Eating in Amsterdam seems to be easy at first because there are thousands of different options. But here is the tough part: there are so many options that you get spoiled for choice.
Let’s start with homemade Dutch cuisine, which is made using simple and healthy food cooked using fresh, local products. If you happen to be invited to a Dutch home to dine, be careful: be ready to have dinner at 6 pm – because 7 pm is already too late. Some of the most famous home cooked dishes are hutspot (mashed carrot), stamppot (mashed potatoes served with other vegetables and sausage) and Boerenkool, a cabbage dish also served with sausage.
It is also wise to plan ahead if you intend on eating out as most kitchens close between 9 and 10 pm, although it is possible to find some late night dining options.
Snacking like the Dutch!
There are several unavoidable Dutch specialities that you will find in coffee shops, in the famous bruine kroeg (brown cafes) or even on the market streets. Follow the lead of the Amsterdammers and try at least one of these as a midday snack:
- Bitterballen: these are succulently fried meatballs served with mustard at the De Ballen Bar, inside the De Hallen Market located in Oud-West district.
- Patat: your kids will love these huge fried potatoes, served with many sauces including the classic Met (mayonnaise), ketchup and peanut sauce.
- Haring: raw herring might sound a bit strange but is absolutely delicious, especially when served with pickles. The best time to try it is between May and July.
- Stroopwafel: end every meal with something sweet like this double waffle filled with caramel sauce. It can be found in a market or bakery.
- Chocomel: this drink is perfect when accompanying the stroopwafel and is the Netherland’s 2nd best drink after Heineken! It is made from chocolate, as the name suggests.
If you want to snack on the run, look out for Febo’s, a fast food chain found all over the country. It is an automated self-service vendor with the most varied snacks, from fried potatoes to hamburgers. But, if you wish to eat like the Dutch, then have a kroket with mustard or a frikandel, which is a mixture of chicken, pork and beef and even horse, served with mayonnaise and onions.
For Cheese Lovers
Dutch cheese is famous and is exported all over the world – everyone has heard of Gouda and Edam cheeses. Paying a visit to a cheese shop in the Netherlands is a must. We suggest going to De Hallen market which, among other interesting things to see like exhibitions, has an indoor food market. Look for Caulis Kaas or Caulis Tosti where you will be able to eat a delicious toastie with lots of cheese and onions. If you wish to bring Dutch cheese back home, look for cheese shops where you can taste the cheese with a glass of wine and then buy it. There are several shops all over Amsterdam but if you are in the historical centre, along the Singel Canal, pay a visit to De Reypenaer. They organise cheese tasting and even cheesemaking workshops.
Special for Gourmet Lovers
For some years, the Netherlands is increasing its popularity as a gastronomic country. The proof can be seen in the approximately 16 Dutch restaurants which have been awarded Michelin stars and the many chefs who have opened gourmet restaurants in Amsterdam. Prepare to spend more money and eat small quantities of food in these restaurants. However, some of them are more or less affordable. For instance, try Ron’s Gastrobar located near theVondelparkdistrict. Here is an example some of the dishes you can order: squid ceviche, salmon tartare, scallop tartare, steak tartare, Foie gras in a Granny Smith apple, and spare ribs.
Like exotic restaurants?
Did you know that in the Netherlands, you can find one of the biggest Indonesian communities in the world? There are many Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam. Pick one and try rijsttafel, a kind of Indonesian tapas composed of several small dishes. One of the most famous restaurants is Blauw in the Oud-Zuid area.
Once upon a time in the Red Light District…
In the past, some people would strictly avoid the Red Light District as a holiday location due to its seedy reputation. But all has changed. A new and cleaned up district has emerged with wonderful cafés, coffee shops and restaurants. But there are still some of the old activity going around there, so be prepared! Some options for coffee, cocktails, beer or meals include De Koffie Schenkerij, a coffee-shop hidden inside a church; Cut Throat Barber & Coffee where on top of eating you can also have a haircut; and Van Kerkwijk for a good dining option with a homely atmosphere. Note that there are also excellent Indonesian options in this district like Mata Hari. You can end the night with a cocktail in Tales & Spirits.
At the end of your journey, you will certainly find that eating in Amsterdam is a very rich experience. Enjoy!