Cheap to ultra expensive
When it comes to dinner, the Dutch have a reputation for being early eaters. Perhaps at home, but when it comes to dining out most restaurants are still serving as late as 11pm. After that hour, many cafes still serve food though, from ham and cheese sandwiches to complete meals. In general they offer good value. No worries. Most places that serve food cook it to order with fresh ingrediants, and the portions tend to be generous, so don't be in a hurry. It is usually worth the wait. Many of the smaller restaurants, cafes and bistros, and actually an increasing number of the larger establishments do not take credit cards, particularly American Express---so you can leave home without it.
By law, tips are included in your bill, tipping is not expected of you. But it is customary to round up to the next euro and most do leave a little something extra--- the look of surprise on your servers face can be a pleasant reward for your generosity.
The best English-style fish and chips place in Amsterdam. Al, or whoever the surly guy who worked there for years was, is gone. It's now operated by an Egyption fellow, and the "authentic" standards have slipped just a tiny bit. It's still (probably) the only English-style fish and chips place in Amsterdam. The signs warning of pickpockets attached to the walls, the complete and total lack of atmosphere, the blaring football on TV---it's all still very distressingly English. The food is still pretty good, and the portions are huge.
Cafe de Klos
Kerkstraat 41 tel: 020-625 3730
As their name says, it's a cafe. It's tiny, 3 tables, assorted stools, and a bar. They also serve the best ribs in Amsterdam. Ribs come both smoked and plain, along with a short menu of other grill offerings. The savoury smell of the grill will likely overwhelm you---but in a good way. "Klossing" has entered our vocabulary, as in: "Let's go Klossing tonight". We do, often. It's about a 5 minute walk from Leidseplein, just off of the Leidsestraat.
Leliegracht 46, tel: 020-625-0807
In 1986 Frenchman Jean Christophe opened the restaurant which bears his name; a far cry from his arrival in A'dam in 1976 when he worked as a dishwasher. Today Christophe is arguably the finest restaurant in A'dam. Guide Michelin thinks so too; it's the first restaurant in A'dam that they awarded with their coveted Michelin star...but they lost it in 2007.
The menu could best be characterized as French traditional-moderne, an approach whose primary consideration is the quality of the raw ingredients and purity of their flavour. The menu features such dishes as, "quail risotto with white truffle oil, minute of salmon with citrus and peppers", and exotic deserts such as 'roasted fresh figs with thyme ice cream". The extensive wine list features over 200 selections.
Quite exclusive, very expensive, and a reservation is nearly always required for dining. You can now nake a reservation online-visit the Christophe website.
Michelin Star Restaurants
For those interested, there are a handful of other Michelin star restaurants in Amsterdam, all one star, with the exception of Ciel Bleu. Currently there are 3...a few restaurants lost their stars in 2006.
1. La Rive-Amstel Hotel (French), 1 Professor Tulpplein, tel: 020 622 60 60 (For 2005, La Rive is the only restaurant awarded 2 stars. From 2006 downgraded to 1 star)
2. Ciel Bleu-Hotel Okura (French) Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, tel: 020-678 74 50 (2 star)
3. Restaurant Sichuan Food (Asian-Chinese), Reguliersdwarsstraat 35, tel: 020 - 626 93 27. (From 2006 stripped of stars)
4. Restaurant Van Vlaanderen (French, Belgian, Med), Weteringsshans 175, tel: 020622 82 92. (From 2006 stripped of stars)
5. Vermeer (French), Prins Hendrikkade 59, tel: 020-556 48 85. (lost their star in 2008)
6. Yamazato Restaurant (Asian), Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, tel: 020-678 71 11 (1 star)
De Blauwe Hollander
Leidsekruisstraat 28 (Leidseplein), tel: 020-623-30 14
If there's such a thing, this restaurant serves Dutch Food. Honestly prepared and large portions of ribs, steak, etc. Seating is "family style", the large tables are shared with others, and that can be quite fun. Although recently enlarged and renovated, it's no longer dark and homey, but smart and stylish, the character of the place hasn't changed.
Rapenburg 18, Nieuwmarkt, tel: 020-622-31 50
In an environment of pleasurable and helpful service in the style of a typical "eetcafe" deliciously prepared fish and filled chicken dishes are the specialities---all for a very agreeable price. Other specialties include Surinamese, Creole and Hindustani. We selfishly do not really want to include this restaurant, as we don't wish it to be become too popular.
Delicacies such as Kipburger, Kalfsvleeskroket, Grillburger, Speciaaltke, Rundsvleekroket, Chilliburger, Nasi, Satekroket, and Bami, await your euros in the windows of this ubiquitous Dutch automat. Frites, Chicken, and Febo milkskakes are available over the counter. It's very, VERY, cheap, and you'll feel like a native as you eat standing up at the counter. Snotty misinformed tourists don't know what they're missing!
Kerkstraat 020-220-222, tel: 020-624-47 64
Lido Theatre Restaurant
Max Euweplein 64, tel: 020-626-21 06
Dinner and cabaret show. Perfect before a visit to the nearby Holland Casino.
Binnen Bantammerstraat 5-7, tel: 020-624-26 14
Would you care to try the Rijsttafel? What's that, you ask? It's an Indonesian speciality served with a great variety of dishes, upwards of 15, served with white rice, and it's a very popular dish in Amsterdam. Located near the Casino and Leidseplein, Lotus probably serves the best one in a city where Indonesian restaurants are in abundance. Reservations recommended. Dressy.
Prinsengracht 191, tel: 020-625-13 33
The menu has over 20 different varieties of pancakes. Casual and during summer it's possible to sit outside, with a nice view of the pretty canal.
Restaurant 't Heertje
Herenstraat 16 tel: 020 - 625-81 27
A small restaurant with superb service and great ambiance. They wish you to enjoy your stay, but you will feel underdressed if you show up in a jogging suit. Casual-plus or nicely done up. Reservations recommended.
Reguliersdwaarstraat 38-40, tel: 020-625-97 97
Our favourite Mexican restaurant. Great Margaritas, and the place gets really crowded, which makes for great ambiance but needless to say, it's sometimes a bit of a wait to be seated. No problem, fill up on Margaritas!
Stacey's Pennywell Brasserie
Herengracht 558, 020-624-41 11
Opened in July 2002. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mediterranean, Thai influenced menu. We have popped in for the full English breakfast, when we're in the mood for one. and have returned again and again for lunch and dinner. Corner of Utrechtsestraat.
Jonge Roelensteeg 21, tel: 020-638-05 13
Your meal is served to you while you recline on mattresses, the food is excellent and, as you might have gathered, prepared with a sense of humour; the servers may on occasion have the menu painted upon their bodies. The style of entertainment provided could be thought of as cabaret-performance art, with drag queens thrown in for good measure. Some really love this place, some think it's all for twits; i.e. those who regard themselves as amongst the coolest people on earth, media people for instance. Menu prices vary according to day of the week: Mon / Tue € 55, Wed / Thu / Sun € 38,50 and Fri/Sat € 57. Fridays and Saturdays are the most spectacular nights with live music and DJ's. The constantly changing schedule of events is posted on their website.
Nieuwmarkt 4, tel: 020-422-77 72
The old brick pile on the Nieuwmarkt dates from 1488; it's the oldest secular building in the city, originally serving as a city gate. Later it became a weighing house, hence the name "Waag". Today its up to the minute use is as a home for the Center for New Media. The restaurant-cafe is located on the ground floor outside in the warm months, and the restaurant is located inside. Fine dining. Here you may also browse the library of newspapers and magazines.
Prinsengracht 277 (Westerkerk), tel: 020-627-40 79
Just the cure after a visit to Anne Frank House, up the street, a visit to this upbeat restaurant! Terrace open in warm months.
Café 't Kalfje
Prinsenstraat 5, between Herengracht and Keizersgracht
Open in the evenings, this place can get pretty crowded in a cozy sort of way. Candles on the tables, good conversation, full meals from an extensive menu, this place has great ambiance. Dinner is served until 2 am weekdays and till 3 am weekends. During the day many good, intimate restaurants and shops are nearby. Explore the street, it's one of the best small shop streets in A'dam. Casual and for the atmosphere and what you're served, inexpensive.
Café De Vergulde Gaper
Prinsenstraat 30, tel: 020-624-8975
Corner of Prinsenstraat, on the Prinsengracht.
Sitting outside on the crowded terrace, in the warmer months on a sunny day, this is a grand place to idle, catch up on your reading, write, or watch the pretty women peel off a bit to work on their tans. Broodjes, omelets, bitterballen, and other light snacks are served. The terrace is heated when it's cool.
Westerstraat 109, tel: 020-624-53 80
A once very popular bar in true excruciatingly tacky Jordaan style: red lights, crystal chandeliers, floral (ghastly) wallpaper, and very loud Dutch songs. It's worth a visit for the decor alone.
Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, tel: 020 553-51 00 (near Leidseplein)
De Bali, which means 'the bar' takes its name in reference to the former courthouse which it inhabits, and it's present function...word play, get it? On the other hand, it has a serious cultural agenda (and is a headquarters) for those interested in culture with a political context. They sponsor theatrical performances, debates, and a film program.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 44 tel: 20 689 7070
This bar-restaurant-club opened in 2002. Intended to be chic and stylish, and serving a diverse clientele, meaning both gay and straight--- the uncomfortable stools and sofas become less so the more you drink. Open for lunch and dinner. DJ's spin at night.
Harlemmerstraat 118 tel: 020-624 42 65
Formerly a bank--- the old vault is still downstairs in a room that can be rented out for parties, this very comfy bar-restaurant offers a limted menu, but what there is is delicious. Dutch style tapas---plates of patatas frites, oven-baked shrimp, various sausages, cheeses, marinated mushrooms, etc. The room is furnished with old architectural items and other scenic funk; models of church steeples, old toys, old posters, there is also a pool table. It's all accompanied to very appropriate music. Open 10.00-02.00 (03.00 on Saturdays).
Ramsteeg 4 tel: 6 5241 7024
Two hundred specialist beers are on offer in this cozy brown cafe, near Spui Square, just off Singel. A second location has opened in De Pijp at Daniel Stalpertstraat 74, just off Ferdinand Bolstraat. An awesome collection of beers awaits you in both friendly establishments.
At the edge of the Nieuwmarkt, corner of Barndesteeg
This Irish-style pub serves as an occasional meeting spot for the infrequent but historically significant AXXXTW staff meetings. Of interest also are the two coin-operated Internet terminals; although this bar is just around the corner from the RLD, this very site has been blocked by censoring software!
The 5th Element Vodka Bar
Impossible, you say. a quiet and classy bar in the Warmoesstraat? Well, no more. It didn't last, and how could it with no customers besides ourselves. Re-opened as Hunters Vodka Bar. We'll see how that goes.
The 5th Element Vodka Bar
See above---it's relocated to this address, and just recently dropped the "5th" from its name.
Pijlsteeg 31 tel: 020-639 2695
Founded in 1689 as a tasting room for a small family distillery by the name of Wynand Fockink, then closed for 15 yrs until its rescue and reopening in 1993. 50 varieties of Genever and 70 varities of liquors await you in this tiny standing room only bar, which seems to have weathered the centuries unchanged. It's very easy to find, it's located on a tiny alley alongside the Krasnapolsky Hotel at Dam Square, which served in the 17th century as the red light district. This fact, and the usual mispronounciation of the name by English speakers ( Wine and Fucking), is one of those cosmic coincidences. Opened from 15.00-21.00