Since lot’s of people are stopping by for a weekend in Amsterdam, I thought it’d be fun to share a selection of the restaurants, bars, shops, markets and random places I like. As always, 75% is about food :-). I strongly believe the best way to discover a city is to eat your way around it.
Give me a shout if you have additions! But first coffee…
- Lot sixty one ♥: my obligatory stop each weekend. These guys know how to brew and blend black gold, I haven’t found a better cappuccino in town. The filter coffee is really good as well. Be sure to order a chocolate chip cookie. // Kinkerstraat 102 (West)
- Head first coffee roasters: cosy and minimal interior, nice coffee. Close to the Noordermarkt in de Jordaan. // Westerstraat 150 (Jordaan)
- Latei ♥: the cutest place ever, right in between asian diners in the middle of the bustling red-light district. Everything is for sale except for the cat. I love their fresh juices and home made apple pie. Perfect for people watching. // Zeedijk 143 (Center)
Center of town
- Le fou fow – ramen ♥: these guys once started their restaurant on the second floor of a chinese shop, but now have their own small place in de Elandsgracht. Ramen noodles, dumplings and asian nibbles. Simple, fresh, affordable and cool interior. // Elandsgracht 2a.
- Bird – thai: said to be the best thai restaurant in Adam. They have a snackbar across the original restaurant. // Zeedijk 72
- Burgerlijk: mini burger joint where you can assemble your own delicious artery blocking burger. Ideal for a quick bite whilst wandering through the 9 streets. They only have a couple of bar seats, so take-away is a good option. // Runstraat 1.
- Roses Cantina: cocktails and mexican food. // Regulierdwarsstraat 38
West – food
- Spaghetteria – pasta ♥: a local’s favourite. The menu is simple. You have about 7 pasta dishes to choose from, 1 salad and 1 dessert. Cutlery, olive oil and water is stacked in the middle of the big communal tables. Good value for money. // Jan Hanzenstraat 32
- Blauw – Indonesian: i don’t particularly like the interior, but the indonesian rice table is amazing. Be sure to book a table online // Amstelveenseweg 158
- Foodhallen – food court ♥: this indoor food court in a former tram hall has a nice collection of food stalls. Vietnamese spring rolls, raclette, luxurious hotdogs, sushi, oysters, french patisserie, mezzo, … Great atmosphere and nice bar. // Bellamyplein 51
- Waterkant ♥ – Surinamese inspired cafe/resto: along the waterside, with an all day long spot in the sun, amazing terrace under a parking garage. Nice salads and drinks. // Marnixstraat 246
- Radijs: good place for quick lunch. Salads, burger, sandwiches. Nice terrace. // Jan evertsenstraat 41
- Zurich: looks like an UFO from the outside. Very cosy spot with a fireplace and nice food. // middle of Mercatorplein
- Bella storia – Italian: the interior is as ugly as the website, but the food is absolutely delicious. Hidden gem in a non-touristy neighbourhood. Always full so book ahead. // Bentickstraat 28
- Vinnies deli: Ottolenghi inspired lunch place. Good for a quick bite if you are strolling through the haarlemmerdijk. // Haarlemmerstraat 46
- Stach: small shops filled with fantastic ready made food, drinks, oils, bread, treats. They also do really nice simple take-away sandwiches. You will find them all over Adam, but I like the ones in Haarlemmerstraat 150 and Admiraal De Ruijterweg 77.
- REM eiland: a former helicopter deck located in the middle of the harbour. Amazing views. // Haparandadam 45
- La perla pizza: no-nonsense wood oven pizza in de Jordaan. // Tweede tuindwarsstraat 14 & 53
De Pijp – food
- De taart van m’n tante – cake: kitschy place filled with fake flowers and cakes.
- Trust – lunch: no fixed prices in this joint. Slow and home cooked food in the middle of De Pijp. Quirky illustrations and tiles cover the walls. // Albert cuypstraat 210.
Pay as you like. You decide what it’s worth.
- Bar Spek ♥: one of my favourites for brunch, but also good for normal lunch or dinner. Great food, very good ambiance. // Admiraal de ruijterweg 1
- Breakfast club: right next-to de foodhallen, this place cooks up amazing ricotta pancakes with fresh fruit. You can choose an NY, Paris or London brunch dish. // Belamystraat 2h
- G’s ♥: tucked away in De Jordaan. Be sure to make a reservation in this quickly little place. They also organise brunch boat trips if the weather is good. // Goudsbloemstraat 91
- Scandinavian embassy: minimal but good. Located right next the park in De Pijp. // Sarpathipark 34
- Pllek ♥: one of my favourite places with an amazing view on Amsterdam. This place is built out of containers. The fireplace makes it super cosy. It’s nice during day and night. // TT neveritaweg 59
- Noorderlicht: former squatters place, now a hippie-ish bar with amazing view.
- Hannekes boom: drinks whilst chilling at the waterside.
- Waterkant ♥: cafe with amazingly sunny terrace at the waterside.
- Cafe struik: locals love this cosy joint.
- Fier: belgian beer and chicken roasts.
- Bar Baarsch: cosy bar in west.
- Bar Brouw: good selection of beers.
- Zurich: bar that looks like an UFO. Far west.
- Mata Hari: cosy bar in the middle of the red light district.
- Roest ♥: bar, dancing, markets, festivals, … lot’s of things to do in this industrial site at the east side of town.
- Brouwerij het IJ: lovely Adam beer.
Dance, cinema, things to do
- Disco Dolly: alternative music, nice crowd.
- Savoy: Criminals meet grannies. The 60 year old madame pipi wears garters. Neon lightning warns you there is a dog around.
- Bukowski: this cafe regularly turns into nightclub. Located in the east side.
- Roest: nice industrial looking bar, a beach in the east of town, big variety of gigs and markets.
- Filmhallen: really cosy cinema in de foodhallen.
- FOAM museum: photography museum with cool selections.
- Trip up north ♥ : take the free boat to the northern part of Amsterdam and go for drinks in Pllek. You can take your bike on the boat.
9 straatjes & center
9 Little streets divided by beautiful canals. Forget about high-street chains, this neighbourhood is perfect for strolling and checking out lots of cool small shops.
- Mendo ♥ : the interior of this art and photography bookstore has been awarded. The shop has a beautiful atmosphere. Worth a visit if you like coffee table books. // Berenstraat 11.
- We are labels: great women’s clothing. // Herenstraat 356.
- JAN: narrow gift shop with a good mix of jewellery, stuff you don’t really need but will buy anyways, trendy kids stuff. // Wolvenstraat 9.
- Baskets: sneaker-alert! The shop next-to it is owned by the same people and sells really cool mens wear. // Elandsgracht 57-59.
- Hotel Droog: nice interior design shop in the center of town. // Staalstraat 7b
- Anna & Nina: beautiful objects, jewellery and house decorations. // Klovenierburgwal 44
Rozengracht & west – shopping
- Hutspot ♥ : really nice concept store. It’s 3 stories of beautiful and nicely curated brands. From a supermarket of design, fashion, beauty, foodies and workshops in the Hutspot store, drinks and get-togethers in the Hutspot Bar, all the way to a flexible office space.
- Raw materials: oriental and industrial furniture right opposite de hutspot.
- Kitsch kitchen ♥ : this dutch brand groups very colourful and cheerful stuff from around the globe
- Bilder & Declerq: this shop sells inspiration. The food is organised per dish, with stands filled with the things you need to cook that particular meal. You choose what you want to eat and all ingredients are placed on a table, ready to collect. // Declerqstraat 44
- Gekaapt ♥ : young entrepreneurs who form a collective shop. They use locations that have been neglected and move the whole shop every now and then.
- Friday next ♥ : concept store with nice interior design, purses, jewellery, furniture. You can also grab a bite or coffee. // Overtoom 31
- By popular demand: lot’s of stuff you don’t need, but perfect as presents. // Raadhuisstraat 2
Noord – shopping
- Neef Louis ♥ : huge depot with vintage stuff. Industrial things, retro furniture, junk, small treasures. Not open on sundays. // Papaverweg 46
Haarlemmerdijk – shopping
- Tenue de Nimes : expensive but beautiful clothes for men and women. // Haarlemmerstraat 92
- Ibericus: taste and buy a selection of really good spanish ham. You can drink a quick glass of wine with a nibble in the back of the shop. // Haarlemmerstraat 93
- Noordermarkt in De Jordaan: only on saturdays.
- Westerpark: lot’s of markets here. Neighbourfood market, sunday market, …
- Noord: NDSM has lot’s of flea markets. Check Facebook to see what’s on.
- Albert cuyp market in de pijp: bit of a kitschy market with a nice ambience. Everyday except sunday.
Tips and tricks
Hire a bike. No but really, hire a bike.
Without a personal racing mobile you’ll be stuck in the center, queueing in the commercial streets specked with ugly argentinean steak restaurants, whilst passively turning high on coffeeshop fumes with loud brits wearing hats saying ‘amsterdam’ ruining your vibe. You’ll see less without a bike and the endless strolling will kill you.
Leave your car outside the city center or come by train. Parking in Amsterdam is inconvenient and costs shitloads of money. Park your car outside the city and take public transport (Olympic stadium, bosbaan).
Arriving by train can be handy, but it sometimes turns out to be more expensive, especially if you are sharing the car with several people.
Finding hotels in Amsterdam can be quite a hassle. Be sure to book in advance as hotels fill up rapidly.
The Hotel Ibis Amsterdam Centre in the city center offers good deals. The location is great (on top of the central station), rooms are decent and prices are fair if you compare it to the extremities you see a bit further down the center.
I’ve heard good things about Het Volkshotel and CitizenM too, but I haven’t stayed there. Airbnb is always a good idea as well.