Like all foodies, I am very picky about food and unfortunately unimpressed with the Dutch cuisine in general. I therefore usually caution against restaurants with a local menu when visiting Amsterdam. I mean, what can you expect from a country that prides itself with the invention of food vending machines, that happily has the same meager cheese sandwich for lunch day in and out and whose best restaurant is essentially in Belgium?
Nonetheless, I frequently get asked about the best options for authentic Dutch restaurants and understand the urge to experience local culture and sample traditional fare. So I decided to put together this list of best authentic Dutch restaurants in Amsterdam. It’s a rather mixed bag including French fries to go, lunch rooms serving pancakes and cheese sandwiches, restaurants serving classic grandma dishes from Holland and even the best Indonesian rijsttafel in town. So have a read through the list and decide for yourself if and how you want to fulfill the urge to live like a local!
Hollands Restaurant Hap-Hmm
Hap-Hmm is all about Dutch home cooking: traditional dishes, simple interior and low prices. The dishes are classics from Holland like “stamppot”, a mash of potatoes, cabbage and stewed meat, or “gehaktbal”, a large meatball served with mashed potatoes and thick gravy. It’s basically stomach filling winter food. The decor is extremely simple and consists of old, brown tables made from cheap wood. And even the opening hours are Dutch style – food served from Monday to Friday 4:30pm to 8:00pm. But Hap-Hmm is good at what they’re doing. The € 10,= steak is tender and tasty and the overall quality is consistent with the restaurant having been in its current location since 1935 and run by the same team for almost 50 years!
Eerste Helmersstraat 33
1054 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0)20 6181884
Restaurant Greetje – Dutch Cuisine
Greetje serves forgotten Dutch regional dishes in a professional and modern way. The restaurant is located centrally in a very typical historic building. The interior is new but resembles a Dutch aristocratic house from centuries ago. Greetje’s menu is like a culinary journey through the Netherlands of the past. There’s a large variety of starters such as Frisian sugar bread, ox tail soup or smoked eel from Holland. And the main courses also unite dishes from the different regions like zander from the lakes of the east or pork ragout from Limburg. The ambiance is great and the food and service good – so make sure you make a reservation at least a few weeks in advance.
1011 TJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0)20 7797450
Like its name suggests, Pancakes! serves pancakes. It’s a modern version of a pancake restaurant with a clean and stylish interior and friendly service. It’s small, with only a few tables, and located smack in the middle of hip shopping area “9 straatjes” or “9 little streets”. The pancakes easily beat those of the larger pancake bakeries all over town that mostly cater to tourists. I like the menu at Pancakes, which has good variations without giving you every possible combination of ingredients. There are traditional Dutch pancakes with apple and powered sugar, American pancakes with maple syrup, and also hearty variations with spinach and goat cheese or camembert with rasperries. Pancakes! is open from 10am to 7pm daily and is ideal for a late breakfast, snack or early dinner with children.
1016 GH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
+31 (0)20 5289797
Tempo Doeloe – Rijsttafel
Indonesian culture is very present in Amsterdam due to the historic connection between the Netherlands and its former trading partner and colony Indonesia. Indonesian cuisine is actually so well established that it’s seen by many as authentic local food. The “rijsttafel” is an Indonesian dish given a Dutch name that literally translates to “rice table”. It’s an assortment of often up to 30 small dishes served with rice and shared by all guests at the table. There will be meat, fish and vegetables with different sauces and condiments like sambal, satay, coconut flakes, and pickles. Tempo Doeloe serves consistent quality in a setting that is classier than the many Indonesian snack bar style restaurants all over Amsterdam. The ambiance is rather crammed with lots of Indonesian shiny decorations and a fair amount of tourists. Do remember to make a reservation!
1017 VJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0)20 6256718
Toasty! – Grilled Cheese Sandwich
“Toasties” are very simple grilled cheese sandwiches that are usually made of two slices of soft white bread with a thin slice of Dutch cheese, grilled for a few minutes and then eaten with ketchup. It’s sort of the simplest form of warm food in existence and often found in office lunch rooms or pubs that lack the facilities to make proper food. Toasty! on the far end of Overtoom is taking that concept to a whole other level, serving a variety of inventive “toasties” that are freshly made and generously garnished. The menu includes the “Eva” toasty with cheese, roasted peppers and mint as well as the “Freaky Peer”, a concoction with pears, goat cheese and herbs. Toasty also has a nice range of smoothies, coffee and chais and is a great place for lunch or a quick snack.
No web site
1054 KE Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0)20 3892215
Vleminckx French Fries
Fries were invented by the Belgians and named after the French. But the Dutch are at least as passionate and skilled about them. And Vleminckx makes the best fries around by far. It’s not a restaurant, but a hole-in-the-wall take away. It’s located in a small alley off major shopping street Kalverstraat and you will immediately recognize it by the long line of people queuing up for their fries. You order through a window and can see the action inside – potato peeling, washing, cutting, frying and double frying! Did I mention the fries are perfect? Just the right crispiness and thickness, and available with your choice of curry, ketchup, mayonnaise (“frietsaus”), peanut sauce (“sate”) or a wicked combination of raw onions, mayonnaise and peanut sauce called “oorlog” , Dutch for “war”…
No web site
1012 XK Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0)20 6246075
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16 thoughts on “Best Authentic Dutch Restaurants in Amsterdam”
No mention of a good place to get bitterballen? I’ve heard I should try this dish when visiting Amsterdam. Is it worth trying? Where can you get it and which places would you recommend?
Good point! A bitterballen experience should definitely be part of every trip to Amsterdam.
They are little balls of mushed meat and potatoes, breaded and deep fried, that you have with some mustard.
They really are a snack that you have with beer, so look for them in bars and cafes. My list of best terraces has some good places for bitterballen, also for colder days and sitting inside: http://s19.c69.myftpupload.com/best-amsterdam-terraces/ Gent, Hesp, Onder de Ooievaar or Walem all have good brews and bitterballen.
Be warned: More than one late afternoon or pre-dinner bitterballen and beer session has gone on for too long and caused people to skip dinner entirely…
How about places like Le Hollandaise, Hemelse Modder, d’Vijff Vlieghen and de Kas? They all have the same “authentic” mission, in a sense they are celebrating forgotten dishes with a French touch. Much in the same way how Greetje operates. Then you have more informal places like Loetje that serve steaks and side dishes in a typical Dutch manner. Not my favourite, but worth trying if you’re into that kind of food!
There is certainly no shortage of restaurants promising authentic Dutch food. It’s a big selling point with tourists. I do find that not everything that is called authentic actually is, and quality can be another issue.
De Kas is a great place and on my Best Amsterdam Restaurant list rather than on this one. And I have certainly recommended Loetje, with a similar disclaimer than yours. I’m not so wild about Le Hollandais or d’Vijff Vlieghen.
http://www.bistrobijons.nl/ is worth a try…
Good one, Fraukje!
Wish I’d found this site before our trip last summer. ‘Greetje’ sounds great though we did find pretty good food throughout, in De Pijp and Jordaan neighborhoods mostly. And we found our way to Hap-Hmmm one night for a simple, but very satisfying dinner. I’m sure stamppot is a winter staple, but as it was an unseasonably chilly and rainy day, it was just the thing. And the place could hardly be any more gezellig, could it?
Thanks for the nice feedback Chicago Al!
And indeed. the typically rainy Amsterdam summers sure make Stamppot acceptable out of season!
I have been following your list like crazy and I am enjoying any restaurants reviewed so fat.
Last week I was reccomended this Dutch restaurant called Moeders for authentic duct food. When I tried to find it on the site I couldn’t see it. Any reasons? I made a booking for Saturday and I will let you know how that’ll go, of course I don’t have a benchmark to compare it against.
Thank you for your kind words!
Moeders is nice and I know many people who had a great time there. We find it a bit too much ‘show’ and prefer much simpler, and hence more authentic Hap Hmm.
Curious how you like it!
Yes, I can agree with you about Moeders. The place was actually ok, like all ‘moeders’ picture on the wall, quite sweet.
However, the food is very average and the wine list is poor. The place is not that cheap considering what you actually get. The service on the other had was pretty good, and fairly attentive. I had a good evening overall, not because of the food though.
The tourists have obviously caught on to Pancakes! Amsterdam. The line was probably 20 people long out the door when I went yesterday (at 3:30 pm, so not exactly peak hours), but I lucked out today when I tried again and only waited about 10 minutes. I had the traditional Dutch pancake with ham and Camembert and it was amazing! Thanks for the great suggestion!
Had dinner at Hap-Hmm some time back and the food is really good here and the friendly atmosphere is another plus.