When we planned our trip to Amsterdam earlier this year, we didn’t necessarily plan it to be a big foodie destination, but we were not disappointed by anything we had there. It was so much fun getting to try all the traditional Dutch street foods, as well as some different things that we didn’t think we would find (like Indonesian food), and all the restaurants in between.
Dutch Street Food
In my opinion, the best way to experience all the traditional Dutch foods is to head to the Albert Cuyp Market and try them all. I know the raw herring is not for everyone (Colby couldn’t do more than one bite) but I still think it’s worth trying everything so you can say you did. Personally, I loved them all!
Patat (fries): I always thought fries like this were a Belgian thing but to be honest, I liked the ones we had here much more than the ones in Bruges. Don’t forget a heap of mayonnaise on top if you’re doing it the traditional way!
Stroopwafels: I would kill for an authentic stroopwafel. I think we had three during our few days in the city and honestly, they’re unreal. It’s essentially too thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup in the middle. Once you have one warm, you’ll wonder how you lived before this.
Poffertjes: These are little sweet pancakes that you can also buy from a vendor at the market. You can get them with chocolate or syrup but we went for the classic dusting of powdered sugar. They’re yummy and worth a try!
Raw herring: Probably the scariest thing on this list, but give it a try if you’re in the Netherlands for the first time! You can get it in a little sandwich if that helps, or just served with pickles and onions. It’s not my first choice of snack but honestly, it’s not bad.
Albert Cuyp Market, Albert Cuypstraat
We arrived in Amsterdam in the late morning, headed out to find somewhere for lunch, and stumbled across this place close to our Airbnb. It’s a bar that serves up delicious Thai food and it really hit the spot. It felt like we hadn’t eaten vegetables in forever (after being in Paris and Bruges) and it was so nice to eat something fresh. Not only that, but the food was amazing and I’m usually a pretty harsh judge of Thai restaurants.
Bar Mash, Gerard Douplein 9
We found this restaurant on Eater’s list of the 38 essential Amsterdam restaurants (along with the rest of the spots on this post), and it was probably the only place we ate in the city that was kind of disappointing. I was excited for a burger but I guess I have high expectations of good burger places because I thought this was just okay, and so did Colby. But, if you’re craving a little taste of American food, it’s not a bad choice.
I will say I loved their branding and restaurant aesthetic! It was super trendy and fun and I loved the little flags they put in every burger.
Thrill Grill, Gerard Doustraat 98
Probably our favorite spot for food in Amsterdam, De Foodhallen is a big tram depot that has been converted into kind of a food mall. There are a ton of little restaurants that you can order from and try lots of different things as well if you like. The hall itself is so trendy and well designed, and it was extremely hard to choose what and where to order.
We ended up getting a plate of vegan nachos, a steam bun, a smoothie, and a couple other things and everything was incredible. The nachos were my personal favorite and I wished we could have tried even more! We actually tried to fit a return trip in before we left the city but it didn’t end up happening.
De Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51
In my opinion, you can never have enough pizza in Europe, so of course we had to track some down. La Perla has their massive wood fired oven on one side of the street, and on the other is their pizzeria. It was busy when we went and I’d recommend a reservation, although we didn’t have one.
The pizza was delectable and it’s served in the traditional European way – not sliced. So you have to do the cutting yourself but it’s worth it for those flavors. We tried the margherita and another one that I don’t remember (oops – the struggle of writing these posts 6 months later) but it was divine.
La Perla, Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 14 & 53
Both from our Internet research and from some of the locals we met in Amsterdam, we heard that it’s a must to try Indonesian food in the city. We headed to Restaurant Blauw again without a reservation, and discovered that 1 – we should have had a reservations and 2 – we were very underdressed for this spot. But, it worked out and they let us in anyway.
We ordered the rijsttafel, which is a table-filling feast for two with every kind of dish, sauce, and side you can imagine. Eater describes it as “a hybrid Dutch-Indonesian tradition that originated during the Dutch colonial era.” It was so good and such a cool new experience. Some things we hated, some things I thought I had an allergic reaction to (a green bean dish that I thought was the spiciest thing I’ve ever had in my life and Colby thought was not spicy at all… still concerned), but most things we loved and piled high on our plates. We left very full and very happy.
Restaurant Blauw, Amstelveenseweg 158-160
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Which of these things would you love to eat and which would you definitely avoid? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out my guide to the 7 must-do’s in Amsterdam, non-food related!