Amsterdam has many good, cheap eating options for visitors including both sit-down places and takeaway outlets.
Below are a few local suggestions you should try out that make alternatives to the bland international junk-food chains...
1. Grab a gourmet burger - Forget your bland multinational burger chains and head to Amsterdam's gourmet burger offerings.
Burgermeester offers a great variety of tasty gourmet burgers - including beef, lamb and chicken burgers, salmon burgers and vegetarians options falafel and manchego cheese burgers. Different toppings available plus side dishes such as grilled half corn-on-the-cob, rocket salad and baked potatoes. Ingredients are natural, sustainable and locally-sourced. Burgers cost €8-€10 or try a mini-burger for €4. Has 3 locations around Amsterdam - Albert Cuypstraat 48 (De Pijp), Elandsgracht 130 (Jordaan) and Plantage Kerklaan 37 (near Aris Zoo).
The Butcher has an extensive menu of Aberdeen Angus burgers €8-€12, plus lamb, fish and veggie alternatives. Location is AlbertCuypstraat 33-35 plus an outlet at Foodhallen (Bellamyplein 51).
Burger Bar also offers beef burgers from €5-€14 with various toppings and sides. Stand-out is the Wagyu beef option. Has 3 locations, the main one being Warmoestraat 21 (red-light district); also at Kolksteeg 2 (off Nieuwendijk) and Reguliersbreestraat 9 (near Muntplein).
Ellis Gourmet Burger is a small Belgian chain with an Amsterdam outlet at Prinsengracht 422. The extensive menu includes classic beef burgers, veggie options and some signature burger creations.
2. V&D La Place - This popular self-service restaurant sells decent food for a reasonable price. You can find sandwiches, soups, salads, meat and fish mains, home-made pizzas, Asian wok dishes as well as coffee, tea and cakes. Beer and wine also for sale. La Place uses sustainable ingredients which are prepared on-site. Mains are usually priced between €5 and €14. There is a large seating area with free WiFi. Location is on the 7th floor of Amsterdam central library at Oosterdokskade 143; also at Schiphol airport station hall. Note, the main La Place restaurant at Kalverstraat/Rokin has been closed following the demise of V&D department stores.
An alternative self-service restaurant in the city centre is Bijenkorf Kitchen on the 5th floor of the Bijenkorf department store on Dam Square.
3. Vapiano - This is a self-service chain restaurant originally from Germany that sells excellent Italian food - pasta dishes, pizzas and salads. The emphasis is on fresh and natural ingredients with the pasta made on site. You choose which type of pasta and sauce combination you want - from classical recipes to house specials - and it is then cooked in front of you. Pasta dishes from around €7. Modern and pleasant decor. There are 2 Vapiano locations in Amsterdam - the first on the ground floor at Amsterdam central library (OBA) at Oosterdokskade 145; the second at Amstelstraat 2-4 near Rembrandtplein. Vapiano also has restaurants in Den Haag, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Tilburg.
4. Bagels & Beans - Hip café hang-out which sells a wide variety of different bagel dishes using fresh, quality ingredients. Choose from 7 different types of bagels, 4 types of cream cheese or try one of the bagel specials. Bagels priced from €4 to €7. Has an extensive range of teas, coffees and fresh juices. Numerous franchise outlets (21 at last count) all over Amsterdam, some with free WiFi.
5. Maoz Falafel - Maoz is a "fast-food" outlet selling deep-fried chickpea falafel (vegetarian) in pita bread. They have an unlimited self service salad bar which means you can get quite a filling meal for around €5. They have branched out internationally but originate in Amsterdam with 4 locations in the city - Muntplein 1, Leidsestraat 85, Albertcuypstraat 67 and Damrak 40.
6. Vleminckx - For authentic Flemish-style chips (French fries) head to Vleminckx which is consistently rated as serving some of the best chips in Amsterdam. This is a takeaway only with the chips being served in a paper cone with a wide choice of sauces including mayonnaise, ketchup, onions or peanut sauce. The stall is tucked away on a side street - at Voetboogstraat 33 which links Spui and Heiligenweg, not far from Koningsplein.
7. Herring stall - Haring (raw herring) is a Dutch delicacy which tastes surprisingly good and should be tried by visitors to the Netherlands. It is perfectly safe to eat having been cured in salt and frozen to kill any bugs - and is rich in healthy Omega-3 fats. It is normally served covered in chopped raw onions - hold the tail of the fish and chomp away. It can also be eaten in a bread roll (minus tail) with onions and gherkins. The best fish is labelled Hollandse Nieuwe haring (Dutch new herring) which is caught during late spring to early summer. You can buy haring on the street at a number of stalls around the city - including Albert Cuyp market in De Pijp, at Koningsplein and on the Singel canal at the start of Haarlemmerstraat.