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. As far as I know, there are four indoor food courts in the Dutch capital, the most famous of which being of course the Foodhallen. But the other three – all very different, but all filling a niche – are equally worth a visit. So
Foodhallen: most likely to spot tourists
I’ve written about Amsterdam’s Foodhallen in the past, so I won’t go into great detail here except to say that this iconic food court is housed in a disused, converted tram depot – which certainly lends it a very Amsterdam 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.
Visit the Foodhallen at Bellamyplein 51 (Oud-West), or see foodhallen.nl for more information.
The Food Department: most likely to spot shoppers
Newly opened in the Magna Plaza – Amsterdam’s answer to a shopping mall – The Food Department takes up the entire top floor of this iconic building in the centre of town. If shopping and sightseeing make you hungry, this is the place to pop in for a pit stop. Undoubtedly The Food Department’s resident bars and food stands will change over time, especially as any initial teething problems get resolved, but when it opened in spring 2019 there were 17 spots to choose from, serving everything from dim sum and sushi bowls to gourmet hotdogs and tacos. You’ll notice a few familiar names – The Butcher has a stand selling its famous burgers, as does Petit Gateau (for the prettiest cakes and pastries) as well as seafood seller Brut de Mer. But when I went, I checked out the sabich pita at Bepita: a fluffy dough pocket filled with aubergine, hard-boiled egg, hummus, tahini and more. For €6.50, it wasn’t half bad.
Visit The Food Department on the top floor of Magna Plaza at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182 (Centrum), or see thefooddepartment.nl for more information.
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 recently. It seems the owners have instead started two new ventures at Market 33: Oishii Sushi, serving sushi, salads and more; and 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.)
Visit Market 33 at Claude Debussylaan 33 (Zuidas), or see market33.nl for more information.
World of Food: most likely to spot people from the world over
A little further out of town, 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 around the €5 mark. 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!
Visit World of Food at Develstein 100 (Zuidoost), or see worldoffoodamsterdam.nl for more information.