The first holiday of the year was one that’s been planned for a few months. A trip to Amsterdam! I’d been before for a day and had a night out but that was over ten years ago.
We set off on a dark cold morning to the airport armed with our guidebooks marked off with all the things we wanted to see and do, including places that might be good to eat and drink.
Anne Frank House, Rijks Museum, Van Gogh Museum, a boat trip, generally admiring the architecture and wandering along the canals, off the beaten track and through the Red Light District, were all on the list. All were worthwhile, I thoroughly enjoyed the museums and galleries, and wandering the canals in the snow was beautiful.
On to the food and drink. There’s no way you’d struggle to find something you’ll like in Amsterdam. There’s restaurants, snack bars, bakeries, pubs, cafes and bars almost everywhere you look. Plus the coffeeshops! Even walking through the less touristy areas we found places to warm up and have a snack or a drink.
Chips and mayo was an essential eat for this trip! French fries with “fritessaus” is a Dutch fast food found all over the Netherlands. As with any classic food served all over a city there’s more than one place claiming they’re the best! We tried two places, one was said to be the oldest, the other said to be voted number 1. At the oldest spot we went for a different favourite sauce, satay, it looked completely unappealing (as you’ll see from the photo!) but the sauce was delicious and the fries were, in my opinion, the best. Super crispy outside and fluffy inside. The place that was voted the best had the option of vegan “fritessaus”, Dutch style mayo, which has less fat and is sweeter than usual mayo, it was really tasty.
From fries to drinks, you’re never short of somewhere to call for a drink in Amsterdam. Small pubs, “cafes”, as they call them, line the tiny cobbled streets and canal sides, at this time of year offering a refuge from the cold. Most having a few beer options, a basic selection of spirits and wine and some offer hot drinks too. There’s also bigger bars and clubs too but we mostly stuck to calling in little pubs for one and moving on. Every one we went in was welcoming and cosy. My advice would be don’t stick to the main streets, wander off and you’ll find places filled with locals and a really great atmosphere, plus they’re usually a little cheaper for a beer!
Back to the food. There were a couple of stand out places I’d recommend. For brunch I’d read about Cut Throat, a barbershop, yep get your haircut or beard trimmed, with a bar inside! You walk into the bar not immediately obvious that it’s a barbers, and then you spot the chairs and mirrors on the other side. Inside it’s beautiful, an old tiled arched building with loads of character. The vegan “chicken” and waffles was amazing, the best seitan I’ve had. Served with maple syrup, hot sauce and an apple slaw. We had mimosas and coffees too. We also stumbled across a gorgeous little french creperie late one morning after visiting Anne Frank House. Again another lovely, quirky building, how I walked up the stairs without banging my head I’ll never know! Gorgeous crepes and the most beautiful cup of tea I’ve had in a long time, their tea was brought in from Paris (so a trip to Paris might be due soon to buy some tea!).
All in all a great few days in an interesting and beautiful city.
Where to eat and drink in Amsterdam?
Check out some of the places I ate and drank around Amsterdam…
Cut Throat – get a haircut, a cocktail and tasty food under one roof!
Cocotte – buckwheat crepes, perfect if you can’t eat gluten.
Kam Yin – big portions of Chinese food, speedy service.
Il Pacioccone – cute Italian owned restaurant with tasty pasta and wine, the menu changes daily.
Manneken Pis – you can get fries with vegan mayo here.
Vlaams Freithuis Vleminckx – my favourite of the two places we tried for fries.
Mata Hari – gorgeous place just at the top of the red light district. We just had drinks but they serve food too.
Van Gogh Museum – we had soup and a beer at the cafe after a tour of the museum.
Blushing – lovely little place for a coffee in between museum visits.