Sun. May 19th, 2024

Over the last 8 years, I’ve accrued quite the curation of places to eat and drink in Amsterdam. My Google Maps is something of a joke amongst my friends – so many lists, hearts and want to go’s. I often get asked by friends and families for a list of the best places to eat and drink in Amsterdam. I always send a Google doc, so after 8 years I thought it was about time that this too lives on my blog. So here it is – the best places to eat and drink in Amsterdam if you’re short on time.

There’s a whole lot more and I promise to keep this one up-to-date with new favorites! Plus, neighborhood guides for where to eat and drink in Amsterdam are in the works and coming soon!

If I had just one weekend or a couple days to eat and drink my way through Amsterdam this is where I’d start.

Best coffee in Amsterdam

Today there seems to be a new cafe popping up on every corner in Amsterdam. Reminder, if you’re looking for coffee be sure to ask for a cafe, not a coffee shop. Coffee shops are where you go to smoke weed here, cafes are where you go to drink coffee.


Bruno’s is Amsterdam’s original place for coffee enthusiasts. It’s a tiny spot, with big passion. There’s no indoor seating – it’s more of a coffee window where you order and get your drink to go. If you’re lucky enough, maybe Bruno will be there himself. Tip – go on a Saturday morning to catch a real glimpse into how Amsterdammers spend their Saturdays at the Noordermarkt. This is Amsterdam’s favorite Saturday market.

If I’m in town, you’ll certainly catch me here with my girlfriends.

Ao Bar

Not a Saturday? Then make your way to the Westerpark to try Ao Bar. Ao is my neighborhood spot for coffee and of course, matcha. In addition, they have delicious Japanese baked goods and even a cocktail menu. The cafe is painted a bold blue with Japanese accents all around. They also treat the cafe as a gallery, exhibiting work from different artists regularly.

Matcha, a cookie and coffee at Ao Bar Amsterdam

Best brunch in Amsterdam

Pancakes Amsterdam

Looking for something authentically Dutch? Brunch at Pancakes. There are now five locations in the city so there will definitely be one nearby. Pancakes! Is a traditional Dutch pancake restaurant. If you’re only going to eat one brunch in Amsterdam, this has to be it.


I love the Nine Streets location as it’s quaint and cozy, but there’s also one conveniently next to the Anne Frank House (Westerkerk location) if you’re spending your day playing tourist.

Alternative Amsterdam pancakes restaurant: You can also try The Pancake Bakery. Or better yet, try both!

Bakers & Roasters Amsterdam

Not looking for traditionally Dutch? Bakers & Roasters in de Pijp is a Kiwi meets Brazil eatery serving up brunch all day. They don’t accept reservations, so stop by, put your name in and wander the streets for a bit. And be sure to get a cocktail!

More brunch recommendations in Amsterdam

Looking for more recommendations for brunch in Amsterdam? Here are the 11 best brunch spots in Amsterdam, there’s bound to be one nearby!

A Dutch pancake with goat cheese, spinach and seeds

Best snacks in Amsterdam

Winkel 43 for Dutch apple pie

Yes, it’s famous – but it’s also delicious. It’s true, I don’t go here on a regular basis, but when I have visitors in town it’s a must-do. Winkel 43 serves the most famous Dutch apple pie in the city. Go for a slice with whipped cream, but don’t order anything else.

Avoid Winkel 43 on Saturdays during the Saturday market – it’s simply too busy. Any other day of the week is better. Note, they stay open late and have a decent selection of beer, so you can always pop by after dinner for dessert to really avoid the crowds.

Winkel 43 for Dutch apple pie with whipped cream and a cappuccino

Vlaams Friteshuis VleminckX for Belgian fries

VleminckX aka the sauce master is known for their 25 varieties of homemade sauces and fresh cut fries. The fries are always prepared to order and served in their signature heaping cones. The location is perfect if you’re spending some time shopping in the city center.

French fries in a cone with mayo

More street food in Amsterdam

For plenty more must-eat street foods and snacks in Amsterdam, read my article 7 must-eat street foods in Amsterdam. And if you’ve done any Googling at all, you’ve probably come across the famous Van Stepele cookies. These days the lines are long, so I’d skip unless you can’t resist!

Best restaurants in Amsterdam

La Perla for pizza

The perfect low-key dinner. La Perla Pizzeria has been one of my go-to spots since my very early days in Amsterdam. It’s located on the cutest street in the Jordaan. It’s a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike. I can’t promise it will be the best pizza you’ve eaten in your life, but there’s a charm here that can’t be beat. It’s what keeps me coming back. That, and the delicious olives! Be sure to book in advance, they get busy.

La Perla pizza Amsterdam

Lebanese Sajeria for a quick lunch

The perfect to-go lunch. Lebanese Sajeria is one of the few places I go back to time and time again. There are a few locations in the city, so you should always be able to find one nearby. The classic Lebanese flavors and always fresh ingredients make this one of my favorite lunch spots. It’s also super quick and portable!

Salmuera Restaurant & Mezcaleria for meat

Salmuera is an Argentinian and Latin American steakhouse with great margaritas and pigs hanging in the case upfront. Sure, Salmuera caters to a meat-forward crowd, but they also have an incredible vegetarian stuffed pumpkin and the best ceviche around.

It’s a large restaurant and they accept reservations. Perfect atmosphere for a date night as well as for larger groups.

Roasted pumpkin at Salmuera, Amsterdam

Restaurant De Kas for a vegetable-forward meal in a greenhouse

Restaurant De Kas recently earned its first Michelin star. De Kas is a sustainable, vegetable-first restaurant located in a renovated greenhouse in Amsterdam’s Frankendael park. It’s a favorite for special occasions and particularly beautiful in the daytime. If you’re planning one special meal, De Kas should probably be it!


Fixed menu only, no a la carte options. Read full review here.

REM-Eiland Restaurant for an eclectic upscale setting with a view

REM-Eiland Restaurant has one of the best views and most eclectic vibes of any upscale restaurant in Amsterdam. If you’re looking for something not so classic, this is it. REM-Eiland Restaurant is located in an old broadcasting station in an industrial corner of Amsterdam overlooking the IJ river.

You can enjoy your dinner with a view whilst sipping on some of the most interesting wines available in Europe. Read full review here.

REM Eiland cuisine

La Bussia for modern Italian

La Bussia is a modern Italian restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam’s nine streets neighborhood. At La Bussia you can choose between a 5-course or an a la carte menu. Of all the set menus I’ve enjoyed in Amsterdam, La Bussia has been my favorite. The dishes are not only beautiful, but delicious.

Tip! During Covid, La Bussia opened a bakery and patisserie. They have excellent baked goods, breads and sandwiches for takeaway as well as coffee. Stop by for breakfast or lunch and try for yourself. Note  – the focaccia is outstanding.

Restaurant Blauw for an Indonesian Rice Table

Amsterdam is famous for having some of the best Indonesian restaurants outside Indonesia. There are so many Indonesian restaurants it can be difficult to choose just one. Restaurant Blauw is a long time favorite of mine, and where I take all Indonesian first-time diners. Order the rice table and be ready to eat, eat, eat! Reserve ahead.

A rice table in Amsterdam

De Luwte Brasserie for a Dutch atmosphere

De Luwte gives me those quintessential Amsterdam feelings when I step inside. It’s an upscale brasserie on a romantic canal. Their menu changes with the season and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Perfect for a girls day or a date night.

Best bars in Amsterdam

This category is arguably the toughest! Amsterdam has so many cafes, bars and cocktail spots – it’s difficult to choose just a few. I’ve tried to pick one from each key category.

Gollem: the best beer bar

Gollem is known for their wide beer selection on draft and in bottles. There are six locations throughout the city, but my favorite is on Overtoom. At the Overtoom location they also serve snacks like bitterballen, some of the best (and a must-try) in the city!

My second favorite location is at Raamsteeg 4. This spot is super tiny, but so so Amsterdam. If you can manage to grab a stool on a rainy afternoon, you could find yourself here well into the wee hours of the night.

Warning: Dutch and Belgian beers tend to be high in alcohol. Be careful not to drink too much, or do! You’re on vacation after all. Don’t know anything about beer? Don’t worry. The bartenders are more than happy to help you out.

t’Smalle: the best brown cafe

Brown cafes are dark pubs that serve local beer and food. They get their name from the smoke stained walls of years past. t’Smalle has always been one of my favorites. Just go and see for yourself – it’s charming in all the ways Amsterdam should be.

Hiding in Plain Sight: the best cocktail bar

This is a speakeasy style bar, that like it’s name is hiding in plain sight on a not so busy street corner close by the Red Light District. Reserve ahead and be ready to pay big bucks (per Amsterdam standards) for your cocktails. Note, they have no food.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ, the best brewery

Brouwerij ‘t IJ, e.g. the IJ Brewery, pronounced ‘eye’, is probably Amsterdam’s most famous craft beer brewery. The best part? The beer hall is located in an old windmill in East Amsterdam. The beer hall tends to be a popular place on weekends and after work for locals and tourists alike. They have delicious snacks and a wide selection of their own beers, as well as a great selection of branded souvenirs (great sweatshirts). You can also do a very quick mini tour for just €5.

Hannekes Boom: the best outdoor bar

And finally, Hannaekes Boom. Hannekes Boom is a very popular waterfront bar and restaurant. In the summertime it’s nearly impossible to find a table. Locals come up on their boats and dock for hours and the vibes are just always good. Definitely a place to stop by in summer.

Note: The crowd can be quite young, and these days popular with employees after work (the new office is just across the street).

Beer flight

Looking for more of the best of Amsterdam?

If you’re also looking for things to do, check out my list on 15 free things to do in Amsterdam or for places to stay, start here.

Considering a day trip? In April or May, visit Keukenhof, the land of tulips. Another time of year? Try a bike trip to Naarden.



By Lala