A Plant-Based Guide to Amsterdam
If you follow me on Instagram, there are slim odds that you didn't see that I was in Amsterdam because of how much I posted LOL. It was my first time there (or in the Netherlands, rather) and I truly was in heaven. The amount of vegan options (and vegan restaurants in general!) was so impressive and exciting. Nearly every place we went there were at least a few different vegan options, and we even went to a handful of exclusively vegan restaurants during our time there. There is not one meal that I had that would rate below a 7/10 (that's me being realistic, but honestly would rate them all 11/10).
My best friend Kaitie is currently an au pair in Haarlem (about 15-minute train from Amsterdam), so I got to spend a lot of time exploring Haarlem as well. We also took a quick day trip to Delft, and then my friends and I took a quick train to Zandvoort one day for quick beach views. I've included the restaurants from all these places in the list, though the options in Amsterdam were naturally more copious.
Another note- almost every coffee shop I went in has oat, coconut, almond milk, or another milk alternative! This goes for every city in the Netherlands I visited!! Plus you'll have to try fresh mint, ginger, and other herbal teas. Instead of tea bags, they will steep fresh mint sprigs, ginger root, cinnamon bark, or other fresh herbs in hot water and it truly is the most refreshing tea you never knew you needed. It seems so simple, but is something culturally we don't do. I've loved bringing this back to the States.
If you've never been to Amsterdam before, here's your excuse to go!!! You can actually find really reasonably priced flights if you're looking out on sites like Scotts Cheap Flights or The Flight Deal - I got mine round trip from Denver for less than $500! Also note- if you want to catch the giant Holland Tulip Festival (Keukenhof) go in later April or May. We went late March and the tulips weren't quite yet ready, but are now in almost full bloom!
A note about gluten:
I will say, gluten affects me differently in Europe than in the States. I've noticed this since the first time I went to Europe in 2012, and I've been back 2 other times since then. In the States, I know if I've had gluten within 30 minutes of ingesting it. I get a very distinct headache and some GI issues I'd rather not disclose on the internet. I also get these terrible dark circles under my eyes that take a few days to go away. In Europe, it's simply not the case. I play it safe and don't overdo it, but the most I've felt is a little bloated after having a huge plate of pasta and some bread (and probably because my body's just not used to that). I'm not sure if it's the way that the gluten is grown or processed (or lack of processing in Europe) or if its genetic modfication/pesticides that negatively affect me in the states, but honestly I'm not fighting it! So you'll notice that while a lot of my recommendations are gluten-free, not all of them are. Just wanted to make a special note to all of my followers with gluten sensitivity.
This was arguably my favorite place we went the entire trip. Spirit is an amazing vegetarian restaurant (with a majority of their entrees being vegan). It’s all buffet style and then measured by weight. BEWARE of this because it’s SO easy to get over-excited and want to try one of everything… and then you really pay. My friend Victoria and I got so much that it ended up being over 25 euro! But it's soo good you eat it all (even past your full point lol). They also have buffet style dessert and vegan ice cream! It truly was a dream, and in such a fun part of town that I’m glad we visited. MENU | WEBSITE
Such a fun restaurant! They have many unique vegan options and amazing toasts! Their brunch is amazing, so if you’re able to make it during their brunch hours you definitely should! I had their vegan french toast (though it was not gluten-free) though some of my friends got the spicy chicken and the humus toasts and loved it. Spicy chicken toast won most photogenic. MENU | WEBSITE
They specialize in vegan and gluten-free pizzas!! This was hands down the best gluten-free crust I’ve ever had! It was so spot on that I almost didn’t believe it was gluten-free. They have a lot of unique options and combinations. It would be a great place to take omni friends too, they also have regular cheese if you ask for it, though the vegan cheese is so good I doubt they’d even need it. MENU | WEBSITE
A completely vegan restaurant and shop!! There’s not much room in here for large groups (read: no tables, just benches), but it’s perfect for a quick casual breakfast, brunch, snack, etc. I had some overnight oats that had fresh pear and they have to be some of my favorite I’ve had. They also had a gluten-free hazelnut brownie that was UNREALLLLLLL. I still dream of it. I also got some yummy snacks for the plane ride home. Easter was the coming weekend so I got a bunch of vegan candy to come home with, though I accidentally ended up eating all of it on my way home… oops. It’s in the Jordaan which is such a fun area, and it’s right around the corner from the Anne Frank House (which btw make a reservation as far ahead as possible (read: weeks), I didn’t get to go inside because I didn’t make a reservation). MENU | WEBSITE
This was somewhere we all met up for brunch, and though it’s not a vegan restaurant they did have some great options! They had an açaí bowl that was very yummy (also just a note- most smoothies or smoothie bowls in Europe I’ve found to be closer to room temp than frozen, so just keep that in mind when you’re ordering one!) They also had overnight oats which were also delicious. They had a few options for freshly squeezed juices and I got the 'Spice Up Your Life' with grapefruit/orange & cayenne. MENU | WEBSITE
Vegan Junk Food Bar
My friends LOVED this! I did too of course, but it was kinda heavy for me. It was a great option for vegan burgers, chicken nuggets, fries, and other fried food. It was REALLY delicious, but I would recommend splitting if you can because it can be really dense! I didn’t get the chicken nuggets, but tried one of my friend’s and wish I would have. Their ice cream was really good too. The space is small so if you have a big group of friends be prepared to split up. MENU | WEBSITE
Pllek is in Noord- you can take a free ferry over to this side of Amsterdam. They had a few really good options. Their website says: We recently introduced our new menu: our dishes are now 75% vegetarian, of which 25% are even vegan. They said their soup is usually vegetarian, and sometimes vegan. Their falafels were some of the best I’ve had, and I got this amazing deconstructed sandwich that had a unique mixture of flavors, but balanced so well. I need to start adding hazelnuts to everything! MENU | WEBSITE
This place is a must!! And would be great for bigger groups of friends (or friends who are not open to veggie options). There’s tons of food stands and many of them have vegan options. I went to a Mexican restaurant that had vegan nachos and cashew cheese! I then got some coconut yogurt & fruit from Yoghurt Barn for dessert. WEBSITE | LIST OF FOOD STANDS
One of my favorite restaurants I went to in Haarlem! I got the chocolate overnight oats and could have ordered another one. They also had a coconut yogurt granola bowl that looked amazing. They had many options for gluten-free/vegan pastries as well! It was such a fun space and I loved their little deer (ish) logo. WEBSITE
THE CUTEST!!! The logo has cute little frenchie puppy ears and the ambience inside is so fun. They had some great pancakes that I’m fairly positive were vegan, but had a few doubts after. I would double check with the kitchen staff haha. But seriously was so so cute. Great chai latte as well. WEBSITE
They didn’t have a ton of vegan options but I still wanted to include them as a coffee shop. They let me get gluten-free toast with avocado (though it wasn’t on the menu) and a fruit bowl that was fresh and filling. Their coconut chai latte was my favorite chai latte I had the entire time I was there! WEBSITE
If you go to Delft, YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. I almost didn’t want to leave because the whole place was adorable. They have an extensive food menu with many many vegan options. Their coffee was amazing and they also had a bunch of smoothie options! It was so fun to chill on the couches and sip a cup of coffee. They also had great desserts. Kaitie and I pretty much had a TREAT YO'SELF moment inside this place. They also had such cute shop items!! WEBSITE | INSTA
We went here for lunch one day and it was super yummy! It’s a little small, serve-yourself vegetarian restaurant. It reminded me of a baby-sized Provision Kitchen (for my friends in OKC to give you an idea). I really liked it, though it didn’t have as many options as I wanted it to. I still had a great experience and left feeling very satisfied and nourished. MENU | WEBSITE
WINS HANDS DOWN BEST AMBIENCE AWARD. I couldn’t stop taking photos in here. It was the CUTEST restaurant on the beach in Zandvoort. I’m thinking about hiring them to decorate my house. They had a few vegan options, not a ton, but still you should go here if you’re wanting to go to a beach and wanting to have a good time with friends! WEBSITE