Vegetarian and vegan-friendly guide to Amsterdam
Amsterdam can be one of the most inviting cities to people who choose completely meat-free meals. Even if the restaurant or café is not dedicated to vegetarians or vegans, there is a very good chance the place can easily cater to these customers' preferences.
In fact, the Dutch capital has always been ahead of its time: much before words such as organic and sustainable food became trendy worldwide, Amsterdam has embraced them for at least four decades.
The fast-growing vegetarian-veganism movement, therefore, encouraged establishments to come up with more creative, tasty and diverse recipes. It is certainly one of the best moments to come to Amsterdam for the ones who crave meals in which vegetables are the star of the show.
Here's a vegetarian and vegan-friendly easy guide to restaurants, markets and shops in town:
Soil - this all-day restaurant is a perfect destination for vegans. It doesn't mean, however, meat lovers won't enjoy it as well: they make the best plant-based hamburger in town (one will hardly notice there's no animal protein in it). When going through the menu, what most attracts my appetite is the assertive combination of flavours. Spices and aromas from all over the world are surprisingly put together along with seasonal ingredients. It costs around €20 per person.
Meatless District - as the name says itself, no meat or any kind of animal protein comes in. They have a compact menu that offers extremely tasty and creative dishes, most of them according to the season. The ambiance is very cozy and suitable for both lunch and dinner as well as to relax by having a glass of wine sitting nearby the window. For a complete meal, it usually costs around €25.
Sajj & Mezza's - this tiny restaurant opened its doors at the beginning of 2020. It's the right place for Middle Eastern-inspired vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The food tastes simply amazing! Every day, one of the owners, Mr. Nabil, welcomes his customers with a big smile on his face. One can eat very well for not much more than €12-€15.
Café Amoi and Bird - two places: the first one is specialised in Indonesian food while the second in Thai. What both of them have in common are the extremely spicy and aromatic dishes from Asia and delicious options to make vegetarian customers really happy. Both cost an average of €20-€30 per person.
Merkelbach - it is such a lovely surprise to go into this restaurant located in a gorgeous 18th century property in Frankendael park. The place's owners are part of the slow food movement. Try to make a reservation for an outside table where the garden view brings a wonderful feeling of escapism. Meals are a bit pricey, from €30 to €60 depending on how many courses you choose.
Mastino V - this place grants all vegans with the best pizza they could ask for. It is not easy to make a good vegan pizza, but Mastino V excels in that. Run by Italians, they guarantee to put ingredients together according to their home country tradition, including foccacia and salads. The ambiance has also the right tone for a good time on a Friday or Saturday night. From €14 to €20 per pizza (all of them gluten free).
Kanarie Club - in my opinion, the atmosphere and the decor are the highest point of the house. They serve good food and drinks, but the space itself is much more appealing than its gastronomic offer. During daytime it's a hub for meetings or sole workers as alternatives to their home offices, while at night it becomes a hot spot for friends and couples. Kanarie Club is inside one of my favourite places in Amsterdam called FoodHallen (for reference click here). It usually costs between €15 to €40 per person.
Avocado Show - the whole menu is dedicated to avocado lovers. There are pokes, salads, eggs, pies, pancakes, sandwiches, burgers. The restaurant pleases one and all, both vegan and vegetarians as well as fish or meat seekers. Thanks to a smart marketing move, Avocado Show has become very popular amongst tourists and the city's instagrammers. It costs around €25 for a meal.
Mr Blou I Love You - an effortless example of an authentic and cheery kiosk. It is located on a busy street in Amsterdam and serves delicious vegan food from breakfast to dinner. Before opening its own business, the founder used to work for Michelin-star restaurants. Prices can vary depending on the food choice but overall it has a very good cost-benefit ratio.
KattenCafé - I love this place especially because of its motto: cats. Cat lovers will just fall in love here. They serve healthy simple snacks (mostly vegetarian) and also let customers play with the (seven) cats who live there. Just lovely.
Small World - this is one of the busiest corners of the Haarlemmerbuurt neighbourhood. This tiny charming café has the best carrot cake in town! The two sweet owners - Clerence and Sean - manage the place themselves and have prepared daily hand-made food for more than 20 years. They also serve delicious sandwiches, pies, salads and so on. Both vegetarians and meat lovers can easily have a great time here.
Lala Ijs - although it is an ice-cream shop, I cannot leave it aside because they have amazing vegan flavours, which are not that easy to find around. Don't miss the Hazelnut with little orange pieces which taste like heaven!
Koffie Academie - the coffee culture is part of the Dutch DNA (click here to see previous story). It might get a bit overwhelming though to decide when there's so many options to choose. You can't go wrong with Koffie Academie. Besides the cozy atmosphere, there's a great selection of coffee beans and also little snacks to nibble on. Vegetarians won't be disappointed.
Odin - it is a cooperative that since 1983 purchases only from certified small (organic-biodynamic) producers and farmers. Vegetables and fruits, bread, wine, meat, chocolates - they have it all. A super choice to supply your fridge.
EkoPlaza - it is not a cooperative as Odin, but a big supermarket chain specialised in organic products. It is also an excellent one.
Noordermarkt - it is the biggest organic fair in the Netherlands. Since 1987 it entertains locals and visitors every Saturday across from the famous church, Noorderkerk. It also became a hot spot because of its cool and fun vibe, where people can eat on location, buy or only stroll around. Everything is available, from fruits and vegetables, to cheese and meat. P.S.: on Mondays, it turns into an antique flea market whose origin dates from the 17th century.
Haarlemmerplein - basically, the same vendors from the Noordermarkt showcase their products in this smaller market which takes place on Wednesdays. I rather go to this one just because it is less crowded. It's also possible to grab some food and eat on location as well.
Albert Cuyp - over the last century it has become the biggest open-air market in the Netherlands. The 260 vendors attract hundreds of visitors every day. Located in De Pijp neighbourhood, it displays much more than fruits and vegetables. Tourists can find typical Dutch stroopwafels, Middle East and Asian cuisines, clothing, flowers and souvenirs. Although most of the food growers do not sell organics, the quality is good and the variety even more (it's the only place I can find papaya, just like the one from the tropical countries). It's a bit pricier though.
Willicroft - the founder comes from a dairy farm family business. A while ago he adopted a plant-based diet which led and encouraged him to start to produce his own vegan cheese. The shop is a great place to find Willicroft's assortments along with other similar good brands.
Vegabond - cheese, tofu, proteins and other vegan items can be purchased in this place to cook at home. It cleverly mixes a concept of deli shop with café, inviting customers to stay and eat in.
Delicious Food - this is a typical grocery store that offers very good quality products although quite expensive. I love the variety of seeds and nuts. It is also one of the few places in town where I can find authentic and organic parmesan cheese.
Holland & Barrett - it is a big chain of shops spread over 20 countries. It is specialised in a very good and wide range of items made from natural ingredients: from vegan proteins to vitamins, cosmetics, cereals and seeds, teas and so on.