Discover the secrets: How to eat like a local in Amsterdam
Amsterdam may not have the culinary appeal of Paris or the heritage of Barcelona, but it also doesn’t fall too far off. With a dizzying abundance of international and local restaurants, Amsterdam inevitably holds quite a few secrets.
That’s right, the Netherlands has never been blessed with a glorious culinary heritage. More than that, as city dwellers we have learned to find that Dutch food sometimes seems a little boring and sometimes even flightless. But Amsterdam has so many rabbits up its sleeve that you really should get to know ahead of your next visit to the city.
Although the name of Dutch cuisine did not sail far and wide, the Dutch were able to adopt influences from other cuisines that came here at different times throughout history. These brought in a great deal of interest, flavor and also some spices that were lacking in the local cuisine. Along with the variety of international cuisines in the city you can see strong French influences, Indonesian, Surinamese and even Mediterranean cuisines that have long taken root in the Netherlands and have become an integral part of the new local cuisine.
Today, Amsterdam has about 850,000 inhabitants, 40 percent of whom are not Dutch at all. This figure explains the enormous culinary abundance that exists here in the city. It is worthwhile to know exactly where the locals are eating
In this article, you will discover that even in the tourist center and certainly a few steps outside the city center, you can dive into culinary journeys that will make your vacation much more enjoyable.
Eetsalon Van Dobben
Perhaps the most magical place you will enter on your next visit to Amsterdam. The restaurant seems to have stayed far back in the 50s in terms of design and not because they tried to design it in the spirit of the period, but because they did not really make significant changes in design, so the venue is very authentic and the atmosphere inside gives a sense of timeliness.
This is a sandwich restaurant that was founded somewhere in 1945, but has since come a long way and knew how to preserve its uniqueness and the charm of the place. The Van Dobben couple who set up the sandwich shop probably did not really know where the dream in which their wonderful sandwiches are incorporated, would take them after a few decades. Make no mistake, these are not sandwiches of the style we know today. These are perhaps the simplest sandwiches you will ever eat and that is exactly the magic. Aside from the meat sandwiches menu, one of the other reasons for the huge influx of regular customers is actually their croquettes. Remember this: whoever visited the Netherlands and did not taste croquette is as if he had not traveled in the Netherlands at all. Croquette is a fried oval appetizer. Inside is a base of bechamel sauce with a filling like meat, fish, potatoes and cheese. On the outside, a layer of bread crumbs. Of course all this goodness is deep fried and as befits the Dutch the croquette is served in a bun with a little mustard. In addition to meat sandwiches and croquettes, you will also find traditional Dutch pea soup with smoked sausage that gives it its unique taste. Over the years the business has expanded outside the small restaurant and today the Van Dobben factory is the largest for marketing croquettes in all of the Netherlands and abroad.
Address: 5-7-9 Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat
For more details: www.eetsalonvandobben.nl
In the 17th century, the Netherlands conquered Indonesia and ruled it for 300 years. Such a long period of rule led to a massive migration of Indonesians to the Netherlands and with them came the flavors and dishes so unique from the local Dutch cuisine. In those days, sometime in the 17th century, when the Dutch representatives sitting in Indonesia received important guests from Europe, they enjoyed boasting about the local produce and the abundance that existed in the East and used to have a feast and host them generously. This accommodation was named Rijsttafel (rice table). In the center of the table were dishes of white rice and fried rice surrounded by dozens of different types of dishes and varied dishes with meats, fish, vegetables and more.
The rice table migrated to Indonesian cuisines in the Netherlands and today in every Indonesian restaurant you can order Rijsttafel, which is basically a kind of delicious meal from Indonesian cuisine. A great option to taste a little of everything and enjoy an abundance of different dishes. Amsterdam has many Indonesian restaurants, some more mundane and popular, some stylish and elegant. We love Mama Makan who serves Indonesian flavors in a contemporary translation. The food is colorful and happy, the restaurant is pleasant and the service is courteous.
Address: 61 Spinozastraat
Link to their website: www.mamamakan.com
Brouwerij 't IJ
That feeling of winter coming to an end. Slowly the days become longer, the sun comes out for more frequent and pleasant visits and it is just the time to go out and spend as much time outside as possible. After the long and cool Dutch winter, sunny days are a gift. Sunny day? Obviously you should pass it on with a local Dutch beer and a few snacks nearby.
In the not-so-distant past of Amsterdam there were more than 100 breweries here, but the Heineken factory founded in 1864 aimed to eliminate competitors and today only 13 breweries remain in the city and in the Netherlands in total there are only a little over a hundred different breweries (most really excellent). Try to remember this on your next visit to the city and when spending time at a bar ask for a taste of the local and wonderful offerings that exist here.
Brouwerij 't IJ is one of the special breweries still located here in the city. The brewery located next to the old windmill in the east of the city is located inside an old bathhouse and the design of the place preserves the spirit of the bathhouse that operated here before it. The brewery produces nine types of beer at any given moment, some are fixed and some vary and apart from them there are seasonal beers that join the production line according to the seasons. On the weekends you can also sign up for a short tour of the brewery itself where you get an explanation of how the beer is made and of course go behind the scenes and see the production itself. Next to the excellent beers you can taste cheeses made from sheep's milk that are fed from the leftovers of the grains from which the beer is made, smoked sausages from the neighborhood butcher shop and other fun snacks.
Address: Funenkade 7, Amsterdam
For more details: www.brouwerijhetij.nl
This hidden gem is hidden from the eyes of tourists inside an old building, which used to be a school for studying home economics. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of our favorite restaurants in the city. The design of the place is a mix between an industrial theme and the 60s, the service is excellent and the food is wonderful. By definition the place is a classic rotisserie restaurant, but in practice the cuisine is French with a Flemish touch. The prices are affordable and the wine menu is impressive and almost endless. The dishes are rustic in part, but also accurate and the menu changes frequently so that it is never boring here.
The restaurant has been at the top of the charts for seven years now, but it is absolutely one of the favorites of the locals and rightly so. The place is very charming, the kitchen is visible and you can see the chef and the cooks preparing the dishes from almost anywhere in the restaurant. Each dish is surprising and special and true to the seasonal ingredients. Definitely a place not to be missed.
Address: Marcusstraat 52B
For more details: www.rijsel.com
In the Netherlands there is great respect for businesses that are passed down in the family from generation to generation. Such is this special and small confectionery.
The confectionery was officially founded in 1928 and has remained at the same address ever since, but in fact its interior space was designed as early as 1886 when in the exact same store another confectionery operated before it. The character of the place can already be felt when looking from the street and certainly when you enter the tiny shop. The confectionery is right behind the store and there the confectioners make wonderful cakes every day that are sold on the spot and even marketed out to a few cafes and restaurants in the city. Be warned, the selection is large and it is not at all easy to choose. If you already thought you could choose, take a look at the other side of the store and you will discover a selection of addictive truffles that are made locally by hand, traditional Dutch pastries and various marmalade.
With all due respect to these, the great surprise is reserved for those who know their stuff. The secret of the locals is actually the amazing croquettes which are made in house by hand. There are three types of them - meat, shrimp or cheese and they are just wonderful. True, it may sound puzzling that a confectionery sells croquettes, perhaps the best in Amsterdam, but that's exactly what's going on here. Do not be surprised if you arrive and find a queue that stretches out onto the street, the place is definitely worth the wait.
Address: 15 Vijzelgracht
For more details: www.patisserieholtkamp.nl
It is happening everywhere in the world. City centers are becoming more and more crowded and young people are being pushed or willingly pushed to the side, raising the level of interest in neighborhoods that until recently were considered sleepy, if not in industrial areas. The same is true in Amsterdam. In light of the overcrowding and cost of living in the city, North Amsterdam, which is the Noord, has become the hottest spot in the local scene. Since this is a living and working industrial area alongside new residential neighborhoods, the character of the neighborhoods blends in great with the industrial landscape: homes made from old containers, lots of graffiti, a huge and particularly impressive flea market, and cool places to hang out.
Pllek is the ultimate place to spend a warm day under the Dutch sun. The food is delicious, fresh, and colorful but what will really draw you there is the atmosphere and until the sun goes down and the day cools down, you probably will not want to leave. A large courtyard, many picnic benches scattered throughout it, alternative seating areas for sunbathers as well, and even the sand of a European beach. If you add to this a view of the water that is constantly changing due to the movement of the ships that come and go, a place like no other is created. Because there are more cold days than hot days in the Netherlands, the owners have learned to utilize their vast and special space for the benefit of live performances, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and even yoga classes.
Getting there by public transport from the Central Station by ferry is free. The ferry will take you to the north of the city and from there it is a short walk to the destination. If by now you stopped counting the number of times you visited Amsterdam and thought you knew it almost as well as you own city, surprise yourself and give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
Address: 59 TT Neveritaweg
For more details: www.pllek.nl
Tales and Spirits Cocktail Bar
On the one hand it is one of the 50 best cocktail bars in the world that appears in these rankings year after year, on the other hand if you pass by it without knowing about its existence, it will probably be very easy for you to miss it. Although the bar is located in one of the touristy alleys in the bustling center of the city and is housed inside a typical Amsterdam building that is several hundred years old, it is not very easy to see. The cocktails will come in vintage glasses, the design and atmosphere will also add to the feeling of going back in time. The cocktail menu is endless and spans several dozen pages. Every cocktail is detailed, some would say even too detailed, but even if it seems to you that going over the entire cocktail list is a bit reminiscent of high school lessons, the service is professional and as befits a good cocktail bar, with a little help and guidance, the waiter will help you choose the exact cocktail. Rest assured he would nail it.
Aside from the alcohol, the food menu goes beyond the bar, and you can get a reay nicel dinner. Among the dishes - fried shrimp, chopped peppers stuffed with melted cheese,pork belly bun, truffle risotto, oysters and more. Next to the store, right next door, the bar owners also operate a special and varied liquor store, which is not to be missed.
Address: 5-7 Lijnbaanssteeg
For more details: www.talesandspirits.com
The seafood bar
If you consider yourself a fish and seafood lover, do not miss this experience. The first branch opened somewhere in 2012 and since then following the demand of the public three more have been opened. In various places in the restaurant, display cases with ice, fish and seafood are placed, from which you can choose to be brought to your plates. The menu consists of individual dishes or cold and hot sharing platters with crazy amount of fish and seafood. We of course recommend ordering these platters, that way you can enjoy as many special ingredients and as much of this goodness as possible. Just before you run out to ask for a platter, have a seat and order their excellent lobster soup.
The owners of the restaurant have dealt quite a bit with the way to break the prejudices about European fish and seafood restaurants, many of which are accompanied by elevator music, dimmed lighting and excessive flutter. Here they simply offer excellent food, bright white decor and a relaxed and light atmosphere. Grab your apron and some wipes and get ready to get messy.
Address: Several branches around the city
For more details: www.theseafoodbar.com
Afternoon Tea in The Duchess
Afternoon tea is a tradition that began in Britain, where British upper-class families sat together for lunch in the afternoon or early evening. Of course in the center of the table is a teapot, but not only. Around it, small, savory and sweet pastries, scones, small sandwiches, cookies and much more. This tradition has long since slipped into restaurants and today even in Amsterdam you can find some restaurants that will not embarrass the British tradition.
At The Duchess, as soon as you sit down at the table, you will be served a large tea menu, from which you can order as much tea as you want and that is it, in the next two hours all you have left to do is sit back and enjoy an endless parade of tea, surprisingly sweet and savory sweet and savory snacks. The atmosphere is relaxed and even luxurious, the bites are delicious and varied and even the price will make you want to come back again.
Address: 172 Spuistraat
For more details: www.the-duchess.com/the-tea-room