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Eating in Amsterdam

We will be in Amsterdam for lunch (family of four ages 22 and 17). Our son wants bitterballen and of course we want to try other things. Will tour Anne Frank house at 10 and then will shop, walk and maybe a canal ride. Leaving by train about 4:30. Ideas for places to eat would be helpful. Or can we find what we want to eat at outdoor stands? Thanks!

Posted by
483 posts

Bitterballen and Frikadellen are nearly everywhere in Amsterdam. Pretty much every pub.

Posted by
379 posts

I had one dinner at Cafe de Pels, on Huidenstraat between Keizersgracht and Herengracht. Really nice bruin cafe with bitterballen so yummy I ordered a second serving! Not too far from the Anne Frank house (be prepared for a looooooooooong wait there) so this might work for you!

The real highlight of my dinner was the lovely fish dish I ordered, served on a bed of an amazing green leafy vegetable with an unusual salty taste. I had to ask what it was because I didn't recognize it at all, and the waiter explained it's something local that grows in the salt marshes. It was wonderful. Hope you like it!

Posted by
24 posts

Bitterballen are indeed more common in pubs; when people are having drinks, they (at some stage) often order some snacks such as bitterballen, nachos, peanuts, cheese, or sausage ('worst'). Which snacks are popular depends a bit on the region -- I'm not sure what's popular in Amsterdam -- and of course on what the pub offers. One portion of bitterballen is often shared with all on the table, so if you want to have it as lunch, order multiple. But mind you that food in pubs usually is more expensive.

The Dutch have special restaurants that are specialized in fried food (of which the bitterbal is one). These are called 'cafetaria' or 'snackbar'. They can be best compared with McDonalds or Burger King, while burgers are not so popular there. Instead, people tend to order fries ('friet' or 'patat') with, say, a 'kroket' or a 'frikandel'. They probably also sell bitterballen, but those are not so common for lunch/dinner. If they don't have it: go for a 'kroket', that comes quite close. And don't burn your mouth, this food can be very hot when it's fresh ;-).
People tend to take-away food at these restaurants and then bring it home (and thus also don't order drinks), but usually there are some seats too. Or they created standing places. The restaurants are often privately owned instead of large companies. There is one large franchise chain however, called FEBO, that became famous for selling food "out of the wall" -- see . It should not be a problem to get some of this typical Dutch food for lunch. And there's a 'smullers' at Amsterdam Central station too.