While spending time in Amsterdam for business and pleasure, I had the opportunity to really discover the city. During the new year I’ve been back for about three times. Finally I got the chance to get a proper feel of the city thanks to an elongated stay. It’s difficult to do that when you’re just visiting. Spending a couple of week at least gives you a little bit the feeling of living abroad. So it was time to write my own Amsterdam Hotspot Guide which will be updated after every visit to Amsterdam.
I absolutely had a wonderful time! I got to see a big part of my international friends again at an erasmus reunion (I went to Copenhagen for half a year), went for drinks and dinners with friends and colleagues, strolled around the city on my own, slept at the amazing Stout & Co. and got to hang with my blogger friends and discover the new Björn Borg collection in the gorgeous Kasbank which was an experience all on its own.
// The Blogger Frontrow //
When you’re planning a stay in Amsterdam for more than just one day, I would recommend renting a bike. The city is full of bike rental places. Most of them will cost you around 10 euros per day (insurance included). I did however discover Mike’s Bike Tours & Rentals which offered the cheapest price for some very cool bikes. It’s right near the Leidseplein so it’s easy to reach and definitely recommended.
Bazar: Please go and have breakfast at Bazaar, get the big breakfast with the 1000-holes pancake and I can assure you, you will not be sorry. I’ve tried to find a recipe for these pancakes and unfortunately I’ve failed. No other option than going back every time I’m in the city. The dinner is apparently also great.
Drover’s Dog: If you feel like a little bit of a bike ride, Drover’s Dog is the perfect spot. All the way at the east of Amsterdam, this breakfast place gives you a real Australian breakfast. I had the corn-cakes with poached eggs and advocado. However from my experience in Amsterdam, New-Zealanders might to it better. Should check that out in the field.
Rose’s Cantina: This might be the first Mexican restaurant I actually want to go back to. We had the vegetarian empanadas and a vegetarian Quesedilla and it was great. Next to that the cocktails and the shots of tequila were pretty spot on. The price is also very reasonable, we paid about 30 euros pp for lots of food and drinks.
Bird Thai: I had Thai here a couple of times and so far it’s still the best Thai food that I have eaten in Amsterdam. Real Asian flavors and ingredients. If the restaurant is full or you want to get Thai at all hours, try the take-away across the street.
Yokiyo: Recommended by a colleague of mine, this Korean BBQ place is great. When going in a bigger group they recommend you to pay for the menu and you don’t know in advance what you’re getting. Every dish was amazing and it’s wasn’t a problem to offer vegetarian substitutes.
The Butchers: A meat lovers dream this place. Based on meaty burgers, their vegetarian alternative wasn’t all too awesome, but I’ve heard great things. So meat eaters, try it out (but skip the fries).
Kantjil & De Tijger: a favorite spot for many people looking for the best Indonesian food in town. I like that you have to choose different type of dishes so you can taste different flavors. My portion was so big that I had to ask for a doggybag.
Oodlz: If you’re looking for fast food but you want to eat something light, stop by Oodlz. They serve noodle soups with your preferred ingredients which makes it light and tasty. A concept that is very welcome in Antwerp.
Other foodie goodness
Stach: This is another chain that I would welcome with open arms in Antwerp. In most of the establishments you can eat on the spot but it’s mostly meant as a take-away. I’ve tried quite a bit of the food while I was there and haven’t been disappointed. You can even take it with you warm so you can enjoy it in the hotel. Oh and try the pecorino-truffle salsa and the Rose Lemonade (and take a couple home for me). So good!
Marqt: A biological supermarket which offers great products and looks excellent too. A bit more expensive but just like with Whole Foods, I loved it. Again, please come to Antwerp!
Vesper: I’m going to go on a limb and say, best cocktails in town! This is a spot where true cocktail connaisseurs are at your service. I asked for something with red berries and chili and got a delicious drink in return.
Flea Market in the IJ-Hallen: The biggest flea market of The Netherlands takes place every month in the IJ-Hallen just across from the water at the “NDSM werf”. Two giant warehouses are filled with about 750 stalls. You’ll definitely find some hidden treasures here if you come early. There is an entrance fee of 4,50 euro but the ferry boat across the water is free. Next flea market will be on the 5th and 6th of April. At the same “NDSM werf” there are a lot of fun activities, festivals and parties. be sure to keep an eye on it.
Vintage shopping is big in Amsterdam. In the famous “9 straatjes” you will find one of my favorites, Episode, and Laura Dols. Next to that I would advise you to head to the Nieuwe Hoogstraat near the Dam. In this street you will find vintage shop after vintage shop, well worth the walk.
The Frozen Fountain: A Design shop right at the edge of the “9 straatjes”. Selling brand such as Piet Hein Eek, Hay, Charles & Ray Eames and more you will find furniture, gadgets, lighting and books here. It was a little cluttered when I was there but that I did wander around for a good while.
American Book Center: I love a good bookstore and especially a good international bookstore. This store has the most wonderful books that you have been looking for. From the categories design, beauty, fiction, travel, etc. this place is the go to spot for the latest blogger book, fashion magazine or design heavyweight.
Amsterdam is all about temporary hotspots that are just as popular -or maybe even more- than the permanent party spots. Here are 2 of my favorites.
Trouw: Located in the old building of the newspaper Trouw, this club really is my favorite going out spot in Amsterdam. It welcomes the best DJ’s and I absolutely love the industrial setting. There’s also a restaurant next to the club which allows you free entrance after you’ve eaten (I’ve heard good things). Because it’s quite a popular spot, you can expect a line in front of the building of about an hour. Too bad I’ve heard that it will only be open for another year which means I’ll have to sneak in another visit. No worries though, they’re already working on their next concept. Warning, this spot might be difficult to leave before 6 am.
Toren: Temporary party spot on the lower floors of a huge tower on the other side of the water (on the side of the “IJ”). It’s reachable by pond boats that go up and down all night (for free). Check the Facebookpage to see whether there is a notable party.
If you’re going out in the weekend, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the “Your Little Black Book” weekend guide. It gives you a good overview of what’s happening in the city.
All these spots have been tried and tested. I have lots of other places that I still want to visit and I will include them the next time I get a chance to visit! For now you can check out my Pinterest page to see more addresses.