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  • Pop a Herring: Amsterdam folk like their herring fresh and raw from a neighborhood fish stall. The best in a fishy business is Stubbe's Haring. Eat your fish in the approved Dutch manner — whole, holding the fish by its tail, with your face to that wide Holland sky. Amsterdammers prefer theirs chopped, on a bed of raw onions and pickles/gherkins.
  • Eat on the Water: I can't say you'll never eat better than on a Dinner Cruise. But you'll have the music, the candlelight, the canals, and, if you're lucky, the moon over the water. Variations on this theme are cooked up by most of the canal tour-boat lines.
  • Try a Rijsttafel: Dutch settlers in the East Indies created the banquet-style "rice table." Comprising from 10 to 30 little dishes, some as fiery as rocket propellant, rijsttafel is a great introduction to Indonesian cuisine.
  • Live the Americain Dream: Join Amsterdammers for coffee and gâteau in the stunning Art Nouveau and Art Deco ambience of the Eden Amsterdam American Hotel's Café Americain. You'll be pleased to learn that the service has improved in the half century since a Dutch writer described the waiters as "unemployed knife throwers."
  • Get Thee to the Waterfront: Amsterdam is rediscovering its old harbor zone along the IJ channel. Experience lively harbor views and fine Continental cuisine at Wilhelmina-Dok. So on the waterfront is this breezy eatery that a wayward canal barge once plowed right into it — how's that for local color!
  • Best for Opulence: Royalty eats at La Rive, in the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam Hotel, as do business magnates, opera divas, and even ordinary folks with well-padded pocketbooks. It's highly opulent, the location is great, and the food is outstanding.
  • Best Value: It breaks my heart to write this, because I know it will only make it harder to find a seat at De Prins. But duty calls. When you eat in this handsome, friendly, cozy, warm — in a Dutch word, gezellig — brown cafe-restaurant, you'll wonder why you paid twice as much for food half as good in that other place last night.
  • Best Grand Cafe: A New York Times reviewer went so far as to call Café Luxembourg "one of the world's great cafes." But Luxembourg is great on an Amsterdam scale. That is to say, it's cozy and kind of intimate, with little, if any, of the pretension that would normally go along with world-class status.
  • Best Traditional Dutch: It sounds contradictory to say that D'Vijff Vlieghen ("The Five Flies") is touristy and still traditionally Dutch, yet somehow it manages to be both.
  • Best Mexican: Rose's Cantina is more a popular institution than truly great eatery, though the food can be quite good. There will likely be a wait for a table, during which Rose's deploys its secret weapon — marvelous margaritas.
  • Best Vegetarian: Bolhoed takes this title for its joie de vivre, romantic atmosphere, and excellent, imaginative vegetarian cuisine.
  • Best Sandwich: The only problem with Sal Meijer is that it's a bit removed from the action. They deliver, but their delicious authentic kosher sandwiches are well worth a tram ride.
  • Best Indonesian: Every Amsterdammer has his or her own favorite place for that "traditional" Dutch dinner treat: Indonesian food. With so many Indonesian restaurants in the city, it's hard to pick just one. Still, Kantjil & de Tijger has a restrained, refined character and consistently good food.
  • Best Brunch: At Café Luxembourg you can read international newspapers while drinking coffee that actually tastes like coffee and munching your way through an extensive range of breakfast plates, sandwiches, and snacks.
  • Best Kids' Spot: For small diners with big appetites, there can be no better experience than the Kinderkookkafé, where kids (carefully supervised) get to cook their own meals.
  • Best Late-Night Dinner: You can't help feeling a little sorry for the staff at De Knijp when you saunter in around midnight. They've been going hard for hours, but are ready, willing, and just about able to do it one more time.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.