Another city, another city guide! After our last trip to Copenhagen, I couldn’t wait for Amsterdam. I’d heard so many good things, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I’d been told of the winding canals, and cute side streets, which were indeed beautiful, if not slightly difficult to navigate through and find your bearings. I definitely had my google maps out a fair few times, taking a 90° turn or two before the arrow was facing in the right direction; yes, I may of looked crazy. I must say, Amsterdam was a lot bigger than I expected, and it seemed the ‘must see’ places and food spots were often spread fairly sporadically around the city. So, apart from writing this blog post to allow me to reminisce over my travels, I thought a guide would be handy to help navigate you through the city if you ever wish to visit, or of course, return. Be expecting some coffee spots; because if you don’t know already, I’m pretty much a professional at seeking out those vibey, industrial, independent style coffee shops, as well as shopping areas, great districts of the city, and a few food hit spots. There’s so much to share, so read on for all the inspo on food spots, coffee shops, and must eats, as well as some ‘to dos’!
Let’s start with coffee, because as the motto goes, ‘but first, coffee’….
Lot Sixty One – Dotted around a few areas of city. We visited the one on ‘Kinkerstraat 112’, set on a cute corner by one of the many canals, (that won’t help you find it at all!) serving great coffee and homemade cakes, all within the most epic double levelled space. As you walk in there’s the coffee station and some seating, and if you head down to the lower level there’s more seating set around an actual coffee roasters, which really adds to the cool vibe. Oh and just one other plus point for me, they use Bonsoy soya milk- the best one around!
Koffiespot- Situated on the Elandsgracht, seeming to be a really popular spot in the neighbourhood for people to grab a take out, or sit down with a leisurely coffee and sweet treat. Good to know: as well as serving various breakfasts (croissants/ yoghurt and granola/ banana bread etc) they also serve different types of freshly made sandwiches here at lunchtime as well as homemade cakes, some sugar free, lactose free and gluten free! Oh, and they really do make a good coffee! I think we visited three times throughout our trip- enough to call me a regular?
Koffie Academie- Cute, similar vibe to the above (would I really go for anything else?), great for a quick stop off or a cosy sit down!
Now for some food spots…
Mama Kelly- You may have seen it on Instagram; the all pink restaurant, giving you irresistible picture opportunities, pink gins (dream), and great food. What more could you want? It’s situated in a fairly random area near the Olympic stadium, but totally makes up for it with it’s buzzy atmosphere and funky setting. Oh and trust me, this isn’t one of those gimmick type restaurants with amazing decor but awful food… the food was AMAZING!
Foodhallen- Now, we love a food hall; and by that I mean a classy, indoor food market, serving an array of high end street food and drinks, but I must say, this one tops them all. Set in a magnificent room with tall ceilings, industrial vibes, and with more than 20 different food stations to choose from, all made straight in front of you. It really does give you the opportunity to have a taste of it all, (ok, maybe not all 20 stalls) without being tied down to one cuisine. You can find everything from wood-fired pizzas to Vietnamese summer rolls, sushi, taco bowls (vegan friendly), Greek meze to artisanal burgers from some of Amsterdam’s best-loved kitchens- all at a really reasonable price too. Alongside this, there’s a gin bar, with an extensive menu, a wine bar and beer station, so there really is something for everyone. Slight confession- we were repeat offenders. It was just so tasty, and with such a great atmosphere, it seemed like there was no other place to be than this vibey local weekend hang out spot.
Crab sushi rolls // Sweet potato fries & reg fries from the famous ‘The Butcher’ (the sweet potato ones are so much nicer than the normal just FYI) // Pork vietnamese rolls from ‘Viet View’…
Juice Brothers- Listen up, this was honestly THE best açai bowl I have ever tasted. Big statement seeing as though it was only last week that I said I had nailed making my own. Anyway, if you go, definitely choose the ‘Açai Almond’; granted I didn’t try any of the others, but honestly, I wouldn’t stray away! There’s nothing more to add, just look at the photo! Oh and btw, it’s located in various areas around the city; we went to the one at ‘9 Streets’ and it was super good!
SLA– This place is one of those healthy, choose your own salad kind of places. All I can say is, I have no idea how I got Jordan in here. It was enjoyable, albeit not the same as some epic avo on toast or that amazing açai bowl, but nice enough and I’d definitely go back.
Front- vegan bowl with all the greens, lentils, some funky hummus, and heaps of coriander! // Back- Chicken based bowl of heaven!
Other places that deserve a mention…
Here you’ll find a few little gems we discovered along the way for a quick snack on the go.
Pluk, Amsterdam- Perfectly instagrammable cafe and interiors gift shop, servings breakfast, lunch and yummy sweet treats. Jordan and I shared the ‘pumpkin blondie’ (both GF and Vegan) and it was SO good!
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels & Van Stapele- DISCLAIMER* I didn’t eat the goodies below as they unfortunately contain uncountable amounts of gluten and dairy, however take it from my better half that if you have a sweet tooth then you must try both of the local treats below!
Left- Van Wonderen Stroopwafels // Right- Van Stapele cookie shop, located near the 9 Streets (this place only sells one type of cookie, but with queues of up to 45 minutes, it must be good!)
STACH- A small deli type cafe, most of the time found on a cute corner, selling coffee, drinks, sushi, snacks (both gluten free and not), and epic sweet treats!
Left – dark (vegan), milk & white peanut butter cups // Right – cookies and brownies
Amsterdam is most certainly a walking city, or you can rent bikes if you’re brave enough to navigate your way through the roads/ be equally aware of bikes coming from every direction! Places you must see, by foot or bike…
Vondel Park – A lovely park, situated fairly close to our Hotel (Pillows, Amsterdam – which was gorgeous by the way!) which is perfect for a nice stroll or bike ride. There a also cute stops in and around the park to grab food or a drink… especially a hot one to keep you warm in the colder months.
‘The Nine Streets’ – Probably our favourite area of Amsterdam, located in the heart of the city’s historic canal district. The Nine Streets intersect the main canals between the Leidsestraat and the Jordaan district, which make this a perfect area to start and then explore between a few districts. I adored the shops and cafe’s around these streets, so much so that we somehow made our way back to this area most days of our trip. I definitely made some good purchases, one being the green coat below that kept me warm for the whole trip… I’m a sucker for a cosy coat, and I’m a great cuddler!!
The Anne Frank Museum – A place and experience that cannot be put into words, but one that you must see if you visit Amsterdam. It is a moving and touching experience, and one that really adds to your experience of the city and it’s history. Top tip – try and book tickets in advance because the museum gets really busy.
The Red Light District – Again, a must see, and for me, a totally surreal and crazy experience. I almost felt as though it couldn’t be real, and that everything that I’d been told before visiting must be an exaggeration, but in fact it couldn’t have been more true and realistic seeing it for myself. Best to visit during the night to experience the real hustle and busyness of the area, but you probably won’t want to stick around for long!
Pillows Amsterdam – I thought the hotel we stayed in deserved a little mention after our fabulous stay at ‘Pillows Anna van den Vondel’. Situated slightly out of the main city centre, but just a short walk and totally worth it. Beautiful rooms, views, freshly made to order breakfast and welcoming staff, really giving it that extra special touch and intimate ambiance.
And the rest is for you to discover…
It’s a bonus that I have stumbled across such great food spots, but honestly, I believe these kind of trips are all about adventure, trying new things, and sharing experiences with the people you travel with. If the food is good, well then, you’ve hit the jackpot. There are an abundance of places we’ve yet to try, but that’ll have to be when we return. Hope you enjoyed the read.