Amsterdam's Chinatown, the oldest "Chinatown" in mainland Europe, is actually a multicultural pastiche of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe. And ever since its early days, it's been a place for authentic meals from all its representative countries. But where to start? Here are our tried-and-true picks for the best restaurants on the Zeedijk, Chinatown's restaurant row.
The 2002 film adaptation of the Dutch bestseller Oysters at Nam Kee's catapulted this Chinese restaurant's most celebrated dish to modest international stardom. But it's not just the steamed oysters in black bean sauce that enthrall diners: an overall superb menu has earned Nam Kee the title of best Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam.
Zeedijk 111-113 (snack bar)
Geldersekade 117 (restaurant)
Boldly-spiced coconut milk curries are the house specialty at Thai Bird, which is consistently named one of the top Thai joints in Amsterdam. The Bird's snack bar serves up quick but soulful meals to diners on the move, while its sit-down restaurant across the street offers a more relaxed, intimate atmosphere amid its Thai decor.
Zeedijk 72-74 (restaurant)
Zeedijk 77 (snack bar)
The homey, retro-themed cafe Latei deserves an honorable mention for the Indian curries it dishes up for rock-bottom prices from Thursday to Saturday; top it off with a slice of their heavenly appeltaart (apple pie) for dessert.
One of precious few Vietnamese restaurants in the Netherlands, seafood specialist Welcome delivers on Vietnam's reputation for vibrant, citrus-laced flavors. Hailed for its broad menu, attentive service, and excellent pho–the noodle soup that is Vietnam's national dish. Welcome has established itself as a reliable favorite on the Zeedijk.
Hofje van Wijs turned its popular triweekly dinners into a full-service restaurant in 2010 and returns to its roots with a menu of exclusively Dutch fare like the classic hachee, a traditional stew spiked with cloves and bay leaves. Just in the mood for a coffee or tea? "Wijs" doubles as a world-class cafe.