Gastronomy in Amsterdam: A Culinary Journey

If you’re a seafood enthusiast, explore the seafood restaurants along the city’s canals. Enjoy a plate of Dutch-style “kibbeling,” bite-sized pieces of battered and fried fish, served with a tangy sauce. Or, treat yourself to a seafood platter featuring fresh herring, shrimp, and mussels. These waterside dining experiences not only offer delectable dishes but also scenic views of Amsterdam’s charming canals, making your meal all the more enjoyable.

As night falls, Amsterdam’s culinary scene takes on a new dimension. The city boasts a thriving dining culture, with a myriad of international restaurants and Michelin-starred establishments. Whether you’re in the mood for contemporary European cuisine or exotic flavors from afar, you’ll find a restaurant to match your taste. And let’s not forget dessert – Amsterdam’s patisseries and bakeries offer a tantalizing array of treats, from creamy Dutch apple pie to artisanal chocolates. In Amsterdam, you’re sure to delight in an unforgettable culinary journey that celebrates the city’s rich cultural diversity and passion for food.

Traditional Amsterdam Fare


Poffertjes are a beloved Dutch treat, often described as miniature pancakes. These tiny, fluffy delights hold a special place in Dutch cuisine and are a favorite for both locals and visitors. 

Best Places to eat Poffertjes:

  • The Pancake Bakery: Located in the heart of Amsterdam, The Pancake Bakery is famous for its extensive pancake menu, including excellent poffertjes. The warm, cozy atmosphere and canal-side seating add to the charm of this establishment.
  • Albert Cuyp Market: Amsterdam’s largest street market, Albert Cuyp Market, offers a variety of street food stalls, and you can find vendors serving fresh poffertjes. This is a great spot to experience authentic Dutch flavors.
  • Lanskroon: Situated near the Flower Market, Lanskroon is a charming bakery known for its poffertjes, Dutch pastries, and other sweet treats. Enjoy your poffertjes with a view of the Singel canal.
  • Dutch Mini Pancakes: This charming poffertjes stand can be found at the famous Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market). They offer a selection of toppings, including classic powdered sugar and butter or more adventurous options like Nutella and fruit.
  • Vondelpark: During the warmer months, you can often find poffertjes vendors in Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest and most famous park. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely snack amidst the park’s lush greenery.
  • Poffertjesboot (Pancake Boat): For a unique experience, consider the Poffertjesboot, a canal cruise where you can enjoy unlimited poffertjes as you glide through Amsterdam’s picturesque waterways.


Bitterballen is a classic Dutch snack and a beloved part of the country’s culinary tradition. These savory, deep-fried balls filled with a creamy ragout mixture are often enjoyed with a cold beer. 

Best Places to eat in Bitterballen:

  • Café Luxembourg: This historic café in the heart of Amsterdam is known for serving some of the city’s finest bitterballen. The elegant and timeless atmosphere adds to the enjoyment of this Dutch classic.
  • Café ‘t Smalle: Nestled along one of Amsterdam’s picturesque canals, this charming café offers an excellent rendition of bitterballen. Enjoy the snacks along with a canal-side view.
  • Café de Jaren: Located near the Munttoren, Café de Jaren provides a modern and stylish setting to enjoy a plate of bitterballen. The terrace along the Amstel River is a popular spot during the warmer months.
  • Café Chris: Situated in the Jordaan neighborhood, Café Chris is a local favorite for traditional Dutch snacks, including bitterballen. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great place to relax.
  • Café Kobalt: This canal-side café offers a tranquil setting and a delectable selection of bitterballen. It’s an ideal spot to unwind after a day of exploring the city.
  • De Foodhallen: For a different experience, consider visiting De Foodhallen, an indoor food market. Here, you can sample a variety of foods, including gourmet bitterballen, from different food stalls.
  • Café Thijssen: A classic brown café in the Jordaan, Café Thijssen serves delicious bitterballen in an authentic and cozy Dutch setting.
  • De Ballenbar: If you’re in the mood for a unique twist on this classic snack, De Ballenbar offers a range of innovative bitterballen flavors, from truffle to cheese.


Haring, a traditional Dutch specialty, is a raw herring fish typically served with onions and pickles. It might sound adventurous, but trying Haring is an integral part of experiencing Dutch food culture.

Best Places to eat in Haring:

  • Stubbe’s Haring: Located near the Singel Canal, Stubbe’s Haring is renowned for its top-quality haring. They offer traditional haring, and you can customize it with onions and pickles to suit your taste.
  • Vishandel Albert Cuyp: Situated near the famous Albert Cuyp Market, this fish stand is a great place to sample haring along with other seafood options. The vibrant market atmosphere adds to the experience.
  • Viscafé De Gouden Hoek: A local gem in the De Baarsjes neighborhood, this cozy fish café serves delicious haring and other seafood delights. Enjoy your haring with a Dutch beer for the complete experience.
  • Haringhandel Parlevliet: Found near Amsterdam Central Station, this haring stand offers a quick and convenient way to savor this Dutch specialty. It’s perfect for a snack while exploring the city.
  • Vishandel Simonis: Located in the bustling Foodhallen, this seafood stand provides a diverse selection of haring and other fresh fish. It’s a part of the Foodhallen’s dynamic culinary scene.
  • Volendammer Vishandel: Located in the heart of the city center, this establishment offers a wide range of seafood options, including haring. You can relish your haring indoors or on the outdoor terrace.


Stroopwafels are thin waffle cookies with a sweet syrup filling, making them a beloved treat in the Netherlands. When in Amsterdam, you can find these delightful treats in various places around the city.

Best Places to eat in Stroopwafels:

  • Original Stroopwafels Stand, Albert Cuyp Market: The Albert Cuyp Market is a bustling street market in Amsterdam, and you’ll often find vendors here selling freshly made stroopwafels. The warm, gooey syrup in the center of these sweet delights is a true delight.
  • Lanskroon: This charming bakery, located near the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt), is renowned for its stroopwafels and other Dutch pastries. You can enjoy your stroopwafels while taking in views of the Singel canal.
  • Dutch Mini Pancakes Stand, Bloemenmarkt: Near the Flower Market, you’ll find a small stand offering freshly made Dutch mini pancakes and stroopwafels. It’s an ideal spot for a sweet treat while exploring the city.
  • Van Wonderen Stroopwafels: This specialty stroopwafel shop is famous for its innovative and indulgent variations of the classic treat. You can find them in various locations throughout Amsterdam.
  • Café Papeneiland: Located in one of Amsterdam’s oldest brown cafes, Café Papeneiland, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with a fresh stroopwafel. The historic ambiance of the café adds to the experience.
  • Original Stroopwafels Stand, Dam Square: If you’re exploring the city center, you’ll often encounter stroopwafel vendors in popular areas like Dam Square, offering a quick and satisfying snack.

International Flavors

Amsterdam’s culinary scene is a testament to its international character, with a diverse array of restaurants and eateries offering flavors from around the world. Here are some international flavors you can savor in Amsterdam:

  • Indonesian Cuisine: Amsterdam has a long history of Indonesian influence, dating back to its colonial past. Try a Rijsttafel, a traditional Indonesian rice table, featuring an array of small dishes with various flavors and spices.
  • Surinamese Cuisine: Surinamese food is popular in Amsterdam, thanks to its multicultural population. Don’t miss Surinamese roti, a delicious flatbread with flavorful curry, and pastei, a savory pastries filled with a variety of ingredients.
  • Middle Eastern Cuisine: You can find numerous Middle Eastern restaurants and falafel stands offering dishes like shawarma, kebabs, and falafel wraps. Explore the options in neighborhoods like De Pijp and Nieuw-West.
  • Turkish and Moroccan Cuisine: Turkish and Moroccan cuisine is prevalent in Amsterdam. Try traditional dishes like Turkish pide, kebabs, and Moroccan tagines at local restaurants and food stalls.
  • Asian Cuisine: Amsterdam has a thriving Asian food scene. Enjoy sushi, ramen, dim sum, and other Asian specialties at various restaurants and eateries throughout the city.
  • Italian Cuisine: Satisfy your Italian food cravings at Amsterdam’s numerous pizzerias and trattorias. Whether you prefer Neapolitan-style pizza or homemade pasta, you’ll find plenty of options.
  • Mexican and Tex-Mex: Amsterdam offers Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants where you can indulge in tacos, burritos, and margaritas. Check out the eateries in De Pijp and other neighborhoods.
  • Mediterranean Cuisine: Mediterranean flavors can be enjoyed at restaurants serving Greek, Spanish, and Lebanese dishes. Try paella, tapas, and fresh Mediterranean salads.
  • Ethiopian Cuisine: Experience the unique flavors of Ethiopian cuisine at Amsterdam’s Ethiopian restaurants. Injera (spongy flatbread) and various stews are popular choices.
  • Japanese Cuisine: Amsterdam has a thriving sushi scene, along with restaurants serving ramen, donburi, and other Japanese dishes. The city’s neighborhoods offer a range of options.
  • Indian Cuisine: You can find both North and South Indian restaurants in Amsterdam. Enjoy dishes like biryani, curry, and dosas at various Indian eateries.
  • Chinese Cuisine: Explore Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam, from traditional dim sum to regional specialties like Peking duck.

Amsterdam’s cosmopolitan nature ensures that you can savor an array of international flavors during your visit. The city’s multicultural food scene promises to please every palate, providing a diverse and delicious culinary experience.

Street Food and Markets

Amsterdam boasts a vibrant street food and market scene, offering a wide variety of culinary delights from around the world. Here are some of the best street food markets and traditional markets in Amsterdam:

  • Albert Cuyp Market: One of Amsterdam’s most famous street markets, the Albert Cuyp Market features numerous food stalls serving international and Dutch street food. Don’t miss the opportunity to try stroopwafels, herring, and other local treats.
  • Foodhallen: Housed in a former tram depot, Foodhallen is an indoor food market with a diverse range of food vendors. You can savor dishes from different cuisines, including Mexican, Vietnamese, and Mediterranean.
  • Dappermarkt: Located in the multicultural neighborhood of Oost, Dappermarkt offers a variety of international street food options, such as Middle Eastern falafel and Surinamese roti.
  • Javastraat Food Market: This food market on Javastraat is known for its multicultural offerings, with vendors serving dishes from Surinam, Turkey, and other countries. It’s a great spot for exploring global flavors.
  • Ten Katemarkt: This market in the Oud-West neighborhood features a mix of fresh produce stalls and street food vendors. You can enjoy Dutch and international treats while strolling through the market.

Traditional Markets

  • Noordermarkt: Held on Saturdays, Noordermarkt is a traditional market in the Jordaan neighborhood. Alongside fresh produce, you can find a selection of artisanal foods and snacks.
  • Amsterdam’s City Centre Markets: The city center hosts various markets throughout the week, including the Lindengrachtmarkt, the Nieuwmarkt, and the Waterloopleinmarkt. You can find street food vendors offering a mix of Dutch and international treats.
  • NeighbourFood Market: This monthly food market at the Westergasfabriek showcases artisanal and sustainable food products. It’s an excellent place to try local and organic delights.
  • IJ-Hallen Flea Market: While primarily a flea market, IJ-Hallen also features several food trucks and vendors serving a range of street food. It’s a fun experience for both shopping and dining.
  • Pure Markt: Pure Markt is a traveling market that pops up in various locations in and around Amsterdam. It focuses on high-quality, sustainable, and artisanal products, including delicious foods.
  • Markt van 1001 smaken: This market, which translates to “Market of a Thousand Flavors,” showcases the diverse culinary traditions of Amsterdam’s multicultural population. You can explore foods from all over the world.

Amsterdam’s street food markets and traditional markets offer an array of culinary delights, reflecting the city’s diverse and multicultural character. Whether you’re in the mood for local Dutch specialties or international flavors, these markets provide an excellent opportunity to explore and savor the rich tapestry of food in Amsterdam.


Amsterdam’s culinary scene is a captivating reflection of the city’s multicultural and vibrant spirit, offering a delectable journey of international and traditional flavors that cater to diverse palates. In a city known for its picturesque canals and historic charm, the food culture is just as intriguing. You can embark on a culinary adventure that transcends borders, as Amsterdam boasts an extensive range of global delights. Whether you’re indulging in the complex and aromatic flavors of an Indonesian Rijsttafel, savoring the aromatic spices of Surinamese roti, or relishing a Middle Eastern kebab, you’ll find that the city’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its inhabitants.

Moreover, Amsterdam’s food culture is deeply rooted in local traditions, with Dutch classics like poffertjes and haring capturing the essence of the Netherlands. Poffertjes, the delightful little fluffy pancakes, and haring, the raw herring delicacy, are integral to the Dutch culinary heritage and offer a genuine taste of the country’s traditions. Exploring these iconic flavors while strolling along the picturesque canals, or while immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere of local markets, creates a truly authentic and enriching experience. Amsterdam’s gastronomy serves as a delightful bridge between the city’s historical past and its dynamic, multicultural present, making it an essential part of any visit to this enchanting European capital.

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