48 hours in Amsterdam
I think its safe to say we’ve all played the dreaded Restaurant Roulette game while away on holidays. Its tiring walking from one restaurant to the next hoping to find something to entice you inside. We live in a world where social media is the easiest way to access all the information we need but even with this at our fingertips, it can be a daunting process to choose the right restaurant.
I try to get away for a short city break as often as my wallet allows and I love researching where ill spend my euros before I go. I wouldn’t say accommodation falls into second place but it wouldn’t be strange for me to book somewhere if it were close to a few nice restaurants.
This time around I ended up in beautiful Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital and is renowned for its pretty canals, gorgeous architecture, city cycling and Museum district to name but a few. In times gone by Amsterdam would not have been synonymous for its food scene but in recent years, it has hit the ground running. I had the tough job of eating my way around the city for two days and I’ve narrowed my culinary adventure down to 5 places you need to check out if you are planning on visiting.
Monks Coffee Roasters
This charming little coffee shop is located on Bilderdijkstraat street in Amsterdam west. When you walk in you are greeted not only by the friendly staff but also an array of freshly baked pastries and cakes. The decor is minimalist chic and what I loved the most apart from the food was the diverse crowd, from young friends in for breakfast to an elderly couple playing board games while having coffee. The atmosphere is superb.
The menu is compact but packs a serious punch. From breakfast bowls, buttermilk waffles to smoked salmon rosti’s, it caters for everyone. We feasted on eggs Benedict and an array of sweet bakes washed down by two divine lattes. I also took away a slice of croissant bread & butter pudding because why not!
If you’re in the neighborhood, the Monks Coffee Roasters is a must.
Bakers & Roasters
This bustling little mecca may not need an introduction as its made quite the name for itself in the city. In their own words “Bakers & Roasters is a New Zealand style cafe served with a heavy dose of Brazil” What more could one ask for?
On approach we spotted the queue before the cafe so I was not surprised when we were told there was a 45 minute wait for a table. They don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait. Your mobile number is taken and you get a message when your table is ready so this gave us time to grab a coffee down the street. On arriving back we were seated in the middle of the room, it was bustling with music and conversation. There’s not a huge amount of space between each table so go else where if your planning on having a private conversation. The menu reads beautifully and the food is served promptly. I had the ‘Betterballen’, which was two panko breaded beef dutch croquettes, poached egg, sauteed kale and mustard hollandaise, trust me when I say it was as delicious as it sounds.
Their menu is paired with a great selection of juices, coffees and brunch cocktails. Its a fun energetic room and is a great way to kick-start the day.
De Hallen is a refurbished tram station dating back to 1902 in the trendy neighborhood of Out-West. Under its roof it houses, crafts, fashion, a cinema, even a hotel but most importantly its home to Food Hallen. If you fancy a little taste of upmarket street food then this is the place to go.
From Vietnamese to Mediterranean bites, sweet treats to mouth watering dutch classics, there really is a little something for everyone. The best thing is, it wont break the bank and you get to taste food from all over the globe under one roof.
We shared a selection of home smoked BBQ’d finger food and finished with some outrageous dim sum! We arrived at 11 am on a Sunday and it was pretty quiet but in the space of one hour the room was buzzing so it would be advisable to arrive as early as possible to nab some seats.
This traditional market is situated on Noorderkerk, one of the most picturesque squares in the city.
Its open on Mondays and Saturdays from 9 am and it dates back to 1623. Today it sells an array of antiques, brick-a-brac, fresh food, jewelry, paintings and flowers.
We spent a solid hour wandering around talking and bargaining with the charismatic vendors. Each turn you take you’re met with a different aroma, it was an assault on the senses in the best possible way. We were greeted with freshly baked bread, seafood, dutch cheese and my favourite, sauteed chanterelles in butter at the mushroom stall. If you have nowhere to be and enjoy browsing this is a great way to spend an hour or two. After talking to a few people they said there’s more vendors there on a Saturday so It may be better to go at the weekend. The market is conveniently located beside Winkel’s which is renowned for its famous dutch apple pie, a deep filled pie sprinkled with cinnamon served warm with a side of sweetened cream. The portions are big so one between two will serve you well. The girl working there said it was the best in the Netherlands and possibly the world! I loved her enthusiasm and it sure was tasty.
When a good friend recommended this restaurant to me (Thank you Peaches x), I knew I was on to a winner. De Kas is a fine dining restaurant which is set inside the most magical refurbished eight meter high green house which dates back to the 1920’s. They can easily cater for over 100 people for lunch and dinner so this is a meticulously run operation. The menu changes daily depending on the vegetables and fruit they harvest from their own farm. On arriving we were escorted through a side nursery where an array of vegetable and herbs were growing, this led us into the conservatory where we had a pre dinner drink. The menu has a strong focus on their own homegrown vegetables, which is a welcomed change. We opted for the five course tasting menu with matching wines and oh boy we weren’t disappointed. From roasted beetroot, radicchio, umeboshi, soya beurre blanc to red chicory with pancetta and coffee vinaigrette to our finale of Jerusalem artichoke sorbet, lemongrass meringue. It was a experience I will remember for quite some time. Service was relaxed but attentive and we skipped out the door and relived each course all the way back to our hotel.
Depending on the time of year there is a waiting list so try and book in advance if you can.
Where to stay?
Hotel Mr Jordaan
I took a shot in the dark and went with my gut and oh boy did it pay off. While in Amsterdam we stayed in Mr Jordaan hotel in the picturesque area of yes you got it, Jordaan! The hotel is small but perfectly formed and is in an ideal location if you want to be a short walk or tram ride from all Amsterdam has to offer. On check in we were given an amazing breakdown of places to see and things to do so if its your first time in the city, its the ideal start. We checked into one of the rooftop rooms and to say I didn’t want to leave was an understatement. As I had lunches and dinners pre booked we didn’t avail of the daily continental breakfast but on check out we were given the cutest goodie bag of nibbles and were sent on our merry way. Its spotless, friendly, informal and a breath of fresh air and I’ll definitely be staying with the Mr Jordaan crew when I visit again.