We just got back from an awesome trip to Amsterdam! It was our first time to the Netherlands and we absolutely loved it! I’m so excited to share all about eating Vegan in Amsterdam (and surrounding areas). It was the easiest place EVER to find vegan food!
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in the western part of Holland on the Amstel River. The city’s name came from an original landmark of a dam on the Amstel River, Amstel’s Dam. Amsterdam is about 6-1/2 feet below sea level and uses a series of canals and locks to control the water and provide transportation. The original city center is made of up concentric horseshoe-shaped canals. I imagine if Venice and Paris had a baby…it’d be Amsterdam, with it’s canals and metropolitanism.
Eating in Amsterdam
Vegan is everywhere in Amsterdam! While we typically use Happy Cow/Vanilla Bean apps or search online and social media to find vegan restaurants when we travel, we really didn’t need to do this to get great vegan food in Amsterdam. We saw signs for vegan food all throughout the town while we were walking and cycling around!
Here are places we ate during our Amsterdam trip:
This was the first place we ate in Amsterdam, just a few blocks from where we were staying. Like most establishments in Amsterdam, it was a little hole in the wall in an alley and very easy to walk right by and miss! It is 100% vegan and an eclectic mix of Japanese and Caribbean food. It was really hard to decide on what to get with all the interesting options! I finally settled on the Crunchy Dragon Roll and Alan got Vegan Ramen.
Both of our dishes were very delicious, and filling! The Dragon Roll was covered with crispy onions, something we found on lots and lots of dishes in Holland.
Oh man! Talk about decadent junk food! We actually ate at two different Vegan Junk Food Bar locations during our trip, once the first night when we discovered it on a walk near the Flower Market, and the second time by the Heineken Experience because our non-vegan friends wanted to try it out! (Really! What awesome friends, huh?)
Vegan Junk Food Bar is a chain of vegan restaurants in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, serving burgers, fries, and other traditional burger joint food, along with a few Dutch favorites as well. They make their own meat substitutes from wheat, soy, pea, and bean proteins, as well as vegan cheeses and sauces. And they’re really good!
We were so surprised when our friends, who are not vegan, wanted to try Vegan Junk Food Bar! But, we were concerned, too, as one of them has a soy allergy. However, this restaurant is so awesome, they have two sheets of information on all of their food so people with allergies can see exactly what ingredients are used in each and every one of their offerings. We were able to have a wonderful meal without worrying if our friend was going to have an anaphylactic reaction later!
Pancakes and waffles are a favorite in the Netherlands and are everywhere in Amsterdam. While you might immediately think of the crispy, syrupy stroopwaffel, the Dutch love Belgian-style waffles. We came across Wicked Waffles one afternoon and stopped in for some awesome vegan waffles for lunch.
You order whatever batter you want for your waffle (we ordered vegan, of course) and then at least two toppings from a huge list of sweet and savory options. Not only was the waffle vegan, it was gluten-free as well. I was intrigued by Apple Molasses, known as appelstroop, so I ordered it along with some vegan whipped cream for my waffle. The appelstroop was amazing and I have a post coming up on how to make it at home.
For dinner one night we hopped on our bicycles and rode about 30 minutes to KNSM (Koninklijke Nedelandsche Stoomboot-Maatschappij) Island which used to be the headquarters and docks of the Royal Dutch Steamboat Shipping company. The island has been transformed into upscale housing, artist studios, and restaurants.
Bonboon is a vegan restaurant using seasonal ingredients for a more fine-dining experience. This was probably our least favorite of all the restaurants we ate at during our Amsterdam trip. While the plates were very seasonal and inventive, there were just too many flavors fighting together in each dish and the portions were just too big for us. The dishes would have been better if they’d each been broken down into two or three different dishes.
For starters, Alan had Ceviche of Avocado and Mango with Coconut Jelly, Zucchini, Seaweed, and Tiger Tomato. I had Little Gem Lettuce with Vegan “Ricotta,” Pistachio and Sorrel Pesto, Beetroot Syrup, and Pear. Both could probably done without half of the ingredients and mine was big enough for six people!
For the entrees, Alan had Kohlrabi with Beluga Lentils and Spinach with Roasted Radishes and Arugula with a Vegan Yogurt-Miso-Mint Sauce. I had Broad and String Beans with Strawberry-Basil Dressing and Hazelnuts, a Dry Broad bean Puree, Apple and Beer Sausage, and Gondino (a vegan cheese similar to Parmesan).
We didn’t have room for desserts, which we saw were HUGE when served at a nearby table!
There was a little restaurant just up the alley from our hotel that intrigued us, a potato restaurant called Jacketz. We popped in there one day for a quick lunch and were really happy with it! And it was popular, both in the shop and with bicycle couriers coming in to pick up delivery orders. They bake up 1 pound russet potatoes and load them up with a variety of different toppings, and they had vegan options! We split a potato, because neither of us wanted a whole pound. Alan had vegan chili in his and I had vegan Thai green vegetable curry in mine. It was so good and you can bet you’ll see Thai curry-stuffed potatoes from the Trimazing kitchen soon!
Amsterdam is known for multicultural cuisine, in particular Indoneisian food, from the history of the Spice Route shipping lines when Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. Rijsttafel, translated as rice table, is very popular in Amsterdam, and consists of assorted Indonesian dishes served over rice. We went to the Blue Pepper Restaurant near the Rijksmuseum and had an absolutely outstanding vegan Rijsttafel.
We started out with the house special cocktail, the OMG. These were exotic and refreshing, made with Oriental Spices, Mint, and Ginger, along with Prosecco and fruit juice.
The Vegan Rijsttafel consisted of 4 Courses:
1st Course: Beet root and red rice with Rudjak sauce, cloves, ginger, and palm sugar; Curried Jackfruit Satay
2nd Course: Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk
3rd Course: Jackfruit Curry, Javanese-style; Creamy Coconut Tofu, Balinese-style, with Vegetables; A Medley of Mushrooms, Lemongrass, and Polenta; Tangy Fresh Salad with Vegetables, Daikon, and Nutty Toppings
4th Course: Electric Stimulations; Cold Bath of Orange Blossoms; Avocado and Lime Mousse with Crumbles; and Selection of Exotic Sorbets
So I have to talk about the Electric Stimulations dessert! See that little yellow flower on the bottom left of the dessert plate above? That’s a flower from the Toothache Plant (Acmella oleracea or Spilanthes oleracea), also known as Sichuan buttons. When you put it in your mouth and chew, it starts to tingle and stimulate all of your tastebuds and nerves in your mouth, kind of like when you put your tongue on a 9-volt battery! It’s an amazing experience! And it’s even more amazing if you add a bite of dessert into your mouth after tasting the flower.
Check out Alan and John trying out the Toothache Plant!
We fell in love with ramen in Amsterdam! We really wanted to go to Men Impossible, a vegan ramen restaurant, but it was closed for vacation while we were there. However, we found a little ramen shop not far from our hotel that had housemade ramen noodles and vegan options. It was really awesome!
We started with Vegan Gyoza and then had steaming bowls of fresh Ramen. Alan had Veg Miso Ramen but I indulged in the spicy Veg Karashoyu Ramen.
I really appreciated that they had real, reusable chopsticks instead of single-use throwaway ones!
On the way home from dinner we stopped into a little corner ice cream shop that had dairy-free ice cream! I totally forgot to note the name or take photos. It was scrumptious!
Our last evening we wandered down Haarlemmerdijk before dinner and popped into the shops. Had we not had dinner reservations, I totally would have dove head-first into Le Sud’s cold case! I wish we’d known about them earlier in our vacation because I would’ve gone there EVERY DAY! It’s a vegetarian (mostly vegan) Middle Eastern Mezze bar and WOW, were their samples out of this world!
They make their Mezze in house and you can really tell it’s fresh and made with pride. The hummus was so creamy and light, probably the best I’d ever had. The proprietor gave me a sample of their hummus with mango chutney, and I have dreamed about it ever since! I’m on a mission to figure this one out!
Restaurant de Groene Lanteerne (The Green Lantern)
The last restaurant we ate at was not a vegan restaurant. Our friends had been so gracious in having us choose restaurants throughout the trip that when they’d gotten a recommendation for a special restaurant from a friend who used to live in Amsterdam, we really wanted go there with them.
The Green Lantern, the self-proclaimed Smallest Restaurant in the World, is a wine connoisseur’s wet dream! They have an amazing cellar full of predominantly European wine, dating back to the 1930s, and specialize in rare and special wine. Every shelf was lined with empty bottles of rare and extremely expensive bottles of wine past customers had enjoyed!
Even though we were a late notice reservation, their chef prepared a gorgeous vegan meal that went along with the prix fixe menu he had prepared for the evening. Besides the four of us, the only other patrons were a couple celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. I did not have dessert, however, as he forgot to make it vegan and made a molten chocolate cake that contained butter. I enjoyed a dessert wine instead.
The piece de resistance was after the meal, when Yvonne, the proprietress, gave us a tour of the wine cellar.
It certainly was a dinner I’ll never forget!
Sometimes I forget to take photos when we go out! Here are some other places we enjoyed in Amsterdam:
Skylounge Amsterdam on top of the Doubletree by Hilton and has the most magnificent views of the city. I had a mediocre wood-fired pizza with marinara sauce and artichoke hearts. The view was the star.
De Bakkerswinkel, a delightful bakery in the Roelof Hartstraat serving lunch and high tea, where we had lunch with my second-cousin who lives in Amsterdam. I had the best sandwich, roasted pumpkin with toasted pumpkin seeds on grainy brown bread–so simple yet so delicious!
Vesper Bar, a craft cocktail lounge in Haarlemmerdijk that specializes in local spirits and anti-food waste ingredients.
Moti Mahal, Indian restaurant around the corner from our hotel with a whole section of vegan options!
Eating in Delft
We went to Delft for a little side trip and had the best meal of the whole trip at a little restaurant there behind the Oude Kerk (Old Church).
Wildgroei (translated wild growth) is a vegetarian/vegan establishment run by a mother and daughter duo. They use fresh, organic, seasonal ingredients with minimal processing. It was out of this world and we even considered going back to Delft again during our stay just so we could eat there again!
Alan had a steaming bowl of ramen with a mild curry broth. It came with some wonderful grainy brown bread and hummus.
I had a wrap with sweet potato and fresh veggies served with a house-made peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce.
And we shared an amazing raw cauliflower salad seasoned with Ras el Hanout. This was so delicious! You can bet that I’m in the process of figuring this one out and will have a recipe post soon on how to make this spicy-sweet bowl of deliciousness!
So that’s what we ate on our trip to Amsterdam and Delft! We did a lot of other great things too, like bicycle all over the city and countryside, explore windmills, climb narrow, spiral-staired church towers, boat the canals, fly over a wooden-ship-filled harbor during the 1600s through virtual reality, and more! Plus I met my second-cousin, Elizabeth, who is an amazing artist living in Amsterdam. I’ll have a separate post for all the non-food-related stuff we did!
I hope you have a chance to visit the Netherlands and Amsterdam. It really is a spectacular country and so accommodating. It truly was the easiest place to find vegan options and made the trip just so fun and easy!
Have you visited Amsterdam? What great vegan places did you try? Please share!
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Cindy Thompson, MS, is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator; an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach, Peer Fitness Trainer, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Steward; 5 Gyres Ambassador; Rouxbe Culinary School Plant-Based Professional; and retired fire captain and paramedic. She provides health and lifestyle coaching at Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching. Cindy can be reached at email@example.com.
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