Indonesia used to be a territory that belonged to the Kingdom of the Netherlands after the Second World War. Besides the political connotation, it had a lot of influence in Dutch cuisine. The typical Dutch food itself is not the most famous or appreciated in the world, but mixing their knowledge with other exotic dishes coming from Indonesia is a win-win. If you are wondering what it is the Dutch cuisine, I would recommend you trying to ask what is the best Indonesian food. Dutch people have interiorized this culture and have made it their own.
Sie-Joe is one of the best Indonesian Food Restaurants in Amsterdam, great if you are on a budget. Café AMOI, De Vrouw met de Baard and Kartika are great options to ear Rijsttafel, among other Indonesian dishes. Aneka Rasa and Indonesian Kitchen another affordable and very centric option.
Besides, Amsterdam is very expensive, which means that if you are traveling on a budget, you will need to make some research and not just enter the first nice restaurant you run into. For Indonesian food, luckily, there are several restaurants that keep the flavor standards very high and the prices reasonably low. Some of the hidden gems of Amsterdam are here in this article, so if you feel like eating Indonesian food, keep on reading.
Indonesian Food on a Budget: Amsterdam Edition
Believe it or not, I learnt how to eat spicy food in the Netherlands. Coming from Argentina and living in Spain, it meant that the spiciest thing I could every taste was a pepper, so introducing myself to the Indonesian food in the Netherlands was a nice surprise.
In Amsterdam, there are many Indonesian restaurants that, unlike other cities, are Michelin star restaurants. Nevertheless, it is not impossible to find places just as good, where Indonesian-Dutch cooks create their native dishes with a twist, for a fraction of the price and packed with flavor.
Some of the best places in the city, you find by just bumping into them with a hungry stomach. These are my recommendation and some of my friends’ recommendations on where to find the best deals for the best Indonesian food.
Personally, I consider this to be my favourite Indonesian restaurant. For about 10 euros per dish you get a really nice amount of super yummy food. There are rice and noodle options, meat, chicken, soups and other meals. For 20 euros you are a happy camper with a full stomach. You can also go for a snack: great homemade bapao and lumpias. It is a small restaurant, a hidden gem in the middle of Dam Square with enough place for a maximum of 10 people to eat at the same time. You can see the Indonesian family cooking in the same room, you can ask for the amount of spiciness you want your dish to be, you can have a selection of dishes or ask the waiter about his favourite. My personal favourite is the chicken sateh they make. The typical white rice and chicken with delicious peanut butter sauce, sour veggies and crispy onion. Delicious! Another good aspect about Sie-Joe is that it doesn’t seem to be that much of a popular place (I really don’t know why), so you hardly ever will find it full and you don’t have to book a table to go there, you can just pop in and enjoy.
Gravenstraat 24-A, 1012 NM (right behind Dam Square)
Open from Monday to Saturday, from 12:00pm until 07:00pm
Sundays from 12:00pm until 20:00
AMOI served possibly the best gado-gado you will get your hands in Amsterdam: you can taste that the vegetables are freshly cooked al dente and the peanut sauce sweetly savoury (one of my favourite features in Indonesian cuisine). You can also find corn fritters, peppered with kaffir lime leaves and much spicy sauce to dip in, as well as the traditional Indonesian spekkoek (spiced layer cake, a sweet coffee cake you can have with dessert, and find in many bakeries in Amsterdam). It will make you want to go back, also because dishes sold separately for only 5.50-13.50 euros. P.S. Super nicely decorated, vey much like a cafe but with exotic food.
Check their website: cafeamoi.nl for their menu and more information. You can find it here:
Kinkerstraat 53A, 1053 DE Amsterdam
Every day from 05:00pm until 11:00pm (one more hour on the weekends)
Indonesian Kitchen is a little bit more of a sophisticated place (and a little bit more expensive), where you can also have very delicious Indonesian food. If you are vegetarian, this is a specially interesting place for you: expect yummy dishes with Tofu, Tempeh and Gaddo Gaddo with another delicious vegetable dishes maybe not so typical for Indonesian cuisine. You can expect to pay a dish 20-25 euros, (average-inexpensive for Amsterdam).
Herengracht 287 (Jordaan)
Opens every day from 05:00pm until 10:30pm
Rijstafel: On a Budget
Rijstafel is a Dutch word that literally means, table of rice. The concept of this word is not only a dish, but a full meal with many dishes in small dosis. It is a colonial meal that the Dutch brought to the continent, and it is an experience of not only flavour but also textures, level of spiciness and so on. It may include hot and room temperature, vegetarian and meat, crispy, chewy, slippery, soft, hard, velvety, gelatinous, and runny little dishes.
It is the perfect experience to share with your friends or family and being in Amsterdam is the best opportunity. It is important to know that Rijsttafel is more of an evening meal and that these restaurants may only be open for dinner service. Because of how sophisticated it can be, there is some very expensive restaurant offering this dish. However, it is not meant to be super sophisticated, so some restaurants have kept it cheap, simple and delicious.
The best part about this type of meal is that you have the opportunity to try out new dishes, find out which one you like the most and maybe get out of your comfort zone. Most places have a vegetarian option besides their regular meat-based option. It can be a great experience for anyone, including picky eaters. Here are some of my and my friends favourite places:
For excellent and affordable Indonesian food close to Central Station, I recommend Aneka Rasa. This place is one of the best ones to treat yourself for Rijsttafel. For around 20 euros per person, you will enjoy of the most amazing experience with up to 15 different little dishes, all originally from Indonesia, fresh and yummy. You can book a table on their website, Aneka Rasa or you can just go for a yummy lunch with some soup ( for 5-6 euros), some loempias (5-6 euros) or some satay of any mean (7-10 euros) at any given time.
Warmoesstraat 25-29, 1012 HV Amsterdam,
Every day from 05:00pm until 10:00pm (closed on Sundays)
De Vrouw met de Baard
Unlike the rest of the restaurants, De Vrouw met de Baard does not look like a proper Indonesian restaurant from the outside. It is a very Dutch-like bright and new restaurant where you will be able to find amazing Indonesian dishes. It is very well-known because of its concept of dishes to share and, of course, their amazing Rijsttafel. It is not the cheapest restaurant, but among all the ones offering this meal experience, this one is under 30 euros.
You can book for a small or rather large group, you can check their MENU in English and taste 3 or 4 of their signature dishes, some Asian-fussion with Indonesian background.
Buiten Brouwersstraat 19h, 1013 GJ
It opens from Tuesday to Saturday, from 05:30 pm until 11:00pm
For another Indonesian-Looking restaurant, you can go for dinner at Charity, a restaurant-supermarket full with Indonesian products and dishes. This little Indonesian restaurant is located close to Vondelpark. It offers both lunch and dinner and it is specially well-known because if its yummy rijsttafel. Once again, it is not the cheapest place, but for this main dish, you can expect to pay less than 30 euros, something good for Amsterdam. You can also order some of their small dishes, including soups, sea food, bbq-fusion, veggies, lamb, chicken, exotic juices and more.
On a side note, this restaurant provides vegetarian, halal food, take away options and offers their menu online, here.
Overtoom 68, 1054 HL Amsterdam
Open from Wednesday until Sunday, from 11:00am until 09:00pm
Recommendations: Food on a Budget
As unlikely as it is, Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities to eat outside. Ok, the Netherlands doesn’t have the best fame when it comes to food, but Amsterdam is the best city where I see so many international restaurants and so many options, healthier options, vegan options and exotic options.
If you are travelling on a budget, don’t worry, you can still enjoy all the different and delicious types of cuisines in this country. Check out my Guide to Eat on a Budget for more ideas of restaurants where you can have lunch for 5 euros and dinner for less than 20. Something inexpensive in a city like Amsterdam.