Amsterdam’s Best Munchies
Ok, real talk: A lot of people visit Amsterdam, and food isn’t exactly on the top of their list. It’s a city that’s known for partying, and, well… partying. A lot of serious partying. We’re talking nights out that lead into rough mornings, or an afternoon in one of the city’s numerous coffee shops that turns into what we construe as being an evening of profoundly intellectual and insightful conversation. But whatever the social situation, there’s a universal end product: a craving, nay, an insatiable desire for decadent, taste bud-assaulting food. Often not the most healthy, the food we crave is flavor-rich and, honestly, just hits the spot. So, we’ve assembled your ultimate go-to guide for Amsterdam’s best munchies, which you can thank us for later.
Van Stapele’s Chocolate Cookies
Sometimes, when you’ve got a sugar craving, all you want is just a good cookie. Well, I’m going one step further and presenting you with Amsterdam’s best cookie. Tucked away in a little alley in the city center lies a tiny shopfront that sells literally just one item: a chocolate cookie. Yup, this cookie is so darn good that it’s all that sits on the menu. It’s been around for almost four years now, after its owner was urged by friends to start selling her incredible cookies, and today, they can sell up to 1,600 of them each day. High-quality Valrhona chocolate is used in a dark chocolate dough, and then again in the cookie’s white chocolate filling. It’s total perfection with a slight bite to its firm but not overly crunchy shell, revealing a decadent filling of soft, gooey chocolate on the inside and a melted, creamy white chocolate center. This eye-rolling, head-spinning cookie will do more than just satisfy your sugar cravings — it will change your life. But be warned, they’re understandably incredibly popular, and as each cookie is literally baked in front of you in a little store oven, they sell out of these warm parcels of total scrumptiousness every day — so get there early!
Fries from Frietboutique
Amsterdam is known for its fries, and any visitor to the city will spot the iconic paper cones housing these deliciously golden and crisp deep-fried treats. You can find generous servings of them on pretty much on any street corner, topped with a dollop of ketchup or mayonnaise. It’s the ultimate cure for any hangover, and for anyone looking for a salty, carb-heavy snack, locals will tell you that Frietboutique serves up some of the very best fries in all of the city. They’re perfectly hot and crunchy, and each bite breaks into a lovely soft and pillowy center of rich potato. But what sets Frietboutique’s fries apart from the hundreds of other vendors throughout the city is the distinctive preparation. Potatoes brought in from Haarlemmermeer in north Holland are first poached, then pre-baked at a low temperature. They’re then finally cooked one last time in oil, giving them the most satisfying of both crisp and dense texture — and all of this is done with the potato skins on, resulting in a brilliantly rustic quality and hearty flavor. They come with a variety of dipping sauces, including a delicious curry mayonnaise and a truffle mayonnaise that you won’t be able to get enough of. And, if you’ve got a serious appetite and want to go even further than just fries, you can delve into the iconic croquettes, another Amsterdam must-eat for visitors wanting to try some truly authentic Dutch fare.
Leeman Doner Kebabs
I wouldn’t even dare to think of writing up a piece on munchies without including a kebab, so I personally took it upon myself to search out Amsterdam’s best. When you feast on one of Leeman Doner’s incredible kebabs, you’ll understand why it has such a stellar reputation among the city’s biggest party animals. It’s been soaking up late-night shame and regret from Amsterdam’s biggest nights out since 1992, serving up literally hundreds of kebabs every weekend. And while the chicken and beef sliced fresh from the enormous mountains of meat rotating and cooking behind the counter is perfectly moist, dripping in wondrous fats and marinades, the actual secret behind these amazing kebabs, is in my opinion, the bread. A large oven in the middle of the shop constantly bakes the freshest of handmade rolls. Perfectly soft and fluffy pita pockets of utter deliciousness are pulled out of the oven all throughout the day and night. I’m talking total carb perfection that you could eat plain. With the number of kebabs that this place churns out each hour, you’re pretty much guaranteed bread that has left the fiery oven literally minutes ago, and after being stuffed with hot marinated meat, fresh lettuce and onions, and a tangy, vibrant hot sauce, it’s just the definition of post-night out heaven. Don’t be mistaken — this isn’t a fancy sandwich. But it’s deliciously simple, super-cheap, and completely hits the spot. And for an even more local bite, check out Leeman’s combination of kebab and fries: crispy potatoes topped with hot meat, cheese, onion, lettuce, and sauces. If this ultimate munchie doesn’t help your hangover, then — I hate to say it — nothing will.
Appeltaart from Papeneiland
Amsterdam locals insist the best place to get a beer is at a local “brown café.” It’s a typical old-school Dutch drinking establishment named after the effect that cigarette smoke would have on its walls. Charming, I know, but name aside, it’s a really authentic way of experiencing local hospitality. While the locals love their beer, they also love an accompanying slice of appeltaart. Papeneiland is an historic institution, sitting in its canalside location for almost 700 years, and is world-famous for its iconic Dutch apple pies. These perfectly cooked pies couldn’t cram more apples into them if they tried. It’s literally filled, doughy wall to doughy wall, with the most succulent and intensely flavorful apples. There’s no regular source or routinely supplied apple used — Papeneiland uses the best apples they can find that day, so you’ll never get bored of this mouthwatering blend of fresh fruit, gentle spice, and the perfect amount of crust and pastry. The kitchen pumps out around 700 slices each week, and if it’s any indication of how great their pies are, even former President Bill Clinton asked for a doggy bag to take home some pie for his White House-induced munchies back in the U.S.
Everything at the Pancake Bakery
Holland is also known for its pancakes, and if there’s one place that is guaranteed to satisfy the most enormous of appetites, it’s Amsterdam’s Pancake Bakery. Dutch pancakes are traditionally thinner than their American-style counterparts, which, clearly, justifies eating more of them. In fact, Pancake Bakery serves more than 800 pancakes per day on the weekend — in all honesty, they deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for coming to the aid of so many weary weekend party-goers. If you’re in the mood for a local favorite, you have to try its bacon and apple pancake. It seems like an unusual mixture, but tied together with the sweet stroop syrup, it’s a satisfying bite of sweet and salty wrapped in doughy goodness. Or, if you want to step things up a notch to scratch that sugar itch, the Dutch Pancake throws in everything that a sugar-hungry reveler would find in Amsterdam, with a pancake served with chocolate flakes, cinnamon ice cream, whipped cream, and chunks of stroopwafel, a local waffle-like pastry filled with caramel. Have an ambulance on standby, or at least some strong friends and a stretcher, because either this will send you on the world’s biggest sugar high or it’ll seriously knock you out.
Metropolitan Deli’s Ice Cream
I haven’t forgotten about ice cream-lovers either. Located just by Amsterdam’s National Monument, in the heart of the city center, Metropolitan Deli is the city’s go-to place for incredible ice cream and delectable gelato. The owner takes immense pride in sourcing the very best chocolate and the freshest of fruit products to craft the most intense flavors of icy desserts. From a smooth, creamy chocolate that’s full of rich, decadent flavor to a mandarin gelato that will give you the most incredible sensation of a real citrus that you’ve ever tasted, these flavors are no joke. My recommendation, though, is to cleanse the heaviness of Dutch binge-eating with a scoop of Metropolitan Deli’s lemon and basil gelato. It’s a dynamic lemon burst with the basil bringing an elevated fragrance to what is already a superb icy base. If ice creams and gelatos aren’t you thing, they also serve an insane plethora of chocolate-based dishes, including brownies, cookies, and chocolate-dipped fruits — the chocolate-dipped citrus peels are the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere in the world.