Amsterdam continues to carve out a niche as one of Europe's most exciting food and drink scenes.

The Dutch capital combines its respect for tradition with its flair for design, global outlook and commitment to sustainability in everything from bite-sized snacks to fine dining and fearlessly original new concepts. These are our top picks on where to eat in Amsterdam.

1. Helling 7

Amsterdam's hottest dining space isn't post-industrial; it's industrial. Built over a slipway at the Damen ship-repair yard from recycled and reclaimed materials, including steel-hull plating and boat-deck timber floors, diners at Helling 7 look over cranes and container ships.

Virtually everything, including the cote de boeuf (rib steak) and catch of the day, is cooked over the flaming wood-fired grill in the open kitchen and served at white-clothed tables in the cavernous, glass-paned interior or vast wharf-side terrace with a retractable roof.

2. D'Vijff Vlieghen

The enchanting D'Vijff Vlieghen (Five Flies) rambles over five Golden Age canal houses in Amsterdam's medieval center. Romantic nooks and crannies retain features such as carved timber paneling, Delft blue-and-white tiles and extraordinary antiques and art (including Rembrandt originals), complementing the refined, Dutch-sourced cuisine such as Zeeland seaweed–wrapped herring with red-beetroot and rye-bread crumble, and oyster crème.

An exterior view of REM Eiland restaurant in Amsterdam towering above the water
Tear yourself away from the incredible views to focus on your food at REM Eiland © Sarah Coghill / Lonely Planet

3. REM Eiland

A red-metal former North Sea pirate broadcasting station, REM Eiland now rises 22m (72ft) above the IJ in Nieuwe Houthaven. A rockstar team of Amsterdam restaurateurs took over the extraordinary structure in 2021, with TV-famed Dutch chef Bobby Rust flexing his creativity in four- to six-course chef's menus and inspired bar snacks (tandoori chicken tacos; ribs with smoked eel…). The rig's three platforms have 360-degree views, including from the former helipad rooftop.

4. Restaurant Floreyn

Dutch cuisine is at the cutting edge at Floreyn. Its sparing dining room references its locale with a wall-mounted bike sculpture (seemingly fished from the canal) and a central pillar marked with a NAP zero-elevation marker so you know you're dining below sea level.

The star of the show is the food – bread with freshly churned goats-milk butter; pickled mackerel with horseradish ice cream; clear, deconstructed mustard soup with cheese foam; roast roe deer with deer-liver balkenbrij (traditional Dutch offal); and for dessert, speculaas spice cake with galangal mousse and coffee soil – paired with Dutch wines.

5. Vleminckx

Frites (fries) have been sizzled up at Vleminckx for decades and have gained this little hole-in-the-wall cult status. Deliberate over more than two dozen different sauces – from classic mayonnaise to spicy ketchup, sambal or satay – to slather on a coneful while you stand in the inevitable line. This place is popular for good reason. 

6. Ciel Bleu

Fine dining reaches dizzying heights at twin-Michelin-starred Ciel Bleu, on the Hotel Okura's panoramic 23rd floor, with glittering skyline views. Multicourse menus are intricately crafted, and an entire degustation menu is dedicated to caviar (you can also order caviar tastings in increments of 10g). For the ultimate indulgence, book a front-row seat at its chef's table.

Interior shot of the brunch boat on one of Amsterdam's canals
What better way to cruise the waterways of Amsterdam than over a bottomless brunch © Miss G's Brunch Boat

7. Miss G's Brunch Boat

Amsterdammers love brunch as much as their canal-woven city, so what better idea than to combine the two? The "world's first brunch boat" departs from Keizersgracht for a leisurely 1½-hour cruise. Revitalizing brunch dishes include eggs Benny, chicken and waffles, breakfast burritos and a Dirty North (toasted brioche with smoked salmon, avocado, mascarpone and chives), with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices. Best of all is the bottomless option with unlimited tipsy drinks, including five different Bloody Marys.

8. Restaurant Blauw

An unmissable Amsterdam dining experience, given the Netherlands' historical links to the islands, is a rijsttafel ("rice table" aka Indonesian banquet), made up of tiny, aromatic sharing dishes in a rainbow of colors and spice levels and served with white rice. Stylish Blauw stakes a justifiable claim to being the best in the city, with meat, seafood and vegetarian versions, as well as a vegan variation.

Close-up shot of a Christmas-themed dessert at Morris & Bella vegan cafe in Amsterdam
Tuck into this delectable Christmas-inspired vegan dessert © Morris & Bella

9. Morris & Bella

Proving that vegan dining and gastronomy aren't mutually exclusive, Morris & Bella utilize produce sourced from local farms and foraged from meadows and forests in stunning creations like green beans with lemon, white-bean miso, fermented kohlrabi and piccalilli ice cream; potato muffins with char-grilled celeriac, baked chicory and apple-and-sauerkraut puree; and hazelnut sponge with spiced-pumpkin chutney, cocoa foam and candied pine cone. Its sophisticated, bare-boards dining room opens to a sunny street-side terrace.

10. Stubbe's Haring

Amsterdam once had haringhuizen (herring houses, ie fish stalls) by bridges all over the city, but today, only a handful remain. On the Singel canal near Centraal Station, Stubbe's Haring is one of the hold-outs, going strong for over a century. Brine-cured herring is served chopped and eaten with a toothpick or in a fluffy white-bread roll, accompanied by diced onion and sweet pickles.

11. Kaasbar

Kaasbar ingeniously delivers 24 Dutch varieties of cheese handcrafted by small-scale producers beneath glass cloches aboard its kaastrein ("cheese train"), a sushi-style conveyor belt that circumnavigates the bar in front of you. Each cheese comes with an accompanying garnish and wine, beer or cocktail pairing suggestions. Blue cheese or truffle Gouda fondue are awesome winter warmers.

The interior of Foodhallen in Amsterdam with people eating at shared tables
The hardest thing about visiting Foodhallen is deciding which excellent food stall you should buy from © hurricanehank / Shutterstock

12. Foodhallen

Burgers by Amsterdam icon The Butcher and popular Dutch bar snack bitterballen (meat-filled croquettes) are among the choices at Foodhallen, an airy communal dining space surrounded by 21 food and drink stands. It's located within the larger De Hallen complex, made up of former tram sheds built in 1902 and repurposed over a century later as a cultural center. Stalls piled high with fresh produce and delicacies set up outside at street market Ten Katemarkt.

13. Hap Hmm

From the moment you sink into a velveteen chair and look up at the family photos, Hap Hmm feels like a warm hug. Dating back to 1935, this home-style treasure serves comfort food like chicken cooked in Amsterdam beer, grandmother's-recipe meatballs and local award-winning schnitzel, with sides such as stewed rhubarb or pear, and Dutch favorite pancakes (with whipped cream and ice cream) for dessert.

14. Vegan Junk Food Bar

Steps from Amsterdam's "floating" flower market, the Bloemenmarkt, this Vegan Junk Food Bar is an innovator of plant-based, meatless alternatives, like tapioca-starch seafood, loaded fries sprinkled with flower petals, and burgers with neon-pink or black buns that echo its vivid street-art-style décor and hip-hop and R&B soundtrack. Craft beers come from local success story Two Chefs Brewing.

15. Moon

For a spin around Amsterdam without leaving your seat, head up to the A'DAM Tower's 19th floor and its revolving restaurant, Moon. Three- to seven-course menus, either "full moon" (sea- and land-based) or "green moon" (vegetarian), change monthly in tune with seasons and can be paired with wine or tea. It takes around an hour for a full revolution of the city.

This article was first published Mar 3, 2020 and updated Dec 15, 2023.

Explore related stories

Amsterdam Netherlands February 2021,Ice skating on the canals in Amsterdam the Netherlands in winter, frozen canals in Amsterdam during winter


Why winter in Amsterdam is the ideal time to visit

Oct 25, 2021 • 3 min read