When in Barcelona, you go to the mercat de la boqueria. London has its Borough food market and you haven’t really been to Rome if you haven’t visited the campo dei fiori.
But where do you go when you are looking for the best food market in Amsterdam? The answer to this question is simple: you visit the Foodhallen.
In 2014 this indoor food market opened its doors to the people of Amsterdam. Since then, it has been very popular among foodies, both local and visiting.
The Foodhallen is part of the Hallen Amsterdam, a centre for media, culture, fashion, craftsmanship and food. This means that the food market shares its historic housing (the building used to be a service station for the cities trams) with non other than a real denim school, a public library, a movie theatre and some really nice shops. So there is more to do and experience here than just having a good meal!
For those who are still uncertain whether or not to include a trip to the Foodhallen to their list of to do’s in Amsterdam, we of Best of Amsterdam have made a little list with seven reasons why the Foodhallen are a must visit. Let’s go!
1. Tasty bites ranging from quinoa with tofu to lobster with champagne
Finding a nice restaurant in a city you don’t really know can be quite a struggle. Wandering unknown streets with an empty stomach and being unsure what exactly it is you are looking for, isn’t the best recipe for a relaxing trip.
And when you do find a nice place that specializes in local delicacies, you can only hope that your travel buddies are up for it as well and that they don’t turn out to be scared of culinary adventure.
This is why we love the Foodhallen. Problems like this simply do not occur here. It doesn’t matter what type of food you are fancying, at the Foodhallen you can order it.
Say you are a bit of a health freak. Then you can enjoy a Friska, which looks like a sushi roll filled with organic veggies, nuts and grains. No need to feel guilty eating that!
If you are more of a fast food type of person, the gourmet hot dogs served with freshly made sauces from Bulls and Dogs are probably right up your alley. Or you can go for a pizza at Pink Flamingo, where they serve unique pizza’s like one with pineapple chutney and bacon, or with eggplant and hummus.
Are you looking for something a bit more fancy? At Le Big Fish you can order caviar, fresh oysters and whole lobsters. Have a glass of white wine from New Zealand with that and you are set. Are you a sushi lover?
Mister Temaki makes the best fresh temaki rolls and also has grilled yakitori made from organic chicken.
2. For appetites big and small
The nice thing about eating at the Foodhallen is that you control everything. Not just what you eat, but also how much. Could you eat a five-course meal without a problem, but are you traveling with a very modest eater? Or do you feel the need to fill in the gap between lunch and a late dinner with some nice snacks? At the Foodhallen it is not a problem at all.
Come in anywhere between 11 AM and 11 PM and order what you want when you want. Not enough? Go and order a second round. And a third…
Start your feast with some authentic Dutch bitterballs from the Ballenbar. They have five different flavors that are all finger licking good! Or take the Spanish route with some exclusive Iberico ham from the Jabugo Iberico Bar.
Then for the second course we would definitely consider one of the juicy burgers from The Butcher, made from Aberdeen Angus beef. And if you are not into beef, don’t worry; they also have burgers made of lamb, chicken and even a vegetarian burger. The fries here are also very delicious!
Do you still have room for dessert? Well, Yogen-Früz sells organic frozen yoghurt to which you can add fresh fruit and all kinds of toppings.
And if you are capable of walking past the Petit Gâteau stand without your mouth watering just a little bit, we applaud you. Their little pies come in lots of different flavors, both sweet and savory.
3. Tasty drinks ranging from power smoothies to fancy gin tonics
Up to this point we have been talking mostly about food, but what would a nice meal be without a drink or two? Luckily, the Foodhallen have got the drinks department covered too.
The hart of the Foodhallen consists of the gorgeous bar where you can order anything from a foamy cappuccino to a cold beer or a nice mixed drink.
Fancy something special? No problem.
The beer bar sells special beers from around the world, both on draft and in bottles. And there is a wine bar too that uses a clever system making it possible to order all of their wines by the glass. This makes it super easy to select a special wine for every course of your meal.
Nowadays, we can’t take a bar seriously if it doesn’t make a proper gin and tonic. At the Foodhallen they have dedicated an entire stand to this popular drink. They sell loads of different gins here, with a decent choice in tonics as well.
4. Miniature Amsterdam
What do you do when you only have a few hours to spend in Amsterdam? Where do you go to get a real feel of what this city is about? You’ve guessed it: you go to the Foodhallen.
Because besides having good food, the Foodhallen also attract a very diverse crowd of students, young families, tourists and ‘authentic’ Amsterdam people.
Spend an hour of your precious time in Amsterdam at the Foodhallen and you will have seen a beautiful cross section of the people that inhabit this city.
Add to that the location of the Foodhallen. Amsterdam West is still an area that is somewhat undiscovered by tourists. Here, you can still feel what it is like to live in this city, without bumping into tourists on every corner.
5. Impressive architecture
As said, the Foodhallen are part of the Hallen Amsterdam, a cultural center with a focus on media, culture, fashion, craftsmanship and food.
While the Hallen are relatively young (the doors opened in 2014), the building that houses the Hallen has quite a history. It used to function as a service station for the Amsterdam trams.
Not only did this service station offer a lot of jobs to the Amsterdam West neighbourhood, it also added some action. There was always something going on here.
Later, when the service station was closed, locals decided that they would try to bring new life to the building and make it part of West again. The idea for the Hallen was born.
Several long halls with very high ceilings that are all connected by a covered arcade characterize the building. It is the only old service station in the Netherlands that is still intact.
All renovations to the building centered on the idea that the original character of the building had to be preserved.
And they have succeeded in doing that!
6. So much more than food & drinks
Besides enjoying good food you can do so much more at the Hallen. The Local Goods Store sells beautiful design products that are locally made.
One of the goals of this store is to offer a stage to young and starting entrepreneurs, making it easier for them to connect to potential buyers of their products. If you are looking for an original souvenir to bring home from your trip to Amsterdam, look no further!
But there is more. Entering furniture shop Art Deco almost makes you feel like entering the roaring twenties. This is shop is filled from top to bottom with authentic furniture, fabrics and accessories from the twenties.
The people behind creative agency Unobvious use the ground floor of their studio for different creative projects. Until the end of 2015 you can shop work from young Dutch and Scandinavian designers in their pop up shop Minimarket.
If you like going to the movies, don’t forget to check out the beautiful Parisian room at the Filmhallen. The interior of this old movie room is on the world heritage list of UNESCO. The EYE Film Museum donated this room to the Filmhallen. It is now used for premieres and to show classic movies.
And if that is not enough, you can also spend the night at the Hallen. Book a room in the comfortable Hotel de Hallen or rent a luxurious apartment for two or four persons.
7. You are right in the middle of the wild wild west
Ok, so what if you have done everything you wanted to do at the Hallen. You enjoyed some good food, did some shopping, maybe even went to the movies, but you still have some time to kill.
No worries. The Amsterdam West neighbourhood is super cool and there is a lot to do!
Take for instance the Ten Kate market that is just around the corner from the Hallen. It is hard to find a market that is more authentically Amsterdam than this one. Walk around and simply absorb the atmosphere, you’ll love it.
Leaving the Ten Kate market, walk to the Kinkerstraat and the Bilderdijkstraat. These two streets are filled with boutiques and bars. Have a coffee at Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters who roast their beans on the spot and serve one of the best cappuccinos in Amsterdam.
Turn left to the De Clercqstraat and walk to hot spot Bar Spek for a drink or two. Have dinner at the Spaghetteria (best pasta’s!) or Van ‘t Spit (roasted chicken). And if you still have the energy left, go and dance your ass off at Club 8, the Nieuwe Anita or the OT301.
Monday: 11.00 – 23.30
Tuesday: 11.00 -23.30
Wednesday: 11.00 – 23.30
Thursday: 11.00 – 23.30
Friday: 11.00 – 01.00
Saturday: 11.00 – 01.00
Sunday: 11.00 – 23.30