Updated: Apr 1
As you’ll know from my Amsterdam city guide, there is so much to do in the city! Apart from visiting amazing museums & attractions, I happened to find some absolutely perfect food. Much like any other large European city, there is such a huge range of places to eat and drink that it can be difficult to know where to turn.
It is too easy to make a food mistake – this guide will help you steer clear of terrible tourist traps in the center of Amsterdam. So, grab my foodie guide, your google maps, and your tastebuds, and enjoy some of the best food I found in the Dutch capital.
Breakfast & Brunch
Every day should begin with brunch, am I right? It’s my absolute favorite meal of the day, and Amsterdam does the best brunch. Waffles & Pancakes are my absolute favorites for brunch, and I decided to compare that menu item at various breakfast restaurants across the city! Based on my experiences, here are my top recommendations for incredible mid-morning food:
1. Pancakes! Amsterdam:
Of course there are plenty of places to get your short (or large) stack, but Pancakes! Amsterdam has the most inventive menu of both traditional Dutch and American stacked you’ll find in the city.
Pancakes! Amsterdam brings a modern and new twist to traditional pancake houses. The Dutch "gezelligheid" and coziness is recognizable by the use of large tables, open bars and kitchens to create a sense of togetherness. You can enjoy Dutch and American Pancakes, the special pancake of the month, or "Poffertjes".
There are four locations across Amsterdam; one in the famous Nine Streets, one directly opposite Central Station, another one between the Anne Frank House and Westerkerk, and a brand new restaurant is situated at the back of Central Station, next to the ferry to Amsterdam North.
As for the menu, you can enjoy house specialities to satisfy either your savory or sweet side, or you can build your own breakfast delight! The ball is in your court! Everywhere I went for breakfast, I opted for white chocolate and strawberries for the toppings (that way I could compare the quality of food for y'all).
2. Crepes and Waffles:
Right in the heart of Amsterdam, Crepes and Waffles serves up crepes, waffles, and stroopwaffle-type sandwiches! This cute little shop offers super fresh ingredients and delicious combinations – all day long! They cook and bake each sweet and savory treat right in front of you, so you know your meal is as fresh as possible!
Their savoury menu includes fresh eggs (cracked right in front of you) and vegetables, crispy bacon and chorizo, and a secret Savoury crepe batter. The sweet menu has ingredients you won’t find anywhere else – like cheesecake cream, Stroopwafel pieces, a homemade vanilla sauce, Tiramisu, and even brownies! It was definitely the best selection out of any other breakfast place I ate at!
You can build your own treat in just three easy steps, and the dishes are made-to-order (not sitting in a window for days and heated up in a microwave) by staff who specialises in creating perfect crepes and waffles! With an excellent location, just off Dam Square, and an incredibly friendly environment, Crepes & Waffles is the perfect place to have a meal or a break while enjoying Amsterdam.
While dining here, I enjoyed a fresh waffle (the base- step 1) with organic strawberries (the topping- step 2) and a warm white chocolate sauce drizzled on top (the sauce- step 3). Out of the three breakfast locations I'm writing about here, I rank this sweet treat as #2 on my list.
The waffle had a perfect consistency, the strawberries were fresh and juicy, and the white chocolate added the perfect amount of sweetness, but I just couldn't get over the breakfast I had at my favorite place.
3. Pancakes and Waffles
Eating at Pancakes and Waffles was easily one of the best waffle experiences I've ever had. The cool, and tough thing, about this place, is that you get to customize your meal by choosing the toppings (much like the pervious location I wrote about).
Like at the other places, I ordered a waffle with strawberries and white chocolate, and oh my lord!!! The waffle was extremely fluffy, but also crispy on the edges (which made it cut beautifully). It went great with the strawberries alone, but also with the white chocolate sauce giving that extra creamy touch. The strawberries were so fresh and juicy, and had been covered in this maple syrup-like glaze (can you say TASTY??).
I have a couple of recommendations from this place. First off, unless you are the ultimate sweet tooth, don't put too many sugary things on your pancake (like whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.). Try to balance it out with a lot of fruits so that you will be eating a little healthier but also combating the accumulated sweetness. Also makes sure to spread out all of the toppings across the waffle, pancake, or crepe before you start eating so that each bite has a mix of everything and is not dominated by one flavor.
It's a complete hole in the wall, but the smell wafting out of this place is insane! It's usually a one-man operation, but what I can tell you...the food is oh so delish! Don't hesitate to walk in this hole. Service can be spotty, but wait it out. You just can't go wrong for what this place is.
Overall, this is a fantastic place to go grab brunch (they have other breakfast options too), and by far my favorite in Amsterdam!! Even better? The price was really great for the experience and the size of the portions. Average menu prices were 7€ for the Dutch pancake and 4€ for the waffle/crepe with toppings are around 1-2€ each.
Lunch & Dinner
My brunch strategy was also often a sneaky money-saving strategy, as I was so full I didn’t need to eat anything else until dinner, but all of the following places could be switched in for lunchtime if you got peckish. There are so many options in Amsterdam at every price range so it’s well worth doing some research first, but here’s where I ended up (spoiler: these were extremely tasty options):
1. Food Hallen
Another European city, another food hall, am I right?? It’s a tough job, but somebody has got to try all the food markets and rank them in order. Luckily Food Hallen was one of the best. It’s an incredible covered market based near Amsterdam Oud-West with food stands, bars, and communal seating.
This sort of place is becoming pretty common in European cities, and Food Hallen was up there in terms of quality and vibe. They had an amazing selection of food, and on the Thursday night the DJ was smashing out 90s RnB classics like it was no big deal. A must visit!! When I visited, I just wanted something to snack on, so I grabbed an Amsterdam classic: fries (usually found in a cone).
While I chose something simple, you could have had Thai, Mexican, dim-sum, burgers, cured meat, fish or pizza, and the main bar was fully stocked with wine, spirits and craft beer. There is definitely something for everyone here!
2. San Diego
While I was walking outside of Amsterdam's red light district, I started to get really hungry and was craving pizza. When I passed San Diego, I looked in and the place looked quite cozy (although empty at the time). Throughout my one-hour dine, there was just one other couple that came in. I had looked at the reviews and saw they weren't great, but I tend to want to try all sorts of things when I travel. To be quite honest, I had a great experience here.
The food was priced very well compared to the rest of the city, and I was very happy with the two pizzas ordered between my mother and myself. The Hawaiian pizza had a very crispy crust and fresh flavors, which definitely left me extremely pleased! We both think this spot would do a bit better if it were 50 meters closer to the main street, but I would recommend San Diego to anyone nearby!!
3. Van Kerkwijk
Eating at Van Kerkwijk was by far the best meal I had in all of Amsterdam!! The menu changes daily and is not printed—your server will recite it for you. I had the most relaxing, entertaining, and truly charming experience – that's what this restaurant is... it's not just a meal, it's an experience! The server sat down at the table with us and made jokes while telling us the specials.
The menu the night we went included a delicious chicken that fell right off the bone, as well as a beautifully rare steak cut on top of goat cheese & served with a strawberry sauce. That may sound very odd and like a terrible combination, but it was one of the tastiest meals I've ever had in my life!! Both meat options were cooked overnight for nearly a day, which is why the chicken just fell off the bone and the steak was incredibly tender!
I was surprised we could walk in a get a table right away on a summer evening, but we got lucky. This was my first visit and I’ll definitely go back. If you're in Amsterdam, do yourself a favor and go eat at Van Kerkwijk!
There were definitely a few more places that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I figured I'd go more in depth on my favorites! After reading this ultimate food guide, where are you going to eat next???