While many people say Dutch cuisine is fascinating, I don’t happen to be one of them. In fact, during my very first trip to Amsterdam six years ago, I categorized the country’s dishes into two lists: deep fried and sugar coated or deep fried and dripping in sauce. Now this isn’t absolutely terrible if you’re on a trip and want to indulge, in fact culinarily speaking, I think these are some of the cornerstones of a truly Dutch experience. Still, when I decided to move here with my husband, I just assumed I would cook more.
Amsterdam isn’t a bad choice for carnivorous people, but it is a bit scanty on options for vegetarians. Actually, there are only 25 100% vegetarian and vegan-only locations listed on Happy Cow, a restaurant list website, and 30 are veg-friendly. During my first year as a vegetarian in New York, I spent every night eating out simply because I could. Six years later, I’ve learned how to cook delicious, nutritious meals. If moving to Europe has taught me one thing, it’s an increased culinary skill set through cooking for two vegetarians every day. The Mr. doesn’t consume dairy of any kind though I eat cheese and I have now become much more versed on how to bypass lots of ingredients and have a truly vegetable based meal.
Gorcery shopping in Amsterdam is cheap compared to other European countries, but I miss the vast variety of food shopping in New York and some of my favorite things are extremely expensive. For example, I haven’t had a tasty veggie burger yet that beats my favorites from New York and Boston. As for local restaurants, I haven’t been to every vegetarian and vegan cookery in this city yet, but here are some of my favorites. The following options work great because they accommodate mixed company, so everyone can enjoy a delicious treat here in Amsterdam.
Admiraal de Ruijterweg 337 1055 LZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
A tried and true homely wonderful Indonesian restaurant. The vegetarian menu is exhaustive but well worth trying. If you aren’t sure, allow them to suggest something for you. Please don’t get a rice tafel (rice table). If you like very spicy things, you will love the options on the menu.
Gerard Doustraat 39 1072 VK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hands down, some of my most favorite Surinamese food in this city. Tiny spot that’s well worth the wait. Anything on the vegetarian menu is awesome. Ask them to hold the egg if you don’t eat egg and order a bakabana (flour covered fried plantain).
BIRD THAI RESTAURANT
72 – 74 Zeedijk, Amsterdam 1012 BA, The Netherlands
If you’re in a bit of a hurry or you don’t care too much for atmosphere, go across the street to their snackbar. Smaller menu but same great taste and cheaper price. I love the green tofu curry and vegetarian lumpia.
YAMAZATO JAPANESE RESTAURANT at HOTEL OKURA
Ferdinand Bolstraat 333 1072 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands
An absolute treasure if you want a fancy night. I reckon you need to make reservations first, as this is a Michelin Starred restaurant. Their 9-course vegan Japanese dinner is TO LIVE FOR! The most delicious and beautifully plated dinner I ever had the pleasure of sitting to.