I think London and Amsterdam have a lot in common when it comes to food. Both cuisines have traditionally been labeled as bland and boring with mostly deep fried everything or meat and two veg, yet in reality both cities with blow you away with their thriving food scenes and a variety of amazing dishes. I’m obsessed with food (it’s a fact) and for me Amsterdam was a dream food destination so I thought it’s only right that I share with you my favourite spots in the city.
This is totally my kind of cafe. Even though located in the centre of the city it nails that comfortable relaxing neighbourhood coffee shop vibe. The crowd was also super eclectic with tourists, locals reading books or working on their laptops and groups of friends chatting and hanging out. They also have a cafe cat (if you’re offended by pets walking on tables in between coffee cups Back to Black might not be for you) if you fancy a stroke or a cuddle with your coffee.
Apparently their Dutch apple pie is amazing although I didn’t get round to trying it this time. I did have a chai latte though which was so deliciously creamy and with just the right balance of spices.
I’m going to make a huge statement now and say that these were the best pancakes I have ever had. EVER. It also took me forever to decide what I wanted because I everything on the menu sounded delicious but eventually I settled on Matcha breakfast pancake stack with homemade granola, coconut yoghurt , pistachio nuts and fresh fruit (we also had cinnamon rollercoaster stack and bbq chicken stack that were also absolutely delish!). They were yummy, not too sweet and the portion size was just right to feel indulgent but not like you were going to be sick after finishing it. They have a good selection of teas too including some delicious homemade ice teas.
We visited on a Thursday lunchtime and the restaurant was about half full. Not sure how busy it gets on the weekends but they do take reservations if you want to be absolutely sure you’ll get a table. The interior is also so instagrammable with pastel minty walls and floors, rattan furniture, peach coloured accents and neon signage. Oh and not forgetting potted palm tree plants and palm tree pattern on menus and cutlery holders. Pretty pretty pretty!
Stroopwafels are a must try when in Amsterdam (and a perfect souvenir to take home if you have enough willpower not to eat them all straight away) and this little shop is a perfect place to try them. They are basically buiscuits made up of two crispy thin waffles with a layer of warm caramel syrup inbetween. But the ones at Van Wonderen are also topped with a layer of melted chocolate and sprinkled with all kinds of yummy and instagrammable goodness from salted caramel chunks, crushed hazelnuts and oreo cookies to mini marshmallows. What’s more they’re being made right in front of you to add to the experience and make your tastebuds dance. Grab one as a treat there and then or buy a box to take back to your hotel where they make a perfect accompaniament to a hot cup of tea.
I love a food hall and this is definitely one of the best ones I’ve been to so far. It’s located within De Hallen complex in West Amsterdam, in a converted tram depot. Apart of the food hall there are also artist studios, a library, a bike workshop, an arthouse cinema complex and a hotel. I’m not sure why bu at the atmosphere reminds me of food markets in Copenhagen. Foodhallen is more casual than a restaurant but at the same time more sophisticated than a street market, it’s a perfect spot to catch up with a group of friends.
There are food stalls from all over the world here but we decided to try the traditional Dutch beer snack - bitterballs from De Ballenbar. The offer a variety of fillings like cheese and spinach, chorizo or truffle but I enjoyed the white asparagus special the most. We washed them down with some delicious local craft beers from the Beer Bar.
A local brewery with a range of 11 beers, they also distill their own gin, genever (traditional Dutch spirit) and bourbon. In addition to three own brewpubs, their beer is also very popular in bars and restaurants across the city. We visited their branch in De Pijp on Friday night (we booked a table, you should too!) and it was buzzing. The atmosphere is bustling, the staff are friendly and the beers are good, what more could you want? I particularly liked lightly alcoholic radler Fruit Freak as well as German style wheat beer Weizen with a hint of banana.
Bear in mind that different beers are served in different measures, many in only 0.25l glasses (it’s actually pretty standard across Amsterdam) but don’t go mad as Dutch beers are quite strong (7-8% ABV is pretty common). Oh and they’re a cash free establishment (as quite a few places around Amsterdam are, not as many as in Scandinavia though).
This cute little cafe and shop will satisfy all your Instagram needs with its flowery facade, pink interior, flamingo mugs (I couldn’t help myself and bought one as a souvenir!) and beautiful cakes. Although we visited mainly for the photo opportunities, coffee and the pink velvet cake were also delicious. They have a short brunch menu too if you’re after something more substantial.
We popped in to this cute little diner to hide from the rain and fill up on tea and sandwiches. It’s super small (five tables and a bar counter) and super casual, perfect for a quick mid-afternoon snack. They’re known for their toasties which are the ultimate comfort food with gooey cheese, juicy meat and just the right amount of spice. There are also milkshakes, pancakes and other American inspired stuff but the toasties are the bomb!
This specialty craft beer cafe has six branches around the city but the most charming one is in a little alleyway right in the centre. It has a comfortable, old men’s pub, home from home kind of vibe - the kind of place where you could easily spend all afternoon trying different beers and making friends with your neighbourhoods at the next table. There are usually 10 beers available on tap and over 200 in a bottle so you can be sure to find something you like. The staff are super knowledgable and happy to offer recommendations and little tasters to help you decide.
Located in East Amsterdam, this place is very popular with locals and when we visited on a Saturday night we seemed to be the only tourists there. The vibe is relaxed and the staff are friendly and attentive without being too in your face. I’d say it was my favourite spot in Amsterdam even though the night was ruined after we were thrown off a tram by a rude conductor who wouldn’t accept our tickets but that’s a story for a different time.
We started with a shared platter of snacks which included a carpaccio, truffle and risotto croquettes, salad, cheese, olives and some other things. It was allright but didn’t blow my mind. I wish we had the cheese fondue instead (we were torn between these two options). As a main course we had the legendary sticky spare ribs and a side of baked potato with sour cream and spring onions (it seemed like almost everyone around us was having them too) which were delicious with the juicy meat literally falling off the bone at the lightest touch of a fork. They also have a good selection of local draft beers at reasonable prices and a small cocktail list. I’d visit this place again in a heartbeat!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite Amsterdam food and drink spots and I would love to hear in the comments if you end up visiting any of the places I listed.