Amsterdam: a city of canals and bicycles, of museums and flowers. A hub for creative people, a place to have a good time and also one of the most romantic cities in Europe. I recently re-visited Amsterdam for a long weekend with my husband. Here’s a guide for foodies and coffee lovers to make the most of the a trip to this city!
My husband and I travelled to Amsterdam two weeks ago and spent three beautiful days in the Dutch city. Dreams are already forming in my mind about moving there for a few years, wouldn’t it be lovely?!
Where to Stay
We planned the trip to spend a few days away from London, re-visit a city we hadn’t been to for years and meet friends and family who live there. We found affordable flights and spent the nights at my cousin’s house, so we didn’t stay at a hotel this time. If you are looking for accommodation, I recommend staying at CitizenM Amstel, The Hoxton Hotel or Soho House.
Considering we didn’t pay for accommodation, we ended up spending the same as if I had stayed in London. Compared to London prices actually, everything seems so cheap in Amsterdam! For example, we spent just €2.50 to buy a 600ml fresh-pressed juice that would cost £6-8 in London. Or €16 for a three-day unlimited travel card that would cost you around £20-25. We spent around €30 per person for dinner in a really nice restaurant, whereas the average price in London would be around £35-50. Finally, did you know the ferry rides are free?!
Take a ferry to NDSM Shipyard
On Saturday morning the sun was shining, so we decided to take the ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to NDSM Shipyard.
We had lunch at Noorderlicht Café, a little restaurant located in a transparent greenhouse-like hangar and surrounded by a garden that’s great for summer picnics and BBQs! It’s off the tourist beaten track so it’s a great spot to visit if you, like me, have been to Amsterdam before.
The Jordaan District
I hadn’t been back to Amsterdam since 2002, so I was also looking forward to revisiting the Jordaan district with its picturesque streets and canals.
We went for a walk in Amsterdam’s most charming neighbourhood on Saturday afternoon, walked past the art galleries, quirky shops and restaurants, and eventually stopped at Arendsnest to rest, get warm and stuff our faces with cheese and Dutch beer!
The Best Speciality Coffee Shops
I was eager to explore Amsterdam’s speciality coffee scene. On Sunday morning, we had breakfast at Coffee Company Branderij, a coffee roastery in the East Docklands neighbourhood of Amsterdam.
As we walked to the coffee shop, we saw De Gooyer, the tallest wooden windmill remaining in Netherlands. Next door the windmill, you will find Brouwerij’t IJ: a brewery that serves a range of traditional Dutch beers.
We had breakfast at the lovely Coffee Company before continuing our exploration of the city.
My husband and I didn’t plan an itinerary for our trip and kept things open to last minute decisions. I was working on a speciality coffee feature for Sprudge, so I had prepared a long list of all the speciality coffee shops I wanted to visit in Amsterdam. Safe to say, we drank many coffees over those three days!
Scandinavian Embassy in The Pijp district was our first stop in Amsterdam and I had high expectations because of this Sprudge review, and I must say it didn’t disappoint! We had lunch with Salt Cured Salmon & Poached Eggs on Danish Rye Bread with Sheep Yoghurt, Swedish Caviar and Leek served with a filter coffee that complimented the taste of the salmon. This place is small with stripped down wooden furniture and white walls, yet it’s welcoming and warm. Also who could resist their cute dog Java?!
Another café I had marked in my Amsterdam guide was Rum Baba in East Amsterdam. It was not far from my cousin’s house so for us it was a perfect spot for breakfast. The coffee was not the best I had in Amsterdam, but I enjoyed this cozy little spot nonetheless.
Rum Baba is popular for coffee and cakes, and I can confirm that the banana bread was delicious. Two women in the kitchen were baking more cakes, so they must sell loads everyday!
A Taste of Oliebollen
Walking back to the tram stop we stopped at a stall selling Oliebollen, old-fashioned Dutch donuts, a seasonal treat traditionally eaten for New Years (though evidently they start early!).
Where To Eat
For our two dinners in Amsterdam we tried completely different settings on each night: on Friday we went to Marits, a living room where we ate a fantastic home-cooked vegetarian four-course dinner. The owner / chef decided to open a restaurant in her home to offer great vegetarian food she struggled to find elsewhere!
On Saturday night we had dinner at De Plantage, one of Amsterdam’s restaurant hotspots. It’s located in Plantagebuurt and housed in a glass house in the botanical garden. I liked the setting and European menu, but I would recommend it as a lunch spot so you can also enjoy the garden view.
Our last lunch in Amsterdam was at Fa. Speijkervet, which we discovered by accident after we got on the wrong tram and got off at a stop across the street from this cute restaurant. We had a quick lunch with a sandwich and burger and Dutch beer. It was simple, but very good.
We didn’t get to see a lot of the city during this trip, but it gave us a taste of what is like to eat and live in Amsterdam. I would have loved to also visit a museum or hire a bicycle, since that’s the best way to visit the city. This is something I need to make up for on my next visit!
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