Welcome to the delectable world of Amsterdam’s food scene! If you’re planning your first-time trip to this charming city in the Netherlands and wondering what traditional Dutch foods to indulge in, you’re in for an unforgettable culinary adventure.
In this comprehensive Amsterdam food guide, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through 16 must-try dishes. For example, why not treat yourself to a dessert like poffertjes instead of your standard ice cream? From stroopwafels and appeltaart to bitterballen and herring, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re a food lover seeking the finest flavors or a curious traveler eager to explore local delicacies, join us as we navigate through the alleys of taste and uncover the essence of Amsterdam’s rich food heritage. Or, if you’d rather not explore on your own, consider signing up for one of the famous Amsterdam food tours.
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Pannenkoeken (Dutch Pancakes)
A quintessential must-eat Amsterdam food, pannenkoeken are a delightful treat that encapsulates the heartwarming essence of Dutch comfort cuisine. These flat wonders come in both sweet and savory variations, making them a versatile delight for any time of day.
Imagine something between the American version and French crepes–Dutch pancakes are the perfect fusion of the two. Cooked to perfection and often spanning the size of an entire plate, they’re not just a dish; they’re a culinary experience.
Whether generously dusted with powdered sugar, adorned with fruits, or layered with savory delights like cheese, ham, or bacon, each bite is a burst of flavor. And the best part? You’ll find that Dutch pancakes aren’t just for breakfast!
You can find pancake restaurants all throughout the city. However, our favorites are Pancakehouse Upstairs, The Happy Pig Pancake Shop, and Moak Pancakes. If you’d like to eat at Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs, call ahead to make a reservation. They are currently open six days a week (closed on Sundays).
Patat or Friet (Fried Potatoes)
Indulging in patat or friet is an absolute must to fully embrace the heart of Dutch cuisine and experience one of the most popular foods Amsterdam has to offer. This version of french fries takes on a unique character in the Netherlands.
What sets them apart is the delightful array of toppings and sauces that elevate these fried potatoes to a whole new level. In particular, we highly recommend the patatje oorlog! This dish features fries doused in peanut satay sauce, mayonnaise, and raw diced onions.
For a standout experience, visit our favorite spot: Fabel Friet in De Negen Straatjes. Their house specialty includes fries with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and homemade truffle mayonnaise.
Another noteworthy shop in Centrum is Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx. We’d get the classic Oorlog mix here. Although you can expect lines at both locations, they tend to move pretty quickly and are worth the wait!
Dutch raw herring
When it comes to iconic street food and Amsterdam famous food, Dutch raw herring takes the spotlight. A seasonal delicacy locally known as “haring” in Dutch, this fish is a culinary gem that shouldn’t be missed, particularly during summer.
The city’s fish stands proudly showcase this delicacy, allowing you to experience freshly caught Dutch herring. One popular way to enjoy it is the “Broodje Haring.” This classic sandwich features raw herring garnished with onions and pickles.
The first may be slightly more convenient to visit, as it’s located near Amsterdam Centraal. However, we highly suggest stopping by Fishmongers Albert Cuyp if you’re planning to go to the market on Albert Cuypstraat. It’s only a short walk from the Van Gogh Museum!
Poffertjes (Mini Pancakes)
If you’re searching for the best food in Amsterdam, don’t miss out on indulging in a plate of poffertjes. Although they may be difficult to pronounce (PO-fur-jis), these bite-sized sweets are certainly easy to eat–and impossible to resist.
Traditionally served with butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar, poffertjes offer a delightful balance of sweetness and lightness. However, their charm doesn’t end there! Other possible toppings include Nutella, strawberries, and even whipped cream.
For an authentic experience, we highly recommend trying Poffertjes Albert Cuyp. Here, you can watch the owner make these mini pancakes fresh.
Plus, while savoring your dessert, don’t miss the chance to explore the vibrant Albert Cuyp Market surrounding you. From charming stalls offering local crafts to mouthwatering street food, this bustling market is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.
Amidst the myriad of Amsterdam local foods, stroopwafels hold a special place as a cherished sweet treat. This delightful confection literally translates to “syrup waffle” and is best enjoyed warm and fresh from the griddle.
These waffle cookies are a true testament to Dutch ingenuity–two thin waffles sandwiched together with a luscious filling of caramel syrup. Moreover, they pair exquisitely with your morning coffee! Our favorite place for stroopwafels in Amsterdam is Hans Egstorf, the oldest bakery in Amsterdam.
However, close second choices include Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels at the Albert Cuyp Market and Lanskroon Bakery, around the corner from the Spui. On the other hand, many tourists opt for the instagrammable van Wonderen Stroopwafels.
Plus, if you want to share the joy, consider bringing home a tin of stroopwafels as a souvenir. Luckily, they keep for a long time, and your family will surely enjoy them.
Amid the array of Amsterdam foods, one standout you shouldn’t miss is the bitterballen. Resembling croquettes, these delectable treats are a popular Dutch food often gracing the menus of bars and pubs across the city.
Although they’re deep-fried and crispy on the outside, bitterballen are wonderfully soft on the inside. Plus, they’re often served with a side of tangy mustard.
To craft these delectable morsels, a hearty stew is prepared using beef stock and roux to achieve a thick consistency. After chilling the stew until it solidifies, the mixture is then hand-rolled into spherical shapes. Finally, the bitterballen are coated in breadcrumbs and fried to golden perfection.
Due to their popularity, you’re likely to find bitterballen at almost any pub or bar in Amsterdam. So, we won’t give specific recommendations for where to find them. Plus, if you’re vegetarian, don’t worry! You can find vegetarian versions of bitterballen made with mushroom filling.
Appeltaart (Dutch Apple Pie)
When it comes to what to eat in Amsterdam, indulging in a slice of appeltaart is an absolute must. Usually served warm with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, Dutch apple pie is a treat for the senses.
What sets it apart is its balance–not overly sweet, you can truly savor the apples in every bite. The tender chunks of spiced apples are nestled within a buttery, crumbly crust that’ll melt in your mouth! To experience appeltaart at its finest, head to Winkel 43 in the Jordaan neighborhood.
Or, if the line’s too long, our second choice is Cafe Papeneiland. Both establishments are approximately a 5-minute walk from the Anne Frank House. With this in mind, either option makes a convenient stop for a snack during your Amsterdam exploration.
Don’t miss the chance to taste kibbeling, a local food in Amsterdam that embodies the city’s love for fresh fish and flavorful street food. The term “kibbeling” itself is derived from “kabeljauwwang” in Dutch, which translates to “cod cheeks.”
What began as a clever use of leftover cod chunks in the 19th century has evolved into a trendy and delicious street food. To make kibbeling, the fish is coated in a flavorful batter and deep fried, creating a delightful crunch that complements the tender fish.
Traditionally crafted with cod, this snack has evolved to embrace various affordable white fish options like pollock, hake, or haddock. This dish is often enjoyed with a dipping sauce, most commonly a mayonnaise-based garlic sauce.
Just remember that kibbeling is usually served for lunch, so you’ll have the best luck finding a place to try it in the afternoon! For an authentic experience, we recommend trying it at Fishmongers Albert Cuyp, where the fish is always fresh.
When it comes to traditional Amsterdam food, Dutch cheeses (“kaas”) are a true hallmark of the city’s culinary heritage. Renowned worldwide, varieties like Gouda and Edam have earned their place in the global cheese spotlight.
To fully appreciate the diversity and flavors of Dutch cheese, a visit to Henri Willig’s cheese shops is a must. Their selection ranges from velvety goat cheese to savory herb-infused cheese, offering flavors that cater to every palate.
If it’s your first time in Amsterdam, we recommend booking the Cheese Tasting Experience Rembrandtplein. During this experience, the Henri Willig team will guide you through the cheese-making process as well as provide you with various samples.
For an even easier option, you can always try a cheese board at a local wine bar. Or, if you want to delve even deeper into the world of Dutch cheese, consider taking a day trip to Alkmaar. Here, you can witness a reenactment of a historical Dutch cheese market, including cheese carriers transporting up to 160 kilos of cheese!
Van Stapele cookies
If you have a sweet tooth like us, don’t miss one of our food favorites: Van Stapele cookies. Especially if it’s your first time traveling to Amsterdam, these cookies from Van Stapele Koekmakerij are an absolute must-try.
Here’s what makes this bakery special: they only sell one type of cookie! Their signature chocolate cookie has dark chocolate dough and a white chocolate filling. The result is a combination that’s not just delicious but a sensation that’s garnered international acclaim since its introduction in 2013.
A quick Google search is all you need to realize the fame these cookies have achieved. However, with this in mind, the experience might involve a bit of a wait. Nonetheless, after around 15-45 minutes in the queue, you’ll receive your warm, gooey delight straight from the oven.
We liked the Van Stapele cookies so much that we waited in line twice (once, even in the rain!). Or, if you’d prefer to avoid a long wait, plan to go in the morning on a weekday or close to their closing time, around 4-5 p.m.
Indonesian Rice Table (Rijsttafel)
Rijsttafel is a Dutch take on Indonesian food you’ll only find in the Netherlands! Imagine being presented with dozens of small dishes, including satay, all brimming with an array of distinct flavors and different levels of spiciness.
While the dishes are unequivocally Indonesian, the concept of “rijsttafel” carries historical significance. Originating from colonial times, the Dutch introduced this lavish spread to indulge in a plethora of dishes in one sitting and display the exotic abundance of their colonial territories. It’s a culinary homage that reflects the complex history between the two nations.
You can find loads of Indonesian restaurants serving rice tables in Amsterdam. However, our top three recommendations are Restaurant Jun, Blue Pepper, and Tujut Maret. Just be sure to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot!
No culinary journey through Amsterdam is complete without raising a glass of Dutch beer. Beyond its renowned breweries like Heineken and Amstel, the city boasts a vibrant craft beer scene that’s worth exploring.
For those seeking a more secret spot than the Heineken Experience, we recommend visiting Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Here, you can delve into Amsterdam’s craft beer culture beneath the gaze of a historic windmill! Or, if you’d like to find a closer location to try their selection, check out the Blauwe Theehuis in Vondelpark.
Among the numerous offerings, our favorites are the Columbus and the I.P.A. Or, if you can’t decide, why not sample a flight with five different beers? Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or a casual drinker, don’t miss the chance to taste Dutch beer while in Amsterdam.
For quintessential Dutch drinks, jenever is a must-try for anyone visiting Amsterdam. This juniper-flavored spirit, often likened to gin, presents a clear and intriguing libation steeped in tradition.
Different distilling techniques have produced two different varieties: “oude” (old) and “jonge” (young). No matter which you choose, all jenever is served in a tulip-shaped glass filled to the brim. However, first-timers, beware: this unique presentation requires a bit of finesse.
To savor the first sip without spilling, the official Amsterdam tradition involves leaning over with your hands behind your waist. But don’t worry–the delightful ritual doesn’t end there! In fact, it’s common to alternate sips of jenever and beer, a practice known as a “kopstoot” or “headbutt.”
To truly savor this age-old practice, consider visiting De Drie Fleschjes or Wynand Fockink. Both options are situated near the Red Light District and allow you to immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s drinking culture while enjoying this unique and time-honored spirit.
FEBO vending machines
Much like a McDonald’s but with a novel twist, FEBO offers the convenience of purchasing freshly prepared fast food directly from vending machines. Indulge in classic Dutch favorites like frikandel speciaal (deep-friend sausage) and kroket (croquettes), served warm and ready for your enjoyment.
It’s not just a quick bite; it’s an Amsterdam culinary encounter in itself. The system operates on a simple premise–insert your coins, select your choice, and the vending machine delivers your chosen dish.
Remember that this chain of vending machine eateries isn’t just a budget-friendly option. It’s also a perfect spot for those seeking a late-night snack. With some locations open until 3 a.m., FEBO is the ideal stop for warm Amsterdam cuisine whenever your cravings strike.
As you explore the delightful offerings of food from Amsterdam, make sure to indulge in the delectable tompouce. This rectangular dessert comprises two layers of delicate puff pastry, enveloping a luscious yellow pastry cream within.
Its iconic appearance typically features vibrant pink icing on top. Nonetheless, on special occasions like Koningsdag (King’s Day), some bakeries swap the color to orange in celebration.
The tompouce was introduced in Amsterdam in the 19th century, named after the renowned Dutch stage performer Admiraal Tom Pouce. Thanks to its flaky layers and creamy filling, it’s worth noting that the tompouce can be messy to eat. Moreover, it’s typically paired with a warm morning beverage like tea or coffee.
For an authentic experience, stop at Patisserie Holtkamp, a traditional bakery that has been delighting taste buds since 1886. Just keep in mind that this bakery is closed on Sundays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Exploring the diverse foods to try in Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without delving into the flavors of Surinamese cuisine. Suriname, located in northern South America, has influences from many different cultures, including Indonesia, West Africa, India, China, and the Netherlands.
As you can imagine, this cultural blend gives rise to a genuinely one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to try De Hapjeshoek, located in the Waterlooplein metro station–a hidden gem offering budget-friendly and mouthwatering Surinamese delights.
Known for its bold spices and generous portions, this restaurant is a great quick and affordable lunch option. The menu caters to diverse preferences, from Surinamese sandwiches to flavorful roti rolls and hearty rice dishes, including satisfying vegetarian options.
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