When I mentioned to friends that I would be in Amsterdam for a couple of days, many responded by giving me a knowing smile and a mischievous “oh right, have fun”. It was clear that they weren’t thinking of scenic cycle rides along the picturesque canals or the Dutch Old Master paintings on display at the Rijksmuseum. You see, among many of the other attractions the city has to offer, Amsterdam is most notorious for its coffee shops and red lights, activities that immediately spring to the minds of many who hear the city’s name – although I don’t know and have chosen to ignore why my friends thought of these things in relation to me going there. For me, Amsterdam is synonymous with something else completely – FOOD. While London remains my home in mind and body, Amsterdam is the spiritual home of my stomach. In my dream life I would move to the city and live a life of pancakes, stroopwafel, chips, and cheese, but in reality this would only last months before I quickly mutate into a grossly obese human whale. So for now I’ll stick with suggesting places to eat in Amsterdam, with the hope that friends will similarly return obsessed with the food (while also bearing some edible souvenirs).
1. Pancakes! Amsterdam, Berenstraat 38, http://www.pancakesamsterdam.com – This place makes the most incredible Dutch pancake and is located in the hip De Negen Straatjes area. If you go (which you should), I recommend the bacon and apple pancake or the smoked salmon, creme fraiche, and chives…or have both! If this small and cozy restaurant is full then there is always the Pancake Bakery (Prinsengracht 191), which is slightly more toursity, but still good, and also just down the road.
2. Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx, Voetboogstraat 31-33 – Vleminckx is a take-away shop that sells delicious warm Belgium chips in cones, topped with any one of their 25 different sauces. These aren’t chips you’d find in any local chippy in the UK. This shop, with more than 50-years of chip frying experience, has perfected the crispy outside, the fluffy warm inside, and the salty nature of the ideal chip. However don’t be put off by the queue – the wait is well worth it!
3. Winkel 43, Noordermarkt 43, www.winkel43.nl – This restaurant, cafe, and bar is located in the chilled Jordaan area of Amsterdam (a great neighbourhood with lots other cafes and boutique shops). While their lunch menu changes monthly, their dinner menu changes daily, and both always hold meat, fish, and vegetarian options. An absolute ‘must’ with Winckel 43 is its homemade apple pie, said to be a “well-known delicacy” in the Jordaan area. It’s more of a cake in my opinion but that’s nothing to complain about, especially considering their pretty generous portion sizes – always a welcome bonus in my books. So definitely try and work this apple pie into your itinerary – even if it takes the form of a quick 10 minute coffee and tea stop!
4. De Laatste Kruimel, Langebrugsteeg 4, http://delaatstekruimel.nl – If, for some strange reason, the freshly baked cakes, breads, quiches, and tarts decorating the display window don’t invite you into this cafe, the cozy and relaxed interior will. This sweet little bakery, deli, and cafe can be found in the centre of the city, near the Red Light District. It can get busy inside during peak times, but (again) the crowd is well-worth tackling if you want a tasty lunch. Some highlights for me were the Pastel del Nata (a mini custard tart) and the Apple tart – it’s probably clear by now that I have a strong love for apple based dishes.
5. Sama Sebo, Hoofstraat 27, www.samasebo.nl/en/ – This Indonesian restaurant serves one of the best Rijsttafel (literally meaning ‘rice-table’), a meal in which up to 30 side dishes are served around a central bowl of rice, in Amsterdam. My only tip is to make sure you arrive hungry! Sama Sebo is located in the Museum Quarter of the city and is usually fully booked, so reserve a table in advance. If you fancy Indonesian cuisine with more of a modern twist then head to Blue Pepper (Nassaukade 366, http://www.restaurantbluepepper.com), which also serves a delicious Rijsttafel.