Amsterdam restaurants

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Price guide: Budget
expert-rated restaurants in Amsterdam
Best for Cheap eats -
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

Church converted in to a colourful Middle Eastern/North African café/restaurant.

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Though Amsterdam is not a foodie hotspot in the way that somewhere like Paris or New York is, you can eat out very enjoyably in this city. 

Dutch cooking has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade, and a number of restaurants in Amsterdam, such as Greetje and De Kas  do inventive things with traditional Dutch dishes and prime local ingredients.

True, unreconstructed Dutch staples such as erwtensoep (pea soup) and stamppot (mashed potato mixed with other veg) are unlikely to set your taste buds alight, but they can be satisfying on a cold winter's evening - Moeders is as good as it gets for this kind of cooking.  And you may, like me, become rather addicted to various no-nonsense Dutch snacks, such as bitterballen (deep-fried and breadcrumbed croquettes - perfect for sharing over a beer or two), chips served with a dollop of mayo, and a thick wedge of crusty apple pie.

At the same time, you can quite easily spend a long weekend in Amsterdam and not eat any Dutch food at all. Dining options in Amsterdam couldn't be more multicultural. Indonesian cuisine is best represented, but there are also a gallimaufry of other ethnic restaurants to choose from, especially down in the Pijp district.

Lastly, when you're thinking of where to have a meal, don't just think of restaurants. Many of the most appealing (and affordable) places to eat in Amsterdam are in fact cafés of one sort or another. As well as daytime cafés, there are also "grand cafés" (something like smart Parisian cafés) and eetcafés (more down-to-earth places where you can pop in just for a drink, but where the emphasis is on food). About half my recommended places to eat are best described as cafés.

A few additional tips:

* The Dutch tend to eat relatively early, sitting down before 8pm, particularly on weekdays.

* An English version of the menu is normally available, but you may need to ask for it.

* Avoid places in the side streets around the Leidseplein, which are grim tourist ghettoes.

* A service charge is automatically included in a café and restaurant bill, so there's no need to add a further tip. However, it's common practice to round up a bill to the nearest euro or two, or perhaps five euros for a pricier meal.

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First, you won't only find recommendations for restaurants in these Amsterdam food pages. I've purposefully come up with as wide a range of places to eat as possible. Around half my reviews cover cafés, foodie bars, pizza places, burger joints. Which means you'll know where to head for not just for full-blown dinners, but also for light lunches, afternoon teas, a slice of apple pie, and snacky meals morning, noon and night.

I've also made a point of highlighting as wide a selection of cuisines as possible. While a fair number of my recommendations offer Dutch food - both traditional and modern - I've also picked out Indonesian, Thai, North African, Spanish, Italian and French establishments.

Lastly, it should go without saying that I have eaten in all the places I am recommending. But as it's not always the case that guide book writers have eaten in all of their recommendations, I thought it was worth pointing out.