12 great restaurants in Amsterdam
Whenever I visit a new city I find it hard to identify the best places for food. Preferably, I go to restaurants where locals go and I rather avoid the places with hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews fearing it may be a “tourist trap.” I am sure they serve good food, but I really enjoy the more secret places that a local chooses. You are lucky, because my boyfriend is a real foodie and loves discovering new places. Here is a list of my favorite restaurants, varying from excellent cheap street food to more exclusive (casual) fine dining. I am pretty sure you will find something to your liking.
About the author: Laura Danielle is co-founder of Comedy Walks: walking comedy shows with the city as the stage! A professional stand-up comedian takes you past the most beautiful places in Amsterdam and tells the best jokes about the city, its inhabitants and of course her/himself. Learn & Laugh!
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free?
Most places serve vegan and/or vegetarian dishes. For guaranteed gluten-free it really depends on the chef, so you will always have to ask. Even if you made a reservation by phone you should still check in the restaurant if they can guarantee gluten free. I can recommend the vegan and gluten free (entire menu is guaranteed gluten free) pizzas at Mastino V at the Bilderdijkstraat 192.
How much should I tip?
I get a lot of questions on how much to tip in the Netherlands. The average hourly pay for a waiter/waitress in the Netherlands is about €8-€9; for young people, age 15-20, it may be a bit lower. The tip is in addition to their pay and not part of their salary; sometimes they can keep it themselves or sometimes it goes in the tipping jar. Unlike the US, the Netherlands is not a typical tipping country, yet many people do. For coffee or a single round of drinks I usually don’t tip, but in restaurants I tip about 5-6%.
#1 Thai Thai Poppetje
Thai Thai Poppetje, clearly a Thai food restaurant, only opened a few years ago and very soon became a hidden gem for locals. Kora and Mario run this place and besides serving delicious food they also did a great job on the ambiance. As a bonus, there is a small arcade in the back of the restaurant. We had so much fun with the pinball machine (me finally beating my boyfriend!) that Kora had to call us to our table twice, as food was ready! Good to know: you can buy tokens for the arcade and simply add them to your bill. Kora’s mother is from Thailand and is an expert on traditional Thai cuisine. With her help, this cute little place serves typical Thai dishes beyond the regular pad thai and red/yellow/green curry. We totally love this place! We paid about €60 for two people, including a shared starter, two mains, drinks and tokens for the pinball machine. Address: Van Speijkstraat 157.
#2 101 Gowrie
If you wanna treat yourself to an evening filling fine dining experience in Amsterdam then 101 Gowrie is one of the best places in town! My boyfriend came across this place by coincidence as he recognized the name of the chef, Alex Haupt, from the ‘Final Table’, a cooking competition he watched on Netflix. Alex opened 101 Cowrie, named after his home address in Australia, in November 2018. We booked our first table at this place for New Year’s Eve 2018 and it was such an amazing experience that we came back on New Year’s Eve 2019! Like the year before, each and every course was a delicious experience. Even a simple sourdough bread with cultured butter is turned into gold by this chef! We paid about €85 per person for a 7-course menu, excluding drinks, but note that their menu and prices may vary. As for the wine-pairing, if you are not a big drinker it is normal to ask for 1/2 glasses in the Netherlands (in Dutch: the Bob arrangement). Address: Govert Flinckstraat 326HS.
We are not a big fan of ‘concept’ restaurants, but we happily make an exception for Happyhappyjoyjoy. We go here at least once a year, because we love the unique and cheerful style of the restaurant and the food has simply never disappointed us. They serve a mix of Asian dishes from various countries. One of our favorites is the ‘rendang’, an Indonesian dish. They recommend ordering 3-4 dishes a person, but for us that resulted in a full doggy bag. So I recommend ordering 2 dishes at the time and see how far you get. For 2 people we paid around €75 including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Depending on how much you eat and drink it may be a bit cheaper or more expensive. We normally go to the location in West but they also have locations in South, East and downtown. If you are in Amsterdam in summer try out location East and dine in their beautiful garden! Address (location West): Bilderdijkstraat 158.
#4 Vleesch Noch Visch
If you are strapped for cash, or have little time for dinner, and/or wanna cut back on meat, Vleesch Noch Visch (in English: no meat no fish), a cute little foodtruck close to Westerpark, is the place to be. They only serve vegetarian food made of sustainably grown soya, certified to be free of GMOs. Their soya products are of such high quality that I was unable to convince my boyfriend that there was absolutely no meat in his pita bread roll (I had to get the menu back for proof!). Even though this place has outdoor seating only, due to the extremely mild winters (f*ck climate change) you can sit outside year round. Vleesch noch Visch serves pita breads with Greek, Indonesian or Indian stuffing. We had the Greek pita bread with vegetarian gyros, homemade tzatziki, rucola, tomato, red onion and oregano. We spent a little over €20 for two people including soft drinks. They also serve salads, soup and french fries. We will definitely come back to this place! Address: Schaepmanstraat 2.
#5 Le Restaurant
If you are into fine-dining experiences I would definitely recommend Le Restaurant. It is is very centrally located at the Pijp and a great place for a romantic evening. The Chef is called Jan de Wit and he ran a 2-Michelin star restaurant before in the picturesque village of Vreeland. Rumor has it that he was tired of running a Michelin star restaurant and wanted to start all over again with a simple yet stylish fine dining place in Amsterdam. He failed terribly as both his current and his previous restaurant in Amsterdam were awarded a Michelin star. Well, at that level the chef should have known that his first Michelin star was not just a flash in the pan. My boyfriend booked us a table on 10 September, my birthday, hence I am unable to inform you on the financial damage to his bank account. All I can say is that it was probably not cheap but totally worth it. Address: Frans Halsstraat 26H.
#6 Café Cook
Café Cook is just around the corner from where I live, so I have been to this place several times. The name of the place is derived from the street it is on, namely James Cookstraat. Like Thai Thai Poppetje this is one of the neighborhood’s hidden gems and it is usually packed with locals. This is a nice and cosy place to relax for a couple of hours with a starter, a main and a desert. This is also one of my favorite places for brunch or lunch when I have friends over from abroad. We paid about €80 for dinner (2 persons), excluding drinks. Address: James Cookstraat 2.
#7 Eénvistwéévis (One fish two fish)
This was our Valentine’s Day dinner at restaurant Eénvistwéévis! Translated into English it would be Onefishtwofish, and yes they mainly have fish and seafood on the menu. For us Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to organize a fun day for each other which we ended at this great French brasserie style restaurant in the city centre. It was the perfect setting for a romantic dinner where you order several courses and a fine bottle of wine. A reservation is recommended, because this place is quite popular with locals and mind that it is only open from Wednesday till Saturday. We started with oysters, followed by a starter and a main. We also ordered a bottle of wine (or two??). Probably two bottles of wine, because apart from the oysters I don’t remember what we ordered. We spent around €165. Great food, great service, great ambiance, hence great everything. Highly recommended. Address: Schippersgracht 6.
#8 De Foodhallen
This vibrant spot in Amsterdam West, the Foodhallen, is a great spot for people who can handle choice overload. At this trendy foodcourt you will find Dim Sum, fried chicken, famous Dutch bitterballen, Spanish hams at the Bar Iberico, Mediterranean, Mexican, sushi, vegetarian dishes, vietnamese street food, pizzas, hamburgers, Indian food, etc, etc. In any case, you should get your desert from Yoghurt Barn and don’t hold back on the number of toppings! It is impossible to leave the Foodhallen on an empty stomach. Generally speaking, this place is decently priced unless you go crazy on drinks at the (wine)bar. You will find a lovely mix of locals, expats and tourists at this hotspot. I often combine a dinner at this place with a movie at the Filmhallen next door. Address: Bellamyplein 51.
#9 D&A humus bistro
A lovely and very affordable place in the centre of Amsterdam serving dishes from the Middle-East: D&A humus bistro. This place serves superb food, attracts a relatively young crowd and plays cool music at night. I have been here twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. I was so pleased with the food that the second time I ordered the exact same thing: A Bit of This and a Bit of That, a selection of small dishes. They may change the selection, but in my case it came with bread, traditionally made hummus, a salad with tomatoes, cucumber, onions & fresh parsley, topped with warm chickpeas & tahini, roasted eggplant with tahini, pine-nuts and pomegranate seeds, falafel, shakshuka (egg cooked in mild spicy tomato sauce with herbs), and delicious labneh (fresh creamy cheese). For the dinner (2 people), a glass of wine and a ginger beer, we paid around €50. Address: Westerstraat 136.
#10 Ter Marsch & Co
#11 Bar Strangelove
Bar Strangelove at Lab111 is another hidden gem at walking distance from where I live. This awesome bar/restaurant is named after Stanley Kubrick’s movie called Dr. Strangelove from 1964. Lab111 is a unique and quirky cult cinema housed in a former pathological anatomical laboratory. A couple of years ago I watched all the old Quentin Tarantino movies at Lab111. Bar Strangelove is a colorful and vibrant restaurant with a very simple and affordable menu: at the moment they only serve sourdough pizzas (€10-€15). Not surprisingly, the names of their pizzas are based on movie titles. The menu changes regularly, so not sure if it will be pizza forever. I remember ordering my first beyond-meat hamburger at this place. Address: Arie Biemondstraat 111.
I mentioned this before in my blog post on the flea market IJ-Hallen: Pllek is one of my favorite restaurants in Amsterdam Noord (North). To get there, you will have to take the ferry from behind Central Station and cross the river. The ferry is free of charge! Pllek mainly serves vegetarian and vegan dishes and very little meat and fish. It claims to be the greenest restaurant of Amsterdam! You will see many Amsterdam locals here in summer as Pllek hosts one of the few urban beaches in town. I have been here for lunch as well as dinner. I lost/forgot my receipt but prices are very decent. And check out the walls, they are all made of shipping containers! Address: T.T. Neveritaweg 59, just take the free ferry from Central Station to NDSM-werf.