The Dutch might not have the same reputation for jaw-dropping gastronomy as the French, Italians or Spanish, but if you think Amsterdam is no city for foodies, you are wrong.
The Amsterdam food scene is one of the best in the country. From Stroopwafel and Poffertjes to Herring and croquettes from a vending machine (trust us, you want to try them), Amsterdam has you covered if you want to indulge in some Dutch delicacies. But the Dutch capital is a melting pot of different cultures, and Amsterdam restaurants are no different.
Feeling peckish? Read on for just some of the best places to eat in Amsterdam.
Walking around a city as, er, walkable as Amsterdam is tiring work, and what better way to refuel than with some snacking? Street food in Amsterdam starts, but definitely doesn’t end with Stroopwafels. Yes, you’ve probably picked up a version of these at Caffe Nero or in supermarkets, but nothing beats the original. Want the best? Head to the Albert Cuyp Market, where you’ll find the rather appropriately-named Original Stroopwafels kiosk serving up Stroopwafels all day, every day (except Sundays.) If you fancy something fancier, get yourself over to long-running, exceptionally charming bakery Lanskroon.
Still looking for something deliciously sweet afterwards? Look no further than Poffertjes. Fluffy pancakes, usually drenched in syrup, and dusted with icing sugar. Need we say more?
While you’re in Albert Cuyp Market, you’re well-positioned to take in another Dutch delicacy – herring. Herring is Holland’s national snack and, though it might usually repulse tourists, is well worth trying for yourself. It’d be like going to London and not trying jellied ee--actually, you can get away without doing that. Though it might be eaten by tilting your head back and gently lowering the fish into your mouth, herring isn’t eaten raw.
If all of that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for street food, then why not try Krokets? Yes, they’re just croquettes, but you’ve not had any like these before. Longer and altogether more substantial than your average croquette, you can find the Dutch version in oversized vending machines.
Part of the fun of eating abroad is not always what you’re eating, but where you’re eating. Dining destinations don’t get much more uniquely jaw-dropping than REM Eiland. It is a restaurant housed in the former broadcast platform of an illegal TV station. If you want quality modern Dutch dining with a view, then you’ll need to check out this four-storey restaurant and bar.
What’s pink and gold and pink all over? MaMa Kelly. Everything about this pastel-hued restaurant is pink – even the food. Very instagrammable.
If the thought of dining on an old pirate radio station or in an all-pink paradise has left you hungry for more, we’ve got a few more unusual Amsterdam restaurants up our sleeves. Restaurant de Kas serves food in the very same 1920s greenhouse in which it’s grown.
If all that still feels a little mundane, then why not dine in the dark at Ctaste? Visually impaired staff will lead you to your table before you tuck into a tasting menu enjoyed (we use that word loosely) in complete darkness – it all makes for a dining experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or simply trying to eat a little healthier, you’ll be pleased to know that Amsterdam offers more than just salads and portobello mushrooms lazily stuffed between two burger buns.
But that doesn’t mean burgers are off the menu at all. Quite the opposite – the Vegan Junk Food Bar, as you might expect, indulges in junk food. With a menu filled with bizarrely named vegan creations like the ‘Notorious Sumo’ burger, the ‘Black Daddy McChicken’ and ‘Doggy Style XL’. It’s not just some of the best vegan food in Amsterdam, it’s some of the best Amsterdam food full-stop.
Need your pizza fix? Pizza Heart Bar isn’t exclusively for vegetarians, but they have an extensive menu of phenomenal plant-powered pizzas that anyone – meat-eaters included – can enjoy. Also worth a trip is Mastino V (guess what the ‘V’ stands for?). Head over to Amsterdam-west and visit the first 100% gluten-free AND vegan pizzeria in the city.
Over the centuries, close ties with what is now Indonesia have created a second Dutch national dish – rijsttafel (literally translated as ‘rice table’). There are numerous Indonesian restaurants throughout the city offering rijsttafel with 10, 15 or 20 dishes. If you don’t want a full rijsttafel, order nasi rames, a smaller selection of dishes served with rice – an ideal choice for lunch.
However, getting stuck into a full rijsttafel is an immersive experience not to be missed. Take a serving of rice and put it in the middle of your plate, then take small amounts of the spicy meat, fish and vegetable dishes, and place them around the outside of the rice. The small courses balance one another in taste, texture and heat (spiciness) to really wake up your taste buds.
Standard dishes include babi (pork), daging bronkos (roast meat in coconut milk), goreng kering (pimento and fish paste) and small skewers of meat (satay) with peanut sauce. Any dish that is labelled sambal is guaranteed to be spicy, but hot dishes are tempered with cooling ones such as marinated fruits and vegetables.