On a bright and mild October Saturday, the younger mini-Dutchie and I headed out for a “mama and me” brunch in town. We laughed as the tram passed the queues of tourists lining up outside CT Coffee and Coconuts, Bakers and Roasters and The Avocado Show. The journey felt like a guided tour of modern Amsterdam tourist dining, and whilst none of those options are bad, neither are they the best of what the city has to offer.
Instead we headed past the Pijp and ironically, deeper into the tourist centre before ducking into one of Amsterdam’s real gems.
Readers of our blog know that there is a special place in our heart for real Amsterdam cafe’s. Some are former Grand Cafe’s that have been modernised (places like De Ysbreeker or Cafe Americain), others are more recent openings, but they are all Amsterdam institutions with great food, high ceilings and light, bright and airy rooms. There are terraces for Summer, a more cosy interior in Winter and best of all, they are invariably less touristy than the latest cafe concept du jour.
Cafe de Jaren is just such a place. Famous for its canalside terrace and balcony overlooking the Amstel River and complete with its very own jetty, this lovely cafe on the Kloveniersburgwal ticks a ton of boxes.
The outdoor tables were a little chilly for our visit so we headed indoors and were lucky enough to get a much coveted window seat. The interior is spacious and light. Theatre posters line the walls, there’s jewel-coloured tiling on the floor, a large shared reading table and a whole range of cosy nooks and corners.
Upstairs is the main restaurant and balcony, whilst downstairs we shared the space with Amsterdammers – both alone and in groups, enjoying “gezeligheid” over a coffee and the weekend papers.
I opted for the open sandwich with s
You’ll have to wait a while for a seat on the terrace on a sunny day but don’t let that put you off. If you’re looking for a real Amsterdam breakfast, brunch or lunch in the heart of the city, dodge the tourists and do what the locals do – with any luck, you won’t find an influencer or Instagrammer in sight.