Despite having pancakes and waffles at the center of the cuisine, The Netherlands is one of the easiest places to travel if you’re gluten-free, especially in the big cities.
This guide covers the best gluten-free restaurants in Amsterdam, including quick fast casual lunch options and more upscale fine dining options. I also share some of our favorite activities from our 6 week adventure in the city.
Here’s a snapshot:
- My Experience Visiting and Living in Amsterdam
- How to Eat Gluten-Free in Amsterdam
- A Few Things to Know About Amsterdam Restaurants
- The Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Amsterdam for a Nice Dinner
- The Best Gluten-Free Restaurants for a Breakfast, Lunch or a Casual Dinner
- The Best Gluten-Free Indonesian Food in Amsterdam
- The Best Coffee in Amsterdam
- The Best Gluten-Free Bakeries and Gelato in Amsterdam
- The Best Gluten-Free Markets and Shops
- Where to Stay in Amsterdam
- Our Favorite Things to Do in Amsterdam Besides Eat
My Experience Visiting and Living in Amsterdam
The first time I went to Amsterdam, I was 20 years old. It was the last stop of a post-study abroad backpacking trip with two of my girlfriends, circumstances that led to us having the kind of trip that make locals resent 20-somethings who come to Amsterdam.
We went to the usual tourist bucket list haunts—the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House—but experienced very little of the actual city’s culture and food. (In fact, we ate both our meals at a fast casual concept called Walk to Wok that makes it very easy for people not in their right mind to order dinner using a 3-step menu).
As much fun as that was, when Charlie and I decided to spend a few days in the winter of 2019 jetting up to Amsterdam from Paris, I was looking forward tothis visit being an adult do-over.
We decided to stay right in the heart of the Canal District on a quiet side street just a stone’s throw from the train station. When you’re relying mostly on traversing the city on foot or bike, proximity is key, especially for the days you’ll be lugging your luggage to and from the hotel.
And we had such a great time on this trip, we decided to return to live in the city for a summer! These 6 weeks really allowed us to get to know Dutch culture, cook from the markets, and try the very long list of delicious gluten-free friendly restaurants I didn’t make it to during our short previous stay.
How to Eat Gluten-Free in Amsterdam
Being gluten-free in Amsterdam was far easier than in Paris. Most of the cuisine is fairly veg-focused, with an eye towards edible flowers and other instagrammable touches. As I mentioned in my gluten-free Paris guide, I found the gluten-free health scene in Paris tried too hard and ultimately missed the mark. In Amsterdam, it seems more of a natural extension of what they do best. Plus, everyone seemed much more aware of the allergy and spoke perfect English.
“We have great products but no cuisine,” is how one of the Dutch couples we met along the way put it. Because of this though, you’ll find great examples of other cuisines from around the world in Amsterdam.
Since it was a Dutch colony, one of the most prominent cuisines in Amsterdam is Indonesian. This is not always the most gluten-free friendly. But I found a few places where you can sample delicious rice tables.
Traditional Dutch food mostly revolves around baked goods (pancakes, apple cake) and bar snack-like fried things (bitterballen, frites). Bitterballen are round croquettes usually filled with meat. These are sadly off limits at most cafes (which is similar to a pub in Holland). But there are plenty of places that just serve French fries, so those are usually gluten-free so long as they don’t also fry croquettes in there. Even Dutch favorites like their large, spongey pancakes and crispy mayo-doused frites had gluten-free options available at most mainstream places. Pancakes Amsterdam, which is essentially Dutch IHOP, is very knowledgeable about cross-contamination and has their own gluten-free batter. Other classics like the Dutch stroopwaffle, a thin sandwich of crisps with honey syrup in the middle, I was able to find gluten-free versions of at the market.
A Few Things to Know About Amsterdam Restaurants
I was told this was not always the case before COVID, but now it is VERY necessary to book all your restaurant reservations in advance, even for lunch.
Unlike in the states, restaurants don’t usually do multiple seatings. Your table is yours for the evening and there is no rush. This is lovely overall as it allows you to linger and make an event of an evening out. But because of this, and since most places in the city center are tiny, things book up far in advance.
Many of the restaurant reservation platforms will ask you to put down a deposit, but that will count towards your meal and if you cancel prior it will be reimbursed.
Most fine dining establishments, even more casual restaurants that have taken over old cafes, will only serve one set prix fix menu. They are very flexible with dietary restrictions and usually have other options in the back. But besides a small menu of snacks to start, everything else is left to the kitchen. I found this refreshing, as I hate making decisions and love it when restaurants are able to work with the best ingredients of the day. But if that’s not your style, you may want to seek out some of the options below that offer a la carte experiences. If you’re not gluten-free and need recommendations on the go, Charlie my husband was a huge fan of Elizabeth on Food’s app. She has best-of lists for street food, sandwiches and other more casual dining.
The Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Amsterdam for a Nice Dinner
De Kas – Kas means greenhouse, and this one houses one of Amsterdam’s most special restaurants inside Frankendael park, in the south west section of the city. The glass atrium was stunning, and the food was very GF friendly. They started with some delicious vegetable bites and a green gazpacho. My favorite course was a simple bowl of mushrooms in a rich broth. And though off the beaten path, the 20 minute bike ride home was an equal treat on a beautiful summer day…which here, lasts until 11pm.
Gertrude – We passed this small restaurant on our way to Vondelpark and made a note to make a reservation there. Later, it was recommended to us by one of the best butchers in Amsterdam (more on him below). At lunchtime, we were able to order a la carte. The plates are small and perfect for sharing. We started with leeks vinaigrette in herb aioli, fish crudo in gazpacho sauce. Our lamb entrée was particularly memorable. It had yogurt, date paste and chickpeas. The side of green beans with preserved lemon vinaigrette was my favorite dish of the day. And then there was a plate of simple roasted baby potatoes with aioli. How bad could that be? There were a bunch of things we couldn’t have on the menu because they weren’t GF, but everything we did eat was top notch. It’s lovely for an outdoor brunch or leisurely lunch with wine on the sidewalk patio, but I’d imagine just as special for dinner.
Café Parlotte – We went to this quaint restaurant in Jordaan for our anniversary and were one of the only non-Dutch diners in the place. Like many of the restaurants here, they offered a small menu of a la carte bites and then a 3-course set menu. The clams in sriracha butter and brandade with octopus were some of my favorite dishes of the whole trip – so don’t skip those to start! Our daily menu consisted of a swordfish crudo, followed by a simple chicken with lima and white beans in broth, and chocolate mouse with salted caramel for dessert. They didn’t have gluten-free bread and couldn’t guarantee no cross-contamination, but the menu itself didn’t really involve any items with wheat other than bread.
Cafe de Klepel – We ate here our first night and it was delightful. They gave me DELICIOUS sourdough. The best GF bread I had in the city. We ordered oysters and the escargot off the a la carte bites menu. Our first course was burrata and beets, followed by a beautiful cod with haricot vert in a butter sauce (see above). One of the most fun parts about the meal was the wine pairing, which was chosen by the sommelier and served by the glass for each course. They are generous with pours and even leave the bottle on the table during your whole course to help yourself to more if you want it. We were a little nervous that we had accidentally ordered a whole bottle for each course, but then we caught on to the informality.
Sinck – This restaurant is similar in vibe and cuisine to Klepel and Parlotte, but has an even more decadent set menu featuring 5-6 courses. Our favorite dish was the sweetbreads. It’s a little bigger inside than some of the refurbished cafes, so great for a larger group.
Toscanini – This is far and away the best Italian restaurant in the city, with fine dining service, yet a relaxed vibe. We went for lunch and enjoyed the pasta special with saffron, zucchini and shrimp (with gluten-free spaghetti!) and a large, well-curated antipasti board to start. The gluten-free bread was also excellent. I wish we’d have chosen this spot for dinner and opted for more courses to really do it up.
Café de Parel – Like a few of the restaurants I’ve mentioned, this one used to be an old school pub–in fact, café is what pubs are called in Holland!—and has a set menu full of seasonal fare. The cooking was a little more inventive than Café de Klepl and Café Parlotte, and actually for this reason, I preferred my meals at the other two a little more. But Parel has a dreamy ambiance, set on a quite corner of busy Westerstrat. The highlight of the meal was a “young Dutch potato” slathered in chive and comte cream, and a single scallop served in its shell with a generous drenching of caviar and butter.
Gebr. Hartering – We loved the cozy vibe of this steak Mecca, which is known for it’s prime rib. We got one to share with the table, but actually found ourselves falling more in love with the thoughtfully cooked fish of the day. They didn’t have gluten-free bread, but the menu was almost all gluten-free otherwise. Everything we ate was delicious. The upstairs is super small and looks right out over the canal. There’s also a fantastic cocktail bar around the corner!
Zoldering – Of the more casual fine dining establishments in the city, this one on the southern side of city center had the best array of vegetarian options (Gertrude was good for this too!). It was also one of the few that had a robust a la carte menu. We loved the carrots, leeks, and duck main course. Plus, the frites were gluten-free and I would have been happy with just a double order of those!
Neni – If you’re up for an adventure, or going a little further afield to visit the forest to the south of the city (Amsterdamse Bos), you must stop at this chic Israeli restaurant! They served me gluten-free bread with their delicious hummus and charred eggplant. The avocado green beans was the bestdish we ate, with the grilled dorade as a close second.
Scheepskameel – This Austrian fish restaurant is a little off the beaten path in a vast industrial space near the children’s science museum. The appetizers were more inspired than the main courses, and we particularly loved a fresh corn and potato dish with sugar snaps and smoky mayo. The fish crudo sampler and steak tartar were also delicious.
O Bistro – This is a lovely, simple neighborhood spot – right across from where we lived! If you don’t want a coursed meal experience like some of these other cafes, the restaurant provides a small a la carte menu on a chalkboard like many Parisian bistros. We had a delicious summer squash vegetable main course, a skate in tomato broth, and a large steak for two which came with gorgeous potatoes, mushrooms and greens. They had gluten-free bread for the pate appetizer and were able to leave off breadcrumbs from other dishes. Daniel, the owner, is Italian and the sweetest man.
The Best Gluten-Free Restaurants for a Breakfast, Lunch or a Casual Dinner
Van Spit – Van Spit’s menu is simple and revolves around my favorite blue plate special: chicken, potatoes and salad. The kitchen is on the side wall of the restaurant and is situated around a massive spit with chickens roasting over an open fire. You can order a whole or half chicken with a variety of sides: slaw, green salad, mashed sweet potatoes, fries, and apple sauce. That’s it. The bird comes with all the condiments, including an epic spicy piri piri sauce. Don’t miss the slaw, which was fresh, bright and perfect. The restaurant has locations in several neighborhoods. We chose to go to the one in the North West area and have a drink at Foodhallen before. This is one of the few places that we went back to twice and it never disappointed. Best of all, they don’t take reservations! So it’s a rare spontaneous dinner spot.
Pancakes Amsterdam – Pancakes are the thing in Holland, and contrary to our “dutch baby” recipes back in the states, they’re closer in composition to a crepe than a baked soufflé-like pancake. Most of the big pancake chains around the city seem to have good gluten-free options, but this spot knocks it out of the park with an entire GF menu and their own GF flour mix for the pancakes. I got the vegetable pancake, which had zucchini, peppers, spinach and mushrooms. I added smoked chicken to it and they serve it with pesto on the side. It’s a great savory lunch, though I’m sure the sweet ones were delicious too.
Little Collins – We had a fantastic brunch at this Aussie-run cafe. My breakfast kimchi fried rice was full of probiotic goodness, and topped with oily, nutritious smoked mackerel. You can also get a hot water with lemon, mint and ginger to wash it all down. The dream! On my more recent visit I had gluten-free chickpea pancake with eggplant and lentil curry sauce, which was also inventive an excellent. Of all the Brooklyn-esque brunch spots in de Pijp, this one is my favorite.
De Plantage – Right near the entrance to Artis, Amsterdam’s fabulous zoo, this spot is especially lovely for breakfast or lunch. It’s one of the few places, thanks to its vast interior and exterior patio, that is possible for walk-in’s. It’s also one of the few places we found where you can have a casual sit-down lunch and not feel like the restaurant is trying too hard to be a Brooklyn café. Both the shakshouka and the falafel plate were gluten-free, and both were delicious and light.
Dignita – This is a wonderful spot to have a workweek breakfast or brunch, especially on their large patio. The Benny Boy was legendary: it is an eggs benedict on a crispy potato cake that is gloriously gluten-free. I had mine with salmon. Charlie also ordered a side pancake that came out clearly decorated for a child. We went to the location by the Holocaust Memorial, which is also worth a wander through after your meal.
Vlaama Fritehuis Vleminckx – We ate many a frite slathered in mayo during our time in Amsterdam. This little outpost was worth braving the H&M shoppers of the inner square to sample. They have a lot of different sauces, and it was fun to parse out the nuances of Belgian mayo versus regular mayo. Still not sure the difference, but it turns out I like all mayo. Who knew?
Jansz – Set in the atrium of the Pulitzer Hotel, this relaxed restaurant is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. The menu is fairly simple, if pricey. And the food is solid, if nothing to really write home about. They have gluten-free bread, and I enjoyed my crab toast with a side of frites (see below). The side salad with buttermilk dressing was particularly delicious.
D&A Hummus Bar – As I mentioned, it’s hard to find that lunchtime sweet spot in Amsterdam of a sit down meal that is not a coursed or expensive affair. This casual hummus bar was around the corner from our flat, and ended up being a go-to for us. The falafel is gluten-free, and the hummus comes with lots of fun veggie garnishes to round out your meal. It’s the perfect amount of food to share and a nice light antidote to lots of white tablecloth fine dining.
Mossel & Gin – If you’re going to spend the day in Westerpark (we loved the Halles de Lumieres there!) this is the perfect restaurant to pop into for an afternoon snack. Mussels and frites are the name of the game, and the latter is in a dedicated fryer! We got a little too adventurous and ordered the Thai style mussels. I’d imagine the classic types are a better bet. The frites were delicious and served with their own in house tube of mayo!
Bakers and Roasters – We tried going here on two separate occasions, only to find the wait was over an hour long. Like Little Collins, the menu is Aussie-inspired, but with a heavy Brooklyn-want-to-be vibe. I wish I could say it was worth the wait, but we found the food to be more exciting at Little Collins. Still, I wanted to mention it since they have thick gluten-free bread for eggs benedict, which is rare to find. And if you’re not gluten-free, Charlie enjoyed his breakfast burrito! I had a protein breakfast with chicken, black beans, eggs and brown rice.
Rue la Bastille – We happened upon this Algerian place for lunch our first day in Amsterdam. Their deli counter is full of healthy veggies to choose from and they will serve it over rice instead of couscous if you’re GF. If you’re looking for a cheap, healthy fast casual option, this is a great place with several locations. Just don’t expect more than a few stools out front as seating options.
Rainarai – Another Algerian lunch counter similar to Bastille but with a market in some locations and a larger restaurant in Westerpark. It’s a pretty similar offering to Bastille – both are fantastic.
The Best Gluten-Free Indonesian Food in Amsterdam
Desa – The last time we were in Amsterdam, one of the saddest meals of the trip was at a chic Indonesian restaurant. Sad because it turned out I couldn’t eat anything! Since Amsterdam is known for its Indonesian cuisine, I tried to track down somewhere with good GF options and came upon this small, no frills family restaurant. Everything that’s part of their rice tables is gluten-free. The chicken in peanut sauce and the tempeh in peanut sauce were particularly delicious. And the service was wonderful.
Terang Boelan – My guess is most people will not be needing takeout during a brief stay in Amsterdam, but if you are there a while and have an AirBNB, this hole in the wall takeout Indonesian spot is absolutely delicious. The Dutch menu is well marked for food allergies (you will need to cross reference it with the English one!) and unlike most Indonesian restaurants in the city, their peanut sauce is not made with soy sauce. The majority of the veggie and chicken options were gluten-free. I really loved the chicken in peanut sauce, green beans, and eggplant rounds over white rice. Note that like many deli counters, they will assemble your bowl in a plastic container and then heat it in the oven. I was freaked out by seeing plastic go in there, so asked to take mine home cold and reheated it myself in a bowl.
The Best Coffee in Amsterdam
Bruno’s – You may think there is a line outside for this tiny coffee shop when you arrive. But then you realize that Bruno uses the entirety of his small outpost as his coffee workshop. Simply tell him your order at the door and wait outside for him to prepare it. The beans are top notch if you’re looking to bring some home.
The Best Gluten-Free Bakeries and Gelato in Amsterdam
Craft Coffee & Pastry – It is an utter tragedy that I waited until our LAST DAY in Amsterdam to try this dedicated gluten-free bakery, because it means I could have had 6 weeks of the best gluten-free croissants I’ve ever tasted instead of just ONE. Sigh! If you followed our Paris trip, you know I had minimal success in tracking down a decent gluten-free croissant. Little did I know, I just needed to go to Amsterdam! Craft also has other wonderful baked goods in case croissants aren’t your thing.
Massimo Gelato – Authentic Italian gelato made fresh every day with tons of vegan options. The Frutti di Bosco and Dark Chocolate sorbetto combo was SO good. There are locations in de Pijp and on the west side. It was better than many gelaterias in Italy.
Monte Pelmo Gelato – This gelateria by our house in Jordaan has gluten-free cones and some vegan options that taste just like the real thing. The hazelnut and pistachio were super tasty.
Sue Bites – If you want a healthier treat, this raw, vegan gluten-free bakeshop makes gorgeously layered, colored square cake bites. It’s not the type of gluten-free treat I’d go out of my way for, but they were great no-guilt sweets to have on hand for the week. I was partial to the citrus flavors since they tasted like healthy lemon squares or key lime pie.
The Best Gluten-Free Markets and Shops
De Glutenvrije Winkel – This market and bakery is completely dedicated to GF products. It’s a little off the beaten path (not far from de kas), but worth a visit if you’ll be in town for a while and want to get some pantry items. I had a roomboter rondo – a Dutch almond cookie (see above) – and stocked up on a ton of pasta, gnocchi and even GF frozen bitterballen! They also have bread and other baked goods.
Van Katwijk – Our local fish shop had wonderful options for home cooking, but also a lively outdoor seating area for fresh oysters and wine on weekends. They don’t have a ton of GF options with their prepared foods in the case, but there’s usually something besides oysters on offer from the kitchen.
Chris Dammers – The organic farmer’s market on Saturdays at Noordermarkt includes this incredible butcher. We fell in love with his homemade roast beef and dried sausages. Even if you don’t have access to a kitchen, get some of the meats for a picnic!
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
We fell in love with the Jordaan during our 6 weeks living in Amsterdam. It’s a little more neighborhood-y than the 9 streets, but still walking distance to the train station and city center.
Since we were there for such a long stretch, we did a home swap, which worked out perfectly. Our host’s flat has an airBNB unit on the ground floor, which is a perfect studio for those who want to make coffee in the morning but don’t need a full kitchen.
When we were visiting the city for a short stretch, we loved our stay at Max Brown House, a little boutique operation with quirky design touches and extremely pleasant staff. Our room wasn’t facing the canal, but it had an adorable little terrace that was nice to have, even if it was too cold to spend much time on it. So long as you don’t mind steep stairs, I’d highly recommend staying here.
We found it originally in the Goop guide, which also has some other suggestions for different price points like The Dylan, The Pulitzer or The Hoxton. Max Brown was really affordable for the level of comfort.
We stayed in their Jordaan location near the central train station, which was just a 10 minute walk away. It was perfectly quiet, on a nice stretch of canal, but very walkable to the more lively 9 streets and city center.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Amsterdam Besides Eat
As for what to do besides eat, when we were there for a short stretch, we organized our long weekend around exploring various neighborhoods. The first day is a good one to visit museums and notable sites (like the Anne Frank House). Get oriented on foot, and then spend the second day biking around neighborhoods that are a little further afield.
We loved exploring the northwest side of the city (Oud-West), which is apparently home to the Dutch 30-something set, and also de Pijp (pronounced pipe) which is a little trendier (and also close to the Museum Quarter). You can’t go wrong wandering and popping into little shops.
These were our favorite walks or bike rides:
1. East Side: Amstel River from City Center to de Pijp. There are a lot of fun things to explore on this side of the city, including Artis (the zoo), the botanical gardens, and the Hermitage museum. De Plantage is a great place for breakfast, then you can wander along the river and take in the architecture. De Pijp is on the southern side of the city and a nice place to wander around. If you’re looking for a larger loop, continue up through the west side after (see below) or head over to the Museum quarter. You can also do this walk in reverse from the museums.
2. West Side: From Jordaan or 9 Streets (Anne Frank House) to Vondelpark. There are a few easy “bike highways” to take from north to south that will land you in Vondelpark, the most famous greenspace in Amsterdam. We loved Westerpark to the North and the forest (bos) to the south as well. But this is the one most people want to cross off their tourist checklist. Gertrude is a great place for lunch nearby. Book your museum tickets in advance. Almost all the tourism is done online in Amsterdam and because of this, tickets sell out. Like most restaurants, don’t expect to waltz up to the Van Gogh museum (or Gertrude) and be able to get in that day, especially during peak holiday seasons.
3. The South: Amsterdam Bos (The Forest!). About a 40 minute bike ride from city center, there is a large forest with dirt bike paths, fields of highland cows and horses, and lots of woods to explore on bike or foot. It is definitely a whole day excursion if you bike, but we absolutely loved it! Also check out the theater schedule for the bos theater as it’s a lovely outdoor amphitheater in the woods!
One final piece of advice before we get to the food: bring good walking shoes, and consider a spa day at the end of your trip! We absolutely loved Sauna Deco, which was a stone’s throw from our hotel. The interior is fabulous and the services affordable. Just be warned (I wish I was!) that all facilities are coed and Europeans are not in the slightest bit self-conscious about nakedness. The locker room, sauna, steam room, showers—all of it is co-ed, communal, full birthday suit and no one is putting their bra on under a towel like at camp.
What are your favorite places in Amsterdam? Definitely let me know in the comments section!