Bucketlist Travels logo

Travel bucket list idea:

Amsterdam’s best food & drink

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 26 March, 2024

Dutch food has a reputation for being stodgy, but has undergone a renaissance in recent years.

In 2022, Amsterdam counted 19 Michelin-starred establishments, while across the board, restaurant kitchens have embraced local ingredients — from regionally grown produce to locally raised beef to fresh seafood from the North Sea.

Non-Dutch eateries predominate in multicultural Amsterdam and the diverse array of international offerings continues to grow. French, Italian, Japanese, Asian-fusion and Mediterranean are among the most popular, while the thriving immigrant communities in East Amsterdam — namely Indonesian, Ethiopian, Surinamese, and Turkish — have brought their cuisine to the capital.

Indonesian restaurants are particularly prevalent — the Dutch East India Company introduced the cuisine into Holland in the 17th century. The rijstaffel, or rice table, is a staple here; it features dozens of small plates — everything from spicy grilled satay to egg rolls to fried coconut — all served with plain white rice.

What to try

Traditional hearty Dutch dishes to try here include snert, a thick pea soup with meat, and stamppot (mash mixed with veg).

Snacks include pickled raw herring, chips with mayonnaise, and bitterballen (deep-fried meat croquettes). Popular for lunch is a broodje (sandwich), which can be stuffed with anything from ham and cheese to kroketten (croquettes).

The Netherlands is, of course, famous for cheese and you’ll stumble across excellent cheese shops dotted around the city.

Stroopwafels (round waffle cookies with caramel filling), poffertjes (mini pancakes dusted with sugar), and wedges of apple pie are classic Dutch treats.

But locals also like their sweets in the morning, and you’ll spot children and grown-ups alike topping their toast with chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag).

And of course, you’ll want to wash down your meal with a famous Dutch beer like Heineken or Amstel, or try a local craft brew from Brouwer ‘t IJ.

Editor: See our round-up of traditional Dutch foods you must try in the Netherlands.

The dining scene

Amsterdam’s version of the classic London pub – brown cafes (or brown bars) – have served as traditional drinking establishments for centuries. So named for their dark wood interiors and nicotine-stained walls, brown cafes are cosy spots for sampling local beers or shots of jenever (Dutch gin) while soaking up the historic atmosphere.

Eetcafés are food-oriented neighbourhood pubs with simple menus, while so-called ‘grand cafés’ are classic historical spaces serving more upscale cuisine.

Who to go with: tour operators

6

Albert Cuyp Market

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

People shopping in daytime

Experience

Stretching a half-mile, Amsterdam’s biggest street market has over 250 stands hawking everything from fresh produce to clothing to kitchenware and small electronics. Fuel up on local delicacies like stroopwafels, kibbling (fried fish) and Gouda cheese.

Good for age: 18+

Website >

Amsterdam’s Brown Cafes

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

  • Bucket List Experience

External view of a brown cafe with red awning

Experience

These cosy, centuries-old neighbourhood pubs are the most authentic place for a local pint.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: Any

De Hallen

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

View fo the empty foodhall with food stalls on either

Experience

A sprawling food, shopping and cultural complex tucked inside a turn-of-the-century red-brick complex, that includes an indoor food hall with over 20 different international street food stalls.

Good for age: 18+

Heineken Experience

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

  • Bucket List Experience

view down a modern interior display room

Experience

One of the city’s most popular attractions is the historic 1867 Heineken brewery, which has retained the original brewing room with its enormous vintage copper vats and antique brewing equipment.

Adult price 18

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Winkel

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Close up of Dutch apple pie with whipped cream

Experience

This café at Noordermarkt 43 is justly famous for its home-made apple pie. It comes in thick, crusty wedges, and is flavoured with cinnamon.

Good for age: 18+

Website >

Wynand Fockink

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

No Image Available for this listing

Experience

This no-frills, standing-room-only proeflokaal (tasting house), hidden away off Dam Square and dating back to 1679, is an authentic place to try ‘Dutch gin’ (jenever). Choose from a wide selection of house-brewed, flavoured jenevers and liqueurs that line its precariously sagging shelves.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Website >

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Amsterdam’s casual, convivial neighbourhood ‘brown cafes’ can be found across the city, some of the oldest are located in the Red-Light District. Many brown cafes in the Canal Ring and Jordaan also sport lovely canalfront terraces in the warmer months. Good restaurants and eetcafes are also scattered around the canals and central district.

The Nine Streets have many small, quality cafes and restaurants, where you can sit on the street and watch the world go by. The same is true of the Jordaan district, home to the city’s most characterful brown cafés.

If you’re after ethnic eats, head to East Amsterdam and the culturally diverse Indische Buurt district. On and around Javastraat, its main artery, are all manner of foodstuffs, including Surinamese, Indonesian, and Indian, restaurants, Asian supermarkets, and Turkish bakeries and takeaway joints.

For a lively night out, head for Leidseplein, which has the biggest concentration of bars and nightclubs in Amsterdam – including famous, multi-purpose venues the Melkweg and Paradiso.

Who to go with: organised tours

8

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Amsterdam's Jordaan Cozy Food Tour with Eating Europe

  • Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Jordaan Cozy Food Tour with Eating Europe

Viator

Jordaan Food Tour is so much more than meets the eye: it’s an exploration through the Jordaan neighbourhood- an area that is at the intersection of history and hipness. As this is a food tour we will be wandering down small backstreets to discover the best food in the city at small local places that few tourists will ever know about. Some foodie highlights include the city's very best Dutch Apple Pie, a selection of gourmet cheeses, Bitterballen, Surinamese food (a former Dutch Colony) and herring just to name a handful of the local delicacies you will be enjoying. Your local foodie expert will enchant you with stories and insights into what being "Dutch" is all about and why people from this small country take so much pride in their country and cool culture. Take a break from being a tourist and experience the real Amsterdam with us.

Price €99

Min age 4

Rating 4.87 / 5 [1072 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

The grand Dutch Food and History tour

  • Amsterdam

The grand Dutch Food and History tour

Viator

The Grand Dutch Food Tour is a comprehensive, fun, and diverse food tour that provides an in-depth look at Dutch cuisine and history. ​What makes the tour unique is the diversity of different places you’ll visit. For example, you’ll enjoy homemade Dutch apple pie in a typical 'brown cafe,’ visit a fantastic cheese store that ripens its own cheeses in an old bunker, and will end in the former 17th century headquarters of the Dutch West India Company. Here, the decision was made to found New Amsterdam…later known as New York. We will lead you through the Jordaan area, which was built in the early 17th century to house the many workers and immigrants who came from all over Europe to seek their fortune in booming Amsterdam and today is perhaps the most popular neighborhood among Amsterdammers themselves. Also we will show you the world-famous Amsterdam canals and canal houses where the rich merchants of the Golden Age lived and stored their merchandise from all over the world.

Price €121

Min age 0

Rating 4.95 / 5 [367 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Amsterdam Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

  • Amsterdam

Amsterdam Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

Viator

On our Secret Food Tour: Amsterdam, you'll discover the best local Dutch food experience. We'll educate you about how the locals dine out and why it's so unique. We'll walk through streets that are a living part of our history and every building and courtyard tells a story. Your guide will introduce you to family-run businesses and restaurants. And of course you will be able to eat all the delicious food.

Price €95

Min age 3

Rating 4.94 / 5 [226 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Amsterdam Private Food Tour with Local Including 6 or 10 Tastings

  • Amsterdam

Amsterdam Private Food Tour with Local Including 6 or 10 Tastings

Viator

Eat your way through Amsterdam 's culinary scene on a private food tour. Go on a delicious journey as you try 10 of the best food items beloved by the locals: from savory to sweet and local drinks; this tour will leave every foodie satisfied! Enjoy tastings typical of the local cuisine and hand-picked by a local guide passionate about food like Stroopwafel and bitterballen. But that's not it! This tour is more than just food; it's a cultural experience! In between food stops, you'll also find city highlights making this experience a well-rounded tour that will satisfy every foodie. Withlocals The 10 Tastings Private Food Tour™ is one of Withlocals' signature tours available in major cities worldwide. We work with passionate local guides who earn a fair fee. We support local economies by only offering local produce and prevent over-tourism with only small non-intrusive groups. Our tours are carbon-neutral and away from the standard tourist routes.

Price €119

Min age 14

Rating 4.59 / 5 [174 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

#1 Craft Beer & Brewery Tour, Brew Bus Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam

#1 Craft Beer & Brewery Tour, Brew Bus Amsterdam

Viator

Tour the city with your mates, date or someone great! Tap into Amsterdam’s booming craft beer scene as your expert guide gives you the ultimate beer experience. The all-inclusive tour grants you insider access to 3 different top breweries in Amsterdam - with beer tastings at each location. Hop on board Amsterdam's Best Beer Tasting & Brewery Tour. Make your trip an unforgettable experience with Brew Bus Amsterdam. Taste.Love.Cheers.

Price €65

Min age 18

Rating 4.96 / 5 [64 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Amsterdam

  • North Holland, Netherlands

Rows of houses near a canal in daytime

Destination guide

Picturesque Golden Age canals, premier league art, cosy cafés, and liberal urban living combine to make Amsterdam one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.