Amsterdam is bustling with exciting cuisines and innovative dining concepts. I was thrilled to discover that Dutch ingredients and processes have combined with flavors from all over Europe (and the world!) to create a unique experience for foodie visitors.
I saw great service and interior design experiences all over Amsterdam, but here are my favorite spots to grab a quick bite or full-on meal:
Incredible brunch and a cozy atmosphere to shelter from the cold. I loved the fresh, irreverent tone they infuse everywhere from their menu to wall signs. And who’s not a fan of all-day brunch? As a confessed breakfast addict, the sound of having perfectly-cooked Eggs Benedict or French Toast at 7pm is music.
Relatively new, Centra is a Spanish fusion resto-bar located right next to the Red Light District. The owners use the Catalan word Xampanyeria to describe this cava, or Catalan champagne, bar. Outside of drinks, their tapa selection is impeccable and diverse: you’ll find everything from a traditional Pan con Tomate (tomato bread) to a creative version of Spanish croquetas (fried balls/nuggets) filled with Paella rice.
Half retail store, half coffee shop. Pluk is the perfect spot to grab a hot drink and quick bites with your friends or significant other. Their breakfasts, bowls, salads, and sandwiches are on the healthy side, and you’ll love how they bring together flavors from around the world. Think hummus, Serrano ham, edamame, acai bowls, and curry mayonnaise all under the same roof.
This is a laid-back café in Amsterdam’s stunning botanical garden under the same name. While minimalist, this space is full of brilliant design details that combine plain wood grains and the natural aesthetic brought about by plants. Stop by for breakfast or coffee before you take a tour of the entire botanical garden. If you’re a plant lover, I can guarantee this will be one of the most inspiring experiences you’ll have in Amsterdam.
In case you haven’t noticed, I have a soft spot for Spanish tapas, especially while in Europe and especially during the colder months of the year. They are just the right size to let you try many different flavors while savoring single bites. Spanish food is also on the warmer, spicier side, something that is even tastier when it’s freezing cold outside. Tapas Bar Catalá offers savory tapas, great prices, and an incredibly convenient schedule, closing at midnight.
I read about this chic neighborhood cafe in Monocle’s Guide to Amsterdam, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Owned by an Australian couple, Little Collins is conveniently located near the popular Alfred Cuyp Market. After tasting a few meals, I will hand this place the award for most innovative breakfast options in Amsterdam. Blackbean and chipotle waffle? Check. Pickled cauliflower & whipped salmon roe? Double check. This is the place to go if you want to surprise your taste buds with the kind of dish that you “would have never ordered” that immediately becomes your favorite.
I know, I know I said 5. But I found this cozy spot during my last night in Amsterdam, and it became an instant favorite. It faces one of the most beautiful canals in the city, and the atmosphere is perfect for a romantic night out. Don’t forget to try their Sangria pitchers, grilled tuna with spicy sauce, and Spanish potato tortillas.
I found this one by chance while walking around Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square), a popular plaza in central Amsterdam full of nightlife and dining options. Unlike other places that focus on a single cuisine, this restaurant combines the best of Argentinian steak culture and Spanish tapa-sized servings. I loved their Pulpo (octopus), pan de tomate (bread served with a tomato puree topping), and grilled anchovies.
Nothing I can say about Blue will top the view. Their location gives you a full 360° view of central Amsterdam while you sip great coffee and enjoy small plates. While I’m sure their bar is perfect for a night out, Blue made our morning and I’m positive it’ll make yours too. Order their scrambled eggs with smoked salmon & veggies.
Inspired by a character in 1950s Spanish cinema, this tapas bar combines a great location with fair prices and bold flavors. Try their homemade Sangria and classic tortilla.
I had been trying to get a table here for a while, and was finally able to in my last trip to Amsterdam. Depending on the time of the year, it might be a good idea to book a table in advance. This modern Italian restaurant is located in a narrow, little street behind Rembrandtplein (the plaza I mentioned before), and is as intimate and cozy as it gets. Best known for their Neapolitan-style pizzas, they also offer fresh homemade pasta.
Koffiehuis stands for “coffee house” in Dutch. If you’re looking for a place to chat next to an Amsterdam canal, this is your spot. Great coffee and perfect location.
Extra: The Alley
I had read mixed opinions on this place before visiting, but the location close to Amsterdam Centraal Train Station and De Bijenkorf (a popular department store) made trying the place worth it. Breakfast was delicious and quantity was fair in relation to the price. We were ready to take on the day without having to walk too much and I’d go back in a second.