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Mar 24, 2008 12:16 PM

Vegetarian/Vegan Eats in Amsterdam?

I did a quick board search for restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam - I'll for sure take these into account - but I'm going for 8 days in a coupla weeks and need some lunch and dinner recommendations for restaurants that have interesting vegetarian/vegan options.

Could be local Dutch fare or ethnic food (Mexican, Asian, Indian)...either is fine.

Also, I'm renting an apartment for the week and will be cooking some of my meals - are vegetarian ingredients like soy milk, tofu, etc., easy to come by in basic grocery stores?

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  1. Not much Mexican food in Amsterdam - the "ethnic" places will be Indonesian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan etc.

    I'll get back to the vegetarian restaurant issue - I had posted about this on the Lonely Planet board, I think, but as for grocery stores and public markets, yes, soya milk, tofu and "fake meat" dishes are readily available in supermarket chains such as Albert Heijn. Natural food markets are not rare either. Do a board search; I'm sure this topic has been covered here.

    Do you eat cheese? If so, you will find a wealth of cheeses at the public markets in Amsterdam. What part of town are you staying in?

    7 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      Great - thanks in advance for taking a look for me! I did do a board search but I didn't come up with many results for "vegetarian" and "Amsterdam".

      Good to know about the Asian/Middle Eastern influence foods though; that will be good.

      I do eat cheese, yes!

      And not sure about where we're staying yet - we're between selections now for apartments/B&Bs. If you have any recommendations for places to rent, send them my way!


      1. re: velouria

        You are better off looking at a travel board as the focus of this board is exclusively on food (restaurants, ingredients, cooking). I often visit Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. Then once you've found a place (I may have advice, but it is off-topic here) come back and we'll discuss the best places for organic and vegetarian food.

        I can tell you that if you are in Jordaan you are near the organic bauermarkt (farmers' market) there.

        1. re: lagatta

          Yes--Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will be removed.

          Thanks for the help!

          1. re: lagatta

            Well that's good to know - it turns out we WILL be staying in the Jordaan district! I will definitely check out the farmers' market you mentioned.

            What I also wonder is, is produce difficult to come by in the Netherlands, in April? I take for granted that where I live (Toronto), I can get pretty much any fruit or vegetable at any time (albeit imported from South America at times). Will it be very expensive in April to buy?

            1. re: velouria

              Well, if you lived in the south of Spain or in Califonia, I might say that produce is harder to come by in the Netherlands in April, but certainly no harder than in Toronto (I live in Montréal). Same caveat that some will be imported from warmer climes - by April quite a few things will be from southern Europe, Turkey etc. In the Netherlands, there are also always a lot of vegetables grown in huge greenhouses.

              No, they won't be more expensive to buy in Amsterdam than in Toronto, but as in many European countries, it is probably cheaper to buy at street markets than in supermarkets.

              The Albertcuypmarkt (in de Pijp) is the largest, Dappermarkt in the east end (near the new Zeeburg StayOkay Hostel) the cheapest, Kinkerstraat probably the closest to you other than Noordermarkt and the Boerenmarkt which are right in Jordaan. (Sorry, earlier I wrote bauermarkt, confusing Dutch and German...distracted this morning). The Boerenmarkt is every Saturday from 9am to 4pm but it is better not to get there too late.

              Bolhoed is a well-known and reasonably-priced vegetarian restaurant in Jordaan:

              1. re: lagatta

                Thanks so much for your detailed response - this is a huge help! I am getting giddy with excitement about living like a dutchgirl for the week, cooking meals and sampling all sorts of fine fare and restaurants! Will let you know how I like the Bolhoed restaurant! :D

                1. re: velouria

                  If you are living like a Dutch girl for a week, you will have to rent or borrow a bicycle - an old black one. Not just girls (and boys) but people your grandparents' age ride them everywhere...

                  You will also be exploring the 9 Streets (9 Straatjes - literally 9 little streets). There is a good organic bread and goodies bakery there as well.

                  I'll be thinking of other places...

      2. Now I am going to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks and need vegetarian/vegan recommendations! What did you end up eating on your visit?

        19 Replies
        1. re: pfoods

          I'm new to this board, but have been in Amsterdam for about 2.5 weeks and will be here another month. I thought I'd share some of my vegetarian finds. I haven't found this to be a great eatin' town. I've had some horrendous meals. But there are a few good finds.

          Maoz - vegetarian falafel, and the extra salads are delicious

          Dosa - right across from the entrance to Vondelpark on the Overtoom. A pretty good dosa can be had (south Indian rice/lentil crepe, filled with potatoes and served with a weirdly sweet chutney but a nice spicy lentil soup called sambar). This isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but it's one of the only places I know of to get south Indian food

          La Margarita - a Mexican place across from the Dam down a crowded side street. A number of vegetarian dishes on the menu, heavy on cheese.

          Pancake Bakery - on Prinsengracht, in an old Dutch East India Company warehouse. Amazing variety of pancakes, including vegetarian ones. I had a great brie, spinach, and cashew pancake (they called it the "Greenlandic". Go figure.) And the location is unbeatable; they have outdoor seating on the water.

          Produce is quite easy to find - I live near the Albert Cuyp street market and have been picking up delicious strawberries and cherries. The salad greens aren't great. but I keep a bag in my fridge to round out my lunches.

            1. re: kshankar

              Now that the nice weather has come, you can find better salad greens at the organic market up at Noordermarkt (sp?). There is also an organic market in Zeeburg (northeast) but that might be harder for you to get to. Yes, if you are lucky you can find small, REAL strawberries that are grown in the ground, not greenhouses.

              1. re: lagatta

                I just went to the Noordermarkt for the first time today - the salad greens haven't quite come in yet, alas, but there are small, local strawberries!

                Another vegetarian restaurant: Boelhod, at 62 Prinsengracht (just steps from the Noordermarkt and the Anne Frank House). Canal-side dining, but the interior is cozy too. Quiches, soups, vegan pate, hummus, and the like. I had a really interesting veggie quiche and a combo of salads (couscous, green beans in peanut sauce, slivered carrot and cabbage) - about 11 Euro. Quite tasty.

                1. re: kshankar

                  Yes, Boelhod is a nice place. Sad the salads haven't arrived yet; has it been a chilly spring? Weather is so bizarre now - I was there in late February/early March and the flowering trees were already in bloom.

                  Those wee strawberries and other local berries are wonderful; the reason so much Dutch produce is tasteless is because it is grown in huge hothouses.

                  I think the multicultural restaurant at Tropenmuseum in the east end also has good vegetarian choices. There is a nice café-restaurant in that area, De Ponteneur, that always has a vegetarian table d'hôte among its choices, for lunch and dinner.

                  Kristen, it is truly hard to find spicy foods in Amsterdam restaurants. The people I know who live there and are from spicy cultures haunt the many relevant market stalls and shops (Dappermarkt in the east end can be even better, and cheaper, than Albertcuypmarkt).

              2. re: kshankar

                In reply to your mention of Dosa, I have to admit that I was unimpressed the one time I was there, in 2007. Their masala dosa was, to me, atypically bland and the sambar and coconut chutney unmemorable. (Not to mention quite how costly it was for a dosa! But then, this is Amsterdam.) Plus, for a "South Indian" restaurant, the menu sure seemed to favor "Northern" dishes; it would have been nice if the chef had limited himself to the already broad specialty of "South" Indian food and featured more dishes from the latter, which is rare in Amsterdam.

                On that note, if anyone should know of another source for South Indian food in Amsterdam, do tell -- it's one of my favorite culinary traditions for its meatless dishes.

                1. re: Kristen84

                  Yeah, Dosa is no south Indian restaurant :). The sambar was decently spiced, but in my 2-3 Indian meals in Amsterdam, it's clear that's not where it's at. I miss spices. I miss heat. I suspect there aren't any other places to get a decent south Indian meal.

                  Will continue posting as/if I find vegetarian meals (not necessarily great ones, but I'll try)...

                  Edited to add: I wrote too soon. Just read about Madras, a restaurant just off my route going home! I know where dinner will be tonight.

                  1. re: kshankar

                    Blech! Phooey! There wasn't a single south Indian dish on the menu, and the north Indian food was icky. Walking home a different way, though, I found another veggie restaurant, De Waaghaals. I'll check it out one of these days.

                2. re: kshankar

                  have you been to the Golden Temple on Utrechtsestraat?

                  1. re: Elettaria

                    That's funny - I was just going to mention it, as I went there last night (I'm working in Amsterdam for 6 weeks, and I just walk around different neighborhoods until I stumble into something interesting). I definitely liked this place - one of the nicer meals I've had. They gave out free samples of their rose hip/hibiscus/ginger/lemon ice tea - I liked it so much I ordered a regular sized glass. I wasn't terribly hungry, so I ordered nachos, and they were excellent. Lots of vegan options.

                    1. re: kshankar

                      any new recommendations? we went to Vliegende Schotel last night and had ratatouille and brown rice, hearty-vegetarian-home-cooking-style. thinking of trying Bolhoed tonight but it will be pretty late by the time we can make it and i wonder if it will be too busy? we did go to De Waaghaals the other night. if you can be patient with the slow service it is worth a try. nice space, people and meal.

                      i forgot to mention that that i also thought the hibiscus/ginger tea at Golden Temple was very good. ordered the thali plate, which i liked as well...

                      1. re: Elettaria

                        I was in Rotterdam all day, so nothing new (in Amsterdam). We should clearly meet up for dinner :).

                        I thought about heading to De Waaghals tonight...

                        1. re: kshankar

                          i was thinking the same thing!

                          did you go to De Waaghals? there is a nice little health food store right next door too (not open at night though). we ended up eating at a friend's house (ordered in pizza from Yam Yam). have you tried Betty's?

                          1. re: Elettaria

                            And I ended up eating bread, cheese, and fruit in my apartment - decided I was too tired to head back out :). Haven't been to Betty's either. This is all in my neighborhood, so it's not far - just haven't gone yet.

                            1. re: kshankar

                              what is the worst meal you have had here?
                              and i am completely following you - going to Rotterdam on Sunday.
                              wanted to go to the Noordermarkt tomorrow but probably going to Arnhem.

                              1. re: Elettaria

                                Worst meal: a really nasty...something with fries in Appeldoorn. I don't remember what it was, but it was gross. The Indian dinner I had at Madras was pretty lousy too. And then there's the canteen at my office...

                                If you go to Arnhem and have a car, go to the tourist bureau and ask them about the "Arnhem Meisjes" cookies (they have there) and how to get to the bakery. The bakery is in an apartment complex area so not in the center of town. Roald Dahl described these as the "best cookies in the world". Finding them was a bit of a vision question for my husband and me. And they are GOOD. A yeast dough cookie with a caramelized bottom. And skip the WW II museum. Which doesn't leave much, come to think of it.

                                I had a fantastic dinner at De Waaghals tonight. It was their "monthly special": asparagus with scrambled eggs, pesto, and goat cheese; an olive- mushroom bruschetta, several mushroom-ricotta dumpings, and new potatoes. Dessert was yummy - an Algerian date-meringue tart.

                                The women at the next table whom I ended up having a lively conversation with loved their meals: one had a West African veggie stew with sides and vanilla pudding with rhubarb for dessert; the other woman had a pasta with chard and tofu, and the same dessert.

                                Enjoy Rotterdam!!! I'm heading to Brussels on Sunday and will be back Tuesday. I'll be hanging around town tomorrow.

                                1. re: kshankar

                                  Internet has been down for three days!

                                  My boyfriend is a huge military history buff so we did go to the museum and ate dinner nearby (in Oosterbeek) and had the worst meal of our lives. It was a kabob type thing cooked in a plastic bag (?) and was 15 Euros for a few sour pieces of vegetable! We could not eat it.

                                  Today we had the fabulous falafel at Maoz for lunch, and a super filling and very tasty dinner at Bolhoed. We sadly are returning to Los Angeles tomorrow but the good news is we may be back in July (he is doing work here as well) to continue our vegetarian explorations. If we do come back we will definitely return to De Waaghals, Maoz, Bolhoed, Yam Yam and Vliegende Schotel as well. Good luck with the rest of your stay - keep me posted!

                                  1. re: Elettaria

                                    Your dinner in Oosterbeek sounds foul indeed! Just got back from Brussels...Have a safe trip back to Los Angeles (where I lived for 7 years!!) I'll keep posting...

                                  2. re: kshankar

                                    I'm sure you can get to your Arnhem bakery by bicycle as well!

                3. I just wrote about this charming vegetarian place on another post, but it seems appropriate here as they have Indian, Mexican, and pizza, and also some mediterranean... it is called 'The Golden Temple' on the Utrechtsestraat, decent prices, very yummy food, open every day for dinner, organic ingredients, friendly staff, nice atmosphere - there is a cozy floor seating area on 2nd level, and also a terrace...

                  1. this place is great! located on the Utrechtstraat.
                    ask to hear the song that the owner sings with all the ingredients!

                    and I've been meaning to try this place forever...
                    non-for-profit eatery in a squat on the Overtoom. cheap and tasty! but you have to call to reserve the day of. i think they are cooking 3 days of the week.

                    i have also eaten here... it's okay.

                    I've had 3 "not fabulous" experiences at de Bol Hoed... mainly just weird spaced out people.... seems a little cult like there... but the food was okay the one time we could actually eat there. but basically Amsterdam is very veggie friendly... there are "health food" stores all over called "Natuur Winkle" and the most of the regular super markets also sell tofu products. You can get some good stuff in Chinatown at the shops.. and there are several markets including a BIO market on the Norder Maarkt in the Jordaan on saturdays!

                    Also in the Jordaan try Delicious Foods Store at Westerstraat 24 (closed tuesdays!) and Australian owned Small World Catering has AWESOME food, sandwiches, quiches, juices, soy coffees and salads! (Binnen Oranjestraat 14 , closed mondays) I use to live there! YUMMMMM!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: zobot77

                      Lots of great suggestions in this post! Both vegetarian and not.

                      Couldn't agree more with Small World Catering. Delicious sandwiches, antipasti and the like and so fun to sit on the little chairs outside and watch the crazy bikers go down the narrow Jordaan alleys.

                      And Yam Yam further west on Frederik Hendrikstraat makes the best pizza in town. There is a vegetarian version of their flagship pizza Yam Yam with mascarpone, mushrooms and truffle sauce that you must try!


                      1. re: dutchgrub

                        You guys,
                        this thread seems really old but i just thought i'd reply anyway since it might help someone in their quest for nice vegetarian/vegan options in Amsterdam.
                        Recently had two meals I was very, very pleased with and felt the need to share it- one really nice vegan in Noorderlicht (a bit far away from the city centre, you need to take the ferry to the NDSM Werf in Amsterdam Noord) and one vegetarian at Studio K in Amsterdam East. At Noorderlicht I've had a roasted winter veggies and hazelnut salad which scored good on all fronts- vegan, seasonal and delicious, plus it was not the only vegetarian option on the menu. At Studio K it was the second time i was very happy with my meal, the first time i had a artichoke, mint & cheese risotto and the second time a camembert & celeriac quiche, which sounded a bit funny on the menu but tasted rich and yummy. They as well had plenty of vegetarian options on the menu...
                        Hope that helps & happy dinning to you all,

                        1. re: rouxxx

                          Near Studio K, de Ponteneur also always has a vegetarian option, and is a most pleasant café-restaurant. Another interesting place nearby is the restaurant at the Tropenmuseum.