Amsterdam Travel: Lunch at De Foodhallen, Amsterdam West

Found in an old converted tramshed, De Foodhallen opened in autumn last year and we first went to try this "indoor street food haven" in November when my good friend Angie was in town. It was too soon.

On an otherwise ordinary Thursday night, the place was packed full and there were queues for virtually every market stall and absolutely no chance of finding a table. Call me old fashioned but I like to sit down when I eat, even if it's just at a bar or on the corner of someone else's table. But there was no chance. We ate good food yes (more about that in a minute) but we also vowed not to return for at least three months as we needed to let the novelty factor wear off.

We sort of did that when we returned last Sunday for a late lunch and it was sort of successful. Although we rocked up at around 3pm we still had to employ divide and conquer tactics to spot a spare table and I did spend a little longer than I would have liked waiting for my banh-mi sandwich from Viet View, the vietnamese street food stand. (But you know what? It was totally worth it!) NewMan did his usual thing of trying as much as he can from as many contrasting cuisines as possible (a Vietnamese spring roll, a Dutch beer and a small hill of Spanish Iberico ham) and our friends who were visiting tucked in to a Mediterranean meze platter. We then treated them to a portion of Dutch bitterballen because they've never tried them before. Yum.

Inside De Foodhallen, which is part of a larger conversion project that also houses a range of restaurants, bars a cinema and a hotel. Within De Foodhallen you'll also find a couple of bars including a gin & tonic specialist that serves pricey but indulgent gin based drinks complete with a stick of juniper as a stirrer (which came as a bit of a shock to NewMan).

Anyway, enough of my blathering on about how little we know about gin and how much I hate eating while standing up (anyone else?) and here are my photos and my top tips for getting the most out of De Foodhallen.

Top tips for going to De Foodhallen

Go hungry. Sounds obvious but it's pretty tough to choose between all the different options on offer so you may just want to try them all. It's not the cheapest way to eat, but certainly most main dishes at De Foodhallen are under €10 which if you compare that to a restaurant is decent.

You can try some of the stalls in other places so maybe go for the ones that are unique. A handful of the food stalls at De Foodhallen are actually extensions of existing restaurants. Wild Moa Pies (AWESOME Antipodean style pies), Flamingo Pizza and The Butcher are all existing places in De Pijp whereas places like Friska (way-too-healthy salad wraps, but someone must like that right?) and Viet View are unique (so far) to De Foodhallen. Just a thought...

Go during the week or go late! My best, best advice is to not go to De Foodhallen during weekends as this is when it's busiest. If you can't avoid Saturdays or Sundays, then go for a late lunch (or an early one - it opens at 11am). By the time we left De Foodhallen at around 4pm that Sunday there were plenty of tables to choose from and the queues looked less severe.

Weekday evenings can also be busy. I've also heard that the novelty factor hasn't really worn off yet for week day evenings so if you do plan to head there for a bite to eat one night and you don't like crowds try to get ahead of the after work crew and get there before 5pm.

Explore the building. Follow the tramlines which are still on the ground and admire the beautiful old architecture of a building that has been lovingly restored. There are art exhibitions going on in some of the space so don't get side-tracked by the food and food alone.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before putting down some roots with her Australian partner and having a baby boy in July 2015. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her son around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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