Amsterdam has many good, cheap eating options for visitors including both sit-down places and takeaway outlets.
Below are a few suggestions you could try out if you are on a budget. It is possible to find a good meal for between €10 and €20. Like most places around the world, menu prices have increased in the Netherlands over the last few years.
1. Grab a gourmet burger
Forget your bland multinational burger chains and head to one of Amsterdam’s gourmet burger offerings.
Burgermeester offers a great variety of tasty gourmet burgers – including beef, lamb and chicken burgers. Other options include a manchego cheese burger and a vegan falafel burger.
Different toppings are available plus side dishes such as grilled half corn-on-the-cob, Caesar salad and fries. Ingredients are natural, sustainable and locally-sourced. Burgers cost €12-€16 or try a mini-burger for €6.
Burgermeester has 3 locations in Amsterdam – Utrechtsestraat 8 (centre), Elandsgracht 130 (Jordaan) and Plantage Kerklaan 37 (near Artis Zoo).
The Butcher has an extensive menu of Aberdeen Angus burgers for €10-€13 plus lamb, fish and veggie alternatives. It is located at Overhoeksplein 1 in the A’DAM Tower.
BurgerBar also offers beef burgers from €13-€23 or create-your-own with various toppings and sides. The stand-out burger is the Wagyu beef option.
It has 6 locations in the city, at Warmoestraat 21 (red-light district); Kolksteeg 2 (off Nieuwendijk), Reguliersbreestraat 9 (near Muntplein/Rembrandtplein), Prinsengracht 478 (near Leidseplein), Eerste van der Helststraat 62B (De Pijp) and Stadionweg 255 (near the Olympic Stadium).
Ellis Gourmet Burger is a small Belgian chain with central Amsterdam outlet at Singel 161A. The extensive menu includes classic beef burgers, good veggie options and some signature burger creations.
2. Bijenkorf Kitchen
This is a good quality self-service restaurant on the 5th floor of the Bijenkorf department store on Dam Square. It makes for a great lunch option if you are in the area.
The kitchen has a number of different stations – grab a tray and choose from Asian wok, sushi, meat/fish grill, Italian food, soups, sandwiches and a salad bar. Dishes cost €10-€20 for a main course. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are available, as well as Bijenkorf cakes and puddings.
There are large seating areas are at either end of the Kitchen. At the northern side there is another bar which serves Illy coffee and other drinks. The glass roof provides plenty of natural light inside. If the weather is good you can head out onto the small outer terrace which has restricted views over Beursplein and the Beurs van Berlage
Open 1100-1800 (Mon-Wed), 1100-1830 (Thu-Fri), 1000-1830 (Sat-Sun).
Bijenkorf Kitchen is at Dam 1.
This is a self-service chain restaurant originally from Germany that sells very good Italian food – pasta dishes, pizzas, risotto, antipasti and salads. The emphasis is on fresh and natural ingredients with the pasta made on site. Vapiano means “go slow” in Italian.
At Vapiano you are given a chip card when you enter the restaurant – this is scanned each time you place an order. At the end of your meal you should take the card to the cash desk to pay your bill.
Food is ordered directly from the cooks at the kitchen counter. 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 take about 3 minutes and cost €10-15.
The decor/ambience is stylish and each table includes fresh herbs, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Some might not like the high-stool seating found on most tables.
The bar serves a full range of drinks (including the same Illy coffee as Bijenkorf Kitchen) and various desserts.
Vapiano is located at Amstelstraat 2-4 near Rembrandtplein.
4. Bagels & Beans
This is a Dutch café chain which sells a wide variety of different bagel dishes using fresh, sustainable ingredients.
You can choose from 7 different types of bagels, 4 types of cream cheese or try one of the bagel specials (€4 to €9).
Bagels & Beans also offers porridge plus an extensive range of teas, coffees, fresh juices and cold drinks.
There are numerous franchise outlets (20 at last count) all over Amsterdam including at Waterlooplein 2 and Raadhuisstraat 18 (Dam). At peak hours it can be difficult to find a seat.
5. Maoz Vegan
Maoz is a “fast-food” outlet selling deep-fried chickpea falafel (vegan) in white or wholewheat pita bread or in a salad or hummus bowl. Maoz also offers chips, fresh juices and smoothies.
Maoz is well-known for the self-service salad bar which means you can get quite a filling meal for under €10.
It has branched out internationally but originates in Amsterdam with 4 locations in the city – Muntplein 1, Leidsestraat 85, Albertcuypstraat 67 and Damrak 40.
6. Vleminckx (chips/fries)
For authentic Flemish-style chips (French fries) head to Vleminckx which is consistently rated as serving some of the best chips in Amsterdam. Established in 1957, this is a takeaway only with the chips being served in a paper cone with a choice of 25 sauces including lemon mayonnaise, ketchup, piccalilli or peanut satay sauce.
The stall is tucked away on a side street – at Voetboogstraat 33 which links Spui and Heiligenweg, not far from Koningsplein.
7. Herring stalls
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 Spui and on the Singel canal at the start of Haarlemmerstraat.
8. La Place
La Place is a self-service restaurant chain which is owned by the Jumbo supermarket chain. There is a large La Place restaurant in Amsterdam at Kalverstraat-Rokin near Muntplein which is popular with both locals and visitors.
It offers a wide variety of meals – sandwiches, soups, a salad bar, pizzas, wok dishes, grilled meat/fish. Mains are generally under €15.
30ML is a small coffee roasters from Utrecht which has slowly been branching out to other cities. The coffee is excellent and the food menu (eggs/sandwiches/pancakes) is decent quality and reasonably priced. We can recommend the avocado BLT.
It has 2 locations in Amsterdam. One is at Van Noordtstraat 26 (in the Westerpark/Spaarndammerbuurt area) and is open daily (0800-1600 Mon-Fri, 0900-1600 Sat/Sun).
The other is at Bijlmerplein 156 in the Bijlmer-ArenA district and open daily 0800-1800.
Last updated 23 March 2023. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.