By Nina Ahmedow
When I say Amsterdam is a vegan paradise, I absolutely mean it. In no other European city have I been able to experience such a variety of vegan eateries – from Korean to Eritrean, from Surinamese to Japanese, from burgers to pastries, from five-course fine dining restaurants to weekly community kitchens. Moving to Amsterdam in September 2021 has been such a game changer for me. But it’s not only vegan, a lot of these places focus heavily on sustainability, preferring local and seasonal ingredients, working to prevent food waste, or going 100% organic. Since then, I’ve discovered many amazing sustainable and vegan restaurants in Amsterdam.
It’s not a secret that Amsterdam has been battling overtourism in recent years, and the municipality has chosen to implement more measures to make Amsterdam more livable for the local population. Tourists are urged to venture outside the historic city center and explore the various Amsterdam districts and the countryside by bike or public transport.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel to the amazing capital of the Netherlands, but when you do come, there are a few things you can do to make your stay more sustainable and one of those is choosing carefully where you eat.
Sustainable and vegan restaurants in Amsterdam
Here are some of the most sustainable places to eat in Amsterdam, in no particular order.
This magnificent vegan pastry shop in the hip Jordaan neighborhood only uses sustainably sourced, fair-trade ingredients, most of which are organic, too! As the first vegan pastry shop in Amsterdam, they supply the localcommunity with vegan croissants, danishes, cookies, and cakes, but also the juiciest, most delicious sandwiches you can imagine. Everything including the hot beverages is indistinguishable from the non-vegan versions. My favorites are the vegan cheese croissant and the pistachio danish.
The owners Margo and Ayden are really passionate about sustainability, so although they’re a to-go shop they use CO2 neutral and compostable boxes and cups. But if you’re looking for a sustainable and useful souvenir from Amsterdam you can buy a reusable HuskeeCup – Margo’s will donate all the profits to the Ocean Cleanup and you will get a free drink!
How many vegan restaurants have you come across that offer Eritrean/Ethiopian food as well as burgers? Mooshka does just that, and most of the ingredients are organic. You can get an incredible injera here but also the most delicious burgers and bowls (tip: get the Wild Rice Bowl!). Mooshka may also be the vegan place in Amsterdam with the best vibes and music – the interior is really sleek and cozy.
Owner Sarah is half-Curaçaoan and half-Eritrean which really comes out in the menu and her passion for social justice. For every order, she donates 5% to Ethiopian non-profit organization Ekklesia Holistic International so you won’t simply be eating Ethiopian injera but also help ensure that Ethiopian children do too.
Morris & Bella
Finding vegan fast food is easy in most European cities today, but if you want a six-course organic, seasonal menu that’s a different story. At Morris & Bella in Amsterdam’s Spaarndammerbuurt you will find a set menu which changes every few weeks according to the plants that are harvested in and around Amsterdam. Local and seasonal ingredients of organic production are a big focus for Morris & Bella which leads to some of the most creative dishes you will ever eat. Miso from white beans or parsnip ice cream are only some of the things you will find here.
Don’t skip the cheese course where you get to taste some of the creations of Max & Bien, a vegan Amsterdam cheesemaker.
Café de Ceuvel
Amsterdam-Noord is one of the hotspots of the creative scene, and with great creativity come plenty of sustainable projects, too. Café de Ceuvel is a restaurant and bar that was built entirely from upcycled materials, much of the furniture is recycled as well, and there are composting bathrooms.
As opposed to many other businesses nowadays, they also want to make sustainability affordable rather than something only a few can afford. That’s why in cooperation with the municipality they offer meals to people with a low income at a lower price.
Café de Ceuvel is working hard towards becoming completely zero-waste and is getting most of its ingredients from local and sustainable sources. The kombucha they serve comes from one of their former employees’ kombucha brewery, and they make many of the other soft drinks themselves. The coffee served at Café de Ceuvel is CO2-free and everything is vegan.
Further in the residential area of Noord you can find Cometa, a café, bar, and vintage furniture store located inside an old church. Food, travel, and fashion are three of the industries most commonly talked about when it comes to sustainability. But what about furniture? The big, well-known furniture companies are quite detrimental to the environment.
But when you buy vintage furniture you’re doing your part in reducing the damage. What a lovely concept to combine vintage furniture and vegan food. And even if as a traveler you can’t take the cozy couches home with you, the vegan food and wonderful atmosphere are worth a visit.
A vegan community kitchen that takes place a few times a week in the kitchen of the bar De nieuwe Anita and offers a three-course menu at much lower prices than most other vegan eateries in Amsterdam. It is run entirely by volunteers, so if you want to help out you can drop them an e-mail.
Forget about fancy presentation, an Instagrammable décor, and hipsters queuing for a coffee. At Robin Food you get good, homecooked food in a down-to-earth atmosphere. It’s a great place for meeting Amsterdammers who are passionate about activism and their city.
Reservations are mandatory to ensure there’s enough food for everyone but no leftovers that would go to waste.
The Netherlands is famous for cheese, you can find cheese shops all over the city, and cheese is considered one of the best souvenirs to buy in Amsterdam. But what about the impact of dairy farming on global warming? Not to worry, Amsterdam has a fully vegan cheese shop which sells vegan cheeses from different Dutch brands.
Whether you’re looking for a vegan feta, vegan fondue, or vegan Camembert, you can find these and more vegan cheeses at Willicroft in Amsterdam. The owner is the grandson of dairy farmers so he is very keen on getting the taste right without harming the environment. Every vegan knows the struggle of finding great vegan cheese, but here in Amsterdam this isn’t difficult at all thanks to Willicroft.
As you can see, the sustainable food scene in Amsterdam is thriving. Try out these places, and see how good sustainability can taste.
Nina Ahmedow has traveled to more than 25 countries on three continents. Born and raised in Germany, she moved to Amsterdam in 2021 where she is trying to keep up with all the new restaurants opening there. She loves exploring the world through vegan food and is the voice behind Lemons and Luggage, a travel blog dedicated to vegan and responsible travel.