It’s that time already, time for part 3 of my Amsterdam trip guide. A year past our honeymoon, feels like well past time to share this information, but I’m still so excited to share all of this information with all of you, and relive my experience while doing so. As a huge shipping port city and tourist destination in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a melting pot of cultures. This means there is something to eat for everyone. My traveling style is very much food focused. As soon as I finish breakfast, I’m planning lunch, and then, as soon as I finish Lunch, I’m wondering, “What’s for dinner?” We experienced a ton of awesome sights during our visit, and the colors and sounds of our memories are doubly reinforced by the tastes and smells we experienced. As I mentioned in part 1, I originally planned to review my Amsterdam post all in one, however, I found it impossible to fit all of that action into a reasonable sized post. Instead, I decided to break it up into sections. This is part 3, and I am excited to talk about all that there is to see and do in Amsterdam proper. Part 1, covered travel and accommodations, planning and expectations. Part 2 covered the sights and museums to visit, and part 4 will cover day trips from Amsterdam. Let’s get started!
We hit a few great restaurants during our trip, and we already know my life revolves around food. One of my favorites was Zoup and Go, a local chain, which serves a variety of soups and sandwiches. We went to one near Rembrandtplein on Easter Monday, when most of the town was shut down, and got a delicious curry soup. I was still feeling the worst parts of my cold, so the soup really hit the spot, and we also spoke with an awesome woman about Bob Dylan and the history of her neighborhood. Later that day we wandered out to the Pijp a brooklyn-esque portion of the city and found The Fat Dog where we had huge loaded hot dogs and a fish bowl of a Gin & Tonic complete with fever tree tonic, Sloan Gin, my new favorite, fresh red grapefruit slices and juniper berries. Both of these are great little restaurants, perfect for stopping in when you’re moving quickly through town.
As we were on our honeymoon, I made a point to hit a few sit down places as well. Ramen-Ya, is a traditional Ramen restaurant, where we tried real ramen for the first time at this underground spot just on the edge of the Red Light District. The food was excellent as was the service. Husband and I ended up splitting a bowl, as we were unsure if we would like it, and it was still a ton of food. Fun Facts, in the movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard during the car chase through Amsterdam, you can see this spot on the right side of the screen, as well as a few other locations that we remembered from our honeymoon.
As I mentioned, Amsterdam is a melting pot of cultures and foods. Warmoesstraat is where we often ended up, especially after a long day of wandering around. We also wandered Zeedijk a lot. You can find Burger Joints, Waffles, Italian foods, Shawarma, Pizza, Crepes, Paella, and even a Syrian restaurant. Needless to say it’s a great place to find food if you want to try something new or familiar. We found a Portuguese Grill called Restaurant de Portugees, one of our first nights in the city. It’s essentially a meat shack, but with better meats than what you can typically find in the U.S.. It’s right across the street from an Argentinian Steakhouse which is very similar, but if you’ve never had Linguica, portuguese sausage, I still recommend the Portuguese Grill.
Another of my favorite food experiences in Amsterdam was Rijstaffel. Rijstaffel originates from Indonesia, but has quickly become recognized as a traditional Dutch dish. In all of my research and hunting, I have found very few do it yourself recipes online and very few restaurants touting this type of food through the U.S. or even in other countries. So, Amsterdam has the highest concentration of Rijsttafel restaurants of any city in the world. Now for what it really is. Rijstaffel, meaning rice table, is a stir fry deconstructed. It consists of a ball of white rice in the middle, surrounded by toppings in a variety of flavors and textures. You can order it for one, or for many. The more people eating, the more toppings you can order generally.
We had a few quasi american food experiences in Amsterdam too. Whenever I travel, I try to experience as much local cuisine as possible, but it’s always fun to see what the locals think American foods taste like. On one of the days when I was feeling too sick to head out and explore, we ordered Papa John’s Pizza delivered to our Airbnb. Papa John’s is my favorite delivery pizza, and they had some really cool flavors like lamb shawarma and piri piri chicken bites. It was soo good, and really hit the spot. We also hunted down the best pancake combinations in town. My favorite was at The International Pancake House, not to be confused with the International House of Pancakes here in the U.S.. This restaurant had a few locations around Amsterdam, but we ate at the one around the corner from the Anne Frank House. James found his favorite breakfast food here, apple pancakes with blueberries, banana slices, walnuts and honey. I had a pear and edam cheese pancake. The pancakes in Amsterdam look a little different that the flap-jack style I make at home. They are thinner, can be sweet or savory, and can hold a wider variety of toppings.
Street food was a pretty big thing in Amsterdam as well. We didn’t experiment a lot here, surprisingly, because we were so busy exploring, but Vlemmishfries and Poffertjes were by far our favorites. Vlemmishfries are fat steak cut french fries, with toppings. At some stalls these toppings were simple sauces like spicy ketchup, mayonnaise, or curry sauce. However, we found a great whole in the wall, that had just opened, that had a variety of full toppings. We ordered the barbeque ones with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. They also had shaved lamb with tzatziki that looked to die for and a curry combination that was intriguing, as well as the standard sauces.
Poffertjes are mini fried pancakes made on a flat top grill and dusted with powder sugar. You could order them by the dozen from street vendors, and you could also find them on the dessert menu at numerous restaurants. Some places even had them as toppings for other desserts. They’re really cute and really sweet and the perfect thing for a cold walk through the Zandschones.
One thing you’ll find on every other street corner is pickled herring sandwiches. This is a favorite treat throughout the Netherlands, but particularly in Amsterdam. All of the guidebooks I read, recommended trying it, but one look at the whole wiggly fish, and I couldn’t do it. We did however try a Real American Hot Dog from a vendor outside of the Rijksmuseum. We now have a great story, but I do not recommend it. These dogs were pink, boiled, and squishy, with none of the bite of a New York street dog, or even a properly microwaved Oscar Meyer Wiener. I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it because of the texture color combination.
There is so much more to talk about, but I feel that this has already gone on too long. Next time I’ll talk more about the shopping scene in Amsterdam, and what we brought back versus what we skipped. I also want to tell you what to expect from the coffeehouses, so stay tuned. Have you been to Amsterdam, or is it on your wanderlust list? What makes you want to go there, or anywhere around the world for that matter? Are you food motivated when you’re in vacation mode like us, or do you often just forget to eat? Am I making you hungry yet? I love hearing from you, so please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!