7 of the Best Seafood Restaurants in Amsterdam

Gone are the days when fish restaurants meant starched white tablecloths and stuffy waiters. Today’s seafood restaurants and fish cafés are catering to an altogether less formal clientele. Plus, with meat consumption looking like a less and less sustainable option, fish and seafood has become the protein of choice among the younger generation of climate-conscious diners. There are lots of pescatarian options in Amsterdam nowadays, so I’ve divided this list according to type and occasion.

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Reserving a table at Amsterdam’s fish restaurants

Reservations are crucial in most Amsterdam restaurants, and fish and seafood spots are no different. Many of the restaurants below have reservation systems on their websites, but there are also sometimes good discounts via TripAdvisor.

Best classic fish restaurant: Vis aan de Schelde

Despite what I just said about the death of white linen tablecloths, Vis aan de Schelde is probably the most upscale of all the fish restaurants on this list – smart, chic and with a price tag to match. But it’s definitely worth it: in addition to oysters, caviar, lobster and fruits de mer, diners can select the monthly changing chef’s menu from three to five courses. The day I went, my favourite dish was probably the haddock with scallop, pata negra ham and black venus rice, although I also enjoyed the monkfish wrapped in pancetta and served with fish croquettes, kohlrabi and purees of aubergine and peas. The service and wine pairings are also top-notch.

Best concept: Pesca

While Pesca calls itself a “Theatre of Fish”, it could perhaps be better described as a market: on entry, you’re invited to peruse the catch of the day, and choose your fish by weight or by the piece. There’s no menu, as the seafood on offer differs depending on availability. Plus, Pesca’s dynamic pricing policy means the price of the fish decreases during the day so as to sell out and avoid food waste. Having selected the fish (each of which is prepared differently) and side dishes, you then step into a wine market, where a member of staff is on hand to help with wine selection. Once at your table, the food is prepared and served to be shared. On the Sunday lunchtime I visited, I loved the softshell crab with mango and jalapeno, the fresh oysters and the grilled octopus. Plus, Pesca’s patatas bravas were also some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Pesca’s “Theatre of Fish”

Best local seafood restaurant: The Good Companion

Tucked at the end of Westerstraat, this cosy neighbourhood find has been serving up its signature fish & chips since 2017. And while the Brits among us are thrilled at this (the cod and chips that I tried came complete with mushy peas, Sarsons vinegar and tartare sauce – exactly as they should), it’s taken the rest of the community a little longer to get on board. But the word is now out: The Good Companion serves up seafood that’s almost exclusively caught off Dutch shores. And their menu features not only the fantastic fish & chips, but also feisty ceviche, plump oysters (prepared a few different ways – it’s definitely worth venturing away from the classic lemon), grilled seabass and home-canned sardines. Plus, they do Happy Oyster Hour on Saturday afternoons. The ultimate in comfort seafood.

The Good Companion - seafood restaurant amsterdam
The Good Companion’s fish & chips

Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at The Good Companion as a journalist, and I didn’t pay for my meal. Obviously I try to be as objective as possible, but I always disclose when I’ve had a freebie.

Best for ceviche: Sjefietshe

I’m not sure what’s so difficult about pronouncing the word “ceviche”, but apparently were a Dutch person to say it phonetically, it would sound something like Sjefietshe. I don’t know why I find the name of the restaurant slightly annoying, but I do. Luckily, however, that was the only thing that annoyed me. The ceviche itself was just as I’d anticipated: it came in six different versions, all of which sounded heavenly. Sadly I could only manage two, so I made it the classic ceviche – with crunchy chulpe corn and red onion that had been slightly pickled from the acidic leche de tigre – and the shrimp and haddock ceviche, which came with a slightly sweeter (but still pleasantly sour) combination of pumpkin puree, coconut milk, hot yellow chillies and crispy puffed rice. Both were full of delightfully bright, feisty flavours, and went wonderfully with a pisco sour. The only dish I wasn’t such a fan of was the fish cakes; they tasted ok but the filling was grey and gelatinous, with an eerily homogenous texture. But stick to the ceviche and you’ll be more than happy!

Sjefietshe - ceviche restaurant Amsterdam
Ceviche two ways at Sjefietshe

Best for fruits de mer: Seafood Bar

You can’t really go wrong with a huge platter of fruits de mer and a bottle of chilled Sancerre so long as the seafood is unfailingly fresh, and that’s exactly what you can expect at The Seafood Bar. The “Fruits de Mer Seafood Bar” was a colourful sculpture of fishy delights arranged artistically over ice. The gamut ran from heavy hitters like lobster and oysters through to understated molluscs like winkles and clams. My American guest felt that seafood requires more of an intimate setting, especially for the fairly high price tag; I’m not sure whether I agree, but the restaurant’s industrial chic is certainly a sign of our fuss-free, austerity times.

Also worth checking out for fruit de mer: Brut de Mer is a cosy neighbourhood option on Gerard Douplein in De Pijp, offering oysters, fishy snacks, sharing plates and (of course) fruits de mer.

Fruits de mer at The Seafood Bar

Best for mussels: Mossel & Gin

The best of the Westerpark’s restaurants that I’ve visited, Mossel & Gin serves (you’ve guessed it) mussels and gin. The mussels come in one of five sauces: classic (the usual moules marinières), classic with beer instead of wine, Thai, Roquefort and truffle. I went for the Thai version on the grounds that I wanted to try something different, but not so different that it involved blue cheese and seafood (which doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven to me – but I could be wrong!). The Thai mussels were pleasantly fragrant, creamy from the coconut milk, and came with dippable bread, chips and salad. The lobster croquettes we shared to start were rather delicious, as was the fantastic G&T (there are ten to choose from). Don’t miss the outdoor terrace in summer for perfect park dining.

Photo credit: Mossel & Gin

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all the info

Brut de Mer (European)

The Good Companion (International)

Mossel & Gin (International)

Pesca (International)

The Seafood Bar (European)

Sjefietshe (Peruvian)

Vis aan de Schelde (International)


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