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Food guide to Amsterdam

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Your Amsterdam Food Guide: How to Eat Well and Avoid the Tourist Traps

Federica

Updated on Nov 11 • 6 minute read

Amsterdam is an incredibly exciting city, and we’re sure you won’t want to miss a single thing!

One thing that is a necessity when moving to or even visiting an unfamiliar city is knowing exactly where to eat for any occasion. Good food tips for Amsterdam can include a fine-dining option to celebrate your new Dutch internship, the best pastry shop on the planet or where to grab a bite when you’re on-the-go.

Local food in Amsterdam is doable for any “living abroad” budget, and you’ll find that even the best restaurants in Amsterdam offer lunch specials or multiple dishes that you can share with your new-found friends.

However, as with any popular European city, falling into a tourist trap is a very real risk to your adventure. We created this handy Amsterdam Food Guide to help you find all the delicious bites that Amsterdam has to offer. Before you know it, you may be telling the locals where to eat!

Fine Dining – A Meal to Remember

During your time in Amsterdam, you will undoubtedly want to treat yourself a little from time to time. Whether you passed a big exam, had a great day on the job or just want to try a few of the finer things in this fascinating city, you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose. The following recommendations will definitely supply a special meal, prepared by some of the city’s best chefs.

Tipically, when dining at an upmarket eatery, it’s best to make a reservation. If you’re going to be dining on the weekend or on a holiday, you should even consider making a reservation a few days ahead of time to avoid any disappointments.

Rijks

You might already be familiar with the magnificent Rijksmuseum, but have you ever heard about its Michelin star restaurant RIJKS? The official upscale restaurant of the Rijks Museum, this space just screams culture! Serving both lunch and dinner, the menu consists of dishes made with Dutch ingredients. The menu is à la carte, but trying menus consisting of multiple dishes is also possible so that you can try a little bit of everything. The restaurant is very well-known for the cuttlefish and oxtail.

Moon

If you’re looking for an experience to accompany your meal, this revolving restaurant is perched atop the A’DAM Tower and offers phenomenal views from the 19th floor. It serves both lunch and dinner, using only locally-sourced ingredients. Patrons swear by the Duck and the Beef Shoulder.

Local Amsterdam Food – The Real Experience

Local food in Amsterdam provides a unique culinary treat, and incoming internationals are always eager to go for some authentic Dutch foods. Please don’t be that traveler who plays it safe and eats at the regular fast-food counters that you have back home. After all, to really understand a country’s culture, you have to understand its foods. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular local dishes.

  • Hollandse Nieuwe - This is fresh herring that must be caught between May and July to receive this special Dutch name. You have to try it at least once!
  • Kroket - An excellent snack to eat when on the run, this roll is filled with meat, fried and then covered in breadcrumbs. There’s even a version at the Amsterdam McDonald’s.
  • Frites - The Dutch version of French fries will make you want to change their name forever. A thicker cut, they come in a cone with a myriad of sauces from which to choose.
  • Bitterballen - This is a favorite snack, and it can be ordered just about anywhere. These breadcrumb-coated balls are filled with beef, broth, flour and butter.
  • Erwtensoep - Known in other locales as split pea soup, this super-thick soup is filled with delicious ingredients like pork, leeks, celery, carrots and, of course, split peas.
  • Stamppot - This potato-based dish is a staple in the Netherlands, and can be a side or a full meal. The potatoes are mashed and then mixed with carrots, kale and even sauerkraut.
  • Kaas - Even though you may not consider this to be a dish, a tray of cheese and specialty crackers are in many restaurants. Plus, the Netherlands is one of the main exporters of cheese on the planet.

Now, if you’re ready to indulge in some of the best local foods, you’ll want to try them at the following eateries:

Cafe de Klos

This spot is about as low-key as you can get with the menu written on chalkboards, but this is the place to go for Dutch BBQ. The locals claim that the ribs are the real draw here, but you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose.

Restaurant Haesje Claes

Situated in the center of Amsterdam, the Stamppot is heralded as the best in the city. Plus, it has a great selection of local Dutch beers and even offers a pre-fixe menu.

The Perfect Brunch – Breakfast in the Afternoon

Brunch has definitely become the trendiest meal in all of Europe. Depending on your mood (and your budget), brunch can range from a chilled out meal to an extravagant occasion, complete with champagne and mimosas. Of course, there are numerous places to try, but you can get started with these two!

Little Collins De Pijp

With a cozy atmosphere and a nice terrace, you can expect Dutch specialties with a twist, as well as favorites like Eggs Hollandaise and Mole and Guasacaca. You can also enjoy one of the best Bloody Marys in Amsterdam!

Dignita Restaurant

Set in a bustling atmosphere that can get pretty crowded on the weekends, this favorite brunch spot can fill any appetite, ranging from fluffy pancakes to zucchini fritters or a fresh Italian salad.

Street Food – On-the-Go Eats

When you’re trying to make it to an early class or jumping on a bus to get to a meeting, you may not always have time for a full meal, where you can languish over a cup of coffee or a Dutch beer. But the great news is that you’re in Amsterdam, and tasty street foods that are designed to be eaten when you’re on the run are aplenty. You’ll want to try as many as possible, but definitely put these on your “to-eat” list.

Manneken Pis Fries

Consistently voted the best fries in the Netherlands by, well, just about everyone, this paper cone of goodness is something that you’ll immediately love about being in Amsterdam. There’s a variety of sauces to try, but don’t miss the Manneken Pis specialty sauce!

Albert Cuyp Market

If you want something that you can grab and go, or actually have a moment to browse all of the options, this is by far Amsterdam’s best market. Fortunately, it’s also an ideal way to sample as many Dutch specialties as possible. It’s especially popular for the herring!

Dessert – A Sweet Tooth’s Paradise

It’s a fact that the people of the Netherlands love their sugary treats! And, chances are that you’ll also develop a pretty good sweet tooth while you’re living in Amsterdam. While there are numerous pastries, candies and more to enjoy, there are a few standouts.

  • Stroopwafel - Popular across the globe, these small waffles are more like cookies, stuck together with deliciously gooey syrup.
  • Drop - Otherwise known as licorice, the Dutch consume more of this tasty treat than any other nationality in the world.
  • Oliebollen - Similar to a donut but much more divine, these fried balls of dough are dusted with powdered sugar, and can also include raisins. They are a popular holiday confection.
  • Hopje - Invented in the 18th century, this coffee-flavored sweet candy is made with caramel, butter, cream and, you guessed it, coffee!

Now, where to go to find the best of the best, when not just any sugar buzz will do? Try out these shops!

Sweet Bob

While these sweets come from Brazilian recipes, the people of Amsterdam can’t get enough! Whether you’re in the mood for coconut and milk chocolate or would prefer a handful of lemon drops, you’ll find a variety quite unlike any other shop.

Patisserie Holtkamp

This beautiful art-deco shop has been around since 1886, and the Royal Family has even bought sweets here. It’s famed for its cream-filled cakes and other pastries, but you’ll find anything sweet inside this lovely space.

So, by now, you should be almost an expert on the best restaurants in Amsterdam! It’s always fun to be that person “in the know,” so you can offer up plenty of great dining ideas as you meet new friends and expand your network.

You’re going to discover that knowing a few food tips for Amsterdam will make your move to the Netherlands much easier. If you’re on a limited budget, it can also help to know how to experience the best local foods in Amsterdam that you can grab on the go.

We know people typically say to take time to see the tulips, but in this case, spend as much free time as you can enjoying some of the delicious Dutch specialties. Your taste buds will thank you!

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