Discover the ultimate guide to Amsterdam's culinary delights! Uncover the best local eats and uncover insider tips on where to find them. From hidden gems to renowned hotspots, embark on a gastronomic adventure through the vibrant Amsterdam food scene.
Amsterdam is a food lover's paradise, with a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes and budgets. Whether you're looking for traditional Dutch cuisine, international flavors, or innovative fusion dishes, Amsterdam has something to offer. In this article, we'll explore the best foodie destinations in Amsterdam and provide a comprehensive guide to the city's culinary delights.
If you're wondering what to eat in Amsterdam, there are plenty of options to choose from. One must-try dish is the classic Dutch snack, bitterballen, which are deep-fried meatballs served with mustard. Another iconic dish is stamppot, a hearty mashed potato and vegetable dish that's perfect for cold winter days. For seafood lovers, herring is a popular street food that's typically served with onions and pickles.
To help you navigate Amsterdam's food scene, we've put together a comprehensive food guide that covers everything from traditional Dutch cuisine to international flavors. Whether you're a budget traveler or looking for a fine dining experience, our guide will help you find the best restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors in the city. So, grab a fork and get ready to explore Amsterdam's culinary delights.
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Traditional Dutch Cuisine
Dutch cuisine is known for its hearty and comforting dishes, often featuring fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Here are some traditional Dutch foods you must try when in Amsterdam.
Cheese is an integral part of Dutch cuisine, with the country producing over 650 million kilograms of cheese each year. The most famous Dutch cheese is Gouda, a semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk. Other popular varieties include Edam, Leerdammer, and Maasdam. Cheese markets, such as the one in Alkmaar, are a must-visit for cheese lovers.
Stroopwafels are a popular Dutch treat made of two thin waffles with a caramel syrup filling. They are often served with coffee or tea and can be found in most bakeries and supermarkets.
Dutch pancakes, or pannenkoeken, are larger and thinner than American pancakes and can be served sweet or savory. Popular toppings include bacon, cheese, and apples.
Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour. They are typically served with butter and powdered sugar and are a popular snack among locals.
In addition to Gouda and Edam, Dutch cuisine features a variety of other cheeses such as blue cheese, goat cheese, and smoked cheese. Be sure to sample some of these unique cheeses during your visit to Amsterdam.
Rijsttafel is a Dutch-Indonesian dish featuring a variety of small, flavorful dishes served with rice. This unique fusion cuisine is a must-try for foodies looking to explore the diverse flavors of Amsterdam.
Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish that's often served as a main course but can also be enjoyed as a dessert. It's made with mashed potatoes, vegetables (such as carrot, kale or sauerkraut), and sometimes smoked sausage or bacon. It's hearty, comforting, and perfect for a chilly day.
Although dim sum is not originally from the Netherlands, it has become increasingly popular in Amsterdam in recent years. Dim sum is a type of Chinese cuisine that consists of small, bite-sized portions of food, often served in steamer baskets. In Amsterdam, you can find many dim sum restaurants that offer a variety of sweet and savory options.
Whether you're a cheese lover or a pancake enthusiast, traditional Dutch cuisine has something to offer everyone.
Dutch Snacks and Street Food
If you're looking for a quick and tasty bite to eat while exploring Amsterdam, you can't go wrong with some of the city's famous street food. Dutch snacks are a beloved part of the local food scene, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:
Bitterballen are a type of deep-fried meatball, typically made with beef, that's usually served with mustard for dipping. They're a popular snack to enjoy with a beer, and you'll find them on the menu at many bars and cafes around the city.
Frites, also known as french fries, are a classic Dutch snack that are typically served in a cone with a variety of sauces to choose from, including Dutch mayo. You can find them at street vendors and fast food shops throughout Amsterdam.
Raw herring is a traditional Dutch snack that's often served with onions and pickles. It's an acquired taste, but many locals swear by it as a must-try experience for visitors to the city.
Kibbeling is a type of battered and fried white fish that's often served with a garlic sauce. It's a popular snack to enjoy while walking around the city, and you'll find it at many street food vendors.
Croquettes are a type of deep-fried snack that's a batter typically filled with a mixture of meat and potatoes. They're a popular option for a quick and filling meal, and you'll find them at many fast food shops and cafes.
Oliebollen are a type of deep-fried doughnut that's typically dusted with powdered sugar. They're a popular snack to enjoy during the winter months, and you'll find them at many Christmas markets and street food vendors.
Broodje haring is a sandwich made with raw herring, onions, and pickles. It's a popular snack to enjoy while walking around the city, and you'll find it at many street food vendors.
Overall, Dutch snacks and street food are a delicious and convenient way to sample some of the local cuisines while exploring Amsterdam. Whether you're in the mood for something savory or sweet, there's sure to be a snack that will satisfy your cravings.
Dutch Desserts and Pastries
If you have a sweet tooth, you're in luck when it comes to Dutch cuisine. The Netherlands is famous for its delicious desserts and pastries, many of which have been enjoyed for centuries. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Apple pie is a classic Dutch dessert that you can find in almost any bakery or restaurant in Amsterdam. It's made with a sweet, buttery crust and filled with tender, cinnamon-spiced apples. Some variations include raisins or currants, and it's often served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Ontbijtkoek is a type of Dutch gingerbread that's often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. It's made with rye flour, honey, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. It's dense, moist, and has a slightly sweet, spicy flavor.
Dutch cookies are a must-try when visiting Amsterdam. Some popular varieties include stroopwafels (thin, crispy waffles filled with caramel syrup), speculaas (spiced cookies often shaped like windmills or Sinterklaas), and boterkoek (butter cake).
Pannenkoeken are Dutch pancakes that are thinner and larger than American pancakes. They're often served with sweet toppings such as powdered sugar, syrup, or fruit. Some variations include bacon or cheese, and they can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Appeltaart (apple tart) is another classic Dutch dessert that's a must-try. It's made with a buttery crust and filled with tender, cinnamon-spiced apples. Some variations include raisins or currants, and it's often served with whipped cream or ice cream.
Whether you're in the mood for something sweet or savory, Dutch cuisine has plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.
Restaurants and Food Experiences
Amsterdam has several Michelin-starred restaurants, offering a fine dining experience that is hard to beat. Some of the top Michelin-starred restaurants in Amsterdam include:
- Ciel Bleu: Located on the 23rd floor of the Okura Hotel, Ciel Bleu serves contemporary French cuisine with an Asian twist. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and offers stunning views of the city.
- Bord'Eau: Located in the De L'Europe Hotel, Bord'Eau is a classic French restaurant that has been awarded two Michelin stars. The restaurant's menu features dishes made with the finest ingredients, including fresh seafood and game.
If you're looking for a more affordable dining experience, Amsterdam has plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best budget restaurants in Amsterdam:
- Winkel 43: This café is famous for its delicious apple pie and is a great place to stop for a quick bite to eat.
- Pancakes Amsterdam: As the name suggests, Pancakes Amsterdam serves a wide variety of pancakes, both sweet and savory.
- FEBO: This fast-food chain serves traditional Dutch snacks, such as krokets and frikandels, from vending machines.
Restaurant Blauw is a must-visit for anyone interested in Indonesian food. The Indonesian restaurant serves a wide variety of traditional Indonesian dishes, including rijsttafel, a Dutch-Indonesian meal consisting of several small dishes served with rice.
Moeders is a cozy restaurant that serves traditional Dutch cuisine. The restaurant's name means "mothers" in Dutch, and the walls are covered with pictures of customers' mothers. The menu features dishes such as stamppot and gehaktballen.
Febo is a chain of fast food shops that are known for its unique vending machine-style service. You can purchase a variety of hot snacks, including croquettes and frites, from the vending machines at Febo locations around the city.
De Kas is a restaurant located in a greenhouse, offering a unique dining experience. The restaurant's menu features dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, many of which are grown in the greenhouse.
Smoked eel is a traditional Dutch delicacy that is a must-try for any foodie visiting Amsterdam. Some of the best places to try smoked eel in Amsterdam include:
- Frens Haringhandel: This street vendor serves delicious smoked eel sandwiches.
- Visbar Beet: This fish shop serves a wide variety of fresh seafood, including smoked eel.
Maasdammer is a type of Dutch cheese that is similar to Swiss cheese. Some of the best places to try Maasdammer in Amsterdam include:
- Kaaskamer: This cheese shop offers a wide variety of Dutch cheeses, including Maasdammer.
- Reypenaer Tasting Room: This cheese shop offers cheese tastings, including Maasdammer.
Modern Dutch Cuisine
Amsterdam has several restaurants that offer modern takes on traditional Dutch cuisine. Some of the top modern Dutch restaurants in Amsterdam include:
- Breda: This restaurant serves creative dishes made with Dutch ingredients, such as veal sweetbread and Dutch shrimp.
- Rijks: Located in the Rijksmuseum, Rijks serves modern Dutch cuisine with a focus on local ingredients.
Drinks and Bars
When it comes to drinks and bars, Amsterdam has plenty to offer. From traditional Dutch jenever to craft beer and wine bars, there's something for everyone.
Beer is a big deal in Amsterdam, with a long history of brewing and a thriving craft beer scene. The city is home to several breweries, including Heineken, which offers tours of its facilities. For a more local experience, try a beer from one of Amsterdam's many microbreweries, such as Brouwerij 't IJ or De Prael.
Jenever is a traditional Dutch spirit that's been around since the 16th century. It's made from grains and flavored with juniper berries, and is often served in a tulip-shaped glass. For a taste of authentic jenever, head to one of Amsterdam's jenever bars, such as Wynand Fockink or De Drie Fleschjes.
If you're a fan of craft beer, Amsterdam won't disappoint. The city is home to a growing number of microbreweries and taprooms, where you can sample a variety of unique and flavorful beers. Some popular spots include Oedipus Brewing, Two Chefs Brewing, and Butcher's Tears.
For a more refined drinking experience, Amsterdam has plenty of wine bars to choose from. From cozy, intimate venues to trendy, modern spaces, there's something for every taste.
Amsterdam has several wine bars that offer a great selection of wines from around the world. Some of the top wine bars in Amsterdam include:
- Bubbles & Wines: This wine bar offers a wide variety of wines by the glass, as well as cheese and charcuterie plates.
- Wijnbar Paulus: Located in the trendy De Pijp neighborhood, Wijnbar Paulus offers a great selection of wines and small plates.
Of course, no discussion of Amsterdam's drinking scene would be complete without mentioning its famous coffee shops. While these establishments are primarily known for their cannabis offerings, many also serve coffee, tea, and other non-alcoholic beverages. Some popular options include The Bulldog, Barney's Coffeeshop, and Grey Area.
In conclusion, Amsterdam has a diverse and exciting drinking scene, with something for every taste and preference. Whether you're looking for a traditional Dutch jenever or a modern craft beer, you're sure to find it here.
Markets and Other Foodie Spots
When it comes to exploring the culinary scene in Amsterdam, the city's markets and foodie spots offer a diverse range of options that are sure to satisfy any food lover's cravings. Here are a few must-visit spots for any foodie in Amsterdam:
The Dappermarkt is a bustling outdoor market located in the eastern part of Amsterdam. Here, you'll find a wide variety of food stalls selling everything from fresh produce to exotic spices and herbs. The market is also home to several food trucks and stands offering delicious street food, such as stroopwafels, herring sandwiches, and Dutch cheese.
De Klepel is a hidden gem located in the heart of Amsterdam's Jordaan neighborhood. This cozy food hall features a variety of food stalls selling everything from traditional Dutch snacks to international cuisine. Some of the highlights include the fresh oysters at Bar de Oester, the artisanal cheeses at Fromagerie Kef, and the delicious sandwiches at Broodje Mokum.
For a unique dining experience, consider taking a canal cruise through Amsterdam's picturesque waterways. Many companies offer dinner cruises that include a multi-course meal and drinks, as well as stunning views of the city's historic architecture. Some of the top options include the Dinner Cruise by Stromma and the Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise by Blue Boat Company.
Overall, Amsterdam's markets and foodie spots offer a wide range of options for anyone looking to explore the city's culinary scene. Whether you're in the mood for street food, artisanal cheeses, or a romantic dinner cruise, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.
Amsterdam is a city with a rich culinary scene that offers a variety of delicious and unique food options. From traditional Dutch dishes to international cuisine, there is something for everyone.
We've explored some of the most popular and iconic foods in Amsterdam. We have learned about the famous stroopwafels and the flavorful bitterballen. We have also delved into the city's multicultural food scene, highlighting some of the best Indonesian and Surinamese restaurants in town.
When visiting Amsterdam, it is important to take advantage of the street food culture. The city is filled with food stalls and markets that offer a wide range of tasty treats, including fresh herring, poffertjes, and stroopwafels. Additionally, the city has a thriving cafe culture, making it the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a pastry while people-watching.
Overall, Amsterdam is a food lover's paradise. Whether you are looking for traditional Dutch cuisine or international flavors, the city has something to offer. So, grab a bike and explore the streets of Amsterdam to discover the city's diverse and delicious food scene.