A Taste of the Traditional

It’s fundamental when visiting another country to immerse yourself in its culture in order to leave with the truest possible knowledge of it, and with that comes trying their food. So here’s six of Amsterdam’s traditional Dutch restaurants. These, however, are just several amongst a multitude.

Header image credit: subherwal

Haesje Claes

Haesje Claes

A fantastic amalgam of pictures, tiles, plates, stained glass and gold leather wallpaper (yes, you read correctly), it is clear that the original owner took great pride in his artistic fervour. 

Beginning in 1974 as a small lunchroom, it has since adopted 6 rooms in the neighbouring buildings, all connected by passageways and staircases. It exudes history and charm.

The menu, on which “grandma’s style” features frequently, only emphasises this restaurant’s authenticity. Order the hotchpotch, chicken liver or, naturally, waffles.

Image credit: yosoynuts

Piet de Leeuw

Piet de Leeuw

This is a favourite amongst locals. With an unassuming exterior, dark wood panels and chairs, a tall standing grandfather clock and atmospheric medieval lamps, Piet de Leeuw greatly resembles the brown cafés that Amsterdam is famous for.

Although seemingly a traditional steakhouse – in the British sense – it is, in fact, a traditional steakhouse very much in the Dutch sense. Although beef is an option, as well as calves liver, you can also indulge in horse steak. Not for the faint hearted, yet, when tasted, well received.

Bistro Bij Ons

Bistro Bij Ons

Set in the art district of Jordaan, the black brickwork immediately sets Bistro Bij Ons apart from surrounding restaurants. Find a welcome sign made of clogs and stuffed with tulips – you’re definitely in Holland now, and you may even be serenaded by traditional Dutch singers. 

Shades of deep red colour the room as you step inside which, combined with the warm lighting of the chandeliers, creates an alluring atmosphere.

The mention of oma (grandma) is again apparent as the menu has all the buzzwords you’re looking for, including vlaflip and poffertjes.

Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs

Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs

To miss this off the list is to underplay one of Holland’s most popular tourist dining choices: the pancake.

Enter a simply doorway and assail a steep staircase to the restaurant. Housed in a 16th century building, teapots of varying shapes and colours hang from the ceiling between the wooden beams that have held it up for centuries. With only 4 tables, booking in advance is essential.

The menu is extensive; from the classic toppings of lemon juice or chocolate, to more unusual flavours, such as bacon, cheese and fresh fruit, even Cointreau or Grand Mariner.

Image credit: bert knottenbeld

Restaurant Greetje

Restaurant Greetje

Inspired by traditional Dutch cookbooks and seasonally based, the menu at Restaurant Greetje is reliably sensational, with pheasant and veal a recurrent feature.

The style is at first a juxtaposition, combining the rustic in unvarnished wooden floors and wallpaper depicting Dutch farm life, with luxurious furnishings, including plush golden chairs, crystal chandeliers and rich blue curtains. 

Yet, though seemingly in contrast, it is a tribute to the history of Holland, of both the extravagance of the aristocracy, and the simplicity of the peasantry.

Image credit: subherwal

Cafe de Prins

Café de Prins

What could be more Dutch than dining directly on the banks of an Amsterdam canal? The chipped terracotta tiles and stripped back design give the instant appeal of comfort that you can sit back and relax without having to worry about strict dining customs, much in keeping with the laid back vibe of Holland as a whole.

Although the menu appears international, be sure to spot bitterballen, a Dutch snack comprised of beef or veal, and gehaktbal, Dutch meatballs, larger than their Swedish brothers, and, of course, poffertjes for dessert.

Image credit: Enric Martinez​


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