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Great Places To Eat In Amsterdam – Our Top Picks

Amsterdam has so much more to offer than the red light district and the hash bars that tourists often flock to. It’s the perfect place for a city break. Amsterdam is packed with museums and parks, just like any other European city. You can spend hours just wandering the streets, getting lost and finding great little spots to stop for a coffee or a beer. It has some great places for food, both traditional Dutch and International. You just have to know where to look.

Our trip to Amsterdam this year was in January, the perfect time to visit, when the city is delightfully lacking in tourists. The opportunities for al fresco dining are limited at this time of year, but being able to walk into almost any restaurant and get a table straight away more than makes up for it.

And with fewer tourists filling the tables, you get to see how popular the restaurants are with the locals, which gives you a better sense of where best to go for a good meal.

We booked our digs in the outskirts of town, something we often like to do in order to take in the otherwise unexplored and often overlooked parts of the city.

Restaurant Hap Hmm

In search of our first proper meal in Amsterdam, we took a stroll around our local area and stumbled across an absolute gem in the form of Restaurant Hap Hmm. If you’re looking for some authentic Dutch cuisine, I heartily recommend a visit.

Restaurant Hap Hmm, Helmersstraat, Amsterdam
Restaurant Hap Hmm, Helmersstraat

This beautifully understated restaurant harks back to Grandma’s kitchen, with a wonderfully cosy feel, old-fashioned decor, and simple, home-cooked food. And they certainly know what they’re doing. The restaurant has been serving traditional, no-nonsense Dutch comfort food since 1935.

With old family recipes on the menu, such as “Grootmoeders Gehaktbal” (Grandmother’s Meatball), “Hollandse Biefstuk” (Dutch Steak), and “Stoofperen” (stewed pears), “Appelmoes” (Apple Sauce), “Warme vla” (Warm Custard) and “Rabarber” (Rhubarb), Hap Hmm is proud of its origins.

Situated in a quiet area of Amsterdam’s Oud-West, this great little spot is always packed with locals – a good sign – and we were lucky to get a table.

Hap Hmm Amsterdam
Stewed Beef Amsterdam
Stewed Beef

Intensely flavoured Stewed Beef with a subtle hint of cloves was served with tender boiled potatoes, green beans and broad beans, and it was perfect. Simple, good food done well. 

Amsterdam Chicken stewed in beer
Amsterdam Chicken stewed in beer

Another highlight was the Amsterdam Chicken stewed in beer – absolutely gorgeous, and full of flavour. On a cold and rainy January evening, this was exactly what we needed. 

Staring At Jacob

After the previous night of comforting delights, we weren’t ready for breakfast first thing. But by 11ish we were hankering for brunch, and we found the perfect place.

Staring At Jacob, Jacob Van Lennepkade, Amsterdam
Staring At Jacob, Jacob Van Lennepkade

Staring At Jacob, so named because of its location on the corner of Staringstraat and Jacob Van Lennepkade, is a funky, New York-style canal-side brunch bar with a chilled-out vibe, frequented by students and some of the more trendy locals. It’s a great place to chill out and while away a few hours over coffee, juice or a cocktail or three. And the food here is sensational.

Hot Chocolate in Amsterdam
Jacob’s Boozy Winter Hot Chocolate

Whilst seated at the bar, waiting for a table to become available – it’s a popular place – we were straight in with a tall glass of Jacob’s Boozy Winter Chocolate – we are on holiday after all! This is a rich hot chocolate and Baileys cocktail with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa, and it really got the appetite going.

Brunch In Amsterdam
All Around Carnivore

So when we perused the food menu, we were all in. I went for the All Around Carnivore – Buttermilk pancakes, soft scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, a homemade hash brown and maple syrup, with some homemade aioli on the side. It was glorious – a sweet and savoury match made in heaven. The pancakes were beautifully fluffy, the bacon crisp, the eggs soft and creamy, the sausage fat and juicy… amazing! And that crispy homemade hash brown was to die for.

Brunch In Amsterdam
Jacob’s Benny

Mrs FF favoured their version of Eggs Benedict – Jacob’s Benny – 2 poached eggs, smoked bacon, sourdough toast with smoked butter, hollandaise sauce and fried herb potatoes. As good as you’ll get anywhere. Another highly recommended eatery for anyone visiting Amsterdam.

Brunch In Amsterdam

We enjoyed it here so much, we came back a second time in the same trip, opting for the Rasco – buttermilk fried chicken, a giant waffle, scrambled eggs, a mixed leaf salad and maple syrup – which was also delicious. The buttermilk fried chicken was crisped to perfection – a real treat. Staring At Jacob has definitely become an Amsterdam favourite.

Jordaan District

We could have spent our entire trip in the Jordaan area, soaking up the atmosphere on the trendy café terraces, wandering the flowery streets, and browsing the vintage boutiques, galleries and some of Amsterdam’s more alternative museums. The Jordaan neighbourhood is home to musicians and artists alike, and the area oozes character.

Keizersgracht (Emporor's Canal) , Jordaan, Amsterdam
Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal) , Jordaan

Here you will find the famous Anne Frank House along with the Lindengracht Market, the Houseboat Museum and the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, all within a few hundred yards of each other.

But our real highlight was, of course, the food. And one of our absolute favourite restaurants was Pesca.

Pesca's "Theatre Of Fish", Amsterdam
Pesca’s “Theatre Of Fish”


We lunched at Pesca, a fabulous theatre-themed fish restaurant with a difference. Here, before you are taken to your table, you are escorted over to the “Theatre Of Fish” – a fish market display where you can choose the fish you will eat.

The menu at Pesca, Amsterdam
The menu at Pesca

Our excellent host, Eloise, told us all about the huge array of seafood on offer, advising on portion size and courses, and how best to create our meal. She went through each of the options in turn, explaining how the chef would be cooking and serving them that day. Then she weighed and wrapped up our choices and took them to the chef.

Pesca Wine Market, Amsterdam
Pesca Wine Market

Then we were taken through to the Wine Market, where we tasted and chose the wine to go with our food. We chose a Dutch white wine – an Auxerrois from the Schouwen-Duiveland region, De Kleine Schorre – which was very tasty.

The menu changes daily, depending on what is fresh and available. Dishes are served in a tapas style, with the larger fish reserved for main dishes. The chef decides when to serve each dish, and everything is cooked fresh to order.

Oysters in Amsterdam
Selection of Dutch & Irish Oysters

We started with a selection of oysters – Dutch Oysters from Zeeland (matched perfectly with our wine from the same region), Irish Oysters served plain, along with Special Irish Oysters served with tomato ponzu dressing, seaweed and samphire. I usually prefer my oysters pure and unadulterated, with nothing added, but these Special Irish Oysters were particularly good.

Scallops in Amsterdam
Scallops with mushrooms and artichoke cream sauce

Next out of the kitchen were the scallops we chose. These had been lightly seared and were very tender inside, served with mushrooms, artichoke cream and a sauce made from dashi (japanese bouillon), and garnished with samphire. Very, very nice.

Tuna Steak In Amsterdam
Tuna Steak with salsa verde and tomato & pistachio herb salad

Then came the tuna steak, which had been quickly seared but kept raw inside. This was served with a beautiful salsa verde and a tomato and pistachio herb salad. Quite possibly the best tuna steak I’ve ever eaten.

Gurnard in Amsterdam
Barbecued Whole Gurnard with Moroccan spiced vinaigrette

For our main course, we went for a whole Gurnard. This odd-looking fish was often tossed back by fishermen or used as bait, until recent years when it gained popularity as a fantastic fish to eat. 

When it returned from the kitchen, it had been baked and barbecued on charcoal and served with a moroccan spiced vinaigrette made with sumac. It’s a fairly meaty fish that tasted great with the charcoal flavour.

Aubergine in Amsterdam
Puffed Aubergine with creamy harissa yoghurt, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and crispy chickpeas

For a vegetable side, we had puffed aubergine with creamy harissa yoghurt, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and crispy chickpeas – a wonderful way to serve aubergine and extremely tasty. Even Mrs FF, who is usually aubergine averse, loved it.

Cauliflower in Amsterdam
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with peanut masala

Finally, as our last side dish, we had a whole roasted cauliflower in a thai-style peanut masala finished with a sprinkle of lemongrass and garnished with radish flowers. It tasted as beautiful as it looked.

Pesca Foundation
Pesca Foundation

Pesca are committed to supporting sustainable fishing with their Pesca Foundation, to which they donate 4% of their annual profit, and an optional 1 euro donation is added to every bill.

Pesca is a great place to try if you’re visiting Amsterdam. We loved the concept. And they have the theatre theme nailed down to the last detail. Dutch comedy plays over the speakers in the bathrooms, and there is even a booth to leave a video review on your way out. A must-visit!


Moeders, Amsterdam
Moeders, Rozengracht 

Moeders (Dutch for mothers) is a brilliantly quirky restaurant that celebrates mothers everywhere. Every inch of wall space is covered in hundreds of framed and unframed photos of mums, most of which have been contributed by visitors over the years. The plates, glasses and cutlery are all mismatched, as they were brought in by guests as part of the opening night in 1990 and are still used today.

The food was fantastic here, with a menu full of Dutch specialities. We loved the Traditional Dutch Pea Green Soup with huge chunks of smoked sausage and bacon.

Hollandse Rijsttafel, Amsterdam
Hollandse Rijsttafel (Dutch Rice Table)

For our main, we went for Moeders’ own combination of Dutch classics, curiously named Hollandse Rijsttafel (Dutch Rice Table). There is no rice, but the name comes from the way food was served banquet-style in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia.

This fabulous table full of food included Stewed Beef, Hachée (Dutch beef and onion stew), Stamppot (a dish of mashed potatoes, cabbage and onions served with bacon and Rookworst (Dutch smoked sausage)), boiled potatoes, fried garlic potatoes, red cabbage and apple sauce.

For classic Dutch cuisine, Moeders comes highly recommended.

Drinking in Amsterdam
De Drie Fleschjes, Gravenstraat
Drinking in Amsterdam

De Drie Fleschjes

If you’re in the mood for a drink, we recommend heading down to De Drie Fleschjes (The Three Little Bottles), open since 1650, to sample their wide range of the traditional Dutch spirit, Jenever – a juniper-based drink, similar to gin. This spirit, sometimes called Dutch Gin, has a flavour profile somewhere between Gin and Whisky.

Kopstootje, Amsterdam

If you ask for a Kopstootje (a headbutt), far from getting knocked out, you’ll be presented with a beer and a tulip-shaped shot glass filled to the brim with Jenever. This Dutch drinking ritual involves placing your hands behind your back, bending over and slurping the top of the shot.

The rest of the shot is then gulped down, followed by a mouthful of beer. The flavours complement each other without masking either one. You’ll see this ritual happening in virtually every bar in the city.

Ten Katemarkt, Amsterdam
Ten Katemarkt, Kinkerstraat

Food Markets

Amsterdam has lots of incredible food markets where you can buy all sorts of Dutch delights from local vendors to take home with you. And the smell of street food stalls serving fresh Stroopwafels and hot Kroketten or Bitterballen (Dutch beef croquettes) makes them difficult to resist.

We visited Ten Katemarkt in the west of the city, with over 50 stalls that line both sides of Kinkerstraat. This market is particularly good, because not only will you find all the Dutch classics here, there is an eclectic array of International street food on offer too.

And you can combine it with a visit to the Foodhallen inside De Hallen, which is on the same street. It features around 20 International street food stalls, some of which were set up by Michelin-star chefs, and has live music at the weekends. Well worth a visit.

Coffee Shops & Cafés

It’s important to know the difference between a café and a coffee shop when in Amsterdam. A café is your run-of-the-mill eatery, serving good coffee, cakes and sandwiches, and often a range of delicious meals – much like a café at home. A coffee shop, on the other hand, is where you would go to legally smoke weed or eat a space cake. You might also get a sub-standard cup of coffee if you’re lucky. Make sure you don’t wander into the wrong one by accident!

And if you’re wondering whether we chose to partake in any marijuana while we were here, we didn’t. With appetites like ours, we don’t need another excuse to have the munchies!

Amsterdam – A Delicious Destination

Many people would not think of Amsterdam as a food destination. But, whilst the city is not well known for its culinary prowess, for those of you who enjoy food, Amsterdam has lots to discover.

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