I have a love-hate relationship with sandwiches.
Hot pastrami at Sardi
Sandwiches from butcher’s shops are distinctly a thing in Amsterdam, and have been for decades. However, a lot of them just aren’t that good: cold filet Americain, anyone? Luckily, some have upped their game, among which Sardi – a block or so away from Oosterpark and with a few tables for those wanting to eat inside. I live in the neighbourhood so have tried several of their sarnies, but the best I’ve eaten so far is their Warme Pastrami: grilled pastrami meets cheddar cheese, pickled red cabbage, red onion and gherkins in a long white or brown pistolet. Think Dutch Reuben.
More info: sardi.nl
Lox bagel at Flo’s Appetizing
For years, it was impossible to find real-deal New York-style bagels in Amsterdam (although old-time Amsterdammers like me will still have a soft spot for Tony’s New York City Bagels). But then along came Flo’s Appetizing, now with three locations in the city. Their chewy, tasty bagels come topped with smoked salmon and a schmear of scallion-chive cream cheese, but there’s also a carrot version for vegans.
More info: flosappetizing.nl
Stuffed toast at Chun Café
You’ll want to arrive early to beat the queues at this Negen Straatjes favourite. Alongside bubble tea and other specialty drinks, Chun’s does a line in gourmet stuffed toast that’s not to be found anywhere else. I tried the egg with garlic shrimp, which came in its signature toasted brioche pocket – warm, garlicky and perfectly seasoned. Mr Foodie ordered a breakfast classic of egg, bacon and cheese, which was similarly good – but we’ll have to go back to try the rib-eye bulgogi as it sounds awesome.
More info: chun-amsterdam.com
Banh mi at Viên
Banh mi are surely the very pinnacle of sandwich perfection: manageable bread in the form of a not-too-crispy baguette, some kind of protein, pickled veg, a touch of chilli spice, fragrant coriander and perhaps a lick of mayo. That’s exactly what you’ll get at West-side Vietnamese banh mi shop Viên, where there’s only two tables but plenty of scope for takeaway. I tried the marinated grilled pork version, with Viên’s signature mix of pickled daikon, carrot and cucumber. A hearty, zingy, meaty mouthful. And the Vietnamese lemon soda was pretty good, too.
More info: vien.nl
Broodje pom at De Tokoman
The Netherlands’ history with Suriname may be problematic, but it thankfully saved us all from a lifetime of bland food. Surinamese sandwiches stuffed with all sorts of spicy fillings make an excellent alternative to the ubiquitous broodje kaas. Popular favourites include broodje pom – a spiced chicken and pomtajer filling – and broodje bakkeljauw, a Surinamese preparation of salt cod. Try both at hole-in-the-wall De Tokoman (now with four locations in Amsterdam) for affordable, satisfying sandwiches at lunchtime.
More info: tokoman.nl
Roti roll at De Hapjeshoek
Continuing the Surinamese theme, the roti rolls at De Hapjeshoek – a diner-style eethuis that’s literally inside Waterlooplein metro station – are hearty to say the least. One flaky warm flatbread stuffed with a curried mix of chicken, potatoes, long beans and sambal will probably feed two people for lunch quite easily. But when they’re that good (and that good value) why not order the whole roll for yourself?
More info: dehapjeshoek.nl
Sabich wrap at Sir Hummus
I first visited Sir Hummus several years ago when they were at their old location and (perhaps unsurprisingly) only really serving hummus. Now, they’re on the Ruysdaelkade and make a mean sabich: a Jewish-Iraqi sandwich stuffed with creamy hummus (of course), crispy aubergine, slow-cooked egg, salad and spicy zhoug sauce. It’s definitely more wrap than sandwich (it’s housed in a rolled-up flatbread rather than two slices of bread) but it hits every sandwich-craving spot there is.
More info: sirhummus.nl
Sucuk and mozzarella flatbread at Tigris & Eufraat
On the Javastraat, Tigris & Eufraat is a supermarket on one side, and a cooking station for takeaway on the other. Which means that there’s no place to sit, so heading here for lunch probably only makes sense if you live or work in the area. That said, I hope you do live or work in Oost because the “Middle Eastern sandwiches” (which are in fact more like wraps) are some of the best on offer in Amsterdam. My favourite was the sucuk version, stuffed with spiced minced meat, melted mozzarella and perfect pickles. The halloumi sandwich was also fresh and tasty, while the falafel and manouche (which I’ve sadly not tried yet) looked delicious, and the prices were extremely affordable.
More info: tigriseneufraat-amsterdam.nl