Are you wondering what to eat in Amsterdam during your first trip to the DAM? Read on to discover fourteen must-eat Amsterdam food favorites that you simply should not miss during your trip to the canal-filled Netherlands capital city.
Amsterdam is a charming Dutch city known for flowing canals, colorful tulips and wooden clogs. It’s also a city where it’s possible to spend days strolling along waterways and visiting iconic sites like the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. But what about the best food in Amsterdam?
While finding the top Amsterdam sites isn’t challenging for those with a plan, even intrepid travelers often find it difficult to find great food in Amsterdam. Let’s face it, the city has an ample number of touristic eateries serving hamburgers and pizza.
Don’t feel stressed about what to eat in Amsterdam. Instead, book an Amsterdam food tour and read on to learn our Amsterdam food tips.
Amsterdam Food Guide | What to Eat in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a great city to eat Dutch food and global cuisine between sightseeing and other extracurricular activities. The city has restaurants and snack shops serving a variety of tasty food at all price points. Eating in Amsterdam is fun if you know what to eat and where to find it all.
Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the city’s food scene or maybe you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time. If you fit in either category, we recommend starting your culinary exploration with the following Amsterdam food favorites:
In Amsterdam, crispy meatballs called Bitterballen are the go-to snack at bars around the city. Since most travelers visit at least one bar in Amsterdam, eating Bitterballen is almost inevitable when visiting the DAM. But, you may be wondering, what are Bitterballen?
The Bitterballen recipe is fairly straightforward and can be completed in a few steps. First, Dutch chefs slow cook meat and refrigerate the resulting stew until it solidifies. They then form the meat mixture into little balls, bread them and fry them to crispy perfection.
Eaters get the better end of the stick, or in this case ball. Plan to eat Bitterballen with your fingers, dipping each round nugget into spicy mustard before popping it into your mouth. Just be careful not to burn your tongue.
Where to Eat Bitterballen in Amsterdam
Bars like Eetcafé Rosereijn
2. Pannenkoeken (Pancakes)
Unlike their fluffy American cousins, Dutch pancakes called Pannekoeken are flat, savory and fill the plate. Locals eat Pannekoeken at all times of the day, often topping the starchy base with cured meat or smoked salmon. However, some Amsterdammers prefer to add fruit or chocolate to create a sweet dessert pancake.
You’ll find Pannekoeken on the menu at local eateries like Eetcafé Roserein as well as at more touristic spots like Pancakes Amsterdam. If you’re short on time and keen on trying Pannekoeken, you can even take a River Cruise with an all-you-can-eat Pannekoeken bar.
Add powdered sugar and Stroop to your Pannekoek. Thicker than maple syrup with a consistency more similar to caramel, Stroop adds a sticky sweetness that completes the Pannekoek eating experience.
Where to Eat Pannekoeken in Amsterdam
Eetcafé Rosereijn and Pancakes Amsterdam
3. Broodje Haring (Herring Sandwich)
If Bitterballen is the most popular bar food in Amsterdam, then pickled herring sandwiches win the prize when it comes to street food. Locals stop at fish stands called haringhandel to order herring sandwiches called broodjes haring all year long but especially in the summer when it’s herring season.
Order your broodje haring with pickles and onions. If you don’t like bread, you can eat chunks of herring with toothpicks. If you don’t like herring, then order smoked eel. Whatever you order, don’t forget the pickles and onions.
Where to Eat a Herring Sandwich in Amsterdam
Fish stands like Stubbe’s Haring all over the city as well as Noordermarkt on Saturdays
Stroopwafels take the cookie concept to the next level by filling two thin wafers with sweet Stroop, the same caramel-like syrup that goes well with Pannekoeken. Originally invented in Gouda but perfected in Amsterdam, Stroopwafels are best eaten hot off the griddle.
Be sure to pair your hot Stroopwafel with hot coffee or tea. Not only is this the traditional way to eat Sroopwafels, but it’s also the best way. You’ll know what we mean once the steam from your drink hits the Stroopwafel. The reaction is magical.
Where to Eat Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
Original Stroopwafels at Albert Cuyp Market
5. Poffertjes (Mini Pancakes)
Sweeter than Pannenkoeken thanks to generous amounts of powdered sugar and butter, miniature pancakes called Poffertjes are a popular snack available at stands around Amsterdam. Dutch cooks prepare Poffertjes batter with buckwheat flour before frying the petite treats to crispy goodness.
You can add toppings like Nutella and syrup to your Poffertjes if you’re so inclined. Keep in mind that most locals stick to powdered sugar and butter, but it’s up to you.
Where to Eat Poffertjes in Amsterdam
Poffertjes Albert Cuyp at Albert Cuyp Market
6. Stamppot (Mash Pot)
True confession: We never heard of Stamppot (mash pot) until we visited Amsterdam. Always game to sample new food, we gave Stamppot a try. We loved the mashed-up mix of vegetables, potatoes and butter. Dutch cooks traditionally add kale or swiss chard, but more modern renditions include other greens like tarragon.
You can eat Stamppot as a comforting side dish or pair it with sausage for a complete Dutch dinner. Though it may be a challenge, try to save room for dessert.
Where to Eat Stampott in Amsterdam
Moeders Restaurant for traditional Stampott and Carstens Brasserie for a more modern Stampott option
7. Rijsttafel (Rice Table)
With a history that dates back to the 17th century when the Dutch colonized Indonesia, Rijsttafel is a veritable rice feast that spans the gamut of Indonesian cuisine. A Rijsttafel meal involves a colorful parade of little plates that fill the table first and the belly later. In fact, the Dutch word Rijsttafel translates to ‘rice table’.
Enlist as many friends as you can so that you can try dozens of dishes. Expect flavors to hit all notes from sweet to spicy in a feast filled with meat, fish or vegetables. Just don’t expect to eat Rijsttafel everywhere in Indonesia. The 20th-century incarnation is decidedly Dutch.
Where to Eat Rijsttafel in Amsterdam
Restaurant Blauw and Sama Sebo
8. Kaas (Dutch Cheese)
Although Holland is famous for Gouda and Edam, both made with cow’s milk, Dutch dairy farmers produce enough cheese products to fill a cheese plate and then some. Amsterdam cheese shops sell these cheeses and more, though true cheeseheads will want to take a day trip outside Amsterdam to experience a cheese market that dates back to the middle ages.
Start your Dutch cheese exploration with the mass-produced classics – Gouda and Edam. You can attend a cheese tasting to explore different flavors by sampling different ages from four weeks to a year or two. You can then move on to lesser-known varieties like Maasdammer, Boerenkaas and Schapenkaas. You’ll get extra points if you can pronounce the Dutch cheese names correctly on the first try.
Where to Eat Dutch Cheese in Amsterdam
Cheese shops around the city as well as Noordermarkt on Saturdays
No longer relegated to Sundays, brunch occurs on a daily basis in Amsterdam. Local restaurants serve pancakes (both Dutch and American style) as well as eggs, omelets and more exotic fare like avocado bowls and dim sum dumplings.
And the best part? You don’t have to wake up early since some of the best Amsterdam brunch spots serve brunch all day long.
Read our Amsterdam brunch guide.
Plan to eat brunch before or between sightseeing expeditions. The food and coffee will fuel you up for a day of cultural exploration.
Where to Eat Brunch in Amsterdam
Gartine, Little Collins and Dignita
10. Dim Sum
Although the distance from Amsterdam to Hong Kong exceeds 5,700 miles, dim sum is a popular cuisine in Amsterdam. More than a dozen local restaurants serve the fun style of Cantonese cuisine known for steamed dumplings and other savory treats.
You can eat dim sum in the center of Amsterdam, outside the ring, at the Foodhallen or within a restaurant the looks like a floating pagoda. Grab your chopsticks, order a pot of jasmine tea and get ready to chow down on dim sum in Amsterdam.
Where to Eat Dim Sum in Amsterdam
Sea Palace, Oriental City and One Dim Sum
11. Patat Friet (Fried Potatoes)
Fried potatoes are popular around the world from french fries in New York to chips in London to pomme frites in Paris. This popularity has not escaped Amsterdam where locals eat cones of patat friet topped with mayonnaise and other saucy toppings made with ingredients like ketchup, curry and peanuts.
Plan to eat patat friet as an afternoon snack or after a night at the bars. Pick your toppings while you wait in an inevitable queue. Don’t worry – your cone of crispy fried potatoes will be worth the wait.
Where to Eat Fried Potatoes in Amsterdam
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx and Manneken Pis
12. Appeltaart (Apple Pie)
Leave your impression of apple pie at home when you visit the Netherlands. Available in restaurants and cafes through Amsterdam, the appeltaart is notable for its crunchy crust and a chunky apple filling flavored with spices like cinnamon cardamom and nutmeg.
Discover the best desserts around the world.
You’ll want to eat an iconic appeltaart at Winkel 43, the Amsterdam institution located on the bank of the Westerstraat canal. Be sure to order a slice with a dollop of whipped cream for the full Amsterdam apple pie experience.
Where to Eat Apple Pie in Amsterdam
Amsterdammers have been drinking Jenever since the 16th century. Originally prescribed for medicinal purposes, Jenever is now a popular juniper-flavored spirit similar to Gin. Locals drink Jenever at bars as well as at distillers like the House of Bols.
Go to a traditional Amsterdam tasting room to drink Jenever. Cross your hands behind your back and bend over to take the first sip. After the first sip, whether you hold the glass is up to you.
Where to Drink Jenever in Amsterdam
De Drie Fleschjes and Wynand Focknink
As cool as it is to drink Genever in Amsterdam, sometimes beer is the better beverage option. Famous for commodity beers like Heineken and Amstel, Amsterdam has joined the craft beer scene with a vengeance and now has a multitude of worthy drinking establishments for those times.
Sure, you can spend a couple hours on a Heineken experience but why not spend that same time at Brouwerji ‘t IJ drinking craft beer inside a repurposed windmill. You can continue your beer-drinking escapades at Foeders and Craft & Draft – both bars serve a wide selection of Dutch and Belgian brews.
Where to Drink Beer in Amsterdam
Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Foeders and Craft & Draft
Useful Amsterdam Facts
Food in Amsterdam FAQs
Dutch food rules the roost in this international city. Popular Dutch foods in Amsterdam include Bitterballen, Pannenkoeken, Poffertjes and Stroopwafels.
Food in Amsterdam ranges from cheap eats to fine dining. In other words, you can easily eat for well under 50€ a day or blow it out and spend much more on a fine dining experience.
No. Tipping is optional in the Netherlands.
Bourdain visited Albert Cuyp Market, Cafe Noorderlicht, Café Soundgarden, De Drie Fleschjes, Frens Haringhandel, Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs, Tempo Doeloe and Wildeman Cafe while filming the first season episode of The Layover.
People typically eat dinner between 7pm and 9pm in Amsterdam.
Yes. Reservations are necessary for Amsterdam’s better restaurants. However, you should be able to walk into most cafes and bars without issue. We also recommend reservations for Amsterdam’s best Indonesian rijsttafel restaurants due to their popularity.
Hungry for More Food in Amsterdam?
Check out our comprehensive Amsterdam Restaurant Guide and Amsterdam Brunch Guide. If you’re thirsty or in need of caffeine, check out our Amsterdam Cafe Guide too.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.
We purchased and ate all food featured in this article.
Original Publication Date: February 7. 2020
Friday 24th of March 2023
Thank you for your review, I am going to Amsterdam tomorrow. I am excited to try something new.
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch
Friday 24th of March 2023
Have a fantastic time in the 'Dam.
Wednesday 14th of September 2022
Hey, I am from Amsterdam and I enjoyed reading your article - always cool to see what others think of our city and how they look at our cuisine (that I mostly valuate for their snacking options but for other meals I tend to choose other cuisines).
Just some suggestions: - pannenkoeken is something we usually eat with powdered sugar or syrup, and if it's savory, it's often with bacon and/or cheese. Something fancy like smoked salmon isn't really typical I'd say. - I feel like what you had as stamppot is a lot more soupy than what we'd usual have. It's not as creamy as a mash and has smoked sausage, smoked bacon and often kale or endivie as its addition to the potato base. Very wintery food! - Ahhh the friet/patat discussion..! In the south they call it 'friet', in the north it's referred to as 'patat'. Both are fine of course, as long as you enjoy it! Can highly recommend 'patatje oorlog', with peanut sauce (what we cal; 'satésaus' - not like the traditional sateh you'd find in Indonesia I think), onion and mayonaise. A great place to eat it is at Eiburgh Snacks, which is a bit out of town, but if your hotel happens to be there I highly recommend trying it!
Finally, I can also definitely recommend Surinamese food. When many people from there moved to the Netherlands after it became Suriname, along with its great people came a great cuisine (as someone who is partly Surinamese I can confirm that!). Try roti from a Surinamese-hindu place and my favourite from creole cuisine is pom.
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch
Friday 16th of September 2022
Thanks for your feedback and tips! We definitely need to return to Amsterdam sooner than later.
Tuesday 10th of May 2022
Nicely done! I'm out looking for the small pancakes for dessert. Thank you
Sunday 2nd of January 2022
What a trip down memory lane! I'm an American of partial Frysian/Dutch ancestry who lived in Amsterdam & the Netherlands for 13 months in 1997-98. I also visited Amsterdam in 2001 for a couple of weeks. I love the Netherlands & hope to return. I especially loved the Indonesian rice table as well as the Surinamese eateries.
Wednesday 25th of August 2021
Great article, one correction. It's stroopwafels, not stroopwaffels. Also, not friets but patat friet. The rest is spot on.
Thursday 7th of July 2022
@Daryl and Mindi Hirsch, I think only Wim says 'patat friet'. In the northern half of the country people say 'patat' and in the South 'friet'. Google for 'patat vs friet' for more (historical) information about these two words. It's an ongoing battle between the two; 'patat friet' is definitely not an option. Besides that, great article!
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch
Wednesday 22nd of September 2021
Thanks for the spelling corrections. Fixed.