Dutch Language Blog

What and Where to Eat in Amsterdam Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in Dutch Language

Amsterdam is filled with places to eat. From cheap and fast Febo, a Dutch fast-food chain, to high-end fancy French restaurants, this city has it all.  In fact, there are at least 1000 restaurants here, so the possibilities are endless. But what is one to do when faced with 1000 options?  For some reason many of my other expat friends seem to think that in order to find good food in this city, you have to pay a hefty price.  That simply is not true.  So I’ve kept my list within the reasonably affordable level.  I’ve never really eaten at one of those high-brow expensive restaurants anyway.  I’m also a vegetarian, so all of these places will have vegetarian options on their menu.
There are a few great Ethiopian places in Amsterdam.  If you’ve never eaten Ethiopian food, it’s an absolute must.  Wash your hands and sit down to a meal eaten entirely with your hands while enjoying a nice banana beer.  Lek-ker!
There are two Ethiopian restaurants I frequent: Abyssinia Afrikaans Eetcafe, near the Overtoom and close to Vondelpark.  The other is Eetcafe Semhar on the Marnixstraat right on the edge of the Jordaan.  The proprietors of both places are incredibly friendly and the food is just fantastic.  You should be looking at around 10 to 15 euros for a main course dinner meal.
Thai on the Newmarkt
Thai Restaurant Song Kwae on the Nieuwmarkt is fast, affordable, and fantastic. The best kind of restaurant for a traveler looking to have a great meal in a nice neighborhood, but not stop for too long to wait around for the grub.  Another perk is that it’s on the Nieuwmarkt, where you can find a market, lots of local color, and it’s walking distance to many of Amsterdam’s downtown attractions.
Pacific Parc, de Apenclub, Westerpark
I love Westerpark.  If I want to go see hustle and bustle, I go to Vondelpark, but to chill out on a Sunday afternoon, it’s Westerpark for me.  Pacific Parc serves dinner meals at around 12 to 15 euros, but with generous helpings of bread and salad to go with it.  It has a really relaxed atmosphere and you get your money’s worth pretty quickly.  Actually, the atmosphere there sort of varies.  They host live music and dj’s in the evenings, so there’s always something new.  I’ve walked in on a Sunday afternoon to hear rockabilly music…and the next time around it must have been Salsa Sunday.  But it’s always relaxed, you can bring your dog along (which I love by the way!) and when you’re done sitting on the terrace you can go hang out in the grass in the park.
De Waaghals
De Waaghals is my first sort of more expensive restaurant on this list with main courses varying between 10 and 20 euros.  But it’s worth it.  The menu changes seasonally and you can choose to order your dishes separately, or as an entire menu for the evening.  I’ve never actually made it through an entire menu.  The food is rich in the winter and light and fresh in the summer.  I’m not actually sure how to describe it, I’m not a food connoisure here or anything, but it’s a lot of classic meals with a twist and slightly unusual ingredients.  They like to experiment a little, but without going overboard or losing that home-food sort of feel.
De Bolhoed
De Bolhoed, located off the Prinsengracht in the heart of the Jordan, has a charming hippie-organic-natural foods sort of feel and serves filling and hearty meals.  In the summer it can be a bit tough to get a seat because the location is so perfect, but even in the winter, the atmosphere is enough to warm you up on a cold day.  The staff are college-age friendly alternative types, which keeps the whole thing nice and relaxed.  They serve large portions, something not so easy to find around here, and the menu is very vegetarian AND vegan friendly.
Ok, I shouldn’t say this…but I will anyway.  There are two Algerian restaurants run by the same family.  The one in the Westerpark, and the one on the Prinsengracht.  If you go to the Westerpark restaurant, you will be paying for the location.  If you’re willing to eat the same food take-away style and at a much lower cost, go to the Prinsengracht location.  The food is fantastic with rich mixes of spices, nuts, dried fruits and goat cheese, typical dishes from the nomadic cultures of Algeria.  The stuffed pumpkin is to die for.  If you want to pay for location, go to Westerpark, if not, grab it and go on the Prinsengracht.
Hemelse Modder
Hemelse Modder specializes in natural and wholesome meals made from pure ingredients. I’m not actually sure what they mean by that, but the food is great, albeit a bit more expensive as well. A three course meal will run about 30 euros per person, excluding drinks.  The atmosphere is much more posh than I’m accustomed to.  Given the atmosphere of “luxury” the prices are pretty reasonable, and the location is both central and tucked away off of a little canal.  Hemelse Modder means heavenly mud, after their specialty dessert of chocolate and vanilla mouse.  You have to eat it, it’s worthy of it’s name.
de Zotte, Leidseplein area
This is a bar where you can get those big fat French fries and a good steak, or my personal favorite, the BEST quiche in town.  As a vegetarian, I’ve been handed some pretty lame quiches in my day, as it is often the only vegetarian offering on many menus.  But vegetarian or not, this is a rich, creamy, cheesy and delicious quiche, which they call their kaastaart.  Order the kaastaart, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s also a Belgian beer bar with a very extensive collection of beers, and a staff that knows a thing or two about beer.  Very helpful when you are confronted with their menu, which is actually a small book of beers to choose from.
There are tons of roti places scattered all over town and it’s really a matter of taste which place you will prefer.  I prefer mine with a slightly thicker sauce, and plenty spicy.  An average roti meal will cost around 8 euros, but it will be more than enough food for dinner, and maybe a decent lunch the next day. Roti was another food I hadn’t had in before I moved here, and my life is more complete since its addition to my diet.
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  1. Ferry Swart:

    And don’t forget the many shoarma restaurants and greek restaurants. Affordable prices and very good food.

  2. Food Insurance:

    I love the tips. Thanks. I can’t wait to visit there. I’m thinking summer would be the best time.

  3. dana:

    A small tip from a small women that’s love good food 🙂

    I found a small brazilian restraurant in amsterdam namend,
    chamas braziliaans restaurant.

    They have great picanha and a all you can eat buffet.

    try the caipirinha, you will love it.