Bagel: Flo’s Appetizing
Anybody who has spent time in Montreal or New York will understand what a real bagel should be. Flo’s Appetizing is doing everything right: old-school recipes, cream cheese, capers, salmon, BLTs and daily specials which normally involve smoked meats. There’s always a throng of locals waiting to get a bite and coffee to go with a wad of napkins.
Baguette: Gebroeders Niemeijer
Once you've finished your baguette from French bakery Gebroeders Niemeijer, you'll want to turn back around and get another one immediately – seriously, they are that good. The creamy goat's cheese, pumpkin, roasted almonds and wild garlic oil one tastes precisely as delicious as it sounds.
Bánh mì: Viên
In sandwich appreciation circles, the bánh mì may well be regarded as the most glorious invention since the dawn of time. If you yet haven’t tried this Franco-Vietnamese fusion sub, you need to get yourself down to Viên where owner Vi Chau is making them the authentic way. The grilled pork comes highly recommended, but you could also go for sautéed beef, lemongrass tofu, fried fish cake or vegan chicken.
Bao bun: Branie
There are three exquisite baos on the menu at Branie, a hip and intimate restaurant serving South-East Asian-influenced small plates and lovingly-prepared cocktails. The bun with soft shell crab, mango gel, cucumber and spicy mayo is a revelation, but we’d also recommend getting your mouth around the crispy fried chicken one with kimchi.
Broodje haring: Haringhandel Frens
Embracing Dutch food culture means embracing all of it, and we don’t just mean bitterballen and stroopwafels that everybody can get on board with. Of course, we’re talking about the broodje haring, a revered delicacy in The Netherlands that features raw herring, sliced gherkin, and chopped onions loaded into a soft bread bun. You’ll find stalls serving these all over the city, but the best in town might just be from Frens.
Ciabatta/panino - Renzo’s Delicatessen
Amsterdam has its fair share of first-class Italian delis, and Renzo’s Delicatessen, going for nearly 40 years, is one of the most long-standing. On the menu, you’ll find a dangerously mouth-watering selection of filled sandwiches - all packed full of Italian salamis, hams, cheeses or roasted vegetables. The calabrese, gorgonzola piccante and parma ham sandwiches are firm favourites.
Croque monsieur/madame: Piet de Gruyter
We like our ham and cheese sarnies from Piet de Gruyter and we like them hot, French and with the option to add an egg on top. Get yours with a side of fries and a glass of beer before heading outside onto the sun-soaked terrace to read the paper, and you’ve got yourself an almost authentic Parisian brasserie experience, with a very Amsterdam twist of course.
Cucumber sandwich(es): The Duchess
Everybody knows that the Queen of England eats cucumber sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s no finer way to sample these dainty morsels than to book an Afternoon Tea in the stunning marble dining room at The Duchess. Work your way through elegant stacks of bite-sized cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, delicate pastries, hand-made macarons and warm scones, sipping on Lapsang Souchong as you go.
Döner kebab: Beste Döner
This superb institution on the Dappermarkt is not called the best döner for nothing. Over the last 20 years, owner Hasan Karaca has built a loyal fanbase of kebab-hungry devotees seeking the perfect spicy, herby meat sandwich. These mouthwatering döners are hand made the traditional way with lamb carefully stacked on a spit and slow-roasted over several hours.
Falafel wrap: Tigris & Euphraat
This exceptional Middle Eastern grocery store and takeout spot on Javastraat has blown this competition wide open in several categories. Tigris & Euphraat is best known for their stand-out falafel wraps, but the halloumi, shawarma and manaqish (za’atar or meat-topped flatbreads) are absolute winners too. The line down the street exists for a reason.
Gyros pita: Ela! Traiterie
This Greek deli in De Baarsjes dishes up a delicious spread of salads, dips, feta, olives, moussaka and above all, gyros pitas. Get yours loaded up with juicy chunks of meat (chicken or spiced lamb/pork), tomato, onion and cucumber, wrapped in warm pita bread with a refreshing dollop of tzatziki. There are veggies options too!
Lahmacun: Bakerij Hicret
Ever wondered what happens if you take a pizza dough, top it with some herby minced meat, bake it, throw on some melted cheese, load it up with your choice of chicken or veal döner meat, pack it with fresh salad, garlic and chilli sauce, then roll it up into a wrap? You might have walked past this Jan Eef staple dozens of times and not thought much of it, but actually, Bakerij Hicret’s lahmacun (Turkish pizza) is one of the best in the city.
Bakerij Hicret | Jan Evertsenstraat 65, De Baarsjes
Lobster roll: Brut de Mer
It doesn’t get more fancy-schmancy than a lobster roll washed down with a glass of bubbles and a few oysters on the side. This iconic sandwich has its roots in the decadent fervour of the Roaring Twenties on the East Coast of America. Brut de Mer’s spin on it, with accents of fennel and shrimp mayo in a brioche bun, channels that energy with a French twist.
Reuben sandwich: Lunchroom Wilhemina
Wilhemina’s Reuben sandwich may not satisfy the purists, but we think their take on the North American grilled classic is nonetheless, out of this world. Packed with pastrami, pickles and coleslaw the cheese is layered on the outside to give it the perfect crisp during the grilling process. There’s also a vegan version made with avocado, courgette and peppers.
Rotirol: Aarti 2
One of the many highlights of Surinamese cuisine is undoubtedly the rotirol, a flatbread stuffed with egg, curried potatoes, spicy vegetables and optional meat. It's the slightly less heavy version of a full-blown roti plate which makes for the ideal lunchtime treat, and Aarti 2 in West is dishing out some of the best in the city. First-timers are advised to go easy on the sambal.
Sabich roll: Sir Hummus
The sabich roll, it’s drippy, it’s messy, crunchy, hearty and fresh all at once. Sir Hummus is the go-to spot for this popular Tel Aviv street food, which borrows its components from the Jewish-Iraqi kitchen. Fried aubergine, hummus, salad, pickles, onion-sumac, herbs and a tangy pickled mango sauce are lovingly stuffed into a delicious soft pita for your munching pleasure.
Shawarma - Bread & Salt
This shawarma joint is the real deal, serving up perhaps the most authentic taste of Syrian food in Amsterdam. Get your succulent slow-cooked wrap (made with chicken) with a side of fries - perfect for dipping in their homemade garlic sauce. Its small interior and few tables outside make it a great spot for a quick lunch or takeaway to nearby Oosterpark.
Spice up your commute with the tantalizing aroma of pom and sizzling tempeh from De Hapjeshoek, located at Waterlooplein Metro Station. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better cod or salt meat sandwich anywhere else in Amsterdam and the spicy chicken and curried lamb are also a lunch to write home about.