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Amsterdam

Traditional Dutch fare falls into the "comfort food" category -- think rich cheeses and hearty stews of meat, potatoes and root vegetables. While you can still find these offerings in restaurants around town, Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city, and international influences have brought a wonderful diversity to the local restaurant scene. One popular import is the Indonesian rijsttafel, or rice table, inspired by the days of the Netherlands East Indies company; it consists of a dozen or more small meat and vegetable dishes served with condiments and rice.

Cafe Americain (located in the Amsterdam American Hotel) is an Art Deco rendezvous, one of the city's most popular spots for everything from a cup of coffee to a full dinner. There's a big outdoor terrace on Leidseplein in summer.

De Oesterbar is the city's longtime favorite seafood restaurant in a setting of white tiles and fish tanks. Fish is delivered fresh twice daily, and used in indigenous preparations like crab salad with avocado and oysters with smoked salmon.

Dutch pancakes are a treat that should not be missed, and the Pancake Bakery is one of the classic places to sample delicious dinner-plate-size crepes with fillings like ham and cheese as a main dish or fruits for dessert. This is a great choice for families, but large groups should make reservations in advance.

At dinnertime, sample a Dutch specialty -- an Indonesian rijsttafel -- at Tempo Doeloe. Another solid rijsttafel option is Sampurna, open for lunch and dinner.

Haesje Claes serves typical Dutch dishes at moderate prices in an Old World setting, complete with traditional Dutch hanging lamps. One of our favorite menu items is the stamppot (mashed potatoes and cabbage), available with various types of meat.
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