15 x Dutch food restaurants in Amsterdam
Beyond the windmills, tulips and canals, the Netherlands has another cultural wonder to experience: its cuisine. So what is Dutch food exactly? Generally speaking, it’s simple, hearty, meat and potatoes fare. Favourites include erwtensoep (pea soup with ham and smoked sausage), stamppot (mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, served with meat and gravy) and suddervlees (slowly braised meat). Thanks to its proximity to the sea, fish and seafood also feature heavily on Dutch menus, especially plaice, mackerel, eel, mussels and shrimp. The Dutch are also crazy for their friet (chips/fries)! Even upscale restaurants often serve their meals with a side of friet and mayonnaise.
Perhaps the best way to taste traditional Dutch food is to get someone’s grandmother to invite you over for dinner. But assuming you don’t manage to track down a granny, here are some suggestions for where to find a satisfying Dutch meal (in no particular order).
Rozengracht 251, canal ring
Mom’s home cooking is always best, but Amsterdam tourists don’t always have the opportunity to share a meal at home with the locals. The next best thing is Moeders (“mothers” in Dutch), a restaurant in the city centre that serves only the most traditional Dutch dishes. All the favourites are on the menu at this cosy restaurant, which has all the touches of home. Fill your belly with stamppot or suddervlees, a beef stew; for dessert, treat yourself to poffertjes or a slice of homemade pie. If you’re feeling a bit homesick, bring a photo of your own dear Ma to hang on the restaurant’s wall — mothers are celebrated at Moeders!
Viscafé De Gouden Hoek
Van Limburg Stirumplein 10A, Westerpark
Fish is a staple of Dutch cuisine, and it’s no wonder since Amsterdam itself is surrounded by water. At Viscafé De Gouden Hoek, the taste of fresh fish and its history in Dutch culture is celebrated in traditional Dutch and modern dishes. Kibbeling, a snack of deep-fried white fish, is a favourite traditional snack, but there’s also tempura and Sriracha-style fish and chips on the menu. Go for the freshest of the fresh with the fish of the week with a side of Amsterdams zuur, and finish it all off with a dessert of hangop (a type of yoghurt) with caramel and, of course, sea salt.
Museumstraat 1, Oud-Zuid
Where better to sample Dutch cuisine than right next to the hub of history and culture in Amsterdam? Rijks, the restaurant of the Rijksmuseum, offers a locally-sourced menu that complements a lengthy stroll through the rooms of the museum. Its kitchen upholds the principles of Slow Food, an organisation that promotes regional cuisine, and the Ark of Taste, which encourages the use of local ingredients. Platters highlighting regional fish or meat — gurnard or pigeon, for example — are available, as are artisanal cheeses. Afterwards, head to one of Rijks’ four espresso bars for a coffee with a dash of the Dutch liqueur advocaat.
STROOP Pannenkoeken & Meer
Meteorenweg 272, Noord
You can’t get more local than STROOP. Serving up the savoury and sweet plate-sized pancakes for which the Dutch are known, STROOP (which means “syrup” in Dutch, by the way) embraces traditional Dutch cuisine with local ingredients. The restaurant is situated within NoordOogst, the urban agricultural project in Amsterdam Noord where sustainable, eco-friendly businesses find their place. In fact, the ingredients used by STROOP are more than local — they’re right next door! Traditional pancakes can be topped with thinly sliced sausage Buitengewone Varkens, also located at NoordOogst. If you’re not in the mood for pancakes, STROOP also serves sandwiches and soups, as well as beer brewed nearby.
Spuistraat 275, city centre
Housed in six connected historical buildings, Haesje Claes will take your taste buds back in time. The menu is exclusively old-fashioned Dutch food, offering pea soup, fish stew, chicken livers and everything in between!
Spuistraat 294-302, city centre
D’Vijff Vlieghen is a well-known location for an elegant Dutch meal. The dining area is spread across a variety of rooms, including one with original etchings by Rembrandt. The menu features modern and creative interpretations using typical Dutch ingredients.
Piet de Leeuw
Noorderstraat 11, city centre
Settle down for a couple hours in this rustic, minimally-lit steakhouse from 1949. It’s got all the charm of the brown cafés popular in Dutch culture with the hearty cuisine to match (it is, after all, a steakhouse!). Besides its thick beef steaks served with rich red wine sauce and friet, the restaurant also serves up a more surprising meat: horse steaks, which it has been serving since the restaurant first opened its doors. Those who’d rather not be so adventurous can also opt for pork or fish, but nothing is particularly “light” at this typical meat-and-potatoes eatery in central Amsterdam, so bring your appetite.
Bistro Bij Ons
Prinsengracht 287, Jordaan
Dutch history is alive and well at Bistro Bij Ons, where you can park yourself on the terrace overlooking the canal with a belly full of raasdonders, a dish of field peas, onions and bacon, and a glass of the homemade liqueur. The menu has all the characteristics of typical Dutch cuisine (meat and sauces make for filling dishes), and there are some rarer finds that other Dutch restaurants overlook — the aforementioned raasdonders and fried chicken livers, for example, are on the menu but not often found elsewhere. For dessert, try wentelteefjes, fried egg-dipped bread, or ask to be surprised!
Yoghurt Barn Amsterdam
Eerste Van der Helststraat 80, De Pijp
The Dutch love their dairy: milk, butter, cheese and, of course, yoghurt. At Yoghurt Barn’s Amsterdam location, you can test out various yoghurts to see what you like best. There’s not only light and full-fat, but there’s boeren (farmer) yoghurt, yoghurt made from goat milk, hangop, frozen yoghurt and, especially for the lactose intolerant and vegan community, soy yoghurt. Blend your yoghurt with a number of special ingredients in combinations like “Popeye Power,” featuring spinach, mango and apple juice, or get a superfood boost with toppings like chia seed and flaxseed, goji berry. It’s not all guilt-free — you can add brownie to the yoghurt, too.
CtheCity - Ctaste
Amsteldijk 55, De Pijp
When we eat, there are more senses at play than just taste — including, of course, sight. At CtheCity’s Ctaste restaurant, you can experience the full flavours of fresh, local ingredients without actually seeing what you’re eating. Guests are led to a pitch-black room to dine on an unknown set menu, only later to learn what they’ve eaten. Learn a little bit extra with a tasting experience like the beer tasting, where an expert explains all there is to know about (Dutch) beer. The Ctaste experience is part of CtheCity, which allows you to experience Amsterdam in the complete darkness with the expertise of CtheCity’s sight-impaired tour guides. Try out both — packages are available for a CtheCity tour and a Ctaste meal!
De Silveren Spiegel
Kattengat 4-6, Centrum
De Silveren Spiegel – the Silver Mirror – offers traditional Dutch food in the stunning surroundings of a 17th-century building. The building and restaurant’s history stretches back to the Dutch Golden Age, and De Silveren Spiegel’s elegant rooms, which have been left in their original state where possible, are certainly befitting its fairytale-like name. But the restaurant does not rest on its historical laurels: the food is up to the high standards set by the interior. And in the summer, there is a sunny terrace to boot. Note: De Silveren Spiegel is closed for refurbishment until April 2017
Vondelstraat 26, Oud-West
Walk inside Hotel Vondel and take a seat at one of the tables of Joost, the hotel’s restaurant and bar. The name comes from Dutch poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel, who also gave his name to the nearby Vondelpark — a park through which you can certainly wander after a filling Dutch meal at Joost! Joost’s menu changes every season, but everything is prepared with fresh, local Dutch ingredients; the wine and liquor are also proudly Dutch-made. For dinner, a smoked fish platter is a quintessentially Dutch option, and the weekly changing stamppot is always a surprise. If you’re just up for a sampling of Dutch snacks, you can do just that at Joost with its small tasting menu of all the snacks it offers.
Eerste Helmersstraat 33, Oud-West
Be prepared to be surrounded by locals at Hap-Hmm! This restaurant serves old-fashioned Dutch food with prices to match. Dinners start at just €7.50 and many repeat customers swear it’s “just like grandma used to make”.
Peperstraat 23-25,De Plantage
Named after the owner’s mother, some say that Greetje is the closest you can get to a home-cooked Dutch meal in a restaurant. They often get high marks for their welcoming atmosphere and friendly service.
Berenstraat 12, Nine Streets
Tucked in a side street between two canals, ’t Zwaantje is a cosy brown café serving no-nonsense local favourites. Try the suddervlees (stewed beef) for a taste of home-style cooking.
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