Beyond the Red Light District and weed-touting coffee shops, the good-looking city of Amsterdam have much to offer for folks who are looking for some clean fun.
Home to more than 800,000 bicycles (4 x the local car population), the city is a fascinating tapestry of criss-crossing car, tram and bike lanes, interjected by beautiful canals and waterways dating back to the early 17th Century (Dutch Golden Age). The array of transport options though, was a little too overwhelming for me and walking was our top choice to get around town. I clocked in an average of 17,000 steps per day! Just as well considering the amount of calories we were ingesting….
What to Eat
1) Pancakes Amsterdam (http://www.pancakes.amsterdam/centraal/) – Brunch!
Add: Prins Hendrikkade 48, 1012 AC
A popular place for both locals and tourists for some good ol’ Amsterdam pancakes. I had the Apple Crumble version which was done on a traditional Dutch spongy thin pancake. There are more than 20 varieties (including the fluffy American ones) for your picking. The have 3 branches, but the one I went to was at Centraal which was conveniently located near the train station.
2) Omelegg (http://omelegg.com/) – Brunch!
Add: Nieuwebrugsteeg 24, 1012 AH
Get in early for this one. A cosy little brunch place just down the road from Pancakes Amsterdam (Centraal) with amazing omelettes served on toasts and salads. Judging from the lines, we knew we hit the right spot for breakfast!
3) Back to Black (https://www.backtoblackcoffee.nl/en/) – Coffee!
Add: Weteringstraat 48, 1017 SP
Popped in here for a cuppa. A bright and cheery place in the Spiegelkwartier, it is near the Rijksmuseum. I had a cold brew after a sleep-inducing morning at the museum ( sorry but i am not exactly the most cultured creature around). Besides some excellent coffee, there were many daily pastry specials on the counter top if you want a nibble. I was inspired by their Scandinavian – themed furniture too.
4) Burgerlijk Amsterdams – Burger!
Add: Runstraat 1, 1016 GJ
There seems to be a dozen famous burger joints in Amsterdam but we randomly picked this one for an afternoon snack. This tiny burger shop has been dishing out customized burgers since 2014. Loved the toasted sesame seed bun. A great bite if you are in the 9 Straatjes area.
5) &samhound places (http://www.samhoudplaces.com/)
Add: Oosterdokskade 5, 1011 AD
Thanks to J, I finally set foot into a Michelin-starred restaurant (woohoo!) where we ‘entered the gastronomic world of Chef Moshik’. Who? Moshik Roth is an Israeli-Dutch chef who heads this 2 Michelin-starred restaurant. The food was exquisite and menu very thoughtfully planned out. The full menu costs a whooping Eur 169/pax. But after sitting through 3 hours at dinner (with a beautiful view), we concluded that the watered down version at Eur 129/pax would have worked out just fine. Major food coma (and severe jet lag) at 11pm. Other than that, highly recommended!
6) Albert Cyup Market (http://www.amsterdam.info/shopping/albert_cuypmarkt/)
Add: Albert Cuypstraat, 1072 CN
From 930am-5pm (Mon to Sat), this pedestrian street comes to life with over 300 stalls in the neighbourhood of De Pijp. Get your paws on Dutch street side snacks like Poffertjes and Broodje Haring. Good luck on the latter.
7) O Mai (http://www.omai.nl/en/) – Vietnamese!
Add: Utrechtstestraat 12, 1017 VN
If you need a dose of Asian after an extended bout of cold sandwiches, head on down to O Mai and grab a fresh spring roll or a bowl of Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Khô . I am surprised to find such great Vietnamese food in this part of the world!
8) Indrapura (http://indrapura.nl/en/) – Indonesidan-Dutch
Add: Rembrandtplein 42, 1017 CV
Only if you must, otherwise, you can get better Indonesian food back in SEA. Rijsttafel is a Dutch Rice Table concept which involves tucking into dozens of Indonesian dishes/condiments sprawled across the dining table. Indrapura is apparently one of the better ones in Amsterdam. We opted for the Eur35/pax menu but being the SEAsians we were, it was definitely overpriced for the quality and quantity of food served.
9) Greenwoods Singel (http://greenwoods.eu/en/singel-home) – Brunch!
Add: Singel 103, 1012 VG
10) La Chouffe (http://www.achouffe.be/en)
Just thought it will be nice to jot this one down because I was duly impressed by a new beer discovered on this trip: La Chouffe! A Belgium beer that is sold everywhere in Netherlands. “pleasantly fruity, spiced with coriander and tinged with hops.” Love it! (available in Singapore or not ah?)
11) Loetje Centraal (https://centraal.loetje.com/) – Lunch/Dinner!
Add: Stationsplein 10, 1012 AB
It was our last meal at Amsterdam and after many culinary adventures over the past week, we were only interested in a no-frills bite. This was a nice place near the train station which served the usual – burgers and sandwiches, plus some traditional ones like Dutch Croquettes (veal and mashed potato). They had some (humongous) and yummy meat ball too. Great views by the canal.
What I did (by no means an exhaustive list of what to do in Amsterdam..
1) Kukenhof (https://keukenhof.nl/en/) – tulips!
Add: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse
Definitely a must-do during spring. Though a little painful to get to, it was well worth the trip if you are a flower person. Though my favourite part was the Little Miffy store (didnt know she was Dutch yo?) and the petting zoo. Sue me.
2) De Klimmuur Amsterdam (http://www.deklimmuur.nl/en/vestigingen/amsterdam-centraal/) – indoor climbing!
Add: Dijksgracht 2, 1019 BS
I know… it isnt exactly the most touristy thing to do but it is definitely a sight to behold. If you are in the area, do pop by and check out this oddly shaped building. Step in and go wowww at the vast expanse of climbing wall and routes. There is a cafe in the center too – if you are not into climbing (but into oogling at good back muscles). J & I had a tough climb there after a full lunch meal but it was fun nonetheless (for me) to find some unfamiliar routes to attempt though i couldn’t get past a 5b. The gradings are definitely tougher here than in Singapore! Eur 12.90 for a single entry, or Eur 21.90 for an introductory lesson (including rentals).
3) I amsterdam (http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/about-amsterdam/i-amsterdam-letters)
Arguably one of the most iconic sights of Amsterdam? There are 4 sets of these letters across the city at any one time but the most famous (and human infested one) will have to be the one behind Rijksmuseum
4) Dam Square Souvenirs (http://dutchsouvenirs.com/)
Add: Dam 17, 1012 JS
If you are looking for some cheap Dutch souvenirs. I found this store pretty value-for-money and with the most variety!
5) Rijksmuseum (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl)
Add: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX
Rembrandt and Van Gogh… uh huh… all Dutch! Rijksmuseum is the national museum dedicated to arts and history of Netherlands. One of the top 3 attractions in Amsterdam. I have given myself many chances from my travels around the world… but i am just ..not.. an art museum person. Full stop.
6) King’s Day
If you happen to be in town on 27 April, brace yourself for an Amsterdam filled with intoxicated Dutch men and women dressed in the craziest orange suits, partying on boats and rooftops with music blasting through the streets. We were caught in major human traffic jams everywhere at every street corner. Bearable for a day, but not any more than that. Check this out for a more intellectual write up on King’s Day.
This post is dedicated to Justie and Megan (ps. you can help to expand on these suggestions;)