As a city that’s renowned for its nightlife, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Amsterdam when it came to food.
As a first-time visitor, I spent a lot of time around the major sights. Wandering into the centre and the Red Light District, I was worried that finding a good meal out might prove to be a challenge, as neon-lit kebab shops, burger joints and pizza bars flooded the streets.
If, like me, you’re not a partygoer looking to hit the bars until the early hours, then you’ll probably look to avoid these too. But fear not, because great food is just around the corner from the greasy takeaways screaming for your attention.
Here are seven top restaurants, cafes and snacks to try in and around central Amsterdam, for whenever hunger strikes.
For a delicious and filling lunch, checkout Omelegg, a small cafe offering generous sized plates of freshly cooked omelettes.
Served with a thick slice of bread and side salad, all you have to do is choose your filling from their extensive menu and weekly specials.
Bagels and Beans
Perfect for breakfast or lunch, Bagels and Beans is a health cafe specialising in… you guessed it, bagel sandwiches. With a variety of fillings including lots of vegetarian options, I can highly recommend the mushroom burger, which comes toasted and topped with pine nuts, parmesan shavings and truffle mayonnaise.
For an evening of classy and affordable food, head to Van Kerkwijk, a cafe-restaurant located on a quiet lane in the Red Light District. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming appearance, because inside the atmosphere is buzzing, and the food is superb.
The candlelit restaurant was already filled with chatting diners by the time we managed to grab the last table at 7pm – they don’t take reservations, so get there early if you can, or you can grab a drink at the bar while you wait.
The menu changes seasonally, and is explained to you by the friendly staff. I had the pâté for starters, a course and gamey spread with bread, followed by the most incredible halibut and beetroot mash for mains.
For meat lovers, their specialty is a fillet steak served with strawberry jus and camembert – trust me, it works.
All main dishes come with thick cut chips and salad, and a two course meal for two with beers cost around €60.
The Seafood Bar
Just because you’re not by the coast, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great seafood dinner. With three restaurants dotted around the city, The Seafood Bar is not to be missed if you fancy the most delicious fish and chips or calamari ever.
For shellfish lovers, you can also get a fresh seafood platter of prawns, langoustines, crab claws and more.
I was recommended this place by two separate friends who’d visited the city before me, and I must say it didn’t disappoint.
Tucked away in the heart of Amsterdam, Il Pacioccone is a great little Italian restaurant serving authentic Tuscan dishes. Although slightly on the pricier side, all of their food is made using fresh seasonal produce, meaning the menu changes daily.
I had the pumpkin ravioli for main, and finished with my all-time favourite Italian dessert – a vanilla panna cotta with caramel sauce.
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx
For the best fries in Amsterdam, head to this hole in the wall which serves nothing but freshly cooked golden chips that are crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside.
Generously topped with your choice of sauce (mayo is the classic), you can grab a cone to snack on the go, or eat it in the pub across the road, provided you buy a drink.
Probably the tastiest snack in Amsterdam, don’t leave the city without having a freshly made stroopwafel.
I enjoyed a hot one from the local Albert Cuypmarket which is open everyday. The warm melted caramel centre and crispy dough shell was just what was needed on a frosty winter day.
Tell me, what’s your favourite restaurant in Amsterdam?
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