Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


Café Luxembourg
“The perfect spot to observe the passing scene and eat the best veal and shrimp croquettes.”—Johannes van Dam, food critic and author, Delicious Amsterdam. Venerable café facing the bohemian Spui square; glass-lined terrace allows for people-watching; grand café interior includes a selection of international periodicals to read while you eat a slice of mile-high cream cake. Spui 24; tel. 31 20 620 6264.

De Bakkerswinkel
“Their breads are baked on the spot and they make the best sandwich with saucisse de Paris à l'ail in town.”—Florine Boucher, food writer, NRC Handelsbad newspaper. A small Dutch chain of whimsical tearooms; bright, upholstered furniture; homemade jams, quiche, high tea, and baked goods, often still warm from the oven. Central Amsterdam location near Dam Square at Warmoesstraat 69; tel. 31 20 489 8000.


Café Restaurant Amsterdam
“A great place to take the kids for good classic French dishes done with a sense of fun.”—Ron Blaauw, Michelin-star chef, Ron Blaauw Restaurant in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Situated in converted 19th-century water-pumping plant, west of Jordaan; soaring ceilings and industrial chic scene (note massive diesel engine next to bar); menu veers from Dutch herring to Gallic steak frites and back to homespun warm apple pie topped with lots of whipped cream. Watertorenplein 6; tel. 31 20 682 2666.

Blue Pepper
“One of the few Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam that takes an authentic approach and focuses on quality.”—Johannes van Dam. Intimate blue-toned dining room in west Amsterdam; chef Sonja Pereira offers an antidote to bus-tour Indonesian buffets with three nightly, seasonal tasting menus—classic, modern, and contemporary. Nassaukade 366; tel. 31 20 489 7039.

Restaurant Greetje
“The best for typical Dutch food like pea soup and meat stews.”—Johannes van Dam. A doggedly retro dining room, in east Amsterdam, designed to look like your (Dutch) aunt’s kitchen; revives regional specialties like Frisian onion soup, smoked Ijsselmeer eel, and farmer’s boys ice cream with cinnamon butter. Peperstraat 23-25; tel. 31 20 779 7450.

Brasserie Keyzer
“A great place to go before a concert at the Concertgebouw next door.”—Johannes van Dam. Newly renovated Dutch grand café; high plaster-cast ceiling and paintings of musicians; open until 1 a.m.; seafood dishes shine (North Sea crab, basil-crusted roast salmon). Van Baerlestraat 96; tel. 31 20 675 5238.

Blauw aan de Wal
“You walk down this blind alley in the Red Light District and suddenly you enter this lovely, elegant, upscale restaurant.”—Tracy Metz, arts and architecture writer, NRC Handelsblad. Mediterranean-accent cuisine in a series of tranquil dining rooms (two floors and courtyard dining); even the pea soup comes with pancetta. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 99; tel. 31 20 330 2257.


“Chef Akira Oshima’s food is always light, fresh, and full of surprising ingredients.”—Ron Blaauw. On the ground floor of the south Amsterdam Hotel Okura; authentic Sukiya-style Japanese interior and Japanese garden; sushi bar; multi-course daily kaiseki menus make more sense than ordering à la carte. Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333; tel. 31 20 678 8351.

“Intimate atmosphere and the freshest seafood; get the fruits de mer, a big platter of lobster, crab, and oysters.”—Guido Nijssen, editor, Lekker magazine. Long, lively dining room, south of center, lined with mirrors and banquettes; sautéed cod filet broiled in hazelnut butter worth the stop alone. Scheldeplein 4; tel. 31 20 675 1583.

“Showcases simple Mediterranean flavors, a mix of French and Italian. If they are on the menu, get the velvety roasted scallops.”—Johannes van Dam. The airy, pared-down dining room looks out on the Noordemarkt, in the Jordaan; self-taught chef Wil Demandt sometimes announces evening’s dishes; a smart local crowd comes for the best duck cassoulet. Noordemarkt 7; tel. 31 20 624 3899.

College Hotel Restaurant
“A great sense of style, with the open kitchen running the whole length of the room.”—Joahnnes van Dam. Converted 19th-century school building, south of the museum quarter; dramatic beam dining room; eager staff includes hotel and restaurant management students; celebrity chef Schilo van Coevorden helped design the menu of updated Dutch classics, including sea bass with white beans, and braised wild boar and red cabbage. College Hotel Restaurant, Roelof Harstraat 1; tel. 31 20 571 1511.

De Kas
“The kitchen uses ingredients from its own greenhouse garden and plots of farmland outside Amsterdam.”—Johannes van Dam. Situated in an airy greenhouse in the middle of Frankendael Park, east of the Amstel River. Chef Ronald Kunis’s prix fixe menu focuses on locally sourced meat and fish. Park Frankendael, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3; tel. 31 20 462 4562.


Ciel Bleu
“A two-Michelin star restaurant that does classical French with a creative, contemporary twist.”—Johannes van Dam. Recently renovated restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura offers panoramic city views; chef Onno Kokmeijer’s multicourse, often idiosyncratic, menus may feature sautéed scallops with stewed veal cheeks, and end with hazelnut crumble roused by coconut mousse. Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333; tel. 31 20 678 7450.

La Rive
“At the chef’s table, you can taste the chef’s culinary feast in the huge, serene kitchen.”—Guido Nijssen. Formal dining room of the Amstel Hotel, lightened by waterside terrace; impeccable service matches haute cuisine dishes like red mullet with risotto. Amstel Hotel, Professor Tulpplein 1; tel. 31 20 520 3264.

Restaurant Vermeer
Just opposite the Centraal Station; Old Dutch master decor (Delft tiles, big fireplaces) complements chef Chris Naylor’s still lifes on a plate (caviar and oysters; pheasant with walnuts). Prins Hendrikkade 59-72; tel. 31 20 556 4885.


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