As temperatures rise in Amsterdam this August, there’s a cool (and healthy) fast food alternative to the ubiquitous patat tent (fries joint). In the latest city restaurant fad, salad bars are popping up all over town, promising juices, raw vegetable plates, homemade soups and hummus—a welcome trend for those wanting to cut their calories or boost their vitamin intake, especially when traveling.
Salad & the City
The newest to join the fray, Salad and the City (pictured above) on Bilderdijkstraat specializes in takeaway options—good for a picnic lunch in the park or in true Amsterdam style, on a boat, but they also deliver after 5 p.m. Choose from combinations like red cabbage, apple and smoked chicken or Parma ham with mozzarella and grilled red peppers. All are available in two sizes, with sourdough bread or hummus as sides, and soft drinks or wine, too.
The wholesome interior of the aptly named Venkel (it means fennel in Dutch) is the place for organic veggies produced by local farmers. Spicy options like chicken satay salad and mackerel with spinach and sambal keep it fresh and fun. Extras include gazpacho, wurst (sausage) and carrot and ginger muffins—all homemade and delicious.
The much-deserved success story of Amsterdam salad bars, Sla (which means lettuce; pictured above) is now a chain, offering your ideal bespoke salad—just choose your own lettuce, dressing, vegetables and other ingredients from the menu—in several city locations. Or opt for something from the “our favorites” section of the menu, like the prawns with vegan vegetable pad thai. There are great options for non-meat eaters here, too, like the vegan falafel bowl or Lebanese grassgrazers meatballs.
Juice & Salad
It claims to be the city’s original salad bar, and Juice & Salad is certainly among the best. The menu features interesting geographically themed juice cocktails, salads and sandwiches with unexpected touches. Try the South American vegetable juice—avocado with banana and orange—or the Australian sandwich (beef, beetroot and Dutch cheese).
Jane Szita is on the Netherlands beat for Travel + Leisure. She lives in Amsterdam.