When planning a trip to Amsterdam the obvious plans will include the canals, the red light district, maybe with a few museums thrown in. These are all great and you must do them, but what I quickly realised on my recent trip to Amsterdam was that the food and drink there is amazing. There are so many options and we tried to fit in as many as we could, but with only three days it was impossible to do everything. So here is my Amsterdam food and drink guide!
De Brabantse Aap
We arrived in Amsterdam just before lunch on our first day and were faced with the classic overwhelming excitement of being in a new place, walking around trying to take everything in. It was time to make a decision of somewhere to eat, we had just made it to the edge of the 9 Straatjes (Streets) and stumbled across a small place near to the canal. From the outside De Brabantse Aap looked like it might be quite high end and had a nice little conservatory area as well as the main bar area. We decided to just order drinks to start with, the atmosphere was great as it was nice and busy and the waiters were really friendly. A cold winter day called for a Hot Chocolate and an Irish Coffee, whilst sipping our drinks we saw the food people were ordering and it was time to bite the bullet and order something. We daringly decided to order from the dutch menu and not ask for the English version like many others were. Not being fussy eaters has its advantages when travelling.
I ended up with an incredibly fresh lunch of bread topped with smoked chicken, bacon, egg, avocado and salad. This was a perfect light lunch. My other half on the other hand ended up with a hotdog loaded with cheese, not so light but still delicious.
The De Pijp district of Amsterdam is supposedly becoming the new trendy area and was located a good 30 min walk from the more central and busy parts. My Husband loves his beer so I always try to find good local places to try. We knew we wanted to avoid the busy and overpriced Heineken Brewery and came across this place when researching our trip. The Troost brewery was amazingly hipster, with the tanks of brewing beer on display. They had roughly eight different beers to try and my other half got one of their beer flights, four 0.5l glasses of beer of their choosing for 10 euros, which he really enjoyed. I of course sampled the wine, as ever.
We did not eat here but the food smelled amazing and if we had had time I definitely would have eaten here. It was nice and quiet when we went as it was early evening but I can imagine it gets quite busy in the evenings. The one downside of this place is that they only accepted card not cash, which might put some travellers off.
Where ever you are in the world they will always have a central market or a food hall and Amsterdam was no exception. The foodhallen was located in the Amsterdam Oud-West district and it did not disappoint. Although on our walk there we walked past a number of restaurants the foodhallen itself was fairly hidden and housed in what gives the impression of a re-used industrial building. We went on a Sunday night hoping it would not have been too busy and although we did struggle to get a seat to start with, there weren’t any big queues for the food or drink.
The room itself was a big open hall lined down either side with street food sized food stalls, with seating and bar areas in the centre, beautifully decorated with rustic touches and strings of lights. I like to try the local food when I visit a new place so headed straight for the bitterballen bar. Meat and cheese filled deep fried balls, served with a mayonaise. Whats not to love. These cost 10-12 euros for 10.
We managed to find some seats at the Gin bar and proceeded to order the largest gin and tonic I had ever seen. Their gin menu was extensive, not only in terms of the types of gin on offer but the mixers and garnishes that go with it all perfectly matching. We went for the cheapest option which was about 9 euros but the prices went up to about 15 euros. We then proceeded to order some Dim Sum, I could have eaten from every single stall if I had the time! This place is a must!
The Cheese Museum
Down every street in Amsterdam you will find a shop that sells cheese. We headed to one which was named The Cheese Museum. It wasn’t really a museum, there was a small display downstairs and a few bits of information about how cheese is made which was free to look at. The best part about these cheese shops was that there are free samples of every variety of cheese they sell, which was a lot. They sold everything from a traditional Gouda to a pesto cheese. We tried a lot of the free samples which was a very budget friendly way of sampling some cheese and a good way to stop yourself getting hungry whilst you are out and about exploring.
We spent a morning walking around the Jordaan district of Amsterdam which is where you can find Anne Frank House, Westerkerk and The Cheese Museum. I wanted to go to Winkel 43 as I had read that they have the best Apple Pie in all of Amsterdam, but with a queue out the door and a Husband who hates queues, we weren’t willing to wait. So we carried on walking and found a cosy little bar/café called Café Wester. We managed to get a window seat and proceeded to order Hot Chocolates and beer, closely followed by some serious comfort food of deep fried cheese and beef croquette sandwiches which cost 8 euros. So many carbs! This was such a heavy lunch but it warmed us up a treat.
The majority of people were ordering from the selection of freshly made cakes on display at the end of the bar and we soon realised they had their own Apple Pie. I was stuffed so I only managed one bite of the pie which was made from deliciously buttery pastry and deeply filled with cinnamon flavoured apples, served with cream. I am not sure Winkel 43 could have beat it!
Brouwerij ’t IJ
What could be more Dutch than drinking beer in a Windmill in Amsterdam? Nothing. Brouwerij ’t IJ was a fair distance outside of the main part of Amsterdam, we took the long walk to this Windmill which houses an independent brewery. This place was popular but fairly sizeable, with long tables and again the brewing tanks on display. Here we trialled the tasting board of beers and I sampled the wine, both reasonably priced.
There was no proper food menu here but a small number of beer snacks you could order, we decided to order the cheese and sausage board. This was a delicious snack to have with our drinks and made our time here feel very authentic. It is worth visiting here if only to see a Windmill in Amsterdam, but it was also nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of the centre of Amsterdam.
Whilst sitting in one of the brewery’s we visited we were trying to decide where to go for dinner that evening. We wanted to eat near the red light district so that we could see it at night but without going into one of the many places aimed towards tourists. Some persistent searching on Google found Bierfabriek, their food menu was not very extensive but it was simple and they also brewed two of their own beers. Located down one of the many alleyways it was not a place you would stumble across and seemed to be popular with the locals.
Now I have been to some hipster places in my time but I think this place now sits proudly at the top of my list. On every table, free for you to have, was a pile of fresh peanuts. Fairly normal, a little snack for you to help yourself to. Until we realised that when you had cracked open and eaten your nut you simply discarded the shell on the floor. Yes on the floor. There were nut shells everywhere (this place should probably come with a nut allergy warning). Throwing nuts on a restaurant floor felt odd but weirdly satisfying. We decided to both order the chicken (14 euros) which came with home made bbq and chilli sauce which were delicious. It was nice to have a substantial meal rather than a snack or street food.
We did not have breakfast included at our hotel, one because they always cost so much and two because they limit you to what time you have to get up and have breakfast. Luckily we were staying only a short walk from the 9 Straatjes where there are numerous little cafés, food counters and deli’s. Everywhere you turn you will see somewhere that is selling some form of food, which I love about Amsterdam. We found this cute little bakery located on one of the corners next to a canal. Everything was freshly made and included croissants, pain au chocolat, sandwiches, sausage rolls and more. We opted for some early morning pastry to give us the kick start we needed on a winter morning which was both tasty and incredibly affordable.
De drie graefjes
This little café is quite far out of town, we stumbled across it whilst out exploring on our bikes, located opposite the old Olympic Stadium. We managed to park our bikes outside and went in just for a drink. There was a counter full of home made cakes which you could take away but we decided to sit in and have a lovely Hot Chocolate and Coffee. The food looked amazing here but we just needed to warm up. I would love to be able to go back and try the food and would recommend stopping here if you find yourself in this part of Amsterdam.
Pizzeria Steakhouse Amsterdam
It was our last few hours in Amsterdam and we needed to grab a quick lunch before catching our train back to the airport. Everywhere was getting busy and we didn’t have the luxury of walking around or researching where to go so we just nipped in to the Steakhouse as it looked like it did reasonably priced food. I was hankering for a burger for some reason and my other half opted for a Calzone (roughly 13-15 euros). The food was not out of this world amazing but it was good and the staff were friendly. The position of this restaurant makes it a bit of a tourist trap but if you just want to grab something quick and easy, then this is a good place to try.
Unfortunately it is not acceptable to always be eating and it also doesn’t do my bank balance any favours. With just three days in Amsterdam we really did try as many places as we could, but I would love to know of any other places worth trying for a return visit in the future.