Amsterdam; beautiful canals, crooked canal houses, open policies on smoking marihuana and a much discussed Red Light District. But, the city has a lot more to offer than that. It has a highly cultural side, and has been home to profiles such as Anne Frank, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt. Also, its chill, trendy, yet stylish atmosphere makes the city easy to love. The compactness of the city makes it incredibly easy explore and the people of Amsterdam get around on their bikes. Amsterdam has everything you need - so go out and enjoy!
➳ WHERE TO HAVE Dinner in Amsterdam
Envy: This restaurant has been featured in the Michelin guide several years in a row. The place is dim-lighted and has a very modern feel to it. The portions are quite small - kind of like tapas. This means that you should have 3-4 courses to satisfy your hunger. Envy has a lot of good seafood dishes and great wine. We went here without a reservation - but reservations are encouraged. Great experience.
Hotel de Goudfazant: We were recommended to go here by a local. This place was a real experience. The restaurant is located a bit out of town (we took a cab there) in an old industrial building. When you walk in you immediately see an auto-shop inside, with several cars raised in the air. The menu is quite simple but has some great dishes and the service was impeccable. Try to get a table with a view of the water. There's also a huge room in the back for smokers and people who want to play ping pong. Great drinks and a fun/different experience in a fantastic atmosphere.
MAX Amsterdam: This place serves up some very interesting Indonesian food and specializes in Indonesian Rijsttafel. MAX is perfectly located in the city centre - just by the canals. The restaurant is small and intimate. Try the 3 course menu with wine. Make sure to book as this place is quite popular with locals as well as tourists. We will definitely be back here again.
Tomaz: This place is a local favorite. Tomaz serves up Dutch specialities cooked to perfection. The place has 2 rooms and a wine bar that needs to be tried. This is a good place to experience real Dutch coziness.
➳ WHERE TO have BRUNCH in Amsterdam
Lombardo's: According to locals this is the best burger in town. The place isn't that big and there's often a queue of people waiting to order. If you love hamburgers you must go here. You can build up your burger as you like and all of the ingredients are top-notch. Great food at a good price.
Greenwoods: Traditional breakfast and brunch. Go here for perfect eggs benedict with a hollandaise to die for. Another favourite here are their scones. The place only has 10 tables so make sure to get here early if you want a table. This place has a lot of character and you'll get the best organic food.
Omelegg: The name of this place says it all. Go here if you want the best omelettes in town. This is the perfect place for breakfast/brunch and if you love omelettes this place will be heavenly. Omelegg has a big open kitchen - which means you can see the dishes be prepared right in front of you. Fantastic atmosphere.
De Bakkerswinkel: There are several of these places in Amsterdam now - which says something about how popular this place is. This place serves up amazing quiches, open-faced sandwiches, bacon and eggs and you can treat yourself to a scone for dessert. This place is worth the visit.
C•T coffee & coconuts: this old cinema from the roaring 1920s - the Ceintuur Theater - is now home to the quirky cool CT coffee & coconuts. Indulge in homemade dishes, ranging from poached eggs, soups, homemade cakes and of course coconuts, as you chill in the comfy beanbags.
➳ WHERE TO have PANCAKES in Amsterdam
A pannenkoek or Dutch Pancake is a style of pancake with origins in the Netherlands and Belgium. Pannekoeken are usually larger (up to a foot in diameter) and much thinner than their American or Scotch pancake counterparts. If you go to Amsterdam you have to try this speciality.
Pancakes!: Voted one of the best pancake houses in Amsterdam, which is why you need to go here. You can get sweat pancakes as well as savoury (for example ham & cheese or baked apple with ice cream). You can also get American buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and bacon here. The place closes at 7 pm, so make sure to go here during the day.
Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs: This pancake house is tiny, but worth the visit if you want some of the best pancakes in Amsterdam. You walk up a very narrow staircase to get to the place and once you get up you'll see that the pancake house is actually just 4 tables around a little kitchen. The place is worth a visit for the experience alone. As there's only 4 tables you might have to wait for a table.
The Pancake Bakery: Very cosy cafe, but go there early. The combinations here resemble pizzas more than pancakes. For example you can get a pancake with honey, goat's cheese and pine nuts or try the pancake with mozzarella, tomato and pesto. They also have classic sweet pancakes. Worth a visit on your tour of pancake houses.
➳ WHERE TO DRINK in Amsterdam
Vesper Bar: We went here after a great dinner in Amsterdam. This place has won awards and after having tasted the cocktails it's easy to tell why. The place is small but has a real old-school feel to it, with bartenders in ties and white shirts and serving up classic cocktails. The place doesn't have a door policy, but as Vesper is quite small we recommend that you don't get here too late. Enjoy a fantastic Old Fashioned, a Martini or let the bartenders help you create a cocktail that suits your taste.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ: Not only do they serve up amazing beer here from their micro brewery, but this bar is inside of a windmill. One of Amsterdam's most popular bars due to it's incredible beer and its whacky location (again, it's inside a windmill). This place closes quite early at 8 pm, so get here in the daytime or before you head out for dinner. Many of the bars around town serve up beers from this micro-brewery, so don't worry.
In de Wildeman: The Dutch like their beer and they like to have a good selection of it. This place has a lot of different beers on bottle as well as on tap - local as well as imported beer. The atmosphere is very relaxing and a place that you want to come back to. This is like going to a beer museum and the waiters are your guide. Ask them anything about their many beers and they'll dish up a story for you. Cheers.
Café Belgique: Like Vesper, this place isn't very big. When you walk into this place you walk into a different world. Everything here is made in dark wood and there are beer bottles and old beer ads everywhere. This place gets packed due to its cozy atmosphere and it's central location. There's a bar area and a couple of small tables, so get here early. Café Belgique has more than 50 different types of Belgian beer, so you can't really go wrong.
Roest: Named ‘rust’ as a nod to its industrial setting, this loud, dark, quirky bar with graffiti-covered walls attracts a seriously trendy yet chilled crowd. It's well hidden in a central and, you guessed it, industrial area, hence few tourists find it. The interior makes you feel like you're in someone's bohemian livingroom, which is ever changing as the bar welcomes creative input. In the summer it prides itself with an extensive terrace and beach.
➳ USE OUR GOOGLE MAP
Navigate the city with our Google Map, to which we've pinned all of the places in our guide. Simply go to the map when you're online to find your way around the city. If you don't have wifi when you're walking around the city, just make sure to load this map when you have access to wifi (at your hotel or at a café) and you'll be able to find your way around even if you're offline.