I was recently asked to write an article for a food industry magazine about food courts in the Netherlands, so inevitably that necessitated a couple of “research trips” here in Amsterdam. There are several indoor food courts in the Dutch capital, the most famous of which being of course the Foodhallen: featuring not only 20 food stalls but also a regular market, a cinema and even a sustainable luxury hotel. But Amsterdam’s other food courts – all very different, but all filling a niche – are equally worth a visit. So whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are just visiting for a weekend, here’s where to fulfill your foodhall fantasies in Amsterdam.
Located in Amsterdam West, Amsterdam’s Foodhallen is the city’s signature food court. Not least because it’s housed in a disused, converted tram depot – which certainly lends it a very hipster ambience. It’s packed in the evening and on weekends, so I’d advise stopping by for lunch if you’re not keen on crowds. Some of my favourite food stands include Fento for fantastically healthy Mexican-inspired street food (and amazing cornbread!), Taqueria Lima West for (no prizes for guessing) tacos, and Renato’s for excellent Italian antipasti and pizza.
Market 33: most likely to spot city slickers
Right in the heart of Amsterdam’s business district, the Zuidas, you’ll find split-level food court Market 33 – replete with lots of men in suits and banking types. (As well as the rest of us.) When I visited, I was interested to see a familiar face from Pho & Yummie – the sushi and Vietnamese restaurant that used to be in the Spaarndammerbuurt until a few years ago. It seems the owners have instead started a new venture at Market 33: Hello Vietnam, serving pho, summer rolls and various noodle and rice dishes. I tried the gyoza, which were as crispy and tasty as I remember them from their previous location. Market 33 also has a well-stocked bar, so it’s a good spot for a drink and a snack after work. (Note that the food court is not open on weekends.)
Market 27: most likely to spot hipsters
From the same people who brought you Market 33, the more recently opened Market 27 at Noord metro station is like a smaller, quieter version of the same concept. Because of its location in hipster Noord, you can be guaranteed plenty of craft beers, artisan coffee (with madeleines) and vegan food. But you’ll also get a good portion of chips from Frites du Nord as well as sushi from Little Soy and Thai street food from Siam Corner. Plus, you’re right at the metro station – so it’s a quick, two-stop trip and and out of the centre.
World of Food: most likely to spot people from the world over
At the opposite end of the city, in Amsterdam Zuidoost, you’ll reach the aptly named World of Food. Featuring stands selling street food from all over the globe, this is the place to come if you want to try a range of different cuisines – or if you’re with a group who can’t decide what they want to eat. Plus, most of the food on offer is extremely reasonable: you can easily score a satisfying meal for under €10. When I visited, I tried a dish of spicy chicken, yams and veggies from African food stand Monrovia, as well as a “Johnnycake” stuffed with salt cod from Yvette’s Kitchen. Both delicious – and deliciously good value!
Mooie Boules: most likely to spot boules players
It’s hard to say whether this collection of food outlets at bowling bar Mooie Boules in Zeeburg really counts as a food court. But they certainly succeed at sating your hunger after a game or two of boules with friends. Drinks are ordered at Mooie Boules’ regular bar, but food comes from the other side of the venue from one of a few different purveyors. At the time of writing, these included Indonesian street food from Amsterdam top chef Ron Blaauw, fries from Frietboutique, burgers from Roast Bistro Bar and fish & chips from Fishbar Monk.