Amsterdam Food Tour, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Food Tour (Self Guided), Amsterdam

Starting from the historic Dam Square area, passing through the posh Western Canal ring, and ending in the conveniently-located Jordaan neighborhood, this self-guided walk takes you through Amsterdam's interlocking canals, prettily lit bridges, and a maze of streets laden with some of the most diverse eateries and bars.

From top tastes such as raw herring to indulging in an infinite range of beers on tap, from sampling the most unique bonbons, cheeses, pancakes and apple pies to enjoying a traditional Dutch belly-filling meal, you'll be treated to an experience like none other!
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Amsterdam Food Tour Map

Guide Name: Amsterdam Food Tour
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Dam Square
  • Haring & Zo (Herring & More)
  • Puccini Bomboni
  • Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room
  • Proeflokaal Arendsnest
  • Pancake Bakery
  • Winkel 43
  • Cafe Chris
  • Moeders
Dam Square

1) Dam Square (must see)

Dam Square lies in the historical center of Amsterdam. The surrounding architecture and frequent public events taking place here make it one of the most important locations in the city. The word “dam” in the name derives from the place's original function – damming the Amstel river. As the matter of fact, it also relates to the name of the city itself – Amstelredamme. Built around 1270, the dam formed the first connection between settlements on the banks of the river.

Gradually, the dam grew wide enough to accommodate a town square, which proved a core of the town's further development. Dam Square, as it's seen today, evolved out of what was originally two squares: the actual dam, called Middeldam; and Plaetse, the adjacent plaza to the west. A large fish market appeared near the spot where ships moored at the dam to upload and download their cargoes. The area eventually became the center of not only the commercial but also the administrative activity (Amsterdam's Town Hall).

Traditionally busy and crowded, Dam Square is grand in terms of shopping. Here, among numerous boutiques, one will easily spot the famous Dutch department store De Bijenkorf.

Why You Should Visit:
A perfect place to feel the pulse of the city, explore different cuisines, shops, enjoy music or sit by the fountain...
As it is well linked to other parts of the city, you'll have a wealth of choices getting to your next destination after strolling through the square.

Free, clean toilets available at the De Buenkork shop, 5th floor.
Haring & Zo (Herring & More)

2) Haring & Zo (Herring & More)

Raw herring is a must-have delicacy when you are in Amsterdam, and this haringhuis ("herring house", i.e. takeaway fish shop) in the city center offers most likely the finest you'll be able to get. Meticulously prepared, the fish has a great, buttery, rich taste, and really pairs well with the onions and pickles.

If you think this is anything like the jarred pickled herring sold in grocery stores, you are absolutely wrong. Prior to being served, this fish is saltwater-cured in vats, then frozen for at least 2 days before it is cleaned and prepared at stalls; therefore, it is extremely fresh and not too "fishy" at all, and the texture is actually quite firm.

This place also serves salmon, eel, as well as "Hollandse garnalen" – tiny little shrimp that is unique to the Dutch and cannot be compared to any other shrimp.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 9:30am–6:30pm
Puccini Bomboni

3) Puccini Bomboni

Amsterdam chocolatier Puccini Bomboni creates handmade bonbons in delectable flavors such as lavender, drambuie, vanilla poppyseed, and as far-reaching as marzipan currant to black pepper. Entering the elegant shop, the visitor is struck by the deep cocoa scent permeating the air and the beautiful, large truffles arranged artfully on the table, lauded as some of the best in the world.

The chocolate delights are handmade on-site and do not contain added preservatives. Each bonbon is made using sustainable chocolate (an important buzz-phrase these days) and only the finest natural ingredients. Choose a selection of bonbons to be packaged in a cellophane bag or pretty purple box. A perfect gift for those chocoholics!

Be sure to purchase the chocolates shortly before you return home as they only keep for 7 days. That is, if they even make it to the recipient before you devour them yourself.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 9am–7pm, Sun, Mon: 11am–7pm
Image Courtesy of Shoshannah Hausmann.
Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room

4) Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room

It is absolutely a fun experience to taste some of the finest Dutch cheeses, and the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room offers exactly that. The traditional aging process of Reypenaer cheeses is unique in the Netherlands. Since the artisan cheeses are matured in an entirely natural way, this process leads to a distinctive and rich taste with its mouth-watering aroma.

In the nice and cozy basement of the shop, you will compare the different cheeses and learn the processes to get different flavors, all under the guidance of a cheese expert. Each session lasts approximately one hour, with plenty of cheese and wine provided. All in all, a good opportunity to learn more about how to really taste and describe cheeses, and how to pair them with wine (the addition of wine changes their flavor). After the tasting, you will definitely want to take something home!

Shop Opening Hours:
Mon: 12–6pm, Tue-Sat: 10am–6pm; Sun: 11am–6pm
Cheese tasting sessions require a reservation
Proeflokaal Arendsnest

5) Proeflokaal Arendsnest

In one of the most striking sections of the Amsterdam city center, this bar offers waiters who know their wares, great Dutch beers, and suitable snacks to take the edge off the alcohol. The beers are largely Belgian-style, so Belgian beer fans won't be disappointed, but there is also a fair number of interesting local craft beers not following any traditional style. For the beer drinkers, too, there is a range of Dutch gins to try - ask the staff to recommend one to go with your beer choice.

The outside seating area is small – probably 8 tables at most – but it is right on the canal (one of the most beautiful in Amsterdam) and cozy. No blankets or heat lamps, however, so dress accordingly if you want to sit outside. And, whatever you do, don't spend too long looking at the printed bottle list and the huge blackboard with the draught beers, or your head might start spinning!

If you care for a beer tasting, these are organized in a special room at the location and are bookable on any day and any time, except for Fridays and Saturdays, when times are more limited.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 12pm–12am; Fri, Sat: 12pm–2am
Pancake Bakery

6) Pancake Bakery

Located in the atmospheric basement of an old canal house which was once owned by the Dutch East India Company, this place has fantastic outsize pancakes, both sweet and savory, with a mind-boggling, near-infinite range of fillings. The menu includes French, Greek, Hungarian, Mexican, Masai, Indonesian, and even Greenlandic pancakes!

The smaller, but no less tasty poffertjes (pillowy puffs of buttery goodness) are served with another wide range of toppings (chocolate sauce, mandarin and honey, etc.) and, again, the portion sizes are generous and extremely filling – though the poffertjes themselves are only good when they are warm.

Note that the restaurant is popular with tourists and there may be times that you have to wait in line for a table. If you want to avoid lines and/or minimize wait time, try to go on weekdays and early in the morning. On weekends and at peak times (lunch/dinner), you are almost guaranteed to have to wait.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am–9:30pm
Winkel 43

7) Winkel 43

Winkel 43 is a favorite hangout in the heart of the Jordaan for a drink or a bite to eat. The appeltaart (apple pie) is particularly tasty here; many consider it to be the best in Amsterdam, but you can decide for yourself! This delectable Dutch specialty, whose secret is in the moist, cakey dough that also manages to be crispy on the edges, is served in large portions and topped with a heap of (not too sweet) house-made fresh cream if you'd like. Best washed down with a mug of steaming fresh mint tea, it can be savored on the locale's large patio that overlooks the Prinsengracht canal (especially tempting on sunny days!).

If you're hungry for more than just sweets, enjoy a tasty sandwich, salad, soup, or bitterballen – all priced very reasonably for the quality. The bitterballen, in particular, is another long-time favorite with the Dutch, who just can't get enough of it. Similar to appeltaarts, these (deep-fried) meatballs have a crispy coating but soft center, and some amazing creamy flavors inside. Give them a try!

The place is rather small so you might have to line up (particularly on Saturdays), or try to choose an off-peak time if you want to linger for longer. Otherwise, if in a rush, you may as well eat your appeltaart dessert from the tray standing up, which makes it even more fun!

Opening Hours:
Mon: 7am–1am; Tue-Thu: 8am–1am; Fri: 8am–3am; Sat: 7am–3am; Sun: 10am–1am
Cafe Chris

8) Cafe Chris

Café Chris proudly celebrates itself as Jordaan's (and Amsterdam's) oldest bar. Established in 1624, it very much feels quaint and historic when you walk in but doesn't at all feel stuffy. You will immediately be welcomed by the friendliest owner/bartender and the atmosphere is homely and cozy, inviting to partake in real Dutch culture.

Go on and take a seat right at the bar, which is the best seat in the house. Actually, most everyone sits at the bar instead of the tables because the bartender and all the regulars like to socialize, even those visiting for the first time. The space inside is rather small, with dim lighting and wood furnishings everywhere, a pool table, and a humorously small bathroom; it's what you'd find in a "brown bar".

While those who are more thirsty than hungry need not go long with a dry throat (legend has it that Rembrandt himself drank here), the food menu is kept to the minimum. That being said, you are strongly advised to snack on some of the best (and least expensive) traditional, meaty "bitterballen" that always go well with a beer.

Like the setting itself, some things just don't change, so bring cash as no cards accepted.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 3pm–1am; Fri, Sat: 3pm–2am; Sun: 3–9pm

9) Moeders

Moeders is on nearly every list for a traditional Dutch meal, so it's best to book ahead because the place is usually packed with many tourists who come here to try Dutch food for the first time. The menu covers some tried and true classics, including the ultimate Dutch comfort food, the "stamppot" (a unique combination of potatoes mixed with sauerkraut and gravy, and served here with either a meatball and a sausage or with grilled veggies and melted feta cheese) as well as some more creative dishes (a pumpkin soup of the day).

When it opened in 1990, customers were asked to bring their own plates and photos of their mothers (or "moeders" in Dutch; to which you can contribute your own snapshot) as donations and the decor remains a unique, delightful hotchpotch, just as the food.

To really get the best of everything, order the Dutch Ricedish, which is recommended for a group or a minimum of two persons. This dish comes with Granny's Stewed Beef, Dolly's Hachée (beef stew with onions), stamppot/hotchpotch (mashed potatoes with sauerkraut), boiled potatoes, red cabbage, apple sauce, bacon, and sausage with gravy. It is about €20 per person and worth trying at least once. The meals are a good portion and will leave you full since much of the food is hearty. Of other dishes, the spare ribs really stand out, grilled to perfection with plenty of flavor (the actual taste is like a mix between Asian and European rib, therefore quite unique).

With good Dutch food and beers available, plus friendly service, this welcoming, special place is a definite cure for a cold, rainy day, and a learning experience to be had when in Amsterdam.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 5pm-12am; Sat, Sun: 12-4pm (lunch) / 5pm-12am (dinner)
Kitchen is always open until 10:30pm; last order: 10pm
Closed on Dec 31 (New Year's Eve) and Jan 1 (New Year's Day)

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