sweet and savory dutch pancakes and also some poffertjes

10 Best Foods in Amsterdam You Need to Try

Indulge in Amsterdam’s culinary delights with my Amsterdam food guide! From delectable Dutch fries and savory bitterballen, to Dutch pancakes, Indonesian cuisine, and more. Each recommendation is one of my personal favorite foods in Amsterdam, so you can definitely trust these choices. Don’t miss out on stroopwafels and Dutch apple pie for a sweet finish. Eet smakelijk!

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In my opinion, no trip is fully successful if it doesn’t include amazing food, and Amsterdam is certainly no exception to that list. 

Every time I’m here I find myself spoiled for choice with the Amsterdam food scene. There are amazing traditional Dutch options, modern European restaurants, cuisines of almost any culture you could dream of, and all at different price points and levels of casual. I feel like I always leave Amsterdam with my pants a bit tighter, but it’s always worth it.

Amsterdam is full of incredible restaurants and cuisines, and you should try to take full advantage of everything on offer while you’re there. Since I’ve been to Amsterdam so many times, I thought it would be useful to create an Amsterdam food guide, to detail what to eat in Amsterdam, and which foods in Amsterdam I think are worth it for you to try! 

A basket of pastries for foods in amsterdam

I hate when a list like this includes a whole host of options that are uncommon and it doesn’t seem like the author has even tried the foods, so you can rest assured that you won’t find that here. Everything listed is something I’ve tried and enjoyed and think is worth trying yourself!

Eet smakelijk! (That’s Dutch for bon apetit!)

Delve into the Netherlands

The Best Foods in Amsterdam to Try on Your Trip

1. Fries 

dutch fries are a top foods to try in amsterdam

While we’re starting off with an incredibly simple crowd-pleaser, fries really are one of the best foods in Amsterdam.

You’ll find fries at almost any bar, snack stand, or restaurant, but somehow you’ll almost never find ones that are lacking in quality. They’re often thicker cut fries, and while I typically don’t enjoy that very much in the states, the Dutch just know how to fry a potato!

They’re traditionally served with homemade mayonnaise, and I think that’s the best way to enjoy them, but you can also get them with curry sauce, peanut sauce, or ketchup. 

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2. Bitterballen

bown of bitterballen at a bar in amsterdam - foods in amsterdam

Bitterballen is to the Netherlands as croquettes are to Spain. In Amsterdam, these crispy meat filled balls are a pretty common snack at bars all over the city. They’re commonly eaten with mustard, but you can also eat them alone.

In all honesty, I don’t love these, and they’re the only thing on this list that I can say that about, but everyone I’ve ever traveled to Amsterdam with seems to disagree with me, so I’m forced to believe I’m the one in the wrong! Try for yourself and let me know if you agree or not.

3. Dutch pancakes

sweet and savory dutch pancakes and also some poffertjes

Sitting somewhere in between a crepe and a traditional American pancake, Dutch pancakes are deceptively delicious. You can eat them sweet or savory, and it’s equally amazing both ways. My favorite way to get a savory pancake is bacon, mushrooms, and cheese, and my favorite sweet pancakes are either cinnamon apple, or a strawberry nutella situation—I like a classic, sue me!.

For the best Dutch pancakes, go to De Carrousel in De Pijp. They’re the best pancakes I’ve tried in Amsterdam, both in quality, and in vibe.

4. Poffertjes 

How can something so simple be so upsettingly delicious? Poffertjes (also pictured above, next to the Dutch Pancakes) are mini pancakes, traditionally served with powdered sugar and butter, and you can get them at pancake restaurants as well as stands throughout the center. I like to get mine with whipped cream if possible, and personally I swear by the ones at De Carrousel.

If you’re staying somewhere with a fridge, a little hack I figured out last time I was in Amsterdam was that you can buy refrigerated bags of poffertjes at Albert Heijn (the Dutch supermarket chain you’ll see everywhere) and make your own that taste pretty darn close to the real thing!

5. Beer 

troost brewery in amsterdam westerpark

Beer is nearly as ubiquitous in Amsterdam as tulips and clogs are, so while it’s not exactly a food, it obviously had to make the list.

It’s most common that you’ll find pilsner (more commonly referred to as pils) as the standard beer on offer, seeing as the national beer brand everyone will be familiar with is Heineken itself! But most breweries or nicer bars will have IPAs or hefeweizen options too. I personally really enjoy Troost Brewery (pictured), and Brouwerij ‘t IJ.

It’s also worth noting that it’s really common in Amsterdam to get beer by the half pint, so don’t be confused if you order a beer and get a smaller glass. I actually sort of prefer it this way because your drink doesn’t end up lukewarm roughly halfway through, and you can always have a fresh glass this way!

6. Cheese 

dutch cheese is one of the best foods in amsterdam
The amount of cheese I managed to bring home in 2018… I’m serious about my Dutch cheese!

Considering that the Netherlands has a town named Gouda (yes, the cheese did originate here), it’s no surprise that cheese is making the list of foods in Amsterdam to try. You can find good quality cheese to sample and purchase at most outdoor markets, but there are plenty of cheese shops as well: the Henry Willig shops are your best bet.

I’d recommend speaking with the vendor or shop workers to make sure you get exactly what you want, but as a quick rule of thumb: jong kaas (young cheese) will be lighter and creamier in taste, while oud kaas (old cheese) will be a bit more aged, and have a sharper or stronger taste.

The best part? You can bring the cheese home from the Netherlands.

7. Indonesian 

plate of indonesian food in amsterdam, best foods to eat

In Amsterdam Indonesian food is really common, as well as most other places in the Netherlands, due to the period of time it spent under colonial rule at the hands of the Dutch. Because of this, the Netherlands is one of the best places you could try Indonesian food, outside of Indonesia, of course.

The best way to try Amsterdam Indonesian food is a rijsttafel (rice table), which is basically an array of different dishes and sauces brought to the table, eaten with steamed rice. I’ve also really enjoyed getting a lunch combo or a mixed plate of options from more casual Indonesian places, Sari Citra is my pick.

For a sit down Indonesian dinner, try Kartika in Oud-West. Or, if it’s a nice day, order takeaway from here and walk five minutes over to Vondelpark for a delicious Indonesian picnic!

8. Surinamese 

surinamese food is a great thing to eat in amsterdam

Suriname, much like Indonesia, was a Dutch colony until relatively recently—they only gained independence in 1975. You’ll find a lot of Surinamese restaurants around Amsterdam, and I recommend trying one out, since it’s not a particularly common cuisine in other parts of the world.

The food is an interesting combination of Indian, Javanese, Chinese, Dutch, Jewish, Portuguese and Native Amerindian influences. You can’t really go wrong with what you order, just make sure you get some roti involved.

A Dutch-Surinamese friend of ours brought us to Roopram Roti a few years ago, and it was authentic and amazing! 

9. Stroopwafels 

stroopwafel is one of the best foods in amsterdam

It feels unfathomable to me to visit Amsterdam and not get at least one pack of stroopwafels. More realistically, we’re buying a few, and bringing some home. Stroop is a Dutch syrup that you’ll often find on the table at pancakes restaurants: the taste and texture is thick and sticky, and reminds me a bit of caramel. 

Stroopwafels are two thin waffle-like cookies stuck together with stroop. You can buy these at the grocery store, but my favorite way to get them is to buy them freshly made from Lanskroon Bakery. I think they’re best this way, and you can even sometimes get a warm just made one. They’re great to eat alone, but best with a warm coffee or tea.

10. Apple Pie 

apple pie is one of the best dutch foods in amsterdam

Technically called an appeltaart, Dutch apple pie is a food in Amsterdam that you have to try. It’s similar to what you might expect from “normal” apple pie, but it’s a bit less wet, and the “crust” is a bit cakier rather than flaky. 

I highly recommend ordering it with whipped cream (slagroom), which normally comes in obscene quantities and makes the whole experience even better.

Dutch apple pie is really good and goes great with an afternoon coffee pick me up (check out all the best places to get a coffee in Amsterdam). Cafe Winkel 43 is one of the most famous appeltaart spots in Amsterdam, and for good reason!

Frequently Asked Questions:

interior of amsterdam's foodhallen to try all the foods in amsterdam

What food is typical in Amsterdam?

Typical foods in Amsterdam will span a really wide variety of cuisines and types! Amsterdam is a major, cosmopolitan European capital, meaning that you can expect to find most cuisines represented somewhere in the city! 

However, there are some that you’ll find more frequently than others. Some of the most common, typical foods in Amsterdam that I would recommend are fries with mayo, bitterballen (fried balls often with meat inside), Dutch pancakes (something between a crepe and a pancake), poffertjes (mini sweet pancakes), and Indonesian food

What Dutch food to try in Amsterdam?

Sampling foods from the local culture when you travel is one of the best parts of experiencing a new place! If you’re wanting to try Dutch food in Amsterdam, I recommend trying the amazing homemade mayonnaise served with fries, bitterballen, Dutch pancakes, and poffertjes. 

Another famous option is herring, a fish which is typically eaten raw, in a sandwich or alone with raw onions. I’ve personally never given that one a try, but it’s an iconic Dutch dish to try in Amsterdam, so of course I had to mention it!

brunch plate at a nice restaurant in amsterdam

Is Amsterdam expensive to eat and drink?

Amsterdam can certainly be expensive to eat and drink, but it also doesn’t have to be. Personally, I’ve never spent too much on food in Amsterdam because I’ve found that you can have a lot of great meals at cheap or mid-priced restaurants or food stands. 

At the end of the day, Amsterdam is the main city in the Netherlands, a well-off, northern European country, so it’s always going to sit on the pricier end of the scale when compared to other, cheaper destinations. But every destination is what you make of it, and you can definitely find ways to eat on a budget in Amsterdam.

What do the Dutch eat for breakfast?

A really common Dutch breakfast (or just a sweet treat) is hagelslag, which is chocolate sprinkles, on buttered bread. Sounds strange, but these sprinkles are on another level!!

You aren’t going to see hagelslag on tons of menus at Amsterdam breakfast places, so unless you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen and want to make it yourself, there’s a chance you won’t get to sample this one. That said, you can order hagelslag on a bagel at the chain breakfast/lunch café Bagels & Beans!

There are some other good Dutch breakfast options to try as well! Dutch pancakes and poffertjes are really common around the city, and you can find loads of stands, as well as Amsterdam breakfast places selling them. My favorite is De Carrousel, and I try to visit every time I’m in Amsterdam.

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Are you ready to try all the best foods in Amsterdam?

I know you might not immediately think of an amazing food scene when you think of Amsterdam, but I love eating all the amazing must try Amsterdam food this city has to offer me, and I hope you will too.

If you’re still planning your trip to Amsterdam, check out the full list of Amsterdam blog posts, and if you’re in the middle of planning a wider Dutch adventure, check out the Netherlands archives.

Feel free to leave a comment if you try any of these, have any questions, or think I’ve missed something! You can also always find me on Instagram (tag me in your travel content!), Youtube, or Pinterest.

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best foods in amsterdam to try pin with stroopwafel
best foods in amsterdam to try pin with fries

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