Sunday, February 22, 2015

Amsterdam hotspot guide

I had wanted to make an Amsterdam guide for the longest time, but never found the time to finish it. During my 4-month stay in this beautiful city, I discovered quite a few hotspots, either by coincidence or recommended to me by local Amsterdammers. Amsterdam is paradise for everyone who loves good food, there are hundreds of little places, each offering something unique and different. There are lots of places I still want to try, but I've gathered some pretty good hotspots so far. Check out the guide & map, I hope it's useful!
Amsterdam Hotspot Guide

In case you missed out, I also made a London hotspot guide, which contains all of my favourite places in London including reviews. Check it out here. 

Light blue: breakfast & brunch
Green: healthy food
Red: lunch & dinner
Blue: coffee & sweets
White: shops & markets
Black star: hotels
Grey star: drinks & dancing

The places pinned on the map are the places I tried (once or more often), so they got my stamp of approval. There's also lots of places which I didn't get the chance to try, so I put them under "other recommendations". On the map, I included the address and website link of each place, so you can easily find the hours and location when you're on the go. 

BREAKFAST & BRUNCH

Scandinavian Embassy: you get transported to a little Scandinavian cabin when entering this place. Best coffee in Amsterdam (Michelin quality I've heard..), best poached eggs with salmon. Earthy, honest and quality food. Oh and the cinnamon buns and carrot cake are also divine. My number one spot for brunch. | review |

Vinnies Deli: fresh deli with amazing coffee located in one of Amsterdam’s cosiest streets. The parsnip soup with truffle is to die for. 

Het Buffet van Odette: one of the best located spots: on the Prinsengracht. Grab a table at the canal during summer, and order breakfast/lunch/dinner from the tiny menu. Good home food and friendly service. 

CT Coffee & Coconuts Amsterdam: an old theater converted into a huge, cosy and tropical coffee and all-day breakfast/lunch/dinner spot. Tropical dishes such as coconut pancakes, fresh juices, Acai bowls and buckwheat porridge. | review |

Other recommendations: Bakers & Roasters, G’s Really Nice Place, Staring at Jacob, Little Collins


Amsterdam Hotspot Guide Breakfast Brunch

LUNCH & DINNER

Ngia Nghia: tiny Vietnamese place next to popular Asian restaurant Chow. It’s only open until 5 pm, so grab a seat and sit down for lunch because you don’t want to miss this one. Bahn mi baguettes, Pho and the best summer rolls I’ve ever eaten. And it’s cheap too!

George WPA: Located in a more posh area of the city, this restaurant has all the classics, from steak tartare to steak frites. Fair prices and quality food. The steak frites is a favourite! For dessert try the creme brulee. | review |

Foodhallen: an indoor food market inspired by Borough Market in London. Cool place to go 
with a bunch of friends and try different things from each food stand. With some drinks it’s the perfect relaxed night out. The Hallen also includes a hotel, cinema, restaurants and event spaces. 

Bar Spek: gin & tonics and a truffle pizza is a dreamy combination. Too bad the service is incredibly slow, but it’s worth it. Sit on the large terrace during summer, perfect for a girl’s dinner. 

Toscanini: The best Italian in the city, according to many. Perfect place for a date or special occasion; you need to book weeks in advance. The restaurant is not fancy at all, which gives it a genuine feel. 

Billy Thais: Classic thai food: curries, pad thai etc. Not the best I’ve had but pretty decent and big portions. 

Hello Sushi: cheap eat-in or take-away sushi in de Pijp. Don’t expect too much but it’s good quality and super fresh. Perfect meal if you don’t feel like cooking. Or do a sushi picnick in Sarphati Park in the summer. | review |

Frites Uit Zuyd: Fancy Flemish fries and home-made croquettes. Good hangover meal, but nothing incredible.  

Burgerlijk Amsterdams: if you’re in the mood for a beast of a burger, come here. Really tasty, as well as the skin-on fries. Skip the sauces. | review |

Walters Woodbury: super popular bar/restaurant with a Java/jungle vibe. Young crowd, good drinks and simple but tasty food.  

Puccini: great lunch spot with fresh luxury sandwiches. The pastrami sandwich is very popular, but my favourite is the chicken and roasted aubergine. 

Lombardos: tiny take-away spot with a permanent queue of hungry people. Made to order fresh food. A range of salads, burgers and sandwiches will keep you clueless as to what to pick. 

La Perla: La Perla is a restaurant but on the other side of the road is where Amsterdam’s best pizzas are made. If you sit in the restaurants, the pizza will travel straight from the oven - accross the road - to your plate. But you can also take a seat right where the action happens for a quick bite. Take-away also possible. 

Het Buffet van Odette: one of the best located spots: on the Prinsengracht. Grab a table at the canal during summer, and order breakfast/lunch/dinner from the tiny menu. Good home food and friendly service.

Julia’s Pasta: Sometimes you have to catch a train, and you just want to get a quick bite. In London, the answer to that is Pret. In Amsterdam, it’s Julia’s. Fresh pasta made for you in just a few minutes. Perfect to take with you on the train.

Raïnaraï: Freshly made delicious Algerian halal food which you can smell from far away: tasty salads, tajine, and homemade meat dishes. Lovely outdoor seating with view on the Prinsengracht, one of the cosiest (and tastiest) corners of Amsterdam.  

Loetje: this is an institution in Amsterdam. If you want to eat steak, you go to Loetje. The biggest steaks ever swimming in a buttery sauce accompanied by crunchy fries. Simple but always good, kind of like Le Relais. 

Happyhappyjoyjoy: Brand new to the Amsterdam restaurant scene, this happy place serves up delicious food all inspired by the different Asian cuisines, from Chinese to Vietnamese. The Peking Duck Bao is my favourite! 

Other recommendations: Rijsel, Hotel de Goudfazant, Izakaya, Koevoet, Van't Spit, Mossel & Gin, Roest, Pho 91, Orandaya, Lion Noir, Miss Korea, Wilde Zwijnen, Marius 


Amsterdam Hotspot Guide
Amsterdam Hotspot Guide
Amsterdam Hotspot Guide

HEALTHY HOTSPOTS

Juice & Salad: Freshly made salads and pressed juices. Eat-in or take away. 2 branches in Amsterdam. | review |

Dr. Blend: fresh juices, smoothies and coffee. Similar to Joe & The Juice. Pricey but good.

SLA: Best salads in town. Big, filling, freshly made salads with organic and natural ingredients. Make your own combination or choose from the seasonal menu. Eat-in or take-away. 4 branches in Amsterdam. | review |

Lavinia Goodfood: Ottolenghi-style eatery/café with freshly prepared food and cakes. Cosy seating area and relaxed vibe.

Pluk Amsterdam: A huge pile of fruit greets you at the door of this bright new Amsteram hotspot. With an extensive menu of fresh, healthy and homemade food, it's the perfect spot for a little shopping break, right in the 9 straatjes. | review |

Other recommendations: Rein, Lite/Dark, Roots, Cold Pressed Juices, Vegabond

Amsterdam Hotspot Guide healthy


COFFEE & SWEETS

De Drie Graefjes: a girly place where they sell American cakes and sweets. I picked up some red velvet cake here once and it was incredible! I think it’s also the most popular cake there. 

Winkel 43: probably the best apple pie you’ll eat in your life. I still dream of this apple pie. Loads of cinnamon, extremely gooey inside and crunchy on the outside, filled with caramelised apples, but not overly sweet. Just amazing. 

De Bakkerswinkel Westerpark: High-tea, smoothies, massive scones and cakes, all you need for a tea-time treat. This location is also really lovely because you can walk off all the cake you just had, in the cool Westerpark. 

Back to Black: relatively new coffee place, right where I was living during my four-month stay. Good coffee and home-made cakes. There’s some chairs outside on the mini-terrace which are the perfect spots in the sun. Relaxed working space with wifi, open every day of the week. 

Ijscuypje: dotted all over the city, this place has some pretty good freshly made ice cream. Vanilla is my favourite!

Frozz: frozen yoghurt is perfect in summer. Topped with raspberries and blueberries you can never go wrong. 

Other recommendations: Trakteren Koffie, CT Coffee + Coconuts, Lot Sixty One, Cottoncake, Marie Stella Maris Archives 

Amsterdam Hotspot Guide coffee


DRINKS & DANCING

Bo Cinq: Cool interior, which makes it a perfect stylish spot for some drinks. Get some small snacks on the side and you’re sorted. Try the lobster croquettes. 

Walters Woodbury: super popular bar/restaurant with a Java/jungle vibe. Young crowd, good drinks and simple but tasty food. 

Bar Spek: gin & tonics and a truffle pizza is a dreamy combination. Too bad the service is incredibly slow, but it’s worth it. Sit on the large terrace during summer, perfect for a girl’s dinner/drinks. 

Café Flamingo: a small bar in student area de Pijp. They have lots of speciality beers, but also some Dutch brews. During summer it’s incredibly busy in this area so it’s a fun night guaranteed.

Chicago Social Club: one of the best places for partying at the Leidseplein. There are really good parties here from time to time such as Kriss Kross, so check out the program before you go. For a more calm night you can get a drink at the bar downstairs. 

Nacional: I’ve heard mixed things about the food here, but the cocktails are really very good here, my favourite being the Moscow Mule which comes in a bronze cup. The interior of this place is really cool, and there’s a see or be seen vibe. 

Tunes Bar: a super fancy bar in the super fancy five-star Conservatorium. Try the G&T with pepper, it's great. This place has a real New York/Paris/London vibe to it. 

Rotisserie: Roast chicken restaurant which turns into a fun bar a little later at night (Thursday to Saturday). Nice drinks and cosy atmosphere. 

Other recommendations: Bar Bukowski, De Biertuin, Bar Paul, Fier, Door74, Tales & Spirits, Chapter 21


Amsterdam Hotspot Guide bars


SHOPS ETC. 

Out of all cities I’ve ever visited, Amsterdam has the most health/bio/organic shops, it’s amazing! 

Marqt:  The Whole Foods of Amsterdam. Coconut water, Toney’s Chocolonely chocolate, Meridian peanut butter, coconut yoghurt, fresh salads, pesto and many more amazing foods. A food-lover’s dream.

STACH Food: a smaller version of Marqt, but with more home-made meals, cakes, chocolate etc. 

Bilder & Declercq: Don’t know what to cook? You’ll find the answer here. Pick up one of the tasty recipes, pick the ingredients and get cooking! | review |

Pompon: The most beautiful flower shop I’ve ever seen. The flowers are amazing, and the bouquets they make here are really unique. Worth a snoop!

Noordermarkt: My favourite market to go to on a Saturday. Lots of bio foods, organic vegetables, homemade bread and some vintage clothes (lots of Burberry). Perfect for strolling around. 

Sunday Market Westerpark: Every first Sunday of each month, there's a big market in the Westerpark. Especially in summer it's lovely to go for a walk in the park, and end up at the market, where they sell handmade things such as cute stationary, but also amazing organic produce. If you're hungry grab a bite from one of the food trucks. 

BioMarkt: a relatively expensive organic shop, but they have some special things, such as Booja Booja ice cream (made from water, cashews, agave and cocoa) and all the Pukka tea flavours you dream of. If you can't find it here, you won't find it anywhere. 

Cottoncake: cute concept store with a breakfast area upstairs where you can drink frothy cappuccinos, eat some cake or have a brunch/lunch with a healthy green juice. Vegan and vegetarian options are available as well here. 

Anna+Nina: A concept store where you can find the cutest stationary, jewellery, underwear, interior decoration and gifts. If you're looking for a gift for someone special (or yourself, pourquoi pas?), this is the place. | review |

Love StoriesLooking for a cute set of underwear? Or a comfy but pretty pyjama? Then Love Stories is the place for you. Non-matching sets of underwear with cute prints, good quality and a reasonable price. | review


Amsterdam Hotspot Guide markets
Amsterdam Hotspot Guide markets

HOTELS

Hotel de Hallen: just opened, but already a hotspot since it’s located in De Hallen complex, which has a foodhall, restaurants and a cinema. If you stay at this hotel you don’t need to go far for good food or entertainment. The interior is really cool and bright. | review |

Het Conservatorium Hotel: one of the fanciest hotels in the city. It’s a hugely impressive lobby, a Skins store, a cool bar/restaurant and the best spa in the city. | review |

The Student Hotel: perfect for anyone who wants to visit Amsterdam, but who’s on a budget. With the tram it’s about 15 min from the city centre, but the connection is easy. The hotel is new so the rooms are clean and comfortable, but basic. It also has a gym and restaurant. 

The HoxtonFrom London to Amsterdam, this hotel for sure gives off that cool Shoreditch/Hoxton vibe. One of Amsterdam's most recent new gems in town, right on the Herengracht. Comfy bed and yummy food at the restaurant Lotti's. | review |


Amsterdam Hotspot Guide hotels

I want to thank my Amsterdam flatmates, colleagues and friends for showing me these gems in Amsterdam. I tried my best to try as many places as possible and I think I succeeded because there's more than 50 pins on the map. Amsterdam really stole my heart, partly thanks to it's amazing food culture. I hope this map comes handy when you visit this beautiful city.

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© whiskers & lions

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