So, you’re a foodie and you find yourself with 48 hours to eat your way around the magical city of Amsterdam. Below you’ll find an itinerary based on the places that Amsterdammers-in-the-know call their favourites. You’ll be steering clear of predictable recommendations frequented mainly by tourists and heading instead to destinations with great atmosphere and seriously great food. Those looking for a list of the city’s exclusive 8-course tasting menus often based in 5 star hotel dining-rooms might be disappointed. Though there are many of these that are worth discovering, they will have to wait for another visit.
Anyway, let’s get down to business. Are you ready? Here’s hoping you’ve been starving yourself for the last week because things are about to get gourmet…
Let’s kick things off with a coffee and a bite to eat at Scandinavian Embassy. Rumour has it this incredible place will be the first coffee bar to get a Michelin star. Take a seat at the counter and watch the chef conjure up the beans of your dreams and an Instagrammable Nordic breakfast.
Coffee and buns at Scandinavian Embassy
After that, make the most of being in The Pijp, and explore the surrounding streets – the area has become one of the city’s major foodie destinations. Check out stunning café’s like the hip converted art-deco theatre CT Coffee and Coconuts; grab an authentic Surinamese sandwich to-go from the amazing Tijn’s foodstore; take a look at hipster heaven Yoghurt Barn, or peek into deli’s like the delightful Gout all of which are clustered along streets like Eerste van der Helststraat, Ferdinand Bolstraat and the gorgeous Gerard Doestraat.
Best of all is the Albert Cuyp Market. Whatever else you do, you absolutely must try Amsterdam’s original street food by way of the city’s best herring at the “Vlaardingse Haringhandel” stand and afterwards, grab yourself a fresh stroopwafel or some poffertjes from across the way. If by any remote chance you have room, wander down to the Harewood Bakery for a doughnut keeping your eyes peeled for Europe’s first avocado restaurant which opened earlier this year and has attracted a huge amount of global Insta-buzz.
A visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without tasting a “haring”
Feeling full? – power-walk it off quick because you need to get ready for lunch. Criss-cross the canal belt making sure you look out for Amsterdam’s best chips on sale at Vlemincx – there’s no chance of you missing it with a year-round queue outside. Your destination however is the tiny hidden gem that is Gartine. With only 20 seats you must book ahead as tables here are like gold dust. It’s in an unlikely spot but the food– picked daily from the owners’ kitchen garden and orchard – is unpretentious and exceptional.
The best things come in small packages by way of Gartine
In the afternoon why not take a stroll through the 9 Streets and enjoy the independent shops and lovely canal views. You’re probably bursting at the seams so it would just be mean to point out all the foodie treats but do take a look at MARQT, Amsterdam’s answer to Whole Foods which is popping up all over the city, and if you need a quick sit-down, stop by Chocolaterie Pompadour for a coffee. It’s a classic “Mitteleuropean” tearoom serving handmade truffles crafted from Valrhona chocolate and coffee served Dutch-style with a little bite of something special on the side.
Forget Tesco, Marqt is supermarket shopping Dutch style
Ok, take a deep breath because it’s nearly time for dinner. In the evening head east to the amazing De Kas. This unique restaurant is housed in a vast greenhouse in the Frankendael Park where almost all the food is grown on site. It’s stunning and romantic and the perfect place to end the day.
Farm to fork the Amsterdam way at De Kas
Up for more? Great, well, I’m going imagine it’s a sunny weekend and you feel like a spot of brunch. Take a trip on G’s brunch boat and sail the canals enjoying their signature bloody marys. It’s a great way to see the city without succumbing to the large tourist cruisers hawking for business in the less attractive parts of town.
Its bloody marys a go-go onboard G’s Bruch Boat
It seems ridiculous to point you straight towards lunch afterwards, so think of it as a mid-afternoon indulgence instead. Get yourself to the incredible De Hallen complex in a converted tram shed in the west of the city. This cultural centre includes the magnificent Foodhallen where 20 of Amsterdam’s finest foodie vendors vie for your business. The Butcher, the city’s much-loved burger joint has a stand, but my top tip is Viet View for Vietnamese street food followed by Petit Gateau for dessert. The whole area has enjoyed a resurgence since the De Hallen opening and the surrounding streets also house many of the city’s best new eateries. If you’re in need of a coffee, I’d head round the corner to Lot Sixty One. It’s a small espresso bar run by passionate guys who really know their beans. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday you’ve lucked out, it’s roasting day and the smell will lure you in from the very end of the Kinkerstraat.
The only problem at Foodhallen is what to choose
In need of a spot of exercise now? Take a walk up to the Jordaan in the late afternoon. Once there, you simply have to head to Winkel 43 and grab a seat on the crowded terrace to enjoy nothing less than the world’s best apple pie.
Coffee and cake doesn’t get better than the freshly made apple pies at Winkel 43
Wow, you’ve made it, just one more meal before the good times end. Putting together a definitive list has meant leaving out so many wonderful places that I’m going to make up for it by giving you a choice of five amazing places for dinner depending on your mood. First up, consider heading East and avoid the tourists at the wonderful Wilde Zwijnen or its cosy other-half next-door, the Wilde Zwijnen Eetbar . Over the last 7 years, some of Amsterdam’s best but least-pretentious food has been served at their rustic tables and its a must if you’re looking for a memorable meal that manages to be authentically Modern-Dutch notwithstanding the Spanish influence. Fancy something more fishy? Then the recently opened Bar Fisk is the place to head, where the Mediterranean waters of Tel Aviv and Barcelona have inspired dreamy dishes in a cosy eatery in The Pijp. Or perhaps you’re after some serious room-wow? In that case, why not make the effort to head over to super-hip Amsterdam North, and give Hotel de Goudfazant a try. This huge warehouse restaurant housed in a former garage (resplendent with classic Porsche’s and Ferrari’s) is always buzzing and the food is delicious. It’s the place for a laid back meal with friends rather than one of Amsterdam’s multi-course tasting menus but we’ve always enjoyed the vibe here alongside Amsterdam’s finest. If you’d prefer to stay in town head to Café Loetje for steak. It’s a total Amsterdam institution and the one place we head to on almost every visit to the city. Order the biefstuuk ossenhass which is a kind of fillet steak in burnt-butter sauce and start dreaming of your next visit. Or, if you’d rather end on a glam note, get your glad-rags on for a meal at The Duchess in the W Hotel. Housed in the old KAS Bank, the room is absolutely magnificent, and the food won’t disappoint.
Dine in a room with the wow factor at The Duchess
Ok, you’ve packed an awful lot in (literally) but the truth is there is at least another week’s worth of impossibly wonderful places to try. The Amsterdam food scene is exploding right now at every end of the spectrum, and innovative chefs are experimenting with tasting menus that are creating some serious waves. For more information browse the recommendations in our blog more thoroughly (homepage here) which we keep up to date with new openings and top tips.
Amsterdam is a magical city and navigating it via food is as good a way as any to uncover its hidden delights.