Eat like a local in Amsterdam

A dish of traditional Dutch 'gehaktballen' meat balls

Big cities all over the world are filled with tourist-trap restaurants just waiting to draw you in and rip you off. A bad meal can quickly put a dampener on your holiday, leaving you disappointed and annoyed, which as a mother, I am well aware is best avoided! So in order to point you in the right direction, my family and I have scoured the streets of Amsterdam, asking the locals for recommendations in order to bring you top restaurant options to try out on your next visit.

Café Onder de Ooievaar

Amsterdam has many ‘brown cafés’, the Dutch answer to the British pub, but for me – and many local residents – Café Onder de Ooievaar is one of the best. It has a friendly, laidback atmosphere, an excellent lunch menu and is perfectly located in central Amsterdam.

Stop here for lunch whilst you’re out sightseeing and sample the tasty selection of sandwiches or one of the specialities on offer, such as the delectable Dutch meatballs known as ‘gehaktballen’. There is also a variety of pancakes on the menu to satisfy the kids’ sweet tooth!

If you come back later in the evening, you will find the atmosphere has quite changed, when this cosy café becomes a hub for late-night beer drinking. With around 50 different kinds of beer on offer, you will be sure to find at least one that you like!


Up until the mid-to-late 20th century, Suriname was a colony of the Netherlands, and as such has had a delicious influence on Dutch cuisine. You will no doubt notice a few Surinamese restaurants on your travels around Amsterdam, but for a truly authentic meal, you can’t go wrong with Albina.

 A Surinamese dish of white fish in yellow currya
A Surinamese dish of white fish in yellow curry

The menu here is quite extensive, featuring dishes from all over Suriname, as well as specialities from China, India and Indonesia, another former Dutch colony. If you’re hungry, I’d recommend trying the traditional Moksi Meti, a hearty stew of chicken and pork served with green beans and rice. For a lighter meal, the fish curry dishes, with their delicately complementary flavours, are to die for!

This little restaurant attracts dozens of local patrons form across the city, not only for the food, but also for the incredibly good value prices! So be prepared to queue at peak times or maybe try your luck at Albina’s sister restaurant, Nieuw Albina, which is located just down the road.


If you and your partner are looking for somewhere special to spend some quality time together and share a bite to eat, you’d be hard pushed to find a more unique dining experience than Utrechtsedwarstafel; an institution in Amsterdam, known only by local recommendations and word-of-mouth.

 The menua at Utrechtsedwarstafel changes daily, depending on the fresh local produce available
The menu at Utrechtsedwarstafel changes daily, depending on the fresh local produce available

The concept behind Utrechtsedwarstafel is really quite simple and therein lies the genius. The restaurant is the brainchild of culinary artists, Igor Sens the chef and Hans Verbeek the sommelier; they buy fresh local produce every day and create a feast between three and five courses with the seasonal ingredients of the day, pairing everything with its perfect wine partner.

Half the fun in going for dinner here is not knowing what culinary delight will turn up to surprise your palette next, but rest assured that you can request specific dietary requirements. When making your reservation, let the chef know of any allergies or anything you don’t eat, and he will adapt the menu for you personally.

Driving to Amsterdam with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel from Folkestone to Calais, so you’ll be on your way to Amsterdam in no time! From our Calais terminal, get on the E40, which will take you over the Belgian border as far as Ghent, where you can join the E17 towards Antwerp. From here, simply join the E19, which will take you all the way to Amsterdam, via the Netherlands’ second city Rotterdam, which is well worth a visit if you have time to spare. So all that’s left for you to do is pile everyone into the car, cross the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle – the fastest, most convenient route to the continent – take the scenic four hour, twenty minute drive to Amsterdam and tuck in!

You may also like

Blog homepage