Table of Contents
- Why We Keep Visiting Amsterdam
- Amsterdam and Overtourism
- What To Do in Amsterdam
- Dutch Food to Eat in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Food Scene
- Amsterdam Food Guide
- Amsterdam Restaurants
- Global Food in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Cheap Eats
- Brunch in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Desserts
- Amsterdam Bars
- Amsterdam Markets
- Video – Amsterdam Food Tour
- Things to Do in Amsterdam
- Plan Your Amsterdam Stay
- Hungry for More in Europe?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
Visiting Amsterdam seven times has given us plenty of time to do our favorite things – eat and drink – in Holland’s capital city. Read on to find our picks for the best Amsterdam restaurants, bars and markets.
Amsterdam is one of our favorite European cities.
We fell for the Dutch city’s charms in the 1990’s when we separately visited the Netherlands for the first time. We soaked in the sites and reveled in all aspects of local culture during those visits.
Sightseeing and long strolls by canals filled our days until the sun set and it was time to drink beer. Our initial trips weren’t about food. Other than Pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes), the food in Amsterdam didn’t impress us much.
Spoiler alert – Dutch food has improved but more about that later.
Why We Keep Visiting Amsterdam
With more than a thousand bridges, 165 canals and very few hills, the city is an urban paradise for pedestrians like us as well as for cyclists on both traditional and electric bicycles. We always discover different neighborhoods when we explore Amsterdam, though we’re perpetually drawn to the De Pijp neighborhood with its lively cafes and classic Dutch architecture.
Amsterdam is one of the world’s most exciting and popular cities. With residents and visitors from every corner of the earth, the city is a vibrant melting pot of eclectic cultures and diverse cuisines.
Amsterdam and Overtourism
Tourism has exploded across Europe in recent years. That explosion has hit super popular destinations like Barcelona, Prague, Venice, Lisbon and, of course, Amsterdam. While the most popular areas and neighborhoods can get inundated with crowds of international travelers, these mobs have not dimmed Amsterdam’s magic.
We suggest exploring Amsterdam beyond the Canal Ring to find hidden gems and quiet cafes.
However, even in the city’s busy Centrum, it’s entirely possible to wander away from the crowds and enjoy peaceful, serene moments along the many canals and stately brick row houses. Amsterdam is a gorgeous city – a treasure that people the world over have a right to admire and enjoy.
Plan ahead and book an Amsterdam trip for the autumn or winter. Though the days are shorter and the weather cooler, the city is less crowded compared to the busy spring and summer months. Advance planning is essential whenever you visit if you want to get a cost-effective hotel room or Airbnb apartment.
What To Do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam astounds first-time visitors with a vast number of entertainment options. Music lovers can choose from classical music at the Concertgebouw to some of the coolest rock ‘n roll at the Paradiso.
Other, more vice-focused visitors can spend their evenings in the famous red-light district. However, if you’re like us, you’re probably more interested in Amsterdam’s cultural pleasures than its seedy delights.
Culture vultures will want to visit both the historic collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings in the Rijksmuseum and post-impressionist works at the Van Gogh Museum. These two museums are popular for good reason and warrant a few hours each. Other worthy museums include the Nemo Science Museum and Rembrandt House Museum.
Buy an I Amsterdam card if you plan to visit multiple Amsterdam museums. The card will give you easy access to the city’s best museums as well as city transportation. Note – this card does NOT include entry into the Anne Frank House.
First-timers will want to visit the Anne Frank House. We did the same during our initial visits and the heartbreaking experience remains with us to this day. Over recent decades the museum, which frames a reality around the teenage Holocaust victim’s world, has become a global monument against fascist tyranny.
Since Frank’s tragic legacy continues to resonate, booking tickets in advance is a must. The museum releases a small number of tickets each morning, but these are of high demand and get snapped up quickly. Many visitors book their tickets months in advance. Click here to purchase advance tickets now.
Now that we’ve visited the city a total of seven times between us over a twenty-year period, we feel a kinship to Holland’s capital city that transcends typical tourist status. We no longer spend our days in museums. Instead, we’re happy to aimlessly wander while taking breaks to drink cappuccinos at the city’s many specialty coffee cafes.
Be aware of the difference between coffee cafes and coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Cafes serve cappuccinos and flat whites. Coffeeshops serve weed and hash. These coffeeshops are “tolerated” and can serve cannabis without the threat of enforcement.
Dutch Food to Eat in Amsterdam
If you’re wondering what to eat in Amsterdam, start with traditional Dutch food and go from there. You won’t want to miss Pannenkoeken (buttery Dutch pancakes) or Bitterballen (breaded balls of fatty, creamy shredded pork). Savvy travelers will find these Amsterdam food favorites at cafes and snack bars in every neighborhood. We recommend eating both Dutch dishes at Eetcafe Rosereijn along with a tasty Belgian ale.
You’ll also want to eat fresh seafood at food stalls around town as well as at restaurants like Seafood Bar. Local varieties include raw herring, smoked eel and plump shrimp. If you’re not a fish fan, you can satisfy your protein requirements with iconic Dutch cheeses like Gouda and Edam available at local cheese shops all over the city.
We love Stamppot (mash pot). This Dutch comfort food reminds us of creamy mashed potatoes but with an infusion of vegetables like kale and swiss chard. Non-vegetarians can opt to add sausage on the side.
If you have a sweet tooth or two, you’ll want to head straight to the Albert Cuyp Market where you’ll find friendly vendors selling Stroopwaflels (syrup-filled waffles) and Poffertjes (sweet mini griddle cakes). These treats may be the tastiest Dutch foods of all.
If eating Dutch food makes you thirsty, you can remedy the situation with local beers or Genever, the Dutch predecessor to Gin.
Amsterdam Food Scene
The Amsterdam food scene has come a long way since our original visits two decades ago.
Like much of the world, Amsterdam is experiencing an exciting and affordable restaurant renaissance that rivals its legendary sights. Young chefs have risen in the ranks and are now leading the city’s culinary charge with modern farm-to-table restaurants and intimate wine bars. In other words, you can enjoy Vermeer by day without settling for mediocre food at night.
Amsterdam’s history as a world trading center means that global cuisine is readily available all over town, especially Indonesian and Surinamese food from these former Dutch colonies. You’ll also find food from countries like Mexico, Italy, Turkey, China and Japan.
Don’t worry – you can still find Dutch food favorites around the clock. The difference is that traditional food is now an option as opposed to a necessity in the DAM.
Amsterdam Food Guide
If you go to bed hungry in Amsterdam, then it’s your own fault.
The number of places to eat in Amsterdam is in the thousands with options at all price points from street food to Michelin starred restaurants. In fact, the city currently has 19 Michelin starred restaurants including three with two stars each.
Amsterdam restaurants are exciting. This is a city that pushes its culinary envelope on a daily basis while serving accessible food to locals and food travelers alike. Many of the top restaurants are highly affordable, though the best restaurants in Amsterdam require reservations due to popularity.
We scoured the DAM in search of awesome food and found more than our stomachs could comfortably handle. After we persevered through this adversity, the following became our favorite restaurants in Amsterdam:
At Rijsel, Chef Iwan Driessen takes rotisserie chicken seriously. Not only does he brine each bird for two days, but he also roasts them to juicy perfection in the restaurant’s open kitchen.
Beyond chicken, Rijsel’s menu combines French cuisine with ultra-fresh Dutch ingredients. The restaurant offers both a la carte options along with a reasonably priced three-course menu. Food is served in a contemporary, bright, comfortable, first-floor space in a former ‘domestic science school’ about a half block from the River Amstel in Amsterdam Oost (East).
Risjel captivated us from the start with French salami served with mustard and a basket of bread procured from local bakers paired with creamy, house-made butter. Our captivation continued with the starters – beets with orange salsa and weever fish tartare with razor clam remoulade.
The seemingly simple but utterly satisfying rotisserie chicken and hangar steak dishes sealed the deal with their deep flavors and generously sized portions. We washed it all down with Dulle Teve 10, a Belgian Tripel from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers. Despite Risjel’s extensive wine menu, we rarely say ‘no’ to craft beer in Amsterdam.
Make a reservation a month in advance. Despite its popularity with Amsterdam locals, Rijsel is only open for dinner on weekday nights.
Rijsel is located at Marcusstraat 52, 1091 TK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Open since 2013 and located on the third floor of a former warehouse, BAK Restaurant features locally sourced food in singular style. Originally a vegetarian restaurant, BAK now serves fish and meat in addition to vegetables. A funky menu completes the picture.
Taking seasonality to the highest level, BAK changes its menu on a daily basis. This means that you can’t check out the current menu in advance. It also means we ended up with a 100% vegetarian meal the night of our dinner. As crazy as that may sound, it’s even crazier that we didn’t miss meat at all.
Note – Our dinner coincided with the restaurant’s anniversary – hence the vegetarian reboot.
True confession: When reserving our table and booking reservations, Daryl missed the fine print about the vegetable-only menu. However, each dish was a work of art featuring unique flavor combinations and taste sensations.
Dishes ranged from the simple (homemade sourdough bread with brown butter, radishes and endives) to sublime (beetroot tartare elegantly topped with horseradish yogurt, algae, quinoa and cherries). A hearty white bean cassoulet featured peas and zucchini along with peas and green beans.
As it turns out, the most memorable dish of the night came at the end our meal – creamy goat milk ice cream served over a colorful, tangy tomato salad. Visually stunning and interesting from a culinary perspective, we can’t say that we’d order this dish if it were to appear on another menu. However, we may be inspired to create a modified version at home.
Although the team at BAK exclusively serves fixed menus, the restaurant accommodates vegetarians, pregnant women and people with various intolerances and allergies.
BAK Restaurant is located at Van Diemenstraat 408, 1013 CR Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Café De Klepel
Is Café de Klepel a wine bar or a restaurant? The answer is yes.
This self-proclaimed ‘wine cafe with a French bistro kitchen’ packs its cozy space in Amsterdam’s Centrum neighborhood every night of the week. Oenophiles flock here to eat well while they sip on curated French wine, though food travelers with reservations are welcome as well.
Cafe de Klepel’s kitchen serves a fixed menu that changes daily. Our dinner featured dishes that were simultaneously simple and sophisticated, each showcasing a range of locally sourced Dutch ingredients.
We started with a salad that married fresh seafood with organic vegetables. Our main course of sea bass was so fresh it practically swam in a rich langoustine sauce. For dessert, we enjoyed a cherry pie reminiscent of cherry clafouti.
Don’t judge us for ordering beer instead of wine from Café de Klepel’s impressive bottle collection. After drinking copious amounts of Burgundian wine during a recent French barge cruise, we were more than thrilled to drink organic Lousberg beer from Belgium instead.
In addition to serving three-course and four-course dinners, Café de Klepel serves charcuterie, cheese, sardines and oysters at the bar.
Café De Klepel is located at Prinsenstraat 22, 1015 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Maris Piper Brasserie
Opened by the team behind Breda and GUTS Restaurant (see below), Maris Piper is a De Pijp brasserie with plush velvet seating and stylish decor. Menu highlights include global classics like Steak Tartare and Beef Wellington as well as local favorites like Herring and Dutch Shrimp.
We got a good feeling when our server welcomed us to lunch with glasses of Oro Rosso Trentodoc, the fabulous Trentino sparkler that we discovered during a recent visit to Trento and the surrounding area. But, as we sat in an otherwise empty dining room, we wondered how the meal would pan out.
During our lunch, Chef Angelo Kremmydas prepared us a selection of starters – Barbecued Artichoke, Beef Carpaccio, Sweetbreads and Salmon with cucumber, green apples and coriander. Each dish was well executed and nicely plated.
We can only imagine the vibe when the restaurant is bustling with guests chatting and clinking their classes in boisterous salutes. Next time we’ll go for dinner and experience it for ourselves.
Treat yourself to a seven-course meal at the restaurant’s Chef’s Table. At the time of our visit, prices ranged from €79.50 to €97.50 for the exclusive experience.
Maris Piper Brasserie is located at Frans Halsstraat 76 HS, 1072 BV Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Popular with creative diners in Amsterdam, Restaurant GUTS has been serving a rotating menu of sharable plates in Centrum since 2015. These diners have just a few choices: sitting upstairs or downstairs, eating five or seven courses and drinking wine or beer.
After conferring with our dining partners, we decided to sit downstairs, eat five courses and drink beer. Once these tough decisions were made, we let the GUTS staff take care of everything else.
Our meal was a whirlwind of small plates and big flavors. We indulged in locally farmed ham and artichoke salad with dehydrated feta before chowing down on fried chicken, chili-infused ceviche, pork consume and lamb with romanesco sauce and smoked olives.
We lost count as small plates kept coming until the meal ended with refreshing watermelon tacos. Unlike their Mexican brethren, these tacos replaced corn shells with dehydrated watermelon flesh, ground beef with watermelon granita and sour cream with goat cheese cream.
Lunch is served on an a la carte basis. Expect to eat dishes like Chicken Katsu and Pork Jowl.
Restaurant GUTS is located at Utrechtsestraat 6, 1017 VN Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Although hotel restaurants are risky for food travelers with limited time in a city, we decided to take a chance on Carstens. Not only was the restaurant opened by a top Dutch chef, but its focus on ‘Dutch food with a twist’ caught our eye.
Chef Maik Kuipers, formerly Head Chef at three-starred De Librije for fourteen years, conceived the Carstens concept and infused the Dutch brasserie’s menu with Dutch ingredients wherever possible. Despite the restaurant’s location in the upscale Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam across from the Amsterdam Centraal train station, dishes are both generously sized and reasonably priced.
We started our meal with a dish of Veal Tongue with pan-fried langoustine and another with thinly sliced Yellow Beetroot, both featuring locally sourced ingredients. The local focus also applied to our main courses – Farmer’s Lamb in herb yogurt and Monkfish with smoked eel, potato and sour pickles.
Interestingly, our Stamppot side dish may have been the most Dutch dish of the meal despite its tarragon twist. As for the sweet ending, it’s not every day that we have licorice in our dessert though maybe we should include it more often.
Don’t skip the Carstens creative wine menu featuring Dutch wines as well as wines with Dutch connections. During our meal, we drank glasses of Clouds Cap Classique Chardonnay produced by Dutch winemakers in South Africa‘s Stellenbosch.
Carstens Brasserie is located at Hasselaerssteeg 1, 1012 LG Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In a city with no lack of seafood options, Seafood Bar fills the gap between street food and fine dining. We walked by the De Pijp location several times, entranced by the restaurant’s sunlit dining room and gleaming raw bar.
After we ogled a fishmonger marinating salmon to be cured with red beetroot juice, we knew we had to eat here.
Finally, we squeezed in a post-lunch snack at The Seafood Bar. Or was it a pre-dinner appetizer?
Opting for a healthy choice, we shared a plate loaded with smoked mackerel, shrimp, crab salad and two types of smoked salmon. The fish was tasty and the price was a good value. The restaurant also offers a hot seafood melange with lobster tail, shrimp, mussels and calamari.
Next time, we’re trying crispy Fish & Chips. We may even go crazy and order Fritto Misto with deep-fried Dutch shrimp, smelt, squid and cod.
Bring friends if you plan to order the Fruits de Mer ‘Seafood Bar’. It’s a feast best shared with others.
The Seafood Bar has multiple Amsterdam locations. We ate at the De Pijp restaurant at Ferdinand Bolstraat 32, 1072 LK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Eetcafé Rosereijn looks like a typical Amsterdam watering hole with its brown furniture, walls and bar. However, in this case, looks are deceiving. Eetcafe Rosereijn is actually a delightful Jordaan spot to enjoy traditional Dutch food, fine Belgian ales and jazz music.
Unlike touristic Amsterdam restaurants with traditional Dutch menus, Eetcafe Rosereijn attracts more locals than tourists. That being said, we felt more than welcome at both of our meals despite a two-year gap between the two.
Eetcafe Rosereijn’s menu includes tempting specialties like Stamppot of the Day and Apple Pie served with ice cream. We may try those in the future or we may order Bitterballen and Pannenkoeken for the third time. We’d like to try something different, but these two dishes are too good for us to skip at this Amsterdam restaurant.
Recognizing that some people might not want to indulge in Dutch cuisine, Eetcafe Rosereijn has other options like hamburgers and Greek Salad. However, we recommend ordering crunchy, yet creamy pork-centered fried Bitterballen and buttery, eggy Pannenkoeken. They’re the real Dutch deal.
Order a Westmalle Dubbel if you love Belgian beer. The dark brew pairs perfectly with both Bitterballen and Pannenkoeken.
Eetcafé Rosereijn is located at Haarlemmerdijk 52, 1013 JE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Global Food in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s culinary diversity defines the city and permeates through its culinary landscape. Much of the credit goes to migrants who moved to the Netherlands from neighboring countries in addition to numerous Dutch explorers and merchants who brought back tantalizing spices when they colonized countries like Indonesia.
Though it’s ridiculously easy to find Indonesian food in Amsterdam, it’s also easy to find cuisines from countries like Italy, Israel, India and China. However, if you’re craving Mexican, Japanese or French food, Amsterdam has that too.
Amsterdam has a connection with Indonesia that dates back to the 17th century when the Netherlands ruled the Dutch East Indies as part of the country’s trading empire. Though Indonesia declared its independence in 1945, this connection remains strong in local Dutch cuisine.
Many Indonesian restaurants around town serve Rijsttafel, a Dutch-Indonesian rice table concept that involves a melange of little plates of food. Since trying Rijsttafel was at the top of our list of things to do in Amsterdam, we were disappointed to discover that recommended Sama Sebo was closed during our most recent visit.
Once we realized that popular Restaurant Blauw near Vondelpark was open and after reading recent positive reviews, all was right again.
During a marathon dinner, we shared 15 small plates filled with meat, vegetables and rice. Intensely flavorful spicy beef and goat satay stood out among the gallery of small canoe-shaped dishes. For non-meat eaters, Restaurant Blauw also serves versions of Rijsttafel featuring seafood or vegetables.
Don’t feel obligated to order Rijsttafel if you’re not that hungry or on a budget. Restaurant Blauw has a full menu with a variety of dishes and drinks.
Restaurant Blauw is located at Amstelveenseweg 158-160, 1075 XN Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam has joined the Israeli food wave with NENI Amsterdam, a modern, multi-level restaurant located next to the city’s Olympic Stadium. This restaurant serves shareable Israeli cuisine with influences from the diaspora along with lemon cocktails.
Haya Molcho opened the original NENI in Berlin, naming the restaurant after her sons Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv and Ilan. After opening locations throughout Europe and in Tel Aviv, Molcho debuted the Amsterdam outpost in February of 2019. Not one to rest, she published a cookbook a few months later.
We somehow missed NENI when we were Hamburg earlier this year but we made up for this omission by dining at NENI Amsterdam. Our meal was full of surprises starting with popcorn falafel prepared with corn and popcorn instead of chickpeas.
Charbroiled cauliflower came with an egg boiled for exactly 6.5 minutes and deconstructed baba ghanoush. Labneh shared its tang with house-made sourdough bread and olives sourced from Greece, France and Morocco. Sous vide chicken shwarma sat regally atop a mashed potato cookie. And sea bass hid under a sea of Moroccan-style tomato sauce.
Our meal ended with a wonderful dessert called Malabi – a creamy, intensely rose-flavored vegan pannacotta topped with toasted coconut, strawberries and peanuts. Chef Boaz Peled later confided that he achieved that creaminess with coconut cream. It’s one of the better restaurant desserts we’ve eaten this year.
In a rush? You can grab a bite at the downstairs NENI Deli. Options include salads, avocado toast, shakshuka and hummus.
NENI Amsterdam is located at Stadionplein 8, 1076 CM Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Eating the best Neapolitan pizza while living in Naples gave us a critical eye. If you’re craving good pizza in Amsterdam, Sotto is a great place to find it.
After hearing numerous recommendations from Amsterdam locals, we chose to try Sotto Pizza after noticing the fabulous star-shaped pies they produce at their location near Vondelpark.
Our verdict: Sotto Pizza lives up to the recommendations by producing beautifully charred pies with excellent ingredients.
This star-shaped Carnevale Salsiccia Pizza was topped with Sausage, San Marzano tomatoes, D.O.P. Buffalo Mozzarella, Porcini Mushrooms, Olives, Basil and Ricotta.
Nicely charred and hot out of the oven, our thin-crust pizza was topped with chunks of Dutch sausage, globs of gooey Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. sweet San Marzano tomatoes and porcini mushrooms. Olives, basil and ricotta cheese completed the pie.
Though the pizzeria serves a selection of Italian wine as well as Moretti beer, we paired our pizza with IJwit, a wheat beer from local Amsterdam brewery Brouwerij ‘t IJ (see below). The combo worked.
Go to Sotto’s Kadijksplein location if you want pizza for lunch.
Sotto Pizza has two Amsterdam locations. We ate at the pizzeria located at Amstelveenseweg 89, 1075 VW Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam has so many dim sum restaurants that a food traveler could spend an entire day visiting them all. That would be excessive even for us. Another option is to eat as many dumplings as your stomach can handle at Sea Palace instead.
As the city’s only permanently-moored, floating restaurant, the pagoda-like Sea Palace is easy to find near the train station. Once you arrive, epic views provide a show of Lake IJ until the main event arrives – the food.
Sea Palace’s cooks prepare a seemingly non-stop parade of dumplings for crowds that fill the restaurant’s 650+ seats. We enjoyed three different dumplings during our meal and each was as good as dim sum we’ve previously eaten in Hong Kong.
Diners in the mood for something different will find a variety of Cantonese classics as well as Peking Duck and Hot Pot. The restaurant also offers set menus for guests who want a variety of dishes without the pressure of narrowing down the menu’s many options.
Get to Sea Palace early. The restaurant stops serving dim sum at 4 pm.
Sea Palace is located at Oosterdokskade 8, 1011 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam Cheap Eats
Amsterdam is a haven for fast food fanatics and junk food junkies. The city has a multitude of discount dining options ranging from healthy to decadent.
We recommend the following spots when you’re looking for a quick bite in Amsterdam:
Forget hamburgers when you’re in Amsterdam. Instead, get your sandwich fix at fish stands called haringhandel. As the name implies, these stands sell herring sandwiches as well as other fishy favorites.
Dutch fishermen typically fish for herring in the North Sea during the early summer. Fishmongers then cure the fish in salt so that it’s preserved for the rest of the year.
Don’t be afraid to try a herring sandwich in Amsterdam even if you’re not a herring fan. We’re not crazy about pickled herring served in the states but love the preparation at Amsterdam fish stands. We also love smoked eel sandwiches as quick pick-me-ups during busy touring days.
Eat your fish sandwich while sitting on a bench with a view of a canal. It tastes better that way.
Fish Stands are located all over Amsterdam.
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx
The folks at Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckxress have been frying potatoes and topping them with sauce since 1957. And not just any sauce. This Centrum stand has 25 different sauces on offer.
Ordering Flemish-style fries is easy at this simple stand. First, choose the desired size (small, medium or large) and request your sauces each at a small additional cost. Sauce options range from ketchup and mayonnaise to a special Oorlog Mix with mayo, satay sauce and onions.
The last step is to find a spot to eat your cone of fries. We shared a medium-size order topped with mayo while sitting on a nearby stoop, dipping each potato stick into the sweet sauce until we couldn’t eat another bite.
Don’t be deterred by the inevitable long line. It moves quickly.
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckxress is located at Voetboogstraat 33, 1012 XK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
At first glance, Leeman Dönor is a typical kebab stand in Amsterdam – think barebones decor and a straightforward menu with just a handful of items. However, just one bite reveals so much more.
Open since 1992, family-run Leeman Dönor feeds kebabs to a diverse fan base. Crowds patiently queue to spend €3.50 for a kebab loaded with meat (chicken or veal) and shredded lettuce. This price includes sauces and is subject to change.
Why do crowds queue at all hours of the day? Leeman Dönor’s secret weapon may very well be its on-site bakery. Beyond baking bread for the kebabs, the bakery makes a variety of Turkish treats like boreks, baklava and pizza.
As luck would have it, we made it to the shop literally hours before it closed for a five-week holiday. Though we were relieved to have squeaked in at the wire, we were bummed that we didn’t have stomach space to try Leeman’s version of Kapsalon.
Kapsalon is a mishmash of fries, shawarma, cheese, lettuce, garlic sauce and sambal. We ate this Turkish-Dutch calorie buster in nearby Rotterdam and suspect that the version they serve at Leeman Döner is as good, if not better.
Leeman Döner typically closes in August when the owners travel to Turkey. Check the restaurant’s website for exact dates of closure to avoid döner disappointment.
Leeman Döner is located at Van Woustraat 160, 1073 LW Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Don’t worry if you’re in the mood for Indonesian food but don’t have the time or budget for a Rijsttafel meal. Sari Citra provides an affordable Indonesian option in the De Pijp neighborhood.
More of a warung (cafe) than a formal restaurant, Sari Citra offers a full menu of Indonesian dishes in a relaxed setting. Despite its casual atmosphere, the restaurant sprinkles Indonesian design elements throughout its comfortable dining room.
Order your meal on a take-away basis if you want to eat in your hotel room or apartment.
Sari Citra is located at Ferdinand Bolstraat 52bg, 1072 LL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Chicken rules the roost at Benny’s Chicken in Amsterdam’s Albert Cuyp Market. The popular food stall serves a dizzying poultry selection including grilled chicken, chicken skewers and chicken sandwiches.
We couldn’t resist stopping for chicken wings while grazing our way through the market. Though different from wings we ate in Buffalo, these wings were moist and tangy. Adding hot sauce took them to finger-licking good status.
Muslims can enjoy Benny’s Chicken since the birds are Halal certified.
Benny’s Chicken is located at Albert Cuypstraat 177, 1073 BG Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Brunch in Amsterdam
Bigger than breakfast and more fun than lunch, brunch is the best meal of the day in Amsterdam.
Check out our Amsterdam Brunch Guide to find out where to get your brunch on in the DAM. This guide will keep you full and happy for a full week of brunches.
Dutch desserts are some of the tastiest in the world. And the best part? You can eat dessert at any time of the day or night in Amsterdam. But Dutch desserts aren’t the only sweet treats you’ll find in Amsterdam.
Just like savory food in Amsterdam, desserts run the gamut from traditional Dutch to international. This is a city where you can satisfy your sweet tooth at a dedicated cafe, after a nice sit-down meal like we did at Carstens (see above) or with candy at Amsterdam food markets.
After tasting a wide selection of Dutch candy, we’ve narrowed down our favorites to Tonys Chocolonely’s fair-trade chocolate bars and Drop (i.e. salty licorice). Drop has a unique salty, sweet flavor that we happen to love but isn’t for everybody. However, all chocolate lovers will adore Tony Chocolonely’s Caramel Sea Salt Milk Chocolate bar.
Although some Amsterdammers eat Pannenkoeken for dessert, we prefer to eat savory Dutch pancakes at eateries like Eetcafe Rosereijn (see above). When it comes to sampling Amsterdam sweets, these are the ones you shouldn’t miss:
The bad news about the Appeltaart at Winkel 43 is that it’s so good that you’ll want to eat it again. The good news is that the Jordaan restaurant serves the popular dessert from early morning to late at night. In other words, it’s possible to eat an Appeltaart for breakfast and another for a midnight snack.
Although Appeltaart translates to apple pie, Winkel 43’s dessert has a slightly different, more cake-like texture than the typical diner variety available in America. The popular restaurant’s version has big chunks of apples with flavors of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.
This classic Amsterdam dessert is big enough to share but you’ll probably want your own slice. Go crazy and add whipped cream and even crazier by adding apple pie liqueur. On Saturday mornings, you can shop at Noordermarkt (see below) before or after your pie break.
Eat a slice of apple pie on Winkel 43’s outdoor terrace with a view of the Prinsengracht Canal.
Winkel 43 is located at Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Original Stroopwafels location in the Albert Cuyp Market (see below) makes this dessert mecca a mandatory stop on any Amsterdam trip.
For the unfamiliar, Stroopwafels are wafer thin waffle sandwiches filled with Stroop, a variation of syrup made with sugar, butter, molasses, cinnamon and other spices. Originally invented in Gouda as a happy accident more than a century ago, the Stroopwafel remains a popular Dutch dessert eaten on the go or with a hot beverage.
Stroopwafels are easy to find in Amsterdam but only a few shops make stroopwafels with Stroop instead of caramel. The Gionking family doesn’t cut corners at Original Stroopwafels. They make their Stroopwafels from scratch and serve them hot off the grill for all to enjoy.
In addition to their top-selling original Stroopwafel, Original Stroopwafels also serves a chocolate-dipped version as well as a jumbo Superstrooper. If you’re not sure what to order, start with an original Stroopwafel and go from there.
You can buy bags of Stroopwafels to enjoy later. Though not as good as the hot ones you’ll eat at the market, they’re quite tasty when paired with hot tea or coffee.
Original Stroopwafels is located at Albert Cuyp Straat t/o 182, Stand 134, 1073 BL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Fans of big Dutch pancakes known as Pannenkoeken will want to try smaller Dutch pancakes called Poffertjes in Amsterdam. Spongy in texture and made with buckwheat flour, these tiny treats are best when topped with powdered sugar and butter, though some people add toppings like syrup and Nutella.
We’ve previously enjoyed Poffertjes in Amsterdam markets, restaurants and hotels. Due to their small size, each Poffertje has about 20 calories not counting toppings. However, it’s pretty much impossible to eat just one.
Plan to eat Poffertjes at Amsterdam Christmas markets. These miniature pancakes are particularly popular during the holiday season.
Poffertjes are available all over Amsterdam.
Patisserie Kuyt is an award-winning patisserie in Amsterdam’s Centrum neighborhood. Designed to satisfy the ‘true lover of all good things in life’, this Amsterdam patisserie sells chocolate, cakes, coffee and tea in addition to pastries including the shop’s famous Appelschnitt.
Baked in the patisserie’s subterranean bakery, Klaas Kuyt’s Appelschnitt layers fresh ingredients like apple, currants, raisins, cinnamon and almonds over a buttery shortbread base. A top layer of powdered sugar completes the recipe.
Just like we loved Winkel 43’s Appeltaart, we also loved Patisserie Kuyt’s Appelschnitt. As we proclaimed while eating the delectable dessert, “this is some good schnitt!'”
Plan to take away your Appelschnitt to enjoy later. Patisserie Kuyt’s on-site tea room is no longer open for customers.
Patisserie Kuyt is located at Utrechtsestraat 109-111, 1017 VL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Move over ice cream. Take a hike froyo. Cool Amsterdammers are heading to IJmanschap to lick hand-crafted popsicles.
This West Amsterdam shop serves a dozen gelato and sorbet pops plus coffee. Savvy customers kill two birds with one stone by ordering IJmanschap’s popular Vietnamese ice coffee gelato pop made with strong coffee, condensed milk and ice cubes.
IJmanschap uses wholesome ingredients like raspberries, blood oranges and mascarpone to create their pops while avoiding palm oil and artificial flavors. For a fun twist and small surcharge, customers can request their popsicles be dipped in chocolate or nuts or better yet both.
Don’t skip IJmanschap if you have eating restrictions. All popsicles are gluten-free and some like Coconut Mango are Vegan.
IJmanschap is located at Van Spilbergenstraat 2H, 1057 RG Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Bulls and Dogs
Some people go out of their way to eat gargantuan freak shakes when they travel. We’re not those people… except when the freakshakes are topped with Stroopwafels.
While in De Pijp, we got our freakshake on with Bull and Dogs’ Dutch Cookie Wookie freakalicious milkshake. Piled so high that it literally collapsed within seconds of its arrival at our table, this freakshake was more than the two of us could handle. Somehow, we found a way to eat its decorative Stroopwafel with no problem.
Skip the hot dogs at Bull and Dogs. Sadly, the Bacon & Chips dog we ordered was a hot mess.
Bull and Dogs is located at Van Woustraat 58, 1073 LN Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam is a city where its 1,000+ bars can stay open until 1 am during the week and 3 am on the weekend. That’s a lot of bars and even more drinking opportunities for lovers of cocktails and beer. If coffee is your drug of choice, Amsterdam has that too.
Feeling thirsty yet overwhelmed? We suggest you start with our favorite Amsterdam waterholes in your liquid exploration of the city.
Wondering how to say Cheers in Dutch. Just say Proost. After clinking glasses a few times, it will be second nature.
These historic barrels are filled with Genever at De Drie Fleschjes.
Amsterdam’s history with spirits goes back hundreds of years. Dutch records show that Jenever, a juniper-flavored predecessor to gin, dates back to the 16th century when it was used as for medicinal purposes.
Amsterdammers still drink Jenever today. They also drink vodka, rum and whiskey. We’ve drunk all of these spirits in Amsterdam. Read on to discover some of the best places to drink in the DAM:
De Drie Fleschjes (Three Little Bottles)
Located near Dam Square, Amsterdam’s oldest Genever tasting room oozes with history and flows with liquor. Although De Drie Fleschjes translates to The Three Bottles, liquor options at this Amsterdam stalwart are in the dozens.
Following Dutch tradition, we drank our first shots of Genever with our hands crossed behind our back. Bending over, we slurped down the first sips and then quickly swallowed the rest.
At some point, we switched to Gulpener beer poured straight from the tap. It was that kind of afternoon.
Beyond beverages, De Drie Fleschjes has a small, interesting snack menu with ox sausage, meatballs, old Beemster cheese and Bitterbalen.
Expect the tiny Proeflokaal (tasting room) to be crowded when you visit. With luck on our side, it was empty during our journey back in time.
Don’t expect to drink from wooden barrels prominently displayed at De Drie Fleschjes. These privately-owned barrels are not available for public consumption.
De Drie Fleschjes is located at Gravenstraat 18, 1012 NM Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Tales & Spirits
Rated 31st on The World’s 50 Best Bars list at the end of 2018, Tales & Spirits is a sophisticated cocktail bar located in central Amsterdam. Tables spill on to the sidewalk. Inside, the bar is warm and cozy with exposed brick walls and decorative chandeliers.
People come to Tales & Spirits in droves to indulge in elaborate cocktails served in unique serving vessels. Reading the menu is half the fun. Drinking crafted cocktails is the other half.
Overwhelmed by the extensive menu, we relied on our server to pick some fun drinks on our behalf. We ended up with two – Drop of Art and Eureka!
The bar’s “Drop of Art” is served on an artist’s pallet with ingredients like Genever, elderflower liqueur, bergamot liqueur, white port and a hint of Absinthe. To be honest the drink confounded us. We didn’t know what to do with it and ended up sending it back after conferring with the server. In our defense, we wanted something more refreshing after enduring one of the hottest days in Amsterdam history.
However, we had a Eureka! moment with the Eureka! cocktail served to us in a lightbulb. With gin, Aperol, sweet vermouth and grapefruit juice, this cocktail was like an Aperol Spritz on steroids. Priced at €24 for two people, the cocktail is nothing short of an ingenious way of ‘pouring new wine into old bottles’ or, in Tales & Spirits’ case, lightbulbs.
Don’t hesitate to order snacks at Tales & Spirits. Food options include pork buns and bitterballen.
Tales & Spirits is located at Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, 1012 TE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Craft Beer in Amsterdam
Heineken may be based in Amsterdam, but the real Amsterdam beer scene happens at local breweries and bars. This is where beer lovers drink locally brewed Dutch beer as well as malty Belgian brews.
Let’s cut to the chase. We love Dutch and Belgian beer, especially Doubles, Triples and Kriek Lambics. When we’re craving beer, these are our favorite places to drink in Amsterdam:
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
If you have a crazy dream of drinking beer inside a windmill, then your dream will almost come true at Brouwerij ‘t IJ. This prolific Amsterdam brewery is located right next to an Amsterdam windmill. Considering the short distance and high quality of beer, you will be more than happy with the situation.
Open since 1985, Brouwerij ‘t IJ sells its brews at many of the best Amsterdam restaurants including Sotto (see above) but it’s more fun to drink the quality beer at the canal-side brewery. Here, drinkers choose from a dozen beers on tap and in bottles.
Popular beers have names like Flink, Natte, Zatte and Struis. The brewery also serves elevated bar snacks like Abbey Cheese from Belgium and locally sourced Ox Sausage.
The crowd spilled on to the terrace when we visited Brouwerij ‘t IJ on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After nabbing an indoor table, we ordered beers and snacks at the bar.
Unlike our other times drinking Brouwerij ‘t IJ’s beer around Amsterdam, drinking at the brewery gave us a full range of choices. We were pleased with both of our beers – Natte, a classic Double with a 6.5 ABV, and Zatte, the brewery’s original Triple with an 8% ABV. We also enjoyed a plate of Grilled Sausage with spicy mustard.
You can take brewery tours at 3:30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons for a fee currently set at €6.50. The tour lasts 20 minutes and includes a glass of beer. Arrive early since advance reservations are not accepted.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ is located at Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Operating in a centuries-old space that housed De Pijp’s first bar, Foeders is a happy place for beer enthusiasts who seek quality brews. Ignore the bar’s Amstel taps and glasses – this Amsterdam pub serves a rotating selection of fine Belgian and Dutch beers as well as more global options and fermented beer.
Yuri Hegge leads the craft brew charge at this sunlit space. He shares his love for craft beer with all who walk in the door and even provides free peanuts.
During our visit, we drank glasses of Brasserie d’Achouffe’s Cherry Chouffe and Brouwerij De Ranke’s Guldenbeberg. Though completely different in terms of their flavor profiles, both Belgian beers clocked in with an 8% ABV and came in properly branded glasses.
Take a train to Foeders. The Amsterdam beer bar is located close to the Ceintuurbaan metro station.
Foeders is located at Ceintuurbaan 257, 1074 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Craft & Draft
Part beer bar and part bottle shop, Craft & Draft is a mandatory stop on any Amsterdam beer crawl. In fact, this Amsterdam bar is the last stop on the MOREBEER TOUR, an official Amsterdam pub crawl with four stops.
Plan to spend an hour or two at the long bar tasting beers from around the world. Though we drank Belgian ales during our afternoon visit, Craft & Draft also serves craft beer from countries like the US and UK. Just don’t plan to drive back to your hotel room.
Fill a growler and enjoy beer with friends at nearby Vondelpark.
Craft & Draft is located at Overtoom 417, 1054 JR Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam’s specialty coffee scene exceeded our expectations. Check out our Amsterdam Cafe Guide to find enough third wave coffee to energize a full week of sightseeing in Amsterdam.
Power shoppers won’t want to miss Amsterdam markets where vendors sell antiques, books, flowers, souvenirs and food. As for us, we focused on the food.
Far from tourist traps, Amsterdam markets cater to both locals and travelers. Don’t forget your canvas bag when you shop at our favorite Amsterdam markets:
Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp is a mandatory stop for eating Stroopwafels. (See Original Stroopwafels above.) However, in addition to everyday staples like fresh fish, cheese and produce, this vibrant open-air market has much to offer hungry food travelers. Market stands sell Amsterdam food favorites like herring and Poffertjes to shoppers who patiently queue for the good stuff.
This situation is nothing new. Locals have been shopping at the Albert Cuyp Market since 1905 when vendors starting selling their wares at the now-famous street market. More than a century later, the De Pijp market is busier than ever.
Plan to spend a couple hours grazing through Alber Cuyp. Pick your passion. We recommend a multi-course ‘meal’ with foods like Herring, Kibbeling, Benny’s Chicken, Bitterballen, Poffertjes and Stroopwafels. You can also purchase cheese, fruits and vegetables to enjoy later
Take your market shopping to the next level by combining shopping and beer at Amsterdam’s Dappermarkt. The lively street market is located right by Brouwerij ‘t IJ.
Albert Cuyp Market is located at Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Located next to popular restaurant Winkel 43 (see above), Noordermarkt is an open-air market located in the same spot where a historic market operated centuries ago. The location is no coincidence – Winkel 43’s owner opened the market in 1987 to support the restaurant’s business.
Only open two days a week, Saturday is the day to go to this modern market for both food and antiques. On Tuesdays, the Noordemarkt operates as a flea market. On Saturdays, organic farmers operate produce stands next to fishmongers and food vendors.
Saturday shoppers can buy foods like cheese, fish, bread, produce, eggs and honey to enjoy throughout the week. They can also eat these foods and more on the spot.
We accomplished several Amsterdam food goals during our Saturday morning visit. We nibbled on cheese, shared a herring sandwich and scarfed down organic frites. Though the market’s ice cream stand looked tempting, even we have our food limits.
Save room for a slice of pie at Winkel 43. Go crazy and add a side of whipped cream while you’re at it.
Noordermarkt is located at Noordermarkt 42B, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Not all Amsterdam markets are open-air affairs. Some, like De Foodhallen, allow visitors to shop and eat without worrying about cold weather or rain.
Much like trendy food halls in cities like Brooklyn and Stockholm, De Foodhallen serves global cuisine and crafted cocktails. What makes this food hall unique is that it operates in a former Amsterdam tram depot,
De Foodhallen is a popular Amsterdam destination with 20+ food stands and a handful of bars. Dining options include stands serving Chinese, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern cuisine. If you’re craving pizza, they have that too.
Bring your wallet. As is the case with similar food halls around the world, prices are not low at De Foodhallen.
Foodhallen is located at Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Video – Amsterdam Food Tour
Watch our YouTube video to see some of the best Amsterdam eats.
Things to Do in Amsterdam
Purchasing an I Amsterdam card will take away stress when you explore the city. With access to 70+ museums, public transportation and a canal cruise, you won’t have to worry about buying individual tickets or how much they cost. Cards are available for 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hour increments.
Here are some ideas if you want to take your Amsterdam exploration even further:
Plan Your Amsterdam Stay
Amsterdam has a lot of hotels, all of which tend to book up early especially in the summer.
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.
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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.