If you’re looking for a meat-free meal (or a lifetime of them), rejoice! Veggie-friendly Amsterdam has got you covered. Sure, as your protein-pounding friends will point out to you, pretty much every restaurant in the city has at least one meal for the meatless… but if you’re looking for more than an uninspired salad, you need to be a little more choosy about where you’re putting your fork.
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).