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People making a toast with borrelplank and bitterballen at Theehuis Cruquius.
Image from Creative bros

Best bitterballen in Amsterdam

Bitterballen are a Dutch delight that almost everybody can get on board with. These crispy, savoury balls packed with gooey ragout, mushrooms, cheese and other flavours are a must-try, and we've scouted out the top spots where you can experience them at their best. From cosy cafes to traditional eateries, here's our guide to the ultimate bitterballen experiences in Amsterdam.

Popular choice:

De Ballen Bar

Foodhallen indoor food court street food
Image from Famke en Floor

Located in the famous De Hallen food court in Oud-West, De Ballen Bar is the ultimate bitterballen-tasting hotspot. The chefs have concocted seven original flavours: from the traditional Dutch beef, pulled pork, bouillabaisse and Tom kah kai. There are also several vegetarian and vegan variants - including goat cheese, old Dutch cheese, home-grown parsnip and soybean.

Alternative local favourites:

Café ‘t Smalle

Café 't Smalle people on the terrace
Image from Café 't Smalle

Situated along the scenic Egelantiersgracht canal, Café ‘t Smalle is a charming brown cafe known for its authentic Dutch ambience and excellent bitterballen. Pair these savoury treats with a local beer while soaking in the historic surroundings. If you can score a spot on their miniature canalside terrace, you can relax knowing you’ve positioned yourself on one of the most scenic spots in the flowery Jordaan. 

Proeflokaal A. Van Wees

This traditional distillery and tasting room on the Heregracht serves classic Dutch flavours paired perfectly with their artisanal spirits. Proeflokaal A. Van Wees is a fantastic location to delve into the local cuisine, including bitterballen and cheeseboards, all washed down with local beers and jenevers. The atmospheric tasting room exudes history and extends out onto a scenic canalside terrace. 

Gent aan de Schinkel

Gent aan de Schinkel terrace
Image from Gent aan de Schinkel

Just south of Vondelpark, Gent aan de Schinkel is a popular local haunt known for its cosy vibe and tasty canalside snacking opportunities. The bitterballen here come in classic meat or vegan varieties with the option to supersize to an XL portion - we love it! Enjoy these crispy bites with a selection of Dutch beers or a warming glass of jenever.

Café Cook

People drinking on a terrace
Image from Cafe Cook

Occupying a scenic square in the De Baarsjes neighbourhood, Café Cook is a laid-back spot favoured by locals for its sun-soaked seating and quality snack menu. Be sure to check out the oesterzwam (oyster mushroom) bitterballen, which are a favourite amongst veggies. Whether indoors or on the terrace, it's a great place to unwind and soak up the local vibe with friends over a plate of these Dutch snacks.

Patisserie Holtkamp

Holtkamp patisserie interior
Image from Holtkamp

The Rolls Royce of Dutch snacks come from Holtkamp, a renowned patisserie on Vijzelgracht, celebrated for its gourmet bitterballen and croquettes made with the finest ingredients. You’ll find these perfectly crafted bites on menus across the city, or head into their store to purchase a box of veal bitterballen or shrimp croquette to cook at home. 

Pretty much anywhere else

People enjoying drinks and bitterballen at Theehuis Cruquius.
Image from Creative bros

Now, whilst the above list may include some favourite ragout-flavoured haunts, you can find bitterballen on almost every snack menu in town. Check out these round-ups of brown bars or cosy neighbourhood cafes to create your own tasting notes.