Amsterdam is a melting pot, home to 176 different nationalities. With all this ethnicity, it’s no wonder the food is incredible. You can taste authentic Dutch cuisine or sample dishes from around the globe without the hassle of another plane trip.
While it’s true that Amsterdam is a hotspot for food enthusiasts, it is also a tourist mecca. This influx in tourism means that a significant number of dining establishments are sub-par and cater to the ever present flow of travelers. Having been in Amsterdam for several days before our food tour, I can attest to the wide range of mediocre dining establishments.
Navigating the great food spots in Amsterdam is best left to the professionals. That’s why I was pleased to hook up with Eating Amsterdam Tours, to learn the ins and outs of where to dine and what to eat while visiting this bustling city.
Our local guide led us through the Jordaan neighborhood, commenting on local sights and history, then delivering us to our food rendezvous. We were filled up with both tantalizing dishes and knowledge that you just can’t get on your own. Did you know the Dutch used to eat tulip bulbs?
The tour is designed to give guests a range of food options while exploring one of the most historic neighborhoods in Amsterdam. What better way to learn about a city than through food?!
Eat and Drink Your Way Through Amsterdam:
It was quite entertaining to discover that most members of the tour group knew very little about Dutch cuisine. To start off our Amsterdam food tour, we all gathered in a circle at the beginning of the tour to introduce ourselves and were asked to name a dish from Holland. As many of us stood with blank expressions on our faces, it became apparent that most of the group really didn’t know much Dutch food. A few guesses from cheese, to fries, to beer were thrown out. Some suggestions were spot on and I was impressed that some of us had done our homework.
The food tour started off in the charming Café de Prins with delectable poffertjes or “little pancakes”, as my kids call them. These little bites of heaven are small, round and deliciously sweet topped with syrup and powdered sugar. Hubs and I enjoyed them with a cup of coffee while the kids sipped hot chocolate topped with whipped cream! It was the perfect way to start off our morning of “eating our way through Amsterdam”.
Next up we tried Indonesian-Surinam cuisine from a “tucked away” takeaway restaurant, Swieti Sranang. This was my first experience trying Surinam food and it was a real treat. The spicy fare was a bit much for the kids, but Derrick and I enjoyed the broodje pom, a tart, yet spicy chicken sandwich, and baka bana, fried plantain with satay sauce. We ate outside the restaurant, admiring the canal view and chatting away with the other tour members.
Next, we made our way to Butcher Louman, said to be one of the oldest butchers in Amsterdam. They have been serving quality meat since 1860! We sampled 2 sausages, ossenworst, which is a raw, smoked beef sausage, as well as grillworst. Grillworst is just as the name would imply – grilled sausage. This was our favorite sausage and is best eaten with a bit of yellow mustard.
I can’t say enough about the fried beer battered fish at Meer Dan Vis. The batter was sweet with a bit of spice – an insanely good combination. I was disappointed that we didn’t have time to come back later for the fish tacos!
A favorite among the Dutch is herring, and Meer Dan Vis is supposed to have some of the best. The herring is served with raw, chopped onions and a pickle. While it was good and ended up being one of Derrick’s favorites from the tour, I’m just not a pickled raw fish fan. But oh, the fried fish….
Switching gears, we stopped in an old fashioned candy shop, Het Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje. While the shop sells a wide range of candy, all neatly displayed in glass jars lining the walls, the specialty is liquorice, a Dutch favorite. We were told that Dutch people have it everywhere. Bowls in the house, in the car, at work. There is a flavor for all palates from sweet to salty to sour. And NON of the liquorice is red – no Twizzlers here!
Many in the tour group enjoyed this stop and purchased liquorice before we moved on. I appreciated the opportunity to sample 3 different types of liquorice, but they all confirmed that I just don’t like this type of candy. I couldn’t eat it. The kids were treated to a blueberry liquorice, which they loved.
You can’t visit the Netherlands without sampling gouda! We tried 3 varieties, from the young gouda that is soft and creamy, to the 3-year old aged gouda with a sharp bite eaten with a fig cake. While I loved all gouda, my favorite is the young while Derrick preferred the aged, sans the cake. A trip to De Kasskamer cheese shop should be on your go to list for a purchase of Dutch cheese or even better, pair some with sausage for a picnic by the canal.
I have never been a fan of apple pie. That is until I tried the Dutch apple pie at Café Papeneiland. Oh my! The apple pie is all homemade. What makes this apple pie special is the thicker crust and use of sour apples. While the pie doesn’t taste sour at all, it seems to balance out the sweetness of the pie for a more pleasant taste.
Dutch apple pie became famous in the 1500’s. Keeping in line with such a rich history, Café Papeneiland dates back to 1642, is in a 400 year old building and is one of the oldest cafés in Amsterdam! The history is made even more impressive by being a 100 year old family run business.
Our final stop was for a glass of local Dutch beer from Brouwerij ‘t IJ, served alongside a meat based fried ball of goodness, bitterballen. It’s similar to a croquette, but tastes more like a gravy on the inside. We sampled Oedipus beer which is actually brewed in Amsterdam. I think this was secretly one of Derrick’s favorite parts of the tour – Dutch beer!
Returning to our initial discussion of Dutch food, everyone declared their favorite from the tour. These were pretty varied, ranging through most of our dozen or so samples. My favorite was the fried fish, Derrick’s was the herring, while the kids were torn between the poffertjes and the apple pie.
Get ready to encounter the historical sights of the Jordaan neighborhood with a knowledgeable guide and a sampling of local Dutch favorites. This is an experience that no guidebook can replicate!
Experience Your Own Food Tour with Eating Amsterdam Tours:
+ 31 (20) 894 3068
Tours are approximately 4 hours long. If you prefer, you can opt for part of the tour on a canal ride instead of entirely walking like our tour.
Adults – 70€
Adolescent (13 – 18) – 55€
Child (under 13) – 40€
Note: Eating Amsterdam Tours is considerate to dietary restrictions. One of the tour group members was a vegetarian, so she was served an alternative to some dishes.
If you plan to visit Amsterdam in the Spring, don’t miss Keukenof Garden and discover the tulips of Holland!
Disclosure: I was invited by Eating Amsterdam to facilitate this Amsterdam food tour review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and may differ from others.