There are certain places you travel to specifically for good food. Or maybe that’s just me? While I didn’t travel to Amsterdam for that reason, I left feeling really impressed and extremely satisfied with all of my fantastic dining experiences. From an authentic, neighborhood food tour to a luxurious dinner cruise through the canals, I really felt as if I had eaten my way around the city. However, I am not a professional food blogger, so I asked a few other bloggers and Amsterdam locals to give me their recommendations on where to eat in the city.
If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam soon, or are curious about their food scene, I hope you enjoy all of these delicious recommendations. Don’t read on an empty stomach! You’ve been warned.
EATING AMSTERDAM: JORDAAN FOOD TOUR
I am no stranger to food tours. They are always the first thing I google when planning a trip to a new destination. I firmly believe that food tours are a great introduction to a new place. You can learn so much about a country’s history and culture through food. Eating Europe offers fantastic food tours throughout the continent and I was beyond excited to try their tour of the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam.
Jordaan is not the first place every tourist goes, but it would be an absolute shame to miss it. On this 4 hour tour, you get to explore and dig deep into this 17th century neighborhood. Its humble working class beginnings helped shape it into the historic, authentic, delicious, and friendly place it is today.
It’s a place filled with family-owned shops and cafes that have been running for generations, as well as hidden courtyards, charming back streets, and of course… beautiful canals! I really felt like I was experiencing the real Amsterdam.
We got to visit many of those small, family businesses and had 12 incredible tastings. I won’t spoil all of the stops but I’ll definitely share some of my favorites!
Swieti Sranang is the place to go in Amsterdam if you want to experience authentic Surinamese & Indonesian food; two types of cuisine I had never tried before. The chef, Juliet, was born in Indonesia, brought up in Suriname, and makes everything herself!
If you’re a hungry carnivore, I’d highly recommend going to Butcher Lourman to taste Amsterdam’s best smoked sausage from a family-run butchery that’s been in business for over a century. The meat platter we had here was very impressive, and I couldn’t quite believe it counted as just ONE tasting! The key is to pace yourself 😉 The cheese platter from JWO Lekkernijen nearby was equally as impressive. They sell everything from Dutch cheeses and French charcuterie to Italian wine and gourmet sandwiches. It’s a busy place but worth the wait.
We ended on a high note at Café Papeneiland which has been in business for 400 incredible years. It’s the oldest cafe in Amsterdam, and you definitely feel as if you’re stepping through time. What’s so special about this place besides its amazing history? Two words: APPLE PIE. It’s to die for. I’d recommend sitting upstairs to get a fantastic view of the canals!
One of my favorite aspects of this tour was all the hidden street art our tour guide pointed out along the way. This might be a food tour, but you learn and experience so much more than just food! The tour is 79 euros for adults and is worth every penny. If you have only a short time in Amsterdam, this should be the top thing you do! Even if you’re in the city for awhile, I’d recommend doing this at the beginning of your trip so you’ll know where all the best places are to eat.
AMSTERDAM JEWEL CRUISES:
We were celebrating my mom’s 65th birthday on this trip, so I knew we had to do something special! What better way to celebrate than on a sailing restaurant?! Whether you choose a dinner cruise or not, seeing Amsterdam by boat is a must and I’d highly recommend Amsterdam Jewel Cruises.
The charming, vintage riverboat was made in the early 1900’s. The atmosphere inside was cozy, warm, and intimate. We ate by candlelight which was positively delightful… but all of my photos turned out horrible. My apologies. However, that was the only downside of this journey!
While onboard at our private table with a window view, we were treated to champagne welcome drinks and three delicious courses. My seafood starter consisted of marinated salmon, smoked mackerel, and sea salt roasted scampi. I couldn’t get enough of the fresh fish, so I went with the sea bass for my main. For dessert, I enjoyed a nice cheese board, while my mom treated herself to a chocolate bombe with blackcurrent, cream of banana, pineapple compote with salted caramel and peanut crumble! I obviously had a bite (or two) and instantly regretted not ordering it. Next time!
For almost three hours, we enjoyed eating and gazing out the window as we passed through the famous canals. Some of the highlights included going past the 7 Bridges which were all lit up, as well as seeing the Skinny Bridge, Singel, Herengracht, Keizergracht and Prinsengracht neighborhoods.
This dinner cruise is perfect for any special occasion, romantic date, or for anyone interested in seeing beautiful views of Amsterdam in the evening!
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FELLOW TRAVELERS & LOCALS:
Back to Black Café –
This café is known to serve some of the best coffee in town. So if you are looking for a place to relax between all the sightseeing, you should go there and maybe even enjoy one of their super delicious cakes with your coffee.
And if you are traveling solo, it is also a great spot to sit down with your laptop and work or just surf the internet a bit. (So if you haven’t figured it out, there’s free wifi there :))
Eethuis Pondok Indah –
If you’re in Amsterdam, stop by a tiny hole in the wall Indonesian restaurant called Eethuis Pondok Indah in the middle of the Jordaan. What it lacks in size, it makes up in warmth (thanks to its friendly owners!) and deliciousness. It is owned by Pieter and his wife. Unlike Indonesian places that serve Rijsttafel (a remnant of Dutch colonialism intended to represent all of Indonesia in one meal), this small restaurant, with a fantastic view of Westerkerk/Prinsengracht, specializes in local cuisine from their home region, so what you have might be hard to find elsewhere without going directly to Indonesia! For 20 euros (with a drink) for two people, it’s a steal for a romantic meal that you can eat while sitting on the canals.
Just a note: I strongly recommend reading about the history of rijsttafel and colonialism. It is pretty far from authentic Indonesian food and these little Indonesian take-out places are often some of the best places to get real Indonesian food in Amsterdam.
Van Kerkwijk –
Living in Amsterdam, I tend to dismiss restaurants located dead in the city center as “tourist traps”… but tucked away in a side street close to the Red Light District is Van Kerkwijk, a.k.a. the best restaurant I’ve been to in Amsterdam. There are no reservations and no written menus. However, the wait usually is not long and you can trust that everything on the daily menu is great. My favorite was the filet mignon on top of goat cheese and strawberry purée. The carpaccio as a starter was also to die for. We had no idea what the prices of the dishes were, so I was holding my breath when the check came. The damage – the starters, main dishes, and wine only came out to be about €30 per head! Van Kerkwijk gets a 10/10 in my book for ambiance, affordability, and tastiness.
Manneken Pis –
Frites with frites sauce, is a Dutch staple and, if you eat one thing in Amsterdam, make it these amazing frites! Manneken Pis is one of the best frite stops in Amsterdam! The frites, served in a paper cone, come with a generous smothering of sauce in a variety of flavours yet never lose their delicious crispiness. Located just outside Amsterdam Central station, Manniken Pis should be a must stop when passing by Damrak street just in front of central station!
Which dining experience appeals most to you? Have you eaten your way through Amsterdam before? I’d love to know in the comments below!