A Meat Eater’s Guide to Amsterdam: steakhouses, burger bars and BBQ

Before we get into my recommendations for the best steakhouses and burger bars in Amsterdam, a note about buying meat in the Netherlands. I grew up in the UK, where it was normal to roast a big cut of meat on a Sunday – a rib of beef, a leg of lamb or a whole chicken, for example. Mr Foodie grew up in the US, where it was equally normal to buy a whole packer or a Boston butt and throw it on the smoker for several hours. Moving to the Netherlands then, it’s immediately apparent that this isn’t much done here. The supermarkets sell individually portioned chunks of meat in plastic packaging. And while the butchers are a better bet, they still often don’t stock large cuts of meat – although they’ll order them in for you if you call in advance. As a result, I’ve ended up ordering a lot of meat online – generally from Butchery.nl or Beef & Steak. Meanwhile, for all things BBQ, visit Barbequeshop.nl or Barbecue & Gourmet. And now, on with the meat restaurants!

Want to eat more than steaks and burgers in Amsterdam? Download my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide:

Best Amsterdam steakhouses

In all honesty, I don’t tend to eat steak in restaurants very much. I’m more likely to grill one myself than pay a chef top dollar to do it for me. So when I was asked to write an article about steakhouses in the Netherlands for a magazine, I had to do quite a lot of research. And in Amsterdam, all roads pointed in one direction…

Midtown Grill

Widely reputed to serve the best steak in Amsterdam, the Midtown Grill is on the ground floor of the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel – conveniently close to both the buzzing Leidseplein and the leafy Vondelpark. For years, I’d avoided hotel bars and restaurants but that fusty reputation has all changed, and nowadays Amsterdam hotels are genuine contenders on the dining and drinking scene. And indeed, the Midtown Grill served a damn good steak. I tried the dry-aged, corn-fed ribeye from the US, and the MRIJ filet mignon from the Netherlands. Both pieces of meat cut like butter and were perfectly seasoned. If you like sharing, the kitchen will serve your steaks already sliced and kept warm on the table, so you and your dining companions can take strips of whichever cuts you like. And while the meat is tender enough that you don’t really need a steak knife, the fun part is getting to choose one: from a delicate French Sabatier knife to a Japanese KAI knife that resembles a miniature samurai sword.

Best steak in Amsterdam -Midtown Grill
Dry-aged, corn-fed, USDA ribeye at the Midtown Grill

Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at the Midtown Grill 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.

Cafe Carbon

With three branches in Amsterdam, Café Carbon is a slightly unfortunately (but actually aptly) named steak and grill restaurant. Not only is everything prepared over charcoal, but you can almost taste your carbon footprint following you out of the door after you’ve paid up and left. I’d walked into the restaurant not even sure I felt like eating meat that night, but changed my mind once I looked at the menu. I’m sorry-not-sorry that Mr Foodie and I ended up ordering a triple meat feast: we started with a 250g ribeye steak and a small rack of lamb, divided into five cutlets. But somehow the meat was so tender and so tasty, and the char of the grill so moreish, that we skipped dessert in favour of a portion of hot wings. I’m pleased to say, they were just as good as the steak.


Bang in the centre of town on the Spuistraat, Sagardi is a Basque restaurant that’s known for two things: pintxos and steak. To find out more about the pintxos bar, read my article about tapas in Amsterdam. But for pure carnivorous pleasure, head past the bar to Sagardi’s meat fridge and charcoal grill – which are quite the sight to behold. After a couple of meaty starters (we tried the txistorra sausage and the charcoal-roasted pâté), we moved onto the main event: a 2 kg hunk of on-the-bone, premium txuleton (otherwise known as ribeye). Grilled to rare perfection, it came with sweet piquillo peppers and hot potato wedges. Paired with a bottle of 2018 Rioja Reserva, it was a thing of great beauty. But (and this is a big but) you’re going to pay a lot for this privilege. The meat alone came to €245 while the wine was €53. I have no problem paying for quality, but for this price I’d expect the service to be slick – and it wasn’t quite there.

Sagardi’s beef fridge, txuleton and meaty starters

Cannibale Royale

Cannibale Royale has grown to five locations in Amsterdam over the past few years, so they must be doing something right! The first time I dined there (at their original Handboogstraat location), I ordered the 200g bavette while my friend got the 300g flat iron; both were cooked just as requested and were quality bits of beef. That being said, I wish steakhouses would season meat before cooking it – it brings out the flavour far better than salting it afterwards, which means you just taste steak and salt. That small gripe aside, the roasted vegetables were very well cooked and seasoned. I’ve been back to Cannibale Royale a few times subsequently (including to their Ruysdaelkade and Lange Niezel locations), and the meat has always been great quality and good value.

Best Amsterdam burger bars

Some years back, Amsterdam went nuts for American-style gourmet burgers – especially if served with craft beer. While that trend has died down a little now, there are still some pretty decent burger bars to be found if you know where to look.

The Butcher

The Butcher got its start in life (I believe) on Albert Cuypstraat – home to Amsterdam’s biggest market – but has since branched out all over the Dutch capital and various other cities Europe-wide. My favourite location is The Butcher Social Club in the A’DAM Tower, which is the place to go if you like some hip beats and old-school games with your meal. All their burgers are made with Aberdeen Angus that’s still pink in the middle, served inside brioche buns. My favourites included the truffle burger (with a truffle-laced sauce) and the “cowboy” (with jalapenos and BBQ sauce).

Amsterdam burger restaurant - The Butcher
Gourmet burgers at The Butcher Social Club


On the Spiegelstraat, Lombardo’s gets a steady flow of tourists from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. But despite its location, it serves one of the best burgers in Amsterdam. I chose the wagyu burger, which described itself as the best of the best – so why choose anything else? A simple, medium-rare beef patty that tasted suitably meaty if a tad under-seasoned, topped with onion compote, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a mayo-based sauce. It was served in a sesame bun, whose texture I liked and which tried to hold itself together but failed eventually due to the sheer magnitude of the toppings – Mr Foodie wouldn’t have given it a very good manageability score. Luckily, he wasn’t there and I just let the whole thing drip down my fingers (and, probably, my face).

Lombardo's burger amsterdam
The wagyu burger at Lombardo’s

Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at Lombardo’s 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.

Buurtcafe de Tros

On one corner of the leafy Oosterpark, Buurtcafe de Tros looks a bit fancy to be a burger bar. Which is probably because it isn’t. In fact, they serve a nicely curated range of higher end dishes alongside a good selection of European wines. But on the day I visited, I had one mission and one mission only: the smash burger. The two crisp patties came in a brioche bun with melted cheese, mayo, pickles and a smattering of lettuce. It’s pretty much everything you’re looking for in a burger (so long as you have napkins at the ready for the dripping juices). Except for perhaps the speed of service. I was there on a Sunday lunchtime, and it felt like the kitchen staff were still prepping for the lunch rush while diners were already sitting at their tables ordering food. Perhaps the evening sitting is a little better organised.

Smash burger at Buurtcafe de Tros

The Beef Chief

I first ate The Beef Chief’s burger years ago at a beer-burger battle and found myself dreaming of it ever since. More recently, they opened a permanent location in Zeeburg and I visited in summer 2023 to check out their signature Kimchief burger one Sunday lunchtime. The patty itself could’ve been a little more seasoned and a little less cooked, but overall it was a very tasty burger. Top quality meat, lovely soft brioche bun, and some good spice and crunch from the kimchi, too.

The Beef Chief’s signature “Kimchief” burger

Want to eat more than steaks and burgers in Amsterdam? Download my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide:

Best Amsterdam BBQ restaurants

When I say BBQ, I’m not talking about burgers and sausages flung onto a disposal grill in the park (AKA, British BBQ). I’m talking about American BBQ: big cuts of meat, smoked low and slow for several hours over chunks of wood. I’ve spent a good amount of time in Texas, Tennessee and a few other places known for their beef brisket, racks of ribs and Boston butts. I’ve also spent a lot of time smoking my own meat – either on our big Weber kettle grill or on our knock-off green egg, the ever-trusty Patton grill. So when I go out for BBQ, it has to be pretty special. Which is probably why I’ve only found one BBQ restaurant in Amsterdam that makes the cut…


I’m saying Pendergast is the best BBQ joint in Amsterdam, but truthfully I’ve had very few BBQ experiences this good anywhere – with the possible exceptions of Memphis, Tennessee and Lockhart, Texas. In any case, Pendergast certainly serves the best ribs in Amsterdam, and possibly the only brisket worth eating in the city. (Well, other than my own, of course ;-)) All the way from Kansas City, the folks at Pendergast know their way around a smoker. And a liquor bar, for that matter. So get your julep on and enjoy the meat-fest.

Pendergast’s food may not make a pretty Instagram picture. But oh lord is it good eating…

all the info

The Beef Chief Oost (American)

The Butcher (American)

Cafe Carbon (International)

Cannibale Royale (International)

Buurtcafe de Tros (International)

Lombardo's (American)

Midtown Grill (American)

Pendergast (American)

Sagardi (Tapas)


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