Amsterdam Fast Food
Amsterdam has loads of fast food joints ranging from McDonalds and Burger King to
the ubiqtuious stands selling Vlaams Frites (French Fries) which are served in a
paper cone with mayonnaise or a large selection of other sauces.
Other typical Dutch snacks include raw salted herring or smoked eel - delicious.
If you're anywhere in Belgium or the Netherlands around the Christmas or New Year
period you will notice stalls selling Appelfloppen and Ollibollen - these deep-fried
pastries make a good cheap filling snack
Amsterdam Pubs & Cafes
Don't overlook the many eetcafes, pubs that also serve meals: most of them could
just as well be listed here as places to eat. They're affordable, often lively and
full of character. The grand cafes in particular are good places for a long lunch
or Sunday brunch.
Amsterdammers like to eat out and they eat early: dinner, the main meal of the day,
is served between 6pm and 10pm and popular places fill up by 7pm, so book ahead,
arrive early or be prepared to wait at the bar. Alternatively you could try arriving
late: films and concerts usually start at 8.30pm or 9.30pm and tables may become
available then for a 'second sitting', but keep in mind that many kitchens close
by 10pm (though the restaurants stay open longer).
Vegetarian restaurants tend to close even earlier. In the top tourist months of
July and (especially) August, however, many locals go on holidays and restaurants
tend to be quieter. Lunch is a modest affair, with sandwich and salad menus, though
you may find places that serve full meals. Many restaurants are open daily, but
some are closed Sunday or Monday; ring to check.
Amsterdam tap water is fine but it does have a slight chemical taste, so mineral
and soda waters are popular. Dairy drinks include chocolate milk, Fristi (a yogurt
drink), karnemelk (buttermilk) and of course milk itself, which is good and relatively
cheap. A wide selection of fruit juices and soft drinks are available too.
For a city with such a rich tradition in the tea and coffee trade, tea is a bit
of a disappointment. It's usually served as a cup of hot water with a tea bag, though
many places do offer a wide choice of bags. If you want milk, ask 'met melk, graag'
(with milk, please); many locals add a slice of lemon instead.
Lager beer is the staple, served cool and topped by a two-finger-thick head of froth
- supposedly to trap the flavour. Requests of 'no head please' will meet with a
steely response. Een bier, een pils or een vaas will get you a normal glass; een
kleintje pils is a small glass and een fluitje is a small, thin, Cologne-style glass.
Many places also serve half-litre mugs (een grote pils) to please tourists, but
somehow draught lager doesn't taste the same in a mug and soon goes flat if you
don't hurry up!