Over the years I’ve eaten more than my fair share of breakfasts, lunches and brunches around Amsterdam. I have my favourites and I’ve shared details of many of them, but for a long time I’ve known that not yet having eaten at Dignita was a big gap in my repertoire.
In the beginning it was the name. I just couldn’t get that Swiss clinic out my head. And the only branch open at that time was on the Amstelveensweg – its a nice area but I’d never really been there in the morning. And then there was the queue.
But then they opened a branch in the incredible Hoftuin (before more recently opening a third outpost on the Spaarndammerstraat close to the Westerpark) and I knew the game was up. I simply had to go. So I did. I ended up going to both the Amstelveensweg and Hoftuin branches within a week. And it was amazing. And now I can tell you all about it and why you should make eating there a total priority.
Let me start with the branch in the Hoftuin because it’s the one I strongly recommend you visit. All branches pretty much share a menu, but the venue in the Hoftuin is idyllic. Imagine a glass box in a small park – really a secret garden – just by the Hermitage museum. The box is Dignita – it has fabulous views and a divine terrace (with the perfect green space for kids to explore and roam freely) and and oh… the food.
The first thing you need to know is that their ethos is ‘to hand craft every menu item from scratch using free range and locally sourced ingredients where possible.’ And they mean it. I saw a recruitment ad for a new chef and their standards are high!
Rather than evangelise about the food, I’m simply going to list just a few of my favourite things on the menu which reads like poetry to me. The items and ingredients speak for themselves but take my word for it – they are executed in the most stunning fashion made from scratch to order with organic goodness and lots of love.
Their slogan – “eat well, do good” has real meaning and is no platitude.
- Sweet start
A complete breakfast board to start your day. Mini croissants & rustic ‘Van Menno’ bread, jam & butter, Greek yoghurt & granola, seasonal fruit, coffee & freshly pressed OJ
- Nutty granola
Our signature Nutty granola made with wholegrain oats, loads of nuts and laced with tahini & cardamom flavours. Served with a dollop of raspberry chia jelly & your choice of greek yoghurt or homemade coconut yoghurt
- Creamy organic burrata with savoury granola
200g of creamy organic burrata Pugliese, sprinkled with a spiced hazelnut and rosemary granola, served with crunchy watercress and ‘Van Menno’ rustic bread
- Smashed avo
Lashings of smashed avo piled on top of homemade nut and seed bread and served with De Meibloem goats cheese, shaved red onion, cucumber, basil oil & garden herbs
Add on: free range poached egg
- Zucchini & chickpea fritter
Our ever popular fritters served with minted yoghurt, grilled haloumi, free range poached egg, cashew nut sukkah, lime and a wedge of fresh avocado
- Zucchini and Scarmoza hard mozzarella bruschetta
‘Van Menno’ rustic bread, flame toasted & decked with chargrilled zucchini ribbons, fresh mint, oregano and Italian Scamorza hard mozzarella
- Eggs your way
Scrambled (whole or white only), poached or fried Freiland free range eggs served with wild garlic aioli on our rustic homemade bread
Ask us about adding on streaky bacon/creamy truffled mushrooms/roasted tomatoes/smashed avocado
- Strawberries & cream pancake stack
Fluffy American style poppyseed pancakes decadently topped with lavender infused mascarpone, toasted almonds, fresh summer berries and crushed meringue. Finally drizzled with the purest Canadian maple syrup
(and to be clear – they’re not doing this for Instagram, their food looks amazing because… well, it is!)
In case you were wondering about the ‘do good’ aspect of their philosophy, not only is their approach to food extremely wholesome but they are also part of the Not For Sale social enterprise model. An international organization that, through its social enterprises, works to provide certified training programs and support a vulnerable target group of individuals, assisting them in developing greater resilience as they seek to become reintegrated into the workplace and society.
If you’re thinking about heading to the Vondelpark branch, rather than the Hoftuin, it’s hugely popular. Get there between 10.00 and 3.00 on weekends and you’ll definitely be queuing for a table. It’s small and cosy and the food is just as fabulous.
And as if that isn’t enough, Dignita is also great for kids. They have a kids menu that includes fried or poached eggs on toast, a pancake with fruit or a small fruit bowl and they are super flexible if you want to switch things around or make additions. To drink they offer the marvellously named ‘kids fluffy’ (basically a spruced up babycino) or order a hot chocolate made with Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate, and there’s even a small play area in the Vondelpark branch.
Trust me, even if you have just one breakfast or brunch in Amsterdam, make sure its at Dignita.
You can thank me later