it comes to brasserie classics from Caesar salads to crème brûlee. Generous opening hours make this the perfect choice for a

  1. 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat 15, Oud West
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Peperwortel

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

One could survive for weeks eating nothing but takeaways from Riaz and the fabulous De Peperwortel ('Pepper Root'). After all, indulging in a wide range of dishes that embraces Dutch, Mexican, Indian and Spanish cuisines is always a pleasure, never a chore. Be aware

  1. Overtoom 140
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Rijsel

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Housed in a former huishoudschool, one of the domestic science institutions blamed for the decline of the Dutch kitchen, you’ll find frugality only in terms of the decor at Rijsel. The busy dining room is overseen by an amiable staff. Specialising in the best

  1. Marcusstraat 52b, Oost
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Ron Gastrobar

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Set back from a culinary strip of sorts along the south edge of Vondelpark, this restaurant is named after local entrepreneurial celebrity chef Ron Blaauw who is not afraid to shake things up. In 2013 he put his two Michelin stars on the line by coming up with a

  1. Sophialaan 55 hs, Oud West
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Samhoud Places

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Moshik Roth is the chef whose cheekily extravagant dishes (think foie gras à la Salvador Dalí) made his first restaurant in Overveen one of haute Amsterdam’s out-of-town favourites. His collaboration with ‘caring capitalist’ Salem Samhoud brings some rather

  1. Oosterdokskade 5, Waterfront & North
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