Café Americain is located inside the Eden Amsterdam City hotel. This restaurant opened in 1902, and is decorated in art deco style—its stunning 16-foot glass lead windows, Tiffany lamps and original reading tables bring you back to the days when the Café was the heart of the Amsterdam arts world. Besides a regular lunch and dinner menu, Café Americain also serves high tea. On Sundays, brunch is served accompanied by live jazz music played on the terrace. You should generally reserve at least one day in advance.
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Located inside the old waiting room at platform 2b of the central station, this restaurant is designed in the royal style of the 1880s. The kitchen serves intercontinental European cuisine and is designed to bring you back to the days when rail travel was still a luxury. The average appetizer price is around €10, and main courses start at €20.
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Dining at Pasta e Basta is a quite an experience. Imagine an authentic Italian restaurant, where the wait staff members are also professionally trained opera singers. They’ll serve your meal, and then start singing an aria, pop song or musical. The experience is brilliant, especially if you planned dinner to be a romantic event—that is if you don’t mind live music at your table. As with most of the top Amsterdam restaurants, a reservation is highly recommended (call at least three days in advance). Dinner is prix fixe, and costs €34 per person, which includes an antipasti buffet and your choice of pasta.
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Located in the “Pijp” neighborhood, this Spanish restaurant serves tapas and tostados for dinner, and then opens a dance floor at the end of the day. The lunch menu is very reasonably priced, with sandwiches around €5. Our favorite is the Manchego and ham tosti (grilled cheese sandwich) which is fantastic, and costs a mere €4.50. For under 10 euros, you can also order their Spanish-themed brunch, which includes a variety of Spanish specialties.
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Going to Amsterdam and not eating Dutch pancakes is like going to Chicago and not trying the pizza. You may have been served a “Dutch Pancake” back home, but trust us when we say that they are nothing like the real thing served in The Netherlands. Dutch pancakes (pannekoeken) are massive and the number of toppings is usually very extensive. Traditional pancakes are topped with powdered sugar, butter and syrup. At restaurants like The Pancake Bakery, you’ll also find specialty pancakes like the “Greenland”, topped with spinach, Brie and cashews. Or how about an Indian pancake, topped with Indonesian peanut sauce, chicken and raw veggies? Our favorite is the good old cheese and bacon pancake, and although it might be a heart attack waiting to happen, it’s mighty tasty. Pancakes here cost around €6, specialty pancakes are €13.75.
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New Dorrius is a great place to try Dutch food, and it is served with a focus on fresh ingredients. The menu includes some of the most authentic Dutch dishes, including split pea soup, herring and stews. One of our favorites is the “Zevenklapper” sauerkraut stew and the Sate Ajam—chicken on skewers with a spicy peanut sauce and traditional Indonesian side dishes.
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Tempo Doeloe is an Indonesian restaurant. The Dutch history with Indonesia goes back to the days when the country was one of many Dutch colonies. Just like the U.S. does with Chinese and Mexican food, the Dutch have added their own twists on Indonesian food. The rijsttafel (rice table) is the most popular Indonesian meal and consists of a large bowl of rice, with up to 30 small dishes. A rijsttafel is more of an experience than a meal and one that we certainly recommend trying while you’re in Amsterdam. Depending on the size of the meal you order, expect to spend as long as three hours dining on the various dishes. The cheapest rijsttafel starts at €30 (per person), and more extensive ones can easily reach €50.
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One of only a handful of cafes with water taxi service, Café De Jaren has what many consider to be the best terrace in the city. The meals are certainly good, but we could come here for the view alone. The dinner menu offers moderately priced dishes, but they also serve sandwiches all day long. Traditional Dutch sandwiches start at €4 and a full lunch with a drink will cost you around €10.
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FEBO sells its snacks from the automat—coin-operated snack vending machines. Even if you are not a fan of fast food, a trip to a Dutch snack bar is a fun experience, and completely different from the usual U.S. fast-food offering. The machines serve typical Dutch snacks like the kroket (deep fried ragout snack) and the frikandel (a spicy sausage). Even vegetarians will find something for lunch with the kaas soufflé (a deep-fried cheese soufflé). At the counter, you can order drinks and patat (fries) with a variety of sauces—but the most traditional is the “patat met,” fries with mayo. If you really want to eat like the Dutch, order yourself a “patat speciaal”—fries with mayo, curry ketchup and raw onions. Locations are all around the city so check their website or ask a local where the closest location is.
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Wagamama is a “trendy” noodle restaurant that originated in London. Even though they have since expanded into other countries (including the U.S.), they are still rare enough to be an enjoyable experience. Food at Wagamama is described as “positive eating + positive living,” and all ingredients are fresh, and cooked to order. The menu at Wagamama goes way beyond what you get at your local Chinese restaurant at home. You can get dishes like chili squid, duck dumplings and teriyaki salmon. In total, Wagamama offers over 40 different types of noodle dishes. Once you’ve finished your noodles, be sure to order their fried banana dessert, one of our favorites.
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