Are you ready for the gastronomic adventure that the Dutch street cuisine will take you on? From mouth-watering stroopwafels and poffertjes, to world-famous potato fries, the Dutch flagship herring with pickles and traditional apple pie – there is something for everyone.
Raw herring may sound a little scary to the inexperienced, but every visitor in Amsterdam should definitely try it. You’ll spot haringhandels (herring carts) serving up this Dutch speciality all over the city. You can ask for a ‘broodje haring’ to get the fish served in a small sandwich with / without pickles and onions. The best time to try raw herring is between May and July when it is said to be at its sweetest.
Probably the most controversial snack among tourists, herring is traditionally eaten by grabbing the fillet by the tail and biting the meaty bits off. It is worth trying its salty delight.
For the best herring:
Herengracht 560, 1017 VJ Amsterdam
The best and freshest assortment is just 2-minutes walk from City Hotel Rembrandt Square, at the Vishuisje haringkar (herring stand) on Utrechtsestraat and on the Herengracht canal.
Singel, 1013 GA Amsterdam
This good-old kiosk with amazing herring attracts not only guests of the city, but also locals.
Potato fries (a.k.a. Friet / Frieten / Patat / Patatje)
Once in Amsterdam, trying local fries is a must. “Friets” are chunky, flavorful and served with a variety of sauces of your choice. They are not your regular fries. You will find these thick cut fries called patat or frites on menus, and traditionally they come served in a very hot paper cone covered with tasty toppings.
For the best fries in town:
Voetboogstraat 33, 1012 XK Amsterdam
They mean business since 1957. It is located in a small hole-in-a-wall and serves arguably the best fries in Amsterdam. Vleminckx de Sausmeester offers the choice of 28 sauces, including green pepper, ketchup, sambal apple and mustard.
Damrak 41, 1012 LK Amsterdam
This is an amazing spot for one of the best fries in town, serving them with a variation of 22 sauces of your choice.
Ceintuurbaan 113, 1012 JN Amsterdam
A little more on the classy side, Par Hasard serves great fries with high-quality dishes, paired with a glass of wine.
Reguliersbreestraat 38, 1017 CN Amsterdam
Apart from great fries, the chain Febo – with many spots around Amsterdam – offers a unique self-service concept. “Food from the wall” is a hot food vending machine with reasonable prices. You just choose the dish you feel like, insert the coin and voila – you have it.
The Dutch love their deep-fried dishes and bitterballen is a great example. This delicious, deep-fried crispy meatballs traditionally served with mustard dipping on the side – they’re the ultimate Dutch pub snack and can be found on the menu of most of them.
For best bitterballen:
Utrechtsestraat 18, 1017 VN Amsterdam
They pride themselves with serving as many as 25 different types of bitterballen.
Leidsekruisstraat 21, 1017 RE Amsterdam
Cheese (Yellow gold)
Cheese is a big thing in the Netherlands, so don’t go home without visiting one of Amsterdam’s many ‘kaas’ shops or markets and trying some Gouda, Maasdammer or Geitenkaas.
Dutch cheese is unique, so it is no surprise that it is one of the country’s most essential exports.
There are many assortments of cheese in the Netherlands, however, often when people talk about Dutch cheese they mean Gouda or Edam.
There is a big variety of Dutch cheeses also including Beemster, Graskaas, Limburger, Leerdammer and Maasdam.
Where to try best Dutch cheese:
Henri Willig Cheesemakers
Reguliersbreestraat 24, 1017 CN Amsterdam
It’s tempting to visit Henri Willig Kaasmakers’s cheese farms located in Katwoude, Volendam and the Zaanse Schans, but you can also try their organic cheese selection while in Amsterdam at their Cheese & More stores. Top-quality cheeses made in Henri Willig’s own cheese factory from cow, sheep and goat milk are available. Cheese lovers can sample a variety of flavours in-store, and then have the option of taking home to snack on or give as a gift.
Reypenaer Tasting Room
Singel 182, 1015 AJ Amsterdam
Reypenaer Tasting Room offers professionally guided tasting of their award-winning cheese. Each cheese tasting session lasts around one hour and capacitates a maximum of 20 people per tasting.
A stroopwafel is one of the most famous desserts from the Netherlands. These cookie-like waffles are created by pressing vanilla and cinnamon dough between heated waffle irons, the thin crispies are split in two and filled with a rich caramel. In the Netherlands these delights can be found at almost every bakery, market or grocery store. They are handmade in this same tradition.
Originally from the Dutch city of Gouda, the first stroopwafels were made in the early 19th century. It is believed that the first stroopwafel was created when a baker sweetened leftover breadcrumbs with a thick syrup. This “recipe” quickly became popular and within a few years bakers across the country were making their own stroopwafels.
Today, the stroopwafel is a Dutch staple often enjoyed for afternoon tea (suggested serving is to place it on top of your cup and let the steam warm and slowly melt the caramel inside).
For best stroopwafels:
Original Stroopwafels in Albert Cuyp Market
Albert Cuypstraat t/o 182, Stand 134, 1073 BL Amsterdam
They have been baking the real “Goudsche Siroopwafels” according to the traditional recipe for generations at their stall at the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam. They pride themselves on baking using a family recipe with the best ingredients so that they can guarantee the amazing quality of the stroopwafel.
van Wonderen Stroopwafels
Kalverstraat 190, 1012 XH Amsterdam
This bakery serves up the most Instagrammable waffles in town. They are freshly made – with giant warm waffles sliced in half in front of you and filled with hot syrup before being dipped into melted chocolate and topped with anything from marshmallows, hazelnuts, M&M’s and more.
They are not your average pancakes – small, light and puffy, covered in traditional sugar syrup and dusted with powdered sugar. These poffertjes will leave you begging for a second portion.
Although available in many of the city’s pancake restaurants, the best ones tend to be made fresh at street-side stalls. If you’re not able to make it to one of Amsterdam’s many weekly/monthly food markets, you can find the poffertje stall daily at the famous Albert Cuyp market, next to the stroopwafel stall.
For best poffertjes:
Reguliersdwarsstraat 31, 1017 BJ Amsterdam
Downtown is located in the oldest building of Reguliersdwarsstraat, dating back to 1642. The business has been run since the early 1970s, so in 2020 they are celebrating their 50th anniversary.
This place serves amazing, spongy poffertjes, with powdered sugar and syrup.
Singel 494, 1017 AW Amsterdam
Jodenbreestraat 2, 1011 NK Amsterdam
Feeling peckish after shopping at Waterlooplein Market? Then pop in to this great cafe, serving amazing desserts and coffees.
You can’t go wrong with a delectable piece of traditional Dutch apple pie, served with either whipped cream or an ice cream scoop on the side.
For the best apple pie in town:
Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam
Oudekerksplein 27, 1012 GX Amsterdam
De Koffieschenkerij is a coffee bar, located in the former sacristy of the Oude Kerk in the oldest part of Amsterdam: the Red Light District. In addition to their delicious coffee, they have an amazing selection of pastries and cakes.
Singel 457, 1012 WP Amsterdam
At Blue, you get something extra with your coffee and cake – a magnificent view. Located in a futuristic glass tower in the middle of the city centre, Blue offers a panoramic glance of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions paired with specialty coffee and delicious desserts.
Traditional Dutch oliebollen (literally, “oil balls”) have often been called the predecessor of the American doughnut. It seems most likely that early Dutch settlers took their tradition over to the New World, where it evolved into the popular treat that the doughnut is today. The Dutch used to call it oliekoek (“oil cookie”) and it used to be baked in lard or rapeseed oil. In the Netherlands, they pretty much remained a seasonal treat: made and enjoyed specifically leading up to and over New Year’s. Oliebollen can be made with optional raisins and currants, but the seasonal traditional snowfall of white confectioners’ sugar and ground cinnamon is a must. They can be usually found at bakeries and street vendors. During the holiday season, you can try delicious Oliebollen in Rembrandt Square from the seasonal street vendors.