It’s true that the Dutch aren’t exactly known for their culinary skills based on the amount of Dutch restaurants you can find around the world. However, there are still plenty of tasty options available for people that want to experience more of the Dutch culture through their food. Here is some Dutch food in Amsterdam that I think every visitor should try.
Cheese – I think this is the most obvious and most common. The Dutch LOVE their cheese. At many cafes you will find many options for cheese sandwiches (kaas broodjes). Common Dutch cheeses that you can find in the states are edam and gouda.
Poffertjes – Probably my favorite dutch dessert. You can find these in street stands, at the market, even at the Schipol airport. They are mini sweet pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar. Easy to eat a lot of so be warned!
The best places to get poffertjes in Amsterdam : The Pancake Bakkery & De Kroonprins Indonesian food – Yes, technically not “Dutch” per say but it is still very much a part of Dutch culture due to the large population of Indonesians that came over after the war and after the Dutch decided to no longer occupy Indonesia. You will find many Indonesian restaurants around town. Here is our meal from Katrika.
The best Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam : Kartika, Blue Pepper, & Blauw Pancakes – Somewhere in between a traditional American pancake and a crepe. Many of them have delicious toppings ranging from sweet to savory. You can find many pancake restaurants around Amsterdam but our personal favorite is the Upstairs pannenkoekenhuis (pancake house). It is a VERY cozy restaurant only able to host around 20 people at a time with a kitchen the size of my closet. You should probably make reservations in advance if you would like to go there but we went on a Friday around 12:30pm and there was only a 25 minute wait. It’s worth it.
The best pancake restaurant in Amsterdam : Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis
Apple Pie (appeltaart or appelgebak) – I would consider this to be more of a pie-cake rather than a pie often topped with whipped cream (slagroom). It is a dessert you will see often at cafes and restaurants, definitely worth a try.
The best apple pie in Amsterdam : Winkel 34 & de taart van m’n tante Bitterballen – It’s hard to describe exactly what bitter ballen is but in short it is bar food, an appetizer that you will find at many pubs. It is a concoction of meat and various ingredients to form a mushy goodness in a fried ball. Typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. (the ones below are home made!)
Best places in Amsterdam to eat bitterballen : Cafe de tuin & Cafe Amsterdam French Fries (patat) with Mayo – A Netherlands staple. At first some people may think this sounds less than appealing but mayo here is, generally, not like your American helmens or miracle whip. It is a million times better. The fries are fresh and fried on the spot and the mayo has spices and flavor and is some times home made. Assuming you go to a good place that is. Our favorite place was recommended by friends and was amazing. Friet hoes, I know it’s tempting to pronounce it like the common chip brand “fritos” but it is actually pronounced “freet hoos”. They serve nothing but cones of french fries (patat) and are located right across from Haarlem central station. There are also a variety of condiment combinations you can get, including patat oorlog, which literally translates to war fries. Patat oorlog consists of fries topped with a little bit of everything, onions, ketchup, mayo, curry, and peanut sauce, dependent upon where you get them from.
Soup! (zoep)- Holland is really cold most of the year, especially from a Texan’s perspective; 88 degrees Fahrenheit and dutchies think they’re going to melt. This makes soup a very popular dish for their cold climate. Pea soup is the ‘most dutch’ soup you will find but tomato soup is also very common. Soups often come in what looks like a mini-dutch oven and are scolding hot. I have no idea why they are always so hot but I have nearly burned my tongue on them many times, so be careful!
The best soup in Amsterdam : Soup & zo
Coffee (koffie) – If there is one thing the dutchies love more than cheese… it is their coffee. You can find many fancy coffee shops around Amsterdam that only serve the best coffee. Definitely go for a koffie verkeerd, it’s like a dutch cafe latte. I am personally not a fan of too much caffeine so I stick to chai lattes and tea, which have less caffeine and more sugar. Their chai lattes are among the best I have ever had as well though.
Chips & Chili Sauce – I don’t think this is anything monumental but I felt that it was worth mentioning. Instead of your typical stateside chips and salsa, they have an appetizer with an Indonesian flare, chips with a sweet/sour chili sauce.
The best hang out spot for beer and appetizers in Amsterdam : ‘t Blauwe Theehuis (the blue tea house)
Herring – On the streets of Amsterdam you can find this salty and fatty fish typically served on a bun with onion and pickle everywhere. Herring season is in June so during the summer months you will see signs stating “nieuwe haring” which just means that it is fresh. Fair warning, herring is not for everyone, proceed with caution. I can compare it to sushi but the texture is very different. I thought the flavor was decent along with the onions and bread and it is supposed to be very good for you but I am not sure I will seek it out again. 🙂
Kroketten – Meat ragout covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. I ordered this for the first time without having a clue as to what it really was. I can relate this fried goodness to a bitterbal but this is usually found on a sandwich (broodje) rather than individually.
Best place to eat kroketten in Amsterdam – Van Dobben