Although Amsterdam has a reputation for its relaxed rules and night life, the city has much more to offer, with a vast array of historical and cultural sites to help you while away your time there.
However, as you wander around this wonderful city you will be in need of a bite to eat and some refreshments, not only can you fly to Amsterdam from the UK relatively cheaply, you can dine out in some great restaurants without spending all of your hard earned cash. Here is a short guide to 5 of the best restaurants in Amsterdam, whether you're looking for a light lunch or something a little more highbrow during a weekend away.
1. Restaurant Vermeer
This chic and sophisticated French restaurant is located in the suave NH Barbizon Palace hotel, at the Prins Hendrikkade. Although quite expensive at 30-50 Euros, head chef Christopher Naylor's artistic creations are worth every cent. Naylor's signature is to combine ingredients that wouldn't often be seen together to incredible effect, for example, pairing venison and snails.
The Vermeer has achieved 2 Michelin Stars so far, the latest being awarded in 2003.
This cosy tearoom opened in 1988 as Amsterdam's first English tea room and has delighted patrons ever since. Serving breakfast and brunch, it is an ideal spot to stop off in while out and about for a quick snack and be sure not to miss out on their signature high tea, reasonably priced at 10-20 Euros. It is also possible in the winter period to hire the venue for private dinner parties, with in house caterers.
3. De Bakkerswinkel
Translated as 'The Bakers', this lovely little restaurant has three branches in Amsterdam, found in the centre, south and west and specialises in breakfast, lunch and high tea. De Bakkerswinkel is famed in particular for its high tea, whether this is as an intimate affair between two or a large group affair.
Priced at a reasonable 10-20 euros, De Bakkerswinkel was a winner of the 2010 Time Out Best of Amsterdam awards.
4. Brasserie Vlaming
With an international menu, Brasserie Vlaming is a jewel in the Amsterdam dining crown, perfect for a romantic meal or just if you are looking for excellent food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. One of Amsterdam's most popular restaurants, be sure to reserve a table as it is only open from 6pm to 10pm. Priced as 20-50 Euros, how expensive your evening is very much depends on your taste buds!
5. Yamazato Restaurant
Yamazato is one of the most traditional Japanese restaurants in Europe, although you may not expect to sample kaiseki ry_ri while in Holland you should not miss out on the opportunity!
Head chef Masanori Tomikawa is an artist of his craft, offering over fifty specialities for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which you can enjoy in the tranquil restaurant overlooking the peaceful Japanese garden. Yamazato Restaurant has received a Michelin star for its work.
Of course there are many more wonderful restaurants and cafes to choose from and no trip to Holland is complete without sampling some of the local pannekoeken; a recommended spot for this is Pancakes! on the Berenstraat. The Netherlands is a melting pot for different cultures and cuisines, so whatever type of food you fancy, Amsterdam will have a restaurant to suit you.