We’ve searched and scoured to find the best places to eat in Amsterdam on a backpacker’s budget. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional Dutch experience or something cheap and cheerful, there is something to suite everyone’s taste!
Noorderlicht café is totally unique. Built inside an old greenhouse in Amsterdam Noord, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled upon a futuristic hippy hideout. Once inside, however, you’ll feel totally at home. Brightly coloured chairs and tables dotted with wild flowers happily welcome you to sit down. The café places a strong focus on serving seasonal, ethically sourced food and drink but luckily the prices remain very reasonable.
Noorderlicht is the cultural hub of the community of artists who live and work at the NDSM Werf. Round its campfire in the evenings you’ll find live music and DJ’s and the building is shrouded in beautiful ambient lighting. This place is almost too good to be real. But it’s there. Trust us.
Noorderlicht café, NDSM Square 102, 1033 WB Amsterdam, [email protected], 020-4922770
11am – 10pm every day except Monday
‘Gezelligheid.’ The untranslatable Dutch word that can mean ‘cosiness’ or ‘togetherness’ encapsulates everything great about the Dutch culture. It’s the feeling you get when you eat good food with good people. At Clink we certainly like that feeling and we bet you do too.
Basis Amsterdam is a place that prides itself on fostering a social atmosphere where you can always find someone who’s up for a good chat, a drink or boogie. It also probably wins the prize for the cheapest place to eat given that you can bring your own food and heat it up in their microwaves.
All they ask is that you buy a drink or two. They’ll even give you cutlery and do your washing up! We reckon that’s a pretty fair deal. If you don’t fancy bringing your own then Basis also serves up reasonably priced, simple yet tasty dishes like quiche and frittata. This place really comes alive when people get involved here so don’t be afraid to make your talents and interests known.
Basis Amsterdam, Tolstraat 182, 1074 VM Amsterdam, [email protected]
4pm – 12am Sunday – Thursday
4pm – 3am Friday – Saturday
Buuf is a fuss free canteen style eatery with a cosy, laid back décor. It’s a young crowd in here and there’s no table service – you simply order your food and collect it on a red tray a few minutes later when your little plastic disc starts to flash red. There’s a succinct menu that has a good mixture of meat, veggie dishes and sandwiches.
Without the cost of wait staff Buuf can afford to pass the savings onto you meaning you can enjoy a hearty meal out for under €20.
Buuf, Overtoom 495, 1054 LG Amsterdam, [email protected]
11.30 am – 10pm Monday – Sunday
There aren’t many things more satisfying than a jacket potato stuffed with all your favourite things. At Jacketz you choose either half or a whole potato, fill it up with a delicious filling like pulled pork, chilli con carne or a veggie favourite like goats cheese and beetroot, top with optional extras and then finish off your masterpiece with a sauce of your choice. The restaurant is simple but modern and, to be honest, these potatoes speak for themselves. For around €8 you could make all your potato-based dreams a reality.
Jacketz, Kinkerstraat 56, 1053 DZ Amsterdam, 020-7740640, [email protected]
11am – 10pm Monday – Sunday
With such an array of food types on offer in this multicultural city you could easily forget about the humble sandwich. After biting into a ‘broodje’ from Singel 404 you’re likely to re-evaluate your choices.
These sarnies, starting from €5, are something of an institution in Amsterdam. With a selection of mouth-watering fillings to choose from, and bread that quite possibly fell from the Dutch heavens, these sandwiches really pack a punch!
Singel 404 is not a secret though. It’s popular with locals – especially students on a budget – so if you’re looking to sit and enjoy your divine sandwich at one of the table’s it’s best to get there early. Luckily, one of these will keep you going all day so you won’t need to fuel up again until the evening.
Singel 404, 1016AK Amsterdam, The Netherlands, +31 20 428 0154
10.30am-6pm Monday – Sunday
There’s two Spaghetteria’s in Amsterdam. Our favourite one is located in the south of the city, in the hip district of De Pijp. Here you’ll find the highest concentration of restaurants, cafes and bars in the city – something to suit just about every taste.
Spaghetteria is just one of the great eateries in the area. These guys are serious about serving up proper Italian pasta – all made, start to finish, in their kitchen. On the menu each night is six different pasta dishes – some veggie based ones, a few fish dishes and then a couple of meatier numbers. Large wooden tables seat diners communally so you could be getting friendly with the neighbourhood hipsters.
They don’t take reservations and the queue may look dauntingly long but luckily there’s a fast turnover of clientele so it usually means that it depletes fairly quickly. Spaghetteria is perfect for a quick bite before heading out to explore De Pijp.
Spaghetti van Woustraat, 123 HS, 1074 AH, Amsterdam, [email protected]
5pm – 10.15pm Monday – Sunday
Upstairs Pannekoekenhuis is a tiny pancake restaurant that will reward you with delicious, filling pancakes if you make it up the very steep flight of stairs!
There’s a host of teapots hanging from the ceiling and various pieces of Dutch memorabilia adorn the walls. The assortment of toppings is impressive, ranging from simple sprinkle of icing sugar to the ‘Slavisch’ which includes bacon, cheese and fresh fruit.
There’s only four tables and only one man in the kitchen so do be patient when you’re waiting for your pancake to arrive.
Grimburgwal 2, +31 626 56 03
12pm – 7pm Monday – Friday, 12pm to 6pm Saturday, 12pm to 5pm Sunday
If you’re looking for a real Dutch dining experience for one of your evening meals then La Falote is a good bet.
Whilst it’s not the cheapest you will get hearty portions and a proper taste of some traditional Dutch fayre – Gouda Schnitzel, beef with melted cheese and tomato, Lamb chops with garlic mint sauce, big pots of mussels – are just some of the items you’ll find on the menu.
The interior is slightly kitsch and cosy and, if he’s in the mood, the chef sometimes ventures out of the kitchen to give diners a tune or two on his accordion.
La Falote, Roelof Hartstraat 26, 1071 VJ, Museum Quarter, 0031 20 662 5454
2pm-9pm Monday to Saturday
The Netherlands’ colonial history has imbued the city with a vibrant Indonesian and Surinamese restaurant scene that’s definitely worth checking out.
There’s a whole lot of good Indonesian restaurants to choose from but one of our favourites is Coffee and Jazz. Rest assured, this is an Indonesian restaurant and not a coffee shop.
It does, however, showcase live musicians every Friday. Most Indo restaurants offer what is called a ‘rijsttafel’, meaning ‘rice table’, where you get a large assortment of small dishes. Coffee and Jazz is slightly different in that they offer a small set menu for a fixed price.
Run by an eccentric Dutchman and his Indonesian wife, this place is worth a visit if you’re after a cosy, characterful place with a jazzy accompaniment.
Coffee and Jazz, Utrechtsestraat 113, 020 624 5851
1am -11 pm – Tuesday – Friday
6pm -11 pm Saturday
We’re not usually into chain restaurants at Clink but if you’re after some dinner on the go, Maoz will sort you out with a quick, nutritious and cheap bite. There are multiple shops in Amsterdam, so you should never be too far away from some good falafel.
The original shop was founded by an Israeli husband and wife who were living in Amsterdam in the early 90’s. Their idea was to ‘spread the vegetarian lifestyle worldwide’ and indeed, since then they have opened many shops in other parts of Europe, America and Australia.
There are two main items on the menu – the Maoz Falafel Sandwich and the Maoz falafel Salad box. Everything is prepared fresh daily and, where possible, they buy produce from local farms.
11am – 1am Monday – Sunday
This building has a really interesting history, having been a church, a school and a printing business. It’s now a hub for creative individuals who gained official ownership of the building in 2000 after it was occupied by a collective of creative internationals in the 90’s.
The ‘Dokkers’, as the inhabitants of the building are known, cook for visitors every Thursday for just €5. The food is generally vegan and they welcome those with a curious attitude an open mind for interesting conversations over dinner.
Plantage Doklaan 8, 1018 CM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dinners held most Thursdays (Check facebook page for details)
Pizza is always a good idea in our book. And Yam Yam Pizza is always a really good idea. Those in the know head to Yam Yam pizza, a modern trattoria famed for its wood-fired oven that births delicious thin crust pizzas – just the way we like ‘em. Pizza’s range from €8- €15.50. If you’re on a really strict budget why not split one with a travel buddy?
Yam Yam, Frederik Hendrikstraat 88-90, +31 681 50 97
6pm – 10pm – Tuesday – Saturday