With everything from Mexican tacos to cheese-filled Georgian khachapuri gracing the kitchens of new canal-side eateries, Amsterdam is in the grip of a world-food frenzy. But its native roster of old-school treats remains one of the most appealing, under-the-radar experiences of a visit to the Netherlands’ gorgeous capital.
If these eclectic Dutch dishes have one thing in common, it’s a certain… robustness. Safe to say that, with more bicycles than people, Amsterdam is not a city that fears the carbohydrate. From piping-hot bitterballen to the Indo-Dutch rijsttaffel, these scrumptious staples will keep your tastebuds amused from morning until midnight. Time to loosen your belt and get on your bike: here are five of the best.
Granted, there’s no shortage of pancake purveyors in Amsterdam, but some risk leaving you feeling a little, well, flat. There are no such concerns at Bakers & Roasters, the New Zealand style café with Brazilian accents in De Pijp. The maple syrup-drenched pancakes at this local favourite come accessorised with bananas, blueberries and bacon – basically nice things beginning with ‘b’.
A devotion to dairy produce is widely thought to be the reason for the Dutch population’s famously statuesque proportions. While it may be too late to kick-start your own growth spurt, you’ll certainly have fun trying at this intimate restaurant on the bank of the river Amstel. 212 boasts the most Instagrammable all-Dutch cheese ‘trolley’ in town, a veritable homage to local fromage.
When done right, the spherical Dutch pub snack of choice is a piping hot morsel of meaty, deep-fried goodness coated in breadcrumbs. Needless to say they do it right at Van Dobben, a pristine venerated canteen down a backstreet just shy of the bustling Rembrandtplein. Their veal bitterballen, served with a smear of mustard, are the perfect winter warmer. Consume with a side of pea and ham soup.
Dutch cuisine often involves much enthusiastic mashing of tubers. Hence the beloved local delicacy of stamppot, which dates from the early 1600s. It’s a delicious pile of boiled and mashed vegetables, often served with a chopped sausage. Appropriately, Moeders – a restaurant devoted to the mothers of the staff and diners – excels at this homely comfort food.
Translating as ‘rice table’, this Dutch take on a traditional West Sumatran banquet can incorporate anything from duck roasted in banana leaves to tofu omelette. Chicken in satay sauce is a familiar staple. Situated in the foodie Oud-West, Café Amoi is the funky younger sibling of now-closed Indonesian restaurant Sarang Mas – a great place to get to grips with Indo-Dutch cuisine.
Image credits: © Moeders; © Moeders; © Bakers & Roasters; © 212; © Getty; © Moeders; © Café Amoi