There's A 'Mean Girls'-Themed Brunch, and It's So Fetch
Unlike any other restaurant in the city, you’ll eat art here. The changing lineup of 100% vegetarian multi-course meals is inspired by monthly abstract themes, like Amsterdam architecture, Dutch masterworks, or “the new black.” Expect familiar plants served in new forms (foams, taffies, and more) with a consistently ethical undercurrent of fair, sustainable, and animal-friendly sourcing practices. No longer operating on the “pay what you want” model, the five-course (plus amuse-bouche) “posh” option will set you back €45, and the “uber posh” seven-course version €97.50. Expect a similarly structured wine list, plus surprisingly affordable cocktails mixed to match the theme. Do book in advance.
Officially Amsterdam’s favorite vegetarian restaurant since its June opening (and ours too), the spot, ironically modeled after New York City's Meatpacking District, boasts a 100% vegan menu that makes a plant-based diet anything but boring. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner options like smashed avocado toast with yellow beet, dukkah, mint, lemon, and field greens; a fried banana sandwich with peanut butter and chocolate spread on spelt bread; and pumpkin-filo dough pastries with roasted mushrooms, couscous, potato cream, pomegranate, and apple compote. Regular events like the Bloody Mary brunch and Meatless Friyay help.
Before the rush of new openings, this stalwart was the king of the vegetarian scene. For those with a longer commitment to meat-free living, it still is. More hippie than hipster, the “Bowler’s Hat” is full of funky color and fresh flavors -- from soups and salads to quiche and a changing lineup of global hot dishes. Just keep in mind this spot is cash-only, so find an ATM to milk before you sit down.
Kitsch and cozy, the Golden Temple is full of bright (floor-level) cushion seating and happy murals inspired by the vegetarian spot’s Asian and Middle Eastern menu (the people behind it come from a Sikh background). The menu of fresh fruit juice “cocktails” was always enough to keep us satisfied, but now they have a license to serve wine and beer too. And apparently it’s Amsterdam’s oldest vegetarian restaurant!
The summer’s other biggest veggie-based opening is the place across the street from another Thrillist favorite, Walter’s. So, expect good looks and good (vegan) food, this time with an emphasis on surprising sandwiches and vegan takes on classic bar snacks (with whiskey, naturally).
The only bad thing about DopHert is that there’s not one in every neighborhood. The all-day vegan café has all the familiar yogurts, soups, and “burgers” you’re craving, plus fresh, flavor-packed twists like lemon-olive seitan and raw cherry choco juice, all served in a charming, color-popping setting with a smile. If we haven’t convinced you yet, go for the stupidly delicious (and jaw-droppingly decorated) homemade cakes.
The simple yet chic classic café seats just more than a handful of people every evening, and serves them reasonably priced seasonal menus of 'round-the-world flavors, going heavy on organic ingredients. Reserve in advance -- the place is really, really small.
There’s no menu: you’re getting the day’s three-course surprise (for €35). The dessert course is up to you, however, and there’s a lineup of homemade cakes to choose from. Plus you can pick from a list of vin naturel wines (or get the pairing menu for €18.75). The best part, however, is your host, Gido, who will come to your table and describe the food you’re enjoying in detail, down to the honey farm that supplied the sweetness in your sauce. They’re happy to accommodate other diets, like vegan or gluten-free, too, if you let them know in advance.
The adorable name (“better and fun”) has an adorable interior to match, stocked with clothes and stuff for the house from indie designers, as well as a vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free menu of soups and sandwiches plus delicious desserts. You can even order it to be delivered. The only bummer is that it only serves breakfast and lunch (look out for the yoga classes and walk-in tarot sessions, too).
This higher-end plant eater’s pick was named the Best Vegetable Restaurant of 2015 by the NRC -- and who are we to argue? The menu is described as “New Amsterdam cuisine” and mixes herbs and veggies grown on-site with spices that the East India Company would have imported back in the day. Last but not least, the décor looks like the finest cafeteria on the wine-loving future space station Utopia.
Setting foot on the charmingly disheveled grounds of waterside Café de Ceuvel, with all its unabashedly repurposed terrace seating and greenhouse hovering overhead, it should come as no surprise that its menu is meat-free. Give your local beer picks something to wash down with seaweed burgers, lentil pâté, and pizza baked in the outdoor oven on-site. Fun fact: the leafy interior is super-cozy on cooler/wetter days, as well.
Everything here is raw, organic, and gluten-free. Think pesto pasta with zucchini noodles and fresh smoothies, or nut and coconut milks (it also serves biodynamic wines). And if that describes your diet, you’ll want to get here pronto to shop and stock your kitchen cabinets at home as well. Expect a holistic experience, with observations about your aura and all... and long wait times, unfortunately.
This is a supremely specific eatery: you’re getting spuds, and you’re going to be happy about it. Seriously. The laundry list of baked potatoes has something for all palates, including three options for vegetarians (five if fish is in your diet) like Thai green curry or beetroot salad. The concept is simple, but the product is so damn tasty. And not surprisingly, so damn filling, too; only big eaters should try to tackle more than a half-portion. Saddle up to the sunny terrace when you can and watch the people of West walk by.
Bos en Lommer
The interior is the definition of no frills... even, downright dingy. But people come back to this neighborhood spot with the 80% vegetarian menu for the healthy-sized portions of healthy food for a healthy price. The “flying dish” is full of fresh food made with seasonal products. The peanut soup (like slurpable peanut butter) is a favorite, but you can’t miss with most of the dishes gathered from kitchens around the world. Wash it all down with organic French wine.
You don’t have to be vegetarian to get excited about the hummus trend going on in Amsterdam. And the Hummus House may very well be the best of the bunch. Don’t expect your typical supermarket dip here: these hummus dishes are of a softer, warmer consistency, and are a full meal, complete with your choice of veggie toppings. You’ll find other Middle Eastern favorites, like shakshuka and labaneh here too.
OK, we come full circle back to salads -- but these are anything but uninspired. The long list of options, many of which are veggie-only (naturally), are pricy for bowls of leaves and other stuff -- but that’s because the portions are HUGE and always filling. The locations themselves tend to be pretty, too (though you can get the food delivered or to-go as well).
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1. De Culinaire WerkplaatsFannius Scholtenstraat 10HS, Amsterdam
2. Meatless DistrictBilderdijkstraat 65, Amsterdam
3. De BolhoedPrinsengracht 62, Amsterdam
4. Golden TempleUtrechtsestraat 126, Amsterdam
5. Bar JamesJavastraat, Amsterdam
6. DopHert LunchroomSpaarndammerstraat 49, Amsterdam
7. Waaghals Vegetarisch Restaurant DeFrans Halsstraat 29, Amsterdam
8. Betty's87HS Vrijheidslaan, Amsterdam
9. Beter & LeukEerste Oosterparkstraat 91, Amsterdam
10. BoleniusGeorge Gershwinlaan 30, Amsterdam
11. Café de CeuvelKorte Papaverweg 4, Amsterdam
12. Alchemist GardenOvertoom 409, Amsterdam
13. JacketzKinkerstraat 56, Amsterdam
14. De Vliegende SchotelAdmiraal de Ruijterweg, 331, Amsterdam
15. De Hummus HouseKorte Leidsedwaarsstraat 62, Amsterdam
16. SLAWesterstraat 34, Amsterdam
De Culinanaire Werkplaats doesn't provide a mere meal, it brings you an culinary experience. The menu changes here quicker than the seasons do and features a lineup of entirely vegetarian dishes that have been inspired by an abstract concept like architecture or "the new black." Veggie-heavy dishes delve outside the boundaries of food physics in forms like foams and taffies for a meal you'll certainly never see imitated anywhere else.
This vegetarian/vegan restaurant lives up to its name with a whole menu of meatless takes on traditional Amsterdam comfort food. You'll find easily-translatable small plates like croquettes and falafel, but the real coups are the "chicken" Caesar salad and the veggie burger, two protein-heavy dishes that may even taste better than their meaty counterparts. Meatless' bright, industrial, grey-washed space was ironically modeled after Manhattan's meatpacking district, but the service here is all Dutch politeness. Popular among the hip and health-conscious, it can be busy here at peak times so a reservation is recommended.
The outward appearance of this homey west Amsterdam cafe might be a simple facade of brick and greenery, but in its inside, the bright pops of color come from all angles, both from the neon green and orange walls and the vibrant ingredients of the entirely vegan dishes. Between the vegetarian platters full of quinoa and readily available vegetables, open kitchen, all the plant life, and the cat that's always roaming around, De Bolhoed is a full sensory experience.
The kitschy lower level of this central city spot offers up just as much Middle Eastern flair as the dishes. Cushy couches packed with bright red pillows and murals of icons like the Taj Mahal set the scene for an entirely vegetarian menu that won't set you very far back. Coconut curries and other Middle Eastern specialties are the staples at Golden Temple, but the unexpected variety of global inspirations in meals like enchiladas and tuscan risotto make it a hit for everyone -- even the meat eaters.
This bar and patio restaurant on the east side of town is a little royal-blue beacon for Amsterdam's vegans who can drink the meat-eaters under the table. Soups, falafel, and sandwiches stacked to the sky with just about everything save for meat or animal products make the rounds in out on the bustling patio in the afternoon and in the intimate, candle-lit bar in the evenings. Then, at night, the bartenders come to play and mix up every cocktail imaginable.
In a far north spot that looks like it the living room of a trendy friend, DopHert serves out cafe staples that are always fresh and always vegetarian-friendly. All day the small kitchen dishes out sandwiches, soups, and meatless, veggie-stacked burgers with flavorful homemade juices on the side. Just like the bright pop of their colored decor and accents walls, the zing of lemon-olive seitan or raw cherry choco juice will perk you right up.
The sleek cafe and patio known as De Waaghalls lives up to its name, which translates to "the daredevil" in English, with a menu that changes biweekly. Every menu pulls focus from a different country so you'll never eat the same thing here twice. What you will always eat, however, is an entirely vegetarian meal using mostly organic ingredients from nearby farms and markets (hence the heavy rotation).
This three-person operation does't prepare food from a menu. Each chef prepares three courses for the night using whatever they've got growing in their own garden and presents it to the few people it takes to fill up their dining area. Dinner isn't a complete mystery; it's guaranteed to be vegetarian, and if you ask it'll come vegan or gluten free. Dessert's also your choice, as is the glass or bottle of natural wine you pair it with.
If Beter & Leuk translates to "better and fun" in English, then in food it translates to sweet treats baked daily in a cute and airy boutique-style cafe. Decked in clothing and other items from indie designers, this place boats a rapidly changing handful of vegetarian and gluten-free bars, cakes, and pastries that leave no guilt to be had. Sometimes, the bakers will even dust off their chef's hats and make full salad, pasta, or sushi entrees.
In a cafeteria fitting for a space saucer, Bolenius dishes out food made from veggies they grew in-house for the classiest meatless meal you'll ever eat in the confines of the Business District (or the whole city, really). Due to its hyperlocal nature, nothing on the menu is written in stone, but you're likely to find dishes packed with spice and flavor, as this place likes to pull inspiration from Eastern India.
Perched waterside, Cafe de Ceuvel sports an industrial outdoor terrace full of recycled materials only, including funky mismatched tables and chairs, and a giant arbor that creates a snug indoor space. The decor might tip you off that this place is super sustainable and meat-free, and you'd be right. The menu here features dishes like seaweed burgers, lentil pâté, and pizza baked in an outside oven. The leafy interior makes for a cozy spot on cool, wet days, too.
You'll find all raw, organic, and gluten-free food on the menu at this cozy, light-filled spot. Pesto pasta with zucchini noodles, fruit smoothies, nut & coconut milks, and biodynamic wines are just some of the fresh options you'll have at your fingertips. Vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike will want to stock up their kitchen cabinets with the items in Alchemist's attached health food shop, too. Will you be any good at cooking them? Have your tarot cards read before you leave and find out.
Jacketz is the self-proclaimed "first baked potato shop on the mainland of Europe." Get ready for some of the best spuds you've ever tasted. The list of baked potatoes here has something to sate any craving or diet, including three options for vegetarians (five if you eat fish), like Thai green curry and beetroot salad. These scrumptious dishes are seriously filling -- only those with a major appetite should attempt more than a half portion. Be sure to grab a spot on the sunny terrace for some prime West people-watching.
Locals are loyal to this neighborhood spot, and it's not because of the decor (this space is straight-up dingy) -- they keep coming back for the scrumptious, nearly 100% vegetarian menu. You'll find sizable portions of fresh dishes inspired by kitchens across the globe: from tagine with couscous to lasagne to bhaji. You'll want to pair your meal with one of the organic French wine options, too.
If you want the best hummus in Amsterdam, look no further than De Hummus House. You're not about to dip into some typical grocery store hummus at this casual-chic spot: these dishes are of a softer, warmer consistency and act as a full meal, complete with your choice of fresh veggie toppings. Beyond hummus, you’ll find other Middle Eastern favorites on the menu, too, like shakshuka and labaneh, each one more flavorful than the next.
You'll feel refreshed the second you step inside SLA's bright and airy space. The menu here features seasonal soups and a long list of salad options, many of which are veggie-only and a bit on the pricier side. But the portions are huge and, unlike most salads, they actually fill you. Consider the Spinach Falafel, which, among a host of other toppings, comes loaded with spinach, whole grain bulgur, roasted cauliflower with curry, and scoop chickpea hummus & za'atar. Be sure to treat your body to an orange smoothie, too: mango, banana, turmeric, coconut milk, and rice.