From its beautiful canals to its billions of bicycles, Amsterdam is known for many things… but great cuisine is not one of them. Maybe it’s a matter of national pride, but the majority of Dutch food is deep-fried until it reaches a lurid shade of orange. Fantastic when you have a hangover, but not so appealing when you have a shred of self-respect left intact.
Luckily, Amsterdam is quick to jump on cultural bandwagons and, while the city has seen its share of flash-in-the-pan novelties (avocado restaurants, anyone?), the trend for veganism seems to have stuck. It’s certainly a departure for a country who cherishes various combinations of processed beef and cheese, but we’re not going to question a good thing.
Read on to discover our cruelty-free favorites in the city of bitterballen!
Think ‘vegan food’ means sandal-wearing weirdos munching bowls of kale? Mastino is doing its bit to consign those stereotypes to history – by serving the best pizza in town. Purists may balk at the idea of pizza lacking reconstituted cow fats, but this eatery is run by a posse of passionate Italians who take pizza very seriously, and aren’t afraid to experiment.
And it shows. Whether you opt for a spelt or soy flour crust or go the traditional route, their pizzas are delectably crisp, with generous portions of freshly sourced toppings. Both new converts pining for their pizza fix and seasoned vets looking for something new will be well-served – their menu includes several (delicious) vegan cheeses and cheese-free options. Bellissima!
Feeling virtuous already? Then double-down on your vegan smugness and tuck in at this community kitchen. Housed in the formerly squatted arts center OT301, De Peper serves three-course vegan meals on a pay-what-you-like basis. Even at the recommended donation amount of 10 euro, it’s excellent value for a substantial amount of tasty food.
There are no menus to browse. Instead, customers can make a reservation safe in the knowledge that their meal will satisfy all possible dietary requirements. Finding out what’s in store tonight is all part of the fun! All profits are reinvested in the kitchen, and on Thursdays you can dine to the smooth sounds of live jazz performances. Make sure to get your reservation in early, as it fills up quickly!
We may have mocked fleeting food trends, but hummus is here to stay, with worldwide sales skyrocketing in last five years. And nobody does it better than the ‘original’ hummus restaurant, Sir Hummus. A world away from the emulsified sludge lining the supermarket aisles, their chickpea dip is rich, warming and fragrant – thanks to a painstaking 24-hour cooking process.
The menu is pared down to the essentials, with two bowl sizes and a small selection of additional toppings to choose from. All you have to do is tear off a chunk of pillowy-soft pita and get scooping.
Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or indulgent dinner, Dophert ticks all the right boxes. This entirely plant-based restaurant hides all manner of delicious treats behind an unassuming exterior, tucked away on the Spaarndammerstraat. Inside, it’s chic yet welcoming and with the kitchen tucked away beneath the dining area, you’re bombarded with delicious smells throughout.
Their menu is a varied mix of (very filling) sandwiches, salads, and burgers with the odd Asian-inspired noodle dish thrown in for good measure. With so much on offer, you might be tempted to skip dessert, but don’t! Dophert has the best selection of sweet-toothed vegan treats in the city, and their chocolate-peanut-butter brownie has been known to reduce grown men to tears.
Pushing the boat out? This new restaurant in Oude West is perfect for some plant-based fine dining. The prices may be a little higher than the other venues here, but Meatless District is a cut above, with a beautifully sculpted interior and a mouthwatering menu that could appease even the most ardent carnivore.
The dinner menu is slim, but a lot of thought and preparation has clearly gone into each dish. And the proof is in the pudding (and the starter, and the main…), as every bite tastes as good as it looks. Don’t miss the perfectly tender cauliflower steaks (trust us!), and the annoyingly attractive waitstaff are always happy to suggest a novel wine pairing.
While the inexplicably popular Febo remains the fast food outlet of choice for drunk Dutchmen and stoned tourists, the discerning vegan is better served by Maoz. This Israeli franchise serves zero-frills falafel at unbeatable prices. Sophisticated this is not, but the blisteringly hot falafel are some of the best in town, nestled in beds of steaming pita.
Once served, you can load up your pita at the salad bar… and return for unlimited refills. It may be a bizarrely generous decision in a country where marijuana can be accessed freely, but we’re not going to let that bother us. After 4-5 refills, even the most gargantuan appetite will be sated, and you can pat yourself on the back for not eating from a literal hole in the wall.
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