Akitsu

Several locals swear that this no-frills Japanese restaurant in the Jordaan neighborhood serves the best sushi and sashimi in all Holland; even the chef of the Okura hotel’s acclaimed Japanese restaurant has reportedly been spotted here. Service, as in many restaurants in the city, is aloof and super slow.

Food at Au Coin des Bons Enfants, Maastricht, Netherlands

Au Coin des Bons Enfants

Housed in a former orphanage, this historic restaurant is known for its delicious farm-to-table menu. Though the façade looks unchanged since the Middle Ages, the interiors are light and airy, with a modern farmhouse style décor that compliments the fresh, inventive cooking.

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Bak Restaurant

Located on the third floor of a former warehouse overlooking the water, Bak offers a seasonally-influenced menu that changes daily. (Rather than ordering à la carte, guests choose from set menus of three or six courses at lunch and six courses at dinner.) The restaurant, housed in a minimalist, industrial-chic space in the Houthaven neighborhood, also boasts 500 wine labels from throughout France and Italy.

Food at Balthazar's Keuken, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Balthazar's Keuken

For incredible food and a cozy atmosphere, Balthazar’s Keuken cannot be beat. The charming restaurant, housed in a former blacksmith workshop, features an open kitchen and rotating 3-course menu that changes according to the chef’s whimsy (with a choice of fish or meat entrée). The dining room can be occasionally crowded, but it further enhances the “dining at home” experience. There is alfresco seating in the summer months.

Food at Beluga, Maastricht, Netherlands

Beluga

Arguably the best restaurant in town, the double Michelin-starred Beluga is stunningly placed on the banks of the Meuse River in the tony Céramique complex. The kitchen, headed by Dutch culinary superstar Hans van Wolde, churns out fresh, inventive Dutch food that feels highbrow but unfussy. Make a reservation early–the low-slung, ice blue couches that litter the chic dining room are always packed.

Editors' Picks
Food at Blauw, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Blauw

Lauded by the New York Times as the “Best Indonesian Restaurant in the Netherlands,” Blauw takes its menu seriously but couples it with a low-key atmosphere. The hip spot features contemporary décor with life-size black-and-white images covering the walls. The food is the real draw though: the revered “rice table” includes a variety of the best dishes ideal for sharing.

blue pepper amsterdam

Blue Pepper

An Amsterdam establishment, Blue Pepper draws patrons with what many consider to be the best Indonesian cuisine in the city. Read Indagare's review.
amsterdam bocca coffee

Bocca Coffee

Amsterdam's pioneering coffee company, Bocca, now has an airy coffee shop in the city center. Read Indagare's review.
Bar at Bordewijk, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bordewijk

Innovative French cuisine is the star at this restaurant, considered by some to be the best in the city. The canal-side location in the charming Jordaan neighborhood is lovely as well. During the warm months, request a table on the terrace. The beautifully prepared dishes on the menu (think steak tartare and côte de bœuf) change frequently, and the heavily French wine list is impressive (as are the prices).

breda amsterdam

Breda

Amsterdam's Breda occupies an elegant canal side space in the posh Jordaan neighborhood and serves refined, new Nordic cuisine.
Dinning Area at Buffet van Odette, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Buffet van Odette

This is a nice place for breakfast or lunch if you’re heading from the city center towards the Museum District. The menu, written on a blackboard, is seasonal. Breakfast is simple: croissants from the local Pâtisserie Pompadour and frothy cappuccino. For lunch, this is a good place to try Dutch dishes like smoked mackerel and mushrooms on toast with melted truffle cheese. With only a few tables, Van Odette gets crowded, so try to come early.

Café de Bobbel

Packed to the brim with a lively crowd, this European-style café serves delicious Dutch classics. Don’t expect to see many tourists throwing back de Bobbel’s delicious oysters–this place is most definitely a local secret. With dark walnut paneling and white-sand floors, it is the perfect choice for a quick break. Order the classic Brand beer, sourced from the oldest brewery in the country.

Café de Comedie

Located on Maastricht’s historic town square, this cute café offers outdoor, sun-soaked seating in the summer months. Great for people-watching, De Comedie is favored by locals for after-work drinks followed by a delicious dinner.

Café de Jaren

This bright, multilevel café-restaurant with beautiful canal views is a perennial favorite and buzzes all day. In the morning (De Jaren opens at 10 A.M.), you’ll find locals who come every day and linger over one of the many papers that are set out on a large central table, as in a library. At lunchtime, there’s always a race to secure one of the tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Later in the afternoon, you can recharge with a piece of one of the homemade cakes and a cup of strong coffee. To dine in a special setting during the summer months, make a reservation on the first-floor terrace, which overlooks the canals. The menu may not be the most inspired—although some of the appetizers are wonderful and there’s a selection of vegetarian dishes, not always a given in this meat-happy city—but the venue cannot be beat, and the crowd—hip, fun and welcoming—simply puts you in a good mood.

amsterdam cafe de klepel

Café de Klepel

Amsterdam's Café de Klepel is one of the most charming places to dine in Jordaan, especially for those looking for bistro fare and a lovely wine list.
amsterdam cafe droog

Cafe Droog

The second-floor café at Amsterdam's high-design mecca Droog is one of the most stylish spots to grab a bite and coffee in the city. Read Indagare's review.

Café Sjiek

The oldest restaurant in Maastricht, Café Sjiek is always packed with locals and visitors alike who rave about the hearty, regional food, including delicious sausages and local beers. Lively and loud, many come just for drinks at the bar. In the summer months, in-the-know visitors and locals snag seats in the courtyard and order from the fantastic list of chilled wines.

amsterdam cafe tsmalle

Café t’ Smalle

Amsterdam is famous for its “brown” cafés, traditional café-pubs. The Café t’ Smalle, in the Jordaan neighborhood, is one of the oldest and most authentic, with a polished dark-wood interior and stained-glass windows. During the warm months, tables spill onto the sidewalk beside the canal. There’s a small menu of sandwiches, salads and soups, but mostly you come for a beer or cocktail and to experience the old-world ambiance.

Food at Chateau Neercanne, Maastricht, Netherlands - Courtesy Etienne van Sloun

Chateau Neercanne

Located just south of Masstricht and housed in a gorgeous 17th-century castle, Chateau Neercanne has a rich, storied history. Built on the site used by Romans, the thousand-year-old caves are currently used by the restaurant as the wine cellar. Today, Michelin-starred chef Hans Snijders cooks up seasonal, rich classic in the cavernous formal dining room. During the glorious Dutch summers, snag a seat on the restaurant’s lovely terrace with sweeping views of the Jekerdal Valley.

choux amsterdam

Choux

Chef Merijn van Berlo opened Amsterdam's Choux after the overwhelming success of his two pop-up restaurants, Foyer and Reperé. Read Indagare's review.
ct coffee and coconuts amsterdam de pijp

CT Coffee & Coconuts

CT Coffee & Coconuts is a bustling, three-story café/hangout space in Amsterdam's creative De Pijp neighborhood. Read Indagare's review.
amsterdam de gouden reael

De Gouden Reael

A bit of an insider’s secret, De Gouden Reael has the feel of one of Amsterdam’s quintessential brown cafés (Dutch pubs) but with elegant French cuisine.
Dinning Area at De Kas, Amsterdam, Netherlands - Photo by Jet van Fastenhout

De Kas

If you have one only night in Amsterdam and want to celebrate with a delicious tasting menu in a special setting, take a taxi to De Kas, in south-eastern Amsterdam. The restaurant is in a soaring glass conservatory, making it a particularly romantic spot for lunch or dinner during the warm summer months. For dinner, the menu is prix fixe only, consisting of five surprise courses that change often and include vegetarian choices.

The chef champions local ingredients, either plucked from the adjoining hothouse, where diners can see the produce for their dinners growing, or trucked from nearby farms. There’s nothing rustic or simple, however, about the presentation and the flavors. During a recent visit, the appetizer consisted of small portions of three dishes: a light scallop-and-grapefruit salad drizzled with lobster vinaigrette, chicory wrapped in tender Ibèrico ham and two types of Arat potatoes served with a gooey soft-boiled egg and chopped walnuts. The main course, a perfectly prepared slice of duck with crispy skin, came on a spiced pumpkin pie, and dessert was a trio of bay-leaf-infused pound cake, a poached pear and bittersweet chocolate-mocha ice cream.

Although it has been in operation since 2001, De Kas remains a spot to see and be seen, but the staff is congenial and down-to-earth. Reservations are necessary. For special occasions, you can book the chef’s table, in the kitchen, or the private pavilion, in the garden. Tip: if you come for dinner, stop at the InterContinental Amstel for a drink before journeying on to De Kas, about a thirty-minute drive from the canal belt.

Editors' Picks
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De Plantage

Located right next to the zoo, De Plantage has a great outdoor seating area and light bistro fare. Read Indagare's review.
De Silveren Spiegel Restaurant Dish

de Silveren Spiegel

The Dutch-inspired menu features fresh and complex dishes beautifully created with meticulous precision.

Dinning Area at Gartine, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gartine

A total insider pick, this charming small place near the Amsterdam Museum and the Rokin area opened in 2007 and has become a favorite with Amsterdammers. Owners Kirsten and Willem-Jan Hendriks prepare organic fare fresh from their own garden or, in the case of cheeses, bread, eggs and meat, from local farmers, about whom you can read on the menu. In other words, it’s the dream destination for a slow foodie. On a recent visit, I could have ordered every single dish on the small, frequently changing menu but finally settled on a steaming homemade turnip soup served with a large slab of sourdough bread and rich, yellow butter so delicious I wish I could have taken some home. The ambiance is peaceful and romantic, with fresh-cut flowers and flickering candles on the tables. Gartine is open only for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, and reservations are a must.

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George WPA

Amsterdam's airy French bistro, George WPA, serves beloved classics in a casual but chic dining room. Read Indagare's review.

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