Until visiting, I wasn’t really sure about Amsterdam as a destination. With its party reputation and infamous red light district, I think I had categorized the city as being purely a bachelor party destination, and not somewhere I was interested in exploring. However, after a few friends had convinced my girlfriend and I that, as ex-residents of beautiful Copenhagen, Amsterdam would be right up our, ahem, bike lane, we decided we’d give the city a chance. With Beth’s birthday approaching last December, we booked a couple of days off work and some cheap flights to Amsterdam: it was time to see what this city was all about! As it happened, our friends were completely right. Amsterdam is a gorgeous city, with lots to offer aside from being an obvious party capital. While it has a brilliant cultural offering, we decided to take it easy for the weekend and skipped the museums as well as the red light district, grabbing some rental bikes to explore the city the way its residents do: on two wheels. I’m glad we did, because with all the eating we did during our stay we needed to burn off some serious calories: here are my recommendations for the perfect foodie day in Amsterdam.
Start the day off by exploring the De Pijp area. Here you’ll find one of the city’s best brunch spots: CT Coffee & Coconuts, a gorgeous cafe set across multiple floors and mezzanines. The cafe actually used to be a cinema, Ceintuur Theater, which has been lovingly converted into this airy, open space: it’s now the perfect place to catch up with friends, or for freelancers and students to bring their laptops along and settle in for a few hours of work. CT Coffee & Coconuts has tonnes of personality: from the style and design of the cafe to the cool yet friendly staff, you feel right at home here straight away. We stopped by for Beth’s birthday breakfast, and she wasn’t disappointed: B had her all-time favourite breakfast of scrambled eggs and avocado, while I tried the poached eggs ‘Rockafella’. Both dishes were delicious and reasonably priced at under 9 euros each, and my flat white was perfect, too. As you might guess from the cafe’s name, one of their specialties is serving up fresh coconuts alongside their menu of regular drinks, so if you’re a fan of coconut water, this is definitely an experience not to be missed!
CT Coffee & Coconut’s location in the trendy De Pijp neighbourhood is the perfect start to a day in Amsterdam: wander around the area for a little while before hopping on your bikes and cycling towards the city centre. De 9 Straatjes (literally, the 9 streets) is a warren of shopping streets that is a must-see for any visitor to the city: stop off at the city’s famous flower market on your way.
Photo credit: terisukop
Once you’ve explored De 9 Straatjes and the centre a little more, you’ll probably have worked up a little bit of an appetite. Rather than a big sit down lunch, head to for a more local experience: the city is famous for its fries, and there are lots of casual eateries claiming to serve up the best in Amsterdam. Beth and I headed to a street stall near De 9 Straatjes for ours, but I can’t seem to find it online for the life of me! Luckily, Confused Julia has written an amazing post all about the best fries in the city: have a look through her list, and take your pick – I’m sure all of her recommendations are delicious. Enjoy your treat hot – if you’re still hungry afterwards, you could always follow it up with some pancakes, another Amsterdam specialty. B and I tried Pancakes Amsterdam: the pancakes were good, but we found it a little touristy – if we went back, I’d love to try Upstairs or The Pancake Bakery and see how the pancakes there measure up!
For a mid-afternoon treat…
Winkel 43 is one of those places that’s beautiful on the inside and out, with top-notch food to match. We came here for a slice of the cafe’s famous apple pie, and boy, we did not go away disappointed (somebody actually made an Instagram account 100% dedicated to the pie here – it’s that good).
The apple pie was as delicious as it looks in the photos above, and the staff were really accommodating and friendly, not minding in the slightest that we just wanted to share one slice, and conspiring with me to surprise Beth with a birthday candle in the pie. The coffee here is also delicious: it was the perfect spot to hide from the cold weather and warm up with cake and a hot drink. The cafe’s location in the Jordaan district is also great for exploring this part of the city: after your caffeine and sugar hit have kicked in, head outside to explore: the nearby Haarlemmerdijk is a street known for having an abundance of foodie shops and businesses.
Photo credit: afoodieguide
For dinner & dessert…
When you’re ready to think about dinner, I have the perfect recommendation. One of the best meals we had during our visit to Amsterdam was at Spaghetteria Pastabar, a local favourite with three outposts across the city, meaning that wherever you may have wandered to, you probably won’t be far from a delicious plate of pasta. Yep, as you might guess, this is a restaurant that specializes in pasta – there’s actually nothing else on the menu. The pasta dishes vary depending on what’s in season, so you can be assured that the dishes on offer will be both fresh and delicious, and there’s always a couple of vegetarian dishes on the menu. When we visited, we sampled an arrabbiata dish and a creamy mushroom dish – both were some of the best pasta we’ve ever had, including on our visit to Rome a couple of years ago.
In the UK at least, in the last year or two the media has developed a slight obsession with all things Scandinavian, and this applies to nothing more than the concept of ‘hygge’, a Danish word that is difficult to translate but means something like a form of coziness and togetherness. When I lived in Denmark, I heard this word every 5 minutes: last night’s party was hygge, and my upcoming weekend plans sounded hygge, and the candles I’d bought for my flat in a thinly veiled attempt to make it more hygge were hygge. Well, in The Netherlands, they have the concept of ‘gezelligheid’, which, if I’m not mistaken, has a very similar meaning: it’s a way to describe a form of conviviality and coziness. Anyway, this is a very rambling way for me to say that while the Danes may have hygge, the Dutch have gezelligheid, and Spaghetteria Pastabar has gezelligheid by the bucket-load. The restaurant is warm, with soft lighting and lots of atmosphere, and the family-style seating definitely gives that atmosphere of togetherness. As well as the pasta being absolutely delicious, the tiramisu is pretty wonderful, too: it’s huge, so order one dish with two spoons and dig in.
Photo credit: rg_bluejay
For drinks & a movie…
One of the coolest spots we visited during our stay in Amsterdam was The Movies, the city’s oldest cinema. The Movies has actually been operating since 1912, meaning it’s over 100 hundred years old, and a visit here definitely feels like stepping back in time, especially due to the cinema’s wonderful art-deco interior. It’s the perfect spot to head to after dinner if you want to stay out and explore the city but it’s a cold night – visiting in December, we were definitely keen to do something indoors! Not to worry if you don’t speak Dutch: the cinema focuses on art house and international alternative films, and films are subtitled in Dutch rather than dubbed, meaning that if a film is originally in your language (or a language you speak!) you’ll be able to head along no problem. The cinema has a large bar attached to it, so head there a little early to pick up tickets and you can enjoy a drink in the beautiful surroundings while you wait for the film to start.
For your beauty sleep…
I don’t always blog about the hotels I visit as I tend to focus on food, but I can’t keep Volkshotel to myself. It’s definitely one of the coolest and quirkiest places I’ve spent the night, and it was the perfect hotel for a birthday celebration. Located in the trendy Amsterdam East, Volkshotel occupies the former HQ of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, and there are plenty of nods to the building’s past in the design of the hotel. To keep costs down for our trip, I booked us the smallest room size at the hotel, playfully called Miss Petite: the room was small, but not ridiculously so – it was more than big enough for the two of us for a short trip. There was also an ensuite bathroom in the room with a shower, toilet and sink, so we had everything we needed. Volkshotel boasts a number of cool amenities: Canvas is a club and restaurant on the 7th floor, serving up delicious food during the day and DJs and dancefloors by night. The lobby hosts a small cafe serving up coffees, pastries and more, while the rooftop terrace offers incredible views over the city and even a number of hot tubs for guests to use for free. We also rented our bikes from the hotel at a very reasonable rate, and this made it really easy for us to make the most of our short stay in the city without having to factor in time to go to a bike rental at the beginning and end of our trip. I’ll definitely stay at Volkshotel again when I return to Amsterdam – it was the perfect choice of hotel for our minibreak.
Photo credit: agathea
So that’s that: a rundown of my favourite foodie spots in Amsterdam. Let me know what you think of these spots if you go, or if you’ve already visited! You can get in touch on Instagram, Twitter or by commenting below – I love to hear from you! As always, the Instagram accounts for the spots I’ve mentioned are linked below, and you can find a wealth of visitor information on the Amsterdam tourist site. Happy scrolling!
Winkel 43 (they actually don’t have an Instagram, but I’ve linked their geotag for you to scroll through instead!