Raw herring is a Dutch specialty, and there are dozens of haringhuis fish stands in town. We're fans of Stubbes (click here for our complete review)
To eat a genuine Dutch broodje (sandwich) in a real broodjeswinkel (sandwich shop), go to the ever-crowded Eetsalon Van Dobben, Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5-9 (tel. 020/624-4200; www.vandobben.nl; tram: 4, 9, or 14), off Rembrandtplein, where you might try a smoked-eel sandwich. Locals come here for these and herring, liverwurst, croquets, or ox-tongue sandwiches. Simpler roast beef and Gouda sandwiches are also available. Some patrons swear by the platter of giant meatballs. It's open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 1am (Sat to 2am), and Sunday from 11:30am to 8pm.
As in most European cities, you find the best meal bargains are the offerings of the most recent immigrants. In Amsterdam's case, the Middle Eastern snack bars and Surinamese fast-food restaurants have the cheapest meals. The former specialize in shwarma and falafel, and can be found in high concentrations around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein; the latter are known for their chicken roti, mildly curried pieces of chicken served with a pancake-like bread, and can be found in the vicinity of Albert Cuypstraat, the site of a popular daily market. About 4€ to 8€ gets you a filling meal in either type of place.
Another quick-bite alternative, particularly for seriously cash-strapped budget travelers, are the branches of Febo Automatiek that you'll find all around town. They open directly on the sidewalk and look like giant street-side vending machines. Drop a few euro coins in the appropriate slots and -- voilà! -- you have a lunch of Indonesian nasi goreng or bami goreng, hamburger, fries, and a milkshake. I wouldn't say the portions are small, but they do have a compact form factor.
Picnic Picks: You can pick up almost anything you might want for a picnic, from Dutch cheeses like Edam and Gouda to cold cuts to freshly packed sandwiches at AH (Albert Heijn) supermarkets around town. From the AH supermarket at the corner of Leidsestraat and Koningsplein (tram: 1, 2, or 5), you can head over to Vondelpark, only a 10-minute walk. At AH's Museumplein supermarket, across the street from the Concertgebouw (tram: 2, 3, 5, 12, or 16), you can haul your brown bag right up onto the sloping, grass-covered roof, a prime spot for sunbathing, hanging out, and picnicking. Don't forget a bottle of wine.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.