These under-the-radar offbeat eats are crazy.
The Dutch have a saying: “Just act normal, that’s already crazy enough.” It’s true of unusual places to eat in this historic city, where the urge to be different comes without pretense. Crazy-different is good, especially when it comes to food.
De Pindakaaswinkel (The Peanut Butter Shop)
Is peanut butter your jam? Meet the world’s first store dedicated only to PB. Sample 10 varieties of freshly ground, all-natural peanut butter blended with coconut oil and sea salt, spiked with flavours like date, coffee, raisin-fennel and chilli pepper-lemongrass. The caramel sea salt and white chocolate are ridiculously good. Pick up a Pindabaas (roughly translated as Peanut Boss) tee to show your bread spread allegiance.
The Avocado Show
Generation avocado can’t resist this place in the trendy De Pijp hood, which brags “the time is ripe” for an all-things avocado restaurant. Everything on the menu, broken down into “fancy” and “schmancy” sides, is made with the on-trend fruit and is plated with such flair, you’ll feed your Instagram before yourself. The superstar is the Bun Burger, an avocado split in half vertically, sandwiching a generous scoop of ossenworst, Dutch smoky raw beef sausage (it’s delicious). The room is tiny, so expect to line up no matter when you go. You’ll meet lots of like-minded avocado-lovers while you wait.
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This restaurant turns the not-so-pretty fruits and veggies, day-old bread, and surplus meat and fish about to be pitched by a major Amsterdam grocery store chain into delicious meals. They even brew their own beer from unloved potatoes. With about a third of food being wasted worldwide, here’s a restaurant that puts its menu where its mouth is. It’s located in the once-derelict and now-reborn Czaar Peterstraat central neighborhood of Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands.
INSIDER TIPCzaar Peterstraat is easy to get to on the No. 10 tram and has a bunch of on-trend small stores, designer showrooms, and cafes to check out, making it an excellent shopping street.
Here’s a bold statement: best frites in a city that shows serious love to the French fry. With two coffee shops filled with weed-consuming patrons as neighbors, you know they have to up their game at tiny, hole-in-the-wall joint De Frietsteeg in the central 9 Small Streets (De 9 Straatjes) neighborhood. The chips are twice fried to order, lightly salted, and served in a paper cone with a choice of more than 20 sauces generously glopped on top. Purists will love the thick, pale-yellow mayonnaise, kids like the ketchup-mustard-mayo combo, but the Dutch favorite is curry-flavored Joppiesaus.
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Part of the transformation of former massive ship-building complex NDSM in arty, post-industrial Amsterdam Noord, Pllek is a seriously cool curved space built from used shipping containers. Hipper that it looks, it also has good food and quick, helpful service, even when packed, which is often the case. Get a table upstairs for the best view out the massive picture window (you may spot a passing cruise ship) or sit at a picnic table on the small beach out front. Get there by a short, free ferry ride across the IJ (pronounced “eye”) River.\
There’s much to do at the NDSM site, including artists’ collectives, festivals, and music. Drop in at The IJ-kantine, a restaurant-bar in the former company canteen that runs old black-and-white films of ships being built and launched at the factory.
If you’re booking a table at Bierfabriek, you better love beer and chicken. That’s what this pared-down, industrial-vibe restaurant does best: juicy, smoky, charcoal-rotisserie free-range chicken with excellent fries and three varieties of in-house-brewed beer: Rosso, Nero, or unfiltered Purr pilsner. Peanuts in the shell to shuck and chuck on the floor makes it feel like a 1980s roadhouse. True beer nuts will want to book a beer tap table, where you pour your own.
It’s a bit hard to find, but worth the hunt to dine in Amsterdam’s central jewellery district down a romantic alley underneath a cool musical-note neon clock. Built in a former stables and cigar factory, this restaurant is named for a quirky ’60s Flemish TV series hero described as “a mix of 007 and Batman.” Dutch dishes dominate, but there’s also Asian and Portuguese fare. After dinner, the speakeasy-like Claire’s Ballroom upstairs has live music, especially jazz, and theatrical performances.
Amazing views are on the menu at this one-time pirate TV broadcasting platform towed to the quickly evolving western Houthavens neighborhood and opened as a restaurant. It’s in the water, so you take a pedestrian bridge to get there and walk up a few of flights of stairs. The exterior look is red-and-white LEGO and the interior blends industrial minimalism with some of the old broadcasting equipment that’s been retained for authenticity. It’s a great place to be for sunset.