The best Dutch restaurants in Holland Michigan pride themselves on serving authentic classics like erwtensoep, saucijzenbroodjes, and stroopwafels made from old family recipes.
Best Restaurants for Traditional Dutch Food
Ready to learn more about these dishes and where to get them? In this post, we’re sharing our experiences at Dutch restaurants, what we liked most about them, and what Dutch foods you should try.
Nelis’ Dutch Village is an immersive theme park modeled after a 19th-century Dutch festival. Beyond the charming village atmosphere, amusement rides, and interactive activities, it’s also a great spot to savor Dutch food specialties.
Metworst – This is a Dutch pork sausage that is served with hot potato salad and sweet and sour red cabbage.
Saucijzebroodjes – Pig in a blanket (or pork sausage baked in pastry dough). It is served with the traditional pea soup and Dutch apple pie. It sounds like “Saw-SIZEN-bro-cha”.
Erwtensoep – Their famous Dutch split pea soup is served with a currant roll and Dutch apple pie.
Frikandel – This is a Dutch version of a hotdog. It is fried and dressed in chopped onions, mayo, and a ketchup-curry sauce, then served with fries and a cucumber salad.
Banket – A homemade traditional Dutch almond pastry.
The shop has imported Dutch goods like licorice, cookies, and other snacks.
Savor Dutch and American fare at the Hungry Dutchman Cafe when the theme park is open (mid-April through Labor Day). The cafe is also open on weekends in September.
The Wooden Show Restaurant has been in business for decades. I remember seeing the wooden shoe sign as a kid when we drove to Holland for family vacations in the summer to see the Tulip Festival. It always brought a tinge of excitement.
The restaurant is off the main route of US Highway 31. There is a large parking lot for trailers, campers, and travelers looking for a respite. On one side of the restaurant is an antique mall and on the other side there is a tap.
Their specialty Dutch food is Balkenbrij.
Balkenbrij is a traditional Dutch meatloaf or meatball dish typically made from pork organs liver, heart, kidneys, or fatty belly meat and bound with breadcrumbs or flour, eggs, milk, onions, and spices. It has a rich, meaty flavor.
It originated as a peasant dish in the Netherlands to use up leftover meat scraps and stale bread. The name literally translates to “beam loaf” or “beam sausage” referring to the loaf pan shape.
deBoer goes beyond the normal Dutch noshes like Saucijzenbroodje and Erwtensoep.
And you definitely shouldn’t miss the pastries at deBoer’s Bakkerij (that’s Bakery, in Dutch). It doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Kraklingen is a traditional Dutch savory cookie or cracker made from rusk crumbs. The name comes from the Dutch word “krakken” meaning to crackle and it’s traditionally served with tea or coffee. We enjoyed them as a snack, but they can also accompany soups or stews.
Lekkerbekjes are breaded, deep-fried pieces of white fish that make a popular, crispy Dutch snack with a name that means “tasty mouthful”.
Banket is a pastry log made from scratch that is stuffed with almond paste.
The bakery has a variety of flaky, golden croissants and pastries. They will have you saying heerlijk (pronounced “here-lick”, meaning delicious).
At the Dutch Brothers Restaurant, you can find more Dutch stuff on the menu. Try a bit of everything with a Taste of the Old Country that includes a croquette, pig in a blanket, pea soup, Dutch cheese, baked bread, and Kracklingen.
Amandel Koffiecake – This is Dutch for Almond Coffeecake made of buttery pastry dough, filled with almond paste, and topped with a vanilla fudge glaze.
Kroket – This Dutch snack of croquettes is seasoned beef mixed with onions, butter, and flour. It’s breaded, deep-fried, and served with a Dutch mustard.
There are two restaurant locations, and this one is closer to downtown. They’ve been operating since the 1930s.
I still remember visiting this place during my childhood. The image of the little Dutch boy in brightly colored attire is forever etched in my memory.
The menu leans towards American breakfast foods, but they honor their Dutch heritage with pea soup and pigs in a blanket, which are common dishes in the Netherlands. Their pea soup is one of my all-time favorites.
Dutch Food in America
In America, there are foods from the Netherlands as well as the Pennsylvania Dutch. I learned more about this because my husband’s family has a Pennsylvanian Dutch heritage.
The difference between the two lies in their origins, cultural influences, and ingredients used.
Dutch food from the Netherlands is influenced by the culinary traditions of the Netherlands, which include dishes like stroopwafels, pea soup, and poffertjes that you can try in Holland, Michigan.
These dishes reflect the ingredients and cooking styles native to the Netherlands. The food incorporates ingredients such as seafood (herring), potatoes, dairy products (cheese), and spices like nutmeg and cloves.
The foods are influenced by the country’s maritime history.
Pennsylvania Dutch food, on the other hand, is the cuisine of the Pennsylvania Dutch, who are of German descent rather than Dutch.
Their food traditions originated from German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Pennsylvania Dutch food relies heavily on ingredients commonly found in German cuisine, such as pork, potatoes, cabbage, apples, and noodles. These ingredients are often used in hearty and comforting dishes.
Pennsylvania Dutch food includes dishes like schnitz und knepp (ham with dried apples and dumplings), pot pie, and shoo-fly pie, which are influenced by German culinary traditions.
Final Thoughts on the Best Dutch Restaurants in Holland Michigan
The key takeaway from this post is that not every restaurant in Holland serves authentic Dutch food.
One of the greatest joys of travel is discovering the flavors of a destination through its authentic cuisine. Because America is a melting pot, you don’t have to travel far to experience native cuisines from other countries.
By stepping out of your comfort zone gastronomically on vacation, you open yourself up to new experiences that awaken your senses in the most satisfying way.
Be adventurous and try that steaming bowl of ramen at a street stall in Tokyo, join in a paella feast with Spaniards, or learn to love the spicy kick of a homemade Indian curry.
Wandering food markets and hole-in-the-wall restaurants often serve the best local specialties. Each unforgettable bite along with things to do lets you taste what makes a place unique.
In Holland, the town celebrates its Netherlands roots and access to fresh fish from the Great Lakes.
So, on your next trip, discover just how rewarding it can be to abandon your familiar flavors and sample the culinary delights a new destination has to offer.