Fancy a quick weekend trip abroad? Give Amsterdam a try. The Dutch capital is known for its artistic heritage that includes Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer, a maze-like canal system, and tiny narrow houses with gabled facades, but it has much more to offer than coffee shops and a trillion bike paths running through the city. The Dutch food scene is especially noteworthy and what better way to get to know a city’s flavour than through its culinary offerings? To get you started, we’ve hand-picked some of the best options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast at Lotti’s
Situated inside The Hoxton on Amsterdam’s famous Herengracht canal, Lotti’s not only benefits from its fantastic location right in the buzzing centre, it is also the go-to breakfast spot for those in the know. The menu features internationally inspired, brasserie-style dishes conjured from locally sourced ingredients. We recommend the homemade banana bread for those with a sweet tooth and the ‘BBQ Benny’ – a delicious mix of poached eggs, braised pork belly, stewed beans, barbecue glaze and brioche toast – to hit that savoury spot. What’s not to love?
Brunch at CT coffee & coconuts
CT coffee & coconuts captures the city’s relaxed vibe perfectly and is the hangout of choice for trendy, laid-back locals. If you are in need of a healthy but equally tasty breakfast then look no further than this bustling all-day café. Located in a three-storey building from the 1920s that formerly housed a cinema, here you can sip water from fresh coconuts (known here as ‘The Harry Nilsson’) and tuck into dukkah and beet avocado toast or almond and buckwheat pancakes with roasted coconut. If you are looking to get into the party spirit and start the day off where you left it last night, you can enjoy a ‘Drunk Mr. Nilsson’, too – fresh coconut water with a shot of rum.
De Kas for lunch
De Kas, meaning greenhouse in Dutch, is housed in a huge glasshouse which dates back to 1926 and used to belong to the Amsterdam Municipal Nursery. One half is used for its stunning dining space, the other for growing the produce that will be served on your plate. De Kas serves modern European dishes using fresh organic ingredients, including exotic home-grown flowers and herbs. Tuck into edible begonia flowers or the leaves of the oyster plant and take in your beautiful surroundings.
Lunch at CAU
Steak lovers should look no further than CAU. The restaurant, conveniently located on Prinsengracht, is known for serving the best steaks in town with an Argentinian flair. Sitting on the heated outdoor terrace and observing the restaurant’s hustle and bustle, you can really feel the South American spirit that runs through the restaurant. Insider tip: take a front-row seat at the chef’s table directly opposite the open plan kitchen. We recommend the Tira de Ancho, a spiral cut of rib-eye, marinated in chimichurri. The restaurant also caters to non-meat eaters – try the seafood, fillet of sea bream, or mushroom and black truffle tortelloni.
Dinner at Van Speyk
Van Speyk is a classic brasserie that allows you to get to know the real Amsterdam. The restaurant is housed in a historic warehouse dating back to 1659 and is conveniently located between Dam Square and the Grand Central Station. Here, you can enjoy Dutch staples like shrimp croquettes, as well as oysters, excellent meats and fresh fish. Must-try: the excellent steak Bordelaise and the beef stew with oak-smoked sausages.
Dinner and drinks at Bluespoon
Is it a restaurant? Is it a bar? It’s Bluespoon! The rules associated with traditional fine dining are irrelevant at this Amsterdam hot spot. All that is important is that you enjoy uncomplicated European flavours with a Dutch edge. Anyone who knows their spirits or enjoys a good cocktail or locally sourced beer will have found the right location slap bang in the heart of the Dutch capital. Bluespoon not only stimulates your taste buds, it is also very pleasing to the eye. The restaurant’s eccentric Dutch décor is the work of renowned interior designer Marcel Wanders.
Visit OpenTable to discover more restaurants in Amsterdam.
This is a guest post from freelance journalist Beatrice Clark. She has written for Vogue, Glamour and Vanity Fair, among others, and has spent the past 15 years living in France, England and Scotland. She is currently based in Berlin and is always on the hunt for the perfect Eggs Benedict.