Dining in Amsterdam can range from fast food
to world class cuisine. Dutch food tends to be very hardy but heavy and
unimaginitive, relying upon meats, fish, foul and starches for main courses.
Ethnic cuisine is much more varied, and centuries of immigrants have added
their flavors to the available palate. Foremost among these is Indonesian
Food, with the rice table a most elegant affair (photo).
are countless Indonesian restaurants in town serving up Gado Gado, satay,
spicy sambals, crispy krupek, nasi goreng, etc. This is a real treat
since only Indonesia has more authentic restaurants. You'll find
lots of Chinese restaurants in town, but be wary. If you're used
to real Chinese food or even Americanized Chinese, you might be disappointed
because this is Chinese food, Indonesian style. Many people of Chinese
decent have emigrated from Indonesia to Holland bringing their style of
cooking. Fortunately there are a few real Chinese restaurants in
Amsterdam. These are clustered in the Red Light District in Amsterdam's
Chinatown. You can spot these restaurants since they have cooked
ducks hanging in the windows. Our favorite Chinese/Indonesian restaurant
is the Oriental City (see photo), a two story restaurant with good views
on the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal.
Other European, South American, and Asian cuisine
are well represented in Holland. Most popular of course is Italian
food. Thanks to the Dutch fondness for cheese, Italian food is extra
tasty in Holland. Rich lasagna, a endless variety of pizzas, and
all the other specialties are available and relatively inexpensive compared
with other cuisines in Holland.
There are some very good Thai restaurants in Amsterdam.
We found one excellent one in the Jordaan which serves very authentic Thai
dishes for very reasonable prices. It's Pathum Thai
at Willemstraat 16. Other Thai restaurants
seem more expensive. Another very interesting Thai restaurant in
the Red Light District is the Bangkok just off the Damstraat at Oudezijdesacherburghwal,
which has good food (see photo), and a very lively bar scene. The
waitresses and bartenders are all Thai men in drag!
You'll also see a lot of Argentinean, Greek, Indian,
Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Moroccan restaurants. The quality
of these establishments vary, and it's good to ask around to find the better
A good place to sample some creative French/European
cuisine at a reasonable price is the Cafe Roux on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal.
They offer a three course menu that's a good value. Reserve in advance
as the Dutch have already discovered this gem.
There is a renaissance of sorts brewing as young
Dutch chefs explore a range of new tastes as trendy restaurants sprout
up in Amsterdam. These restaurants often have some cute or funny
name in Dutch, and the chefs try to expand the range of the relatively
bland food that has been associated with Dutch cuisine. The best
way to find out about these places is to ask around, as we have yet to
find a thorough, quality dining guide to Amsterdam (in English, anyway).
you're an American and you find yourself in Amsterdam for Thanksgiving
(which the Dutch don't celebrate, of course), you can find Turkey and all
the other great holiday food at the American Hotel (where else?).
This hotel has a splendid Art Deco restaurant (photo) that serves up tasty
American style fare all year round. It's worth a visit just to view
the interior. It's not cheap, but the quality is very good and the
ambiance is tops. Just remember to make reservations way in advance
for a holiday meal!
Lastly, after a good meal don't forget to tell
your hosts that you thought it was lekker! (tasty)
Note:Amsterdam is a gourmet's delight where you can enjoy specialties from six continents. Some good suggestions for further exploration.
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