Vegetarians, vegans, the health conscious and those simply trying to live a little lighter don’t have to depend on salads alone when visiting Amsterdam. Though Dutch cuisine favours hearty dishes that revolve around meat and potatoes, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Amsterdam that aim to please all palates.

Meatless District

With a completely animal-free menu, the newly opened Meatless District is a vegan’s delight. The restaurant opened in the Oud-West neighbourhood in June 2016, so it’s one of the newest additions to Amsterdam’s growing vegan scene. The multinational menu is fairly small with only four main courses are on the menu for dinner, but this allows the kitchen to focus on creating one-of-a-kind dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, yellow beet, dukkah and mint puts a twist on trendy avocado toast, while more typical dishes like scones and scrambled “eggs” also appear on the menu. The starting price for a main course at dinner is €15, which includes the Meatless District burger: a grilled aubergine creation served with “Boerenfriet” and mayo (vegan, of course).  Bilderdijkstraat, Oud-West

 Meatless District Amsterdam

De Bolhoed

Just 350 metres from the Anne Frank House on the pretty Prinsengracht, this earthy eatery serves up organic comfort foods to help you recharge during the day. Casseroles, soups — including a vegan French onion soup — and salads dominate the menu. With the restaurant’s location right on the shimmering canal and its façade decorated in lush greenery, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam from a cosy seat. On rainy days, the inside of De Bolhoed is just as charming with its New Age-y décor, plentiful indoor plants and a friendly cat that may come for a quick cuddle. Prinsengracht, Jordaan

Café de Ceuvel

This place is part of The Ceuvel, a “regenerative urban oasis” located in Amsterdam-Noord. The café opened in 2014 with a focus on providing healthy food not only for people, but for the planet, too. The Ceuvel has built the world’s first Biogas Boat, where biogas and nutrient-rich fertiliser is extracted from organic waste from the restaurant. Besides a selection of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, soup and snacks, there’s the adventurous “Farm to Table” menu, which starts at €22 for two. It changes every two weeks and depends on what the local food suppliers offer. A dish of “saved vegetables,” which features veggies turned away by supermarkets for being just too ugly, is on the menu for those truly trying to save the planet. There’s simply no waste (or wasted appetite) at De CeuvelKorte Papaverweg, Amsterdam Noord

Ninour

Chic, sophisticated yet simple: that’s what Ninour aims for. Open for a late breakfast and lunch only, this pink and mint green-themed vegetarian hotspot in De Pijp offers a place for visitors to grab a bite to go or sit down and surf the Internet (thanks, free Wi-Fi). The locally-sourced lunch menu, starting at €5.50, features quirkily-named Middle Eastern and Moroccan-inspired dishes like Hou Je Cousti, a plate of couscous and grilled veggies spiced with ras el hanout, and The Skinny Dipper, described as a “big a** plate of hummus” (see main image). Linger for a couple hours with a fresh cup of coffee, and maybe make a purchase for your home — the café also serves as a store with jewellery, bath products and décor. Eerste Jan Steenstraat, De Pijp

Ninour Amsterdam

Beter & Leuk

After enjoying a healthy brunch at Beter & Leuk, you can learn how to cook it. It may not be exactly the same dish, but definitely something worthy of this busy spot. In addition to serving tasty veggie dishes, the restaurant offers various workshops (a three-hour vegan sushi course, for example) to help its patrons eat healthier at home. From its own kitchen in the Oosterpark neighbourhood, Beter & Leuk offers freshly pressed juices and smoothies; breakfast nibbles such as scones, eggs and pancakes; and lunch items such as the soy and kombu-based Dutch Weed Burger. Latecomers won’t have to miss out, either. You can grab one of the meals as takeaway for a healthy dinner at home. Eerste Oosterparkstraat, Oosterpark

De Culinaire Werkplaats

Food meets art in this Westerpark studio and restaurant combination run by “food concept designers” Eric Meursing and Marjolein Wintjes. The menu marries design with produce and grains, resulting in a work of art on a plate. Every ingredient is chosen for “taste and inspiration,” but it must also stick to the owners’ principles: cruelty-free, small or organic farming, fair trade, direct trade, seasonal or local. The five-course €45 menu always changes, so there’s no best seller. Make sure you call ahead, since reservations are required and there is very limited seating. Next door to De Culinaire Werkplaats the owners have opened an art gallery that aims to display food like art, such as their edible wedding dress made of rhubarb fabric. It’s dinner and a show all in one! Fannius Scholtenstraat, Westerpark

Dophert

All vegan, all good. This casual breakfast and lunch joint in the Westerpark neighbourhood serves only a plant-based menu, so there’s no dairy or eggs even in the kitchen. The breakfast menu, served from 10:00 to 16:00, features vegan cheese, tofu and blueberry pancakes (sorry, only during the weekend!). Lunchtime and dinner — available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays — brings chickpea-based burgers, sandwiches and filling soups. Don’t forget dessert, though. Egg- and lactose-free cakes, ranging from peanut butter brownie to red velvet and everything in between, are available for custom order from the Dophert kitchen in addition to catering services. The restaurant also has a little shop offering cruelty-free snacks, cosmetics and accessories. Spaarndammerstraat, Westerpark

OT301 — De Peper

Hidden inside the OT301, a cultural centre located in a former film academy, is De Peper. It’s not really a restaurant, though; it’s a “cultural kitchen” in Oud-West that features 100% organic and vegan produce (kosher and halal guests are more than welcome). The experience is a bit unique in that it’s run by volunteers and there’s no table service or menu. The price of a meal, which includes a starter and main course, is on a sliding scale from €7 – 10 so that everyone can try vegan food. Desserts are a mere €1.50, and all donations go to the upkeep of the restaurant. It’s casual, laidback and made up of a community of art, music and earth lovers. Overtoom, Oud-West

De Peper Amsterdam

Betty’s

Head to Betty’s, a nearly 30-year-old vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Amsterdam Zuid, for a complete culinary surprise. The €35 three-course menu changes regularly and isn’t posted online, so you won’t know what’s cooking until you have been served. That is, unless you go back a couple times in a week. The food is delicious, but the atmosphere truly makes Betty’s a special place. The warm, welcoming and gracious owners take the time to let you enjoy the menu and wine selection. If you love it, you can even learn how to make your own vegetarian dishes in the style of Betty’s with cooking and baking workshops starting at €75. Rijnstraat, Zuid

DeShima

Operating as part of the Kushi Institute of Europe, DeShima is all about macrobiotics. The daily menu contains no animal products — it’s completely vegan — and dishes inspired by Asian cuisine. A hot lunch, which includes grains, beans and seasonal vegetables, starts at €15, and there are smaller dishes for just a quick bite to eat: vegan sushi and miso soup start at just €3.50.  You can dine in or order for delivery until 14:00, so there’s no dinner served. After that the restaurant is converted into a classroom, but you can certainly stick around, don an apron and learn to whip up your own vegan dishes at home. Weteringschans, Spiegelkwartier

DeShima Amsterdam

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