Food for thought from one of the top eateries in Amsterdam.
The Foodhallen has three separate locations. We are taking a Lilly Likes look at the Amsterdam locations, but there is another in Rotterdam and The Hague. The Amsterdam branch is the original Foodhallen, founded in 2014 and renowned for its flavour choice, throughout the city.
So what is this place and what makes it so special? It was only a matter of time before the team here at Lilly Likes became too nosey to ignore it any longer.
If food isn’t your thing (you monster!) check out some of our other blogs for things that you might find more interesting. There is a permanent Body Worlds exhibition in Amsterdam, for example. You might even be interested in visiting the world famous Over-the-Edge Swing. Whatever you choose though, it’s Amsterdam. You’re bound to have a good time.
What’s Foodhallen all about?
What’s this Foodie favourite all about? Well the Foodhallen is sort of like a restaurant, kind of like a buffet, and a little like one of those outdoor markets that only sells food that you get in the east – except that it’s indoors. And that nobody tries to make you eat insects… most of the time.
The Foodhallen is like an indoor food market – but not in a fast-food court kind of way, in an outdoor market brought indoors, kind of way. That concept might not make much sense to you. However, if you have ever been to a buffet restaurant that presents several different styles of food, then you may have experienced something similar.
Think ‘market stalls’ but that only sell food, happen to be indoors, and all in the same building. The food might be Thai, it might be Italian, it might be American. No matter what it is when you visit, it will have been carefully curated to be some of the finest munch in the whole city.
The Foodhallen invites the best of culinary artists from across the city and has them set up shop in their hall. Rather like the Norse clan halls of old; you get to sit at the long table and enjoy a number of delicacies. Choose whatever you like, from whatever stand you like, and chase it with whatever you want to drink. Best to keep the weed for outdoors though, the smoking ban is still in full force…
At Foodhallen, Flavour is King
Ask any of the staff in this wondrous place and they will tell you that flavour is what they live for. This is a place dedicated to finding the best in foods, bringing them to the heart of Amsterdam, and letting you enjoy. They want to capture the flavour of a celebration, a birthday, or a special day. Back in the days of alchemy they would be hunting for the fountain of youth. As it is today, they are hunting for the perfect flavour combos to match perfect memories.
It’s a really nice way of looking at food. Especially for caterers. The Foodhallen is there to celebrate the whole foodie culture of Amsterdam. We recommend that you take advantage. It isn’t just the food that makes this place so popular though, the atmosphere is an attraction of its own.
Foodhallen brings together the cheerful banter found in the marketplace, with the cheerful camaraderie found in any refectory. It celebrates the culture of people coming together to eat. It makes everyone who passes the threshold feel included and welcomed. It makes you feel invited, wanted, and like there is a hearth in the centre of Amsterdam with your name on it.
Once you have visited the Foodhallen it is a hard place to forget. You dream of it when you return home. The next time you visit Amsterdam you will find it near the top of the list of places you want to return to. It has a lasting, lingering effect. That’s not something you can create with a little good food. That takes heart.
What’s on the Foodhallen Menu?
That’s the beauty of it all! It changes, week-on-week and month-on-month. The menu is unique and varied, filled with the tastes and treats found all over the city. It is a collection of the finest bits and pieces. In one stall you might find the best in Amsterdam smoked herring – a local delicacy and favoured dish of the masses. Another stall might sell ribs so saturated in marinade that the meat drips from the bone…
At the Foodhallen, there is a little of everything. There are sweets for the sweet and savoury for those that favour the flavour. There are candies, jellies, creams and sautés. There is jus, gravy, and sauces galore… There is every delectable delight to be had outside of the red light district. You can find a veritable smorgasbord of flavours in the Foodhallen.
Who it’s right for?
The Foodhallen is great for big parties, better for tapas-style meal sharing than anywhere else in the city of Amsterdam and can cater to any size or shape of event. If you are going out as a couple, it’s a great venue. If you are going out as a large group? It’s a great venue… Looking for the perfect place for a work’s night out? Try the Foodhallen.
Even though it is a great place to date, to meet friends, or just to dream; it is perfect for a certain few. If you love to try a little of everything from a menu, if you love small plates and little nibbles, and if you want a huge variety of choice in your meals – this is the place for you.
The Foodhallen is great for date night, brilliant for a team meeting, and ideal for families. It is a must-see sight on the never-ending thrill ride of Amsterdam.
Eventing and Renting
The Foodhallen is actually an event space and food hall combination. You can rent out an area to host your own event… so if you are looking for a place to host your own party in Amsterdam, this might be it. It even makes a pretty good wedding reception venue if you are that way inclined. Similarly, if you wanted a medieval banquet hall. This place would do the trick.
You can also rent your own food stand… if they let you in. As we mentioned before: the food here has been carefully curated, hand-chosen, and only passes the taste-bud test if it is truly special. Not only that, but it is rather like submitting a CV to an employer. You could go to all of that work only to be told you don’t fit. It feels unfair but it isn’t really.
Imagine they were celebrating something like curry week – but you cook waffles. You wouldn’t be allowed to turn up with your Nutella waffles at a curry night anywhere in the world, but in the Foodhallen it is highly likely you would get laughed out of the door. More likely though, they wouldn’t admit such a taste blend in the first place and would just ask you back another time.
So yes, you can rent a stand and sell food at the Foodhallen as if you were in an outdoor market in Thailand. However, if your food isn’t a fit, or if it is plain rubbish, they won’t let you in. Think of it as a club with golden membership. Everyone else has to form an orderly que outside in the rain.
Nevertheless; if you think you have what it takes to run a stand at the Foodhallen, you can apply here. Otherwise we suggest you sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy the food.
When is Foodhallen Open?
You can visit the Foodhallen any day of the week. From a Sunday until Thursday it is open from eleven AM until 11 pm. They stop serving food at ten. On a Friday and Saturday it still opens at 11am, however, they stay open until 1am. Last food orders are taken at 11pm.
So if you want to roll out of the café at nine at night, no problem. Roll into this place, get some smashing food and some great ale, then roll yourself back to your hostel and sleep it all off. Until tomorrow.
What’s the Lilly Likes verdict on the Foodhallen? Can you tell we like it? There is something very European about eating under one roof. It takes the essence of canteen eating and infuses it with a touch of café eating, a sprinkling of refectory charm, and adds a splash of Old Norse food-hall banqueting.
It’s a special place with a special atmosphere. What else could we do but give it the double thumbs up? However, if you are travelling Amsterdam and don’t happen to be a foodie (or someone who likes an ale) then don’t panic, we have got your back.
Head on over to our LLHQ and have a browse. Like cruises? We have some of those. Want only Vegan? We do that too. In fact, we have some great inspiration for things to do in Amsterdam to fill up any travel itinerary. So go have a gander. At the very least it ought to give you a bit of a laugh.