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Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Eat, The Netherlands

Bar Botanique, Amsterdam East

April 29, 2017
Bar Botanique, Amsterdam East

Bar Botanique was another drinks/brunch/lunch place on my list, which I had been wanting to visit for a while.  Again, unsurprisingly, it was a little out of the way from where I was staying (West).  But ‘long’ distances in Amsterdam are all relative, and we happily cycled the 20 minutes to this tropical cafe in the East of Amsterdam (just past the Artis Zoo).

We got lucky because as we arrived the sun came out, and so we were first to grab a table on their spacious terrace (they have two).  But inside is also most definitely worth a look, and as its name reflects, it certainly is a bit like an oasis in the city.  I love the vibe here, laid back, buzzing and, of course, very green.  The huge windows let in all the light, so sitting inside is as nice as outside.

Bar Botanique, Amsterdam EastBar Botanique, Amsterdam East

We were starving and craving some good Dutch carbs, so we went for two massive Croque Madames (with a fried egg on top, as you do), and Mol went for scrambled eggs with truffle and a side of trusty avocado.  Since it was Easter and we were in a good mood, we ordered a bottle of bubbles to accompany lunch, and enjoyed a few glasses in the sun.  The staff were super friendly and helpful too, which really added to our experience.

Bar Botanique, Amsterdam EastBar Botanique, Amsterdam EastBar Botanique, Amsterdam East

In short, Bar Botanique is not only a place to head to for a drink, but also for a long lazy lunch.  As the weather gets better I know the terrace will be the place to be in East.

If you’re in the area, it’s also worth visiting de Plantage, for beer lovers the Brouwerij t’Ij in an old windmill, and for another pretty cafe check out de Tropen Grand Cafe (part of the Tropen museum).

Bar Botanique

Eerste van Swindenstraat 581
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1093 LC

 

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Eat, The Netherlands

Restaurant Bureau, Slotervaart

April 17, 2017
Restaurant Bureau, Amsterdam

I’m not sure how when picking a restaurant I always pick them in the most obscure of places.  Restaurant Bureau is the perfect example.  Amsterdam has a host of restaurants on my list – most of which are central – but I chose Bureau.  Which meant an Uber rather than a bike ride, and even a stretch of motorway.  And then we arrived and it felt like we had been dumped in an industrial terrain, as far from the picturesque canals as you can get.  But that’s where the negatives stop.

The restaurant is the 5th (top floor) of a fairly unattractive building (used to be the old IBM head office) called B. Amsterdam, which is an office space, co-working space and event space, focused on startups.  I think the official term is ‘an incubator’.  Anyway, it’s as trendy as these sorts of places tend to be, complete with gym (of course) and cinema.   But the real show stopper is when the lift doors open to the restaurant, a large, high-ceilinged space, divided in two by a very cool bar.  One half of it is the restaurant  and the other a lounge type space, with sofas and comfy chairs, and also some private dining rooms set slightly back.

Restaurant Bureau, AmsterdamRestaurant Bureau, AmsterdamRestaurant Bureau, Amsterdam

Before I talk about the food I should probably mention their pièce de la résistance: their roof terrace.  It’s so big they in fact call it a ‘roof park’, and rightly so, it being the largest roof terrace in Amsterdam.  Two companies, GrownDownTown and DakDokters have turned this space into a green oasis, not only pretty to walk through and enjoy, but also useful and ‘fruitful’.  Think a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chicken pens, the whole shebang.  This beautiful park is not just for those enjoying the restaurant – it is mainly for those working in the building to come and relax, meet and discuss ideas.  In the summer this will be the ultimate chill out place (there are even some hammocks), the perfect roof terrace to enjoy some drinks and some sunshine.  FYI my Instagram photos below do not do it justice, so I borrowed a photo from GrownDownTown to show how pretty it actually is.

Restaurant Bureau, AmsterdamRestaurant Bureau, AmsterdamRestaurant Bureau, Amsterdam

Back to inside, and the food.  Firstly, the staff are super friendly.  We were late but were still received with a warm handshake and welcome and were led to our table.  Our waitress was bubbly and enthusiastic.  We opted for their 3 course menu (a bargain at EUR31).  The chef used to cook at Choux, which is one of Amsterdam’s top restaurants, but also known for its more complicated food.  Here there’s none of that.  The food is excellent, beautifully presented and affordable.  My bavette steak was perfect. They have a good range of fish on the menu which I enjoyed (oysters, cod, perch), but also good options for vegetarians.

Restaurant Bureau, AmsterdamRestaurant Bureau, Amsterdam

Maybe steer clear of their organic prosecco unless you want to drink what effectively tastes like cider.  Their house red wine (EUR 21 per bottle) was very drinkable.  The coffees to finish were too.

Restaurant Bureau, Amsterdam

All in all, I left feeling somewhat elated.  Restaurant Bureau is an amazing, unique find, and for those who know Amsterdam well and want to try something different a place I highly recommend.   While yes, it’s unusual to get a taxi anywhere in Amsterdam, it’s only a 20 minute drive from the centre of the city (and you can also cycle here of course).  As the Netherlands is known for its start up culture I also think it’s worthwhile visiting B Amsterdam as a bonus.

Restaurant Bureau

B. Amsterdam – 5e etage
Johan Huizingalaan 763a (navigatie 761)
1066 VH Amsterdam

Note: They are usually only open on weekdays, but from 20 May they will also be open for dinner on Saturdays. 

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Eat, Stay, The Netherlands

The Pulitzer Hotel, Amsterdam

March 18, 2017
The Pulitzer, Amsterdam

Amsterdam has changed hugely in the past few years when it comes to hotels.  The iconic Amstel and De L’Europe have been pushed aside with the openings of new, better, glitzier or more contemporary hotels like the Waldorf Astoria (stunning all round), the W (I love the bar here) and the Hoxton (great for brunch).

The Pulitzer Amsterdam has been around for years, but shut for a massive refurbishment.  It re-opened in August 2016 and wow, it’s a stunner.  I’d never been to it before the renovation, so I don’t have much to compare it to.  But I was impressed not only with the look and feel of the place (a little Soho House-esque in terms of design and quirky touches) but also by how despite the hotel having 225 rooms, it still feels like a boutique hotel.

The Pulitzer, Amsterdam

It looks small(ish) from the outside too, but it’s actually 25 (!) canal houses put together, and connected by wonderful gardens and terraces, which will, I’m sure, be very popular in the summer.  The lobby stands out upon entering, with lots of colour and art.  And I love their cafe Pause, where we had tea and a delicious banana cake.

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

While we only saw one room, I loved the look of it, under the beams, which is so quintessentially Dutch.  And it’s this mixture of classic Dutch design and a touch of the eclectic (and eccentric) which works so well here.   Some of the suites look amazing too.

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

My favourite part of the hotel was the Pulitzer Bar, so slick and beautiful and inviting and of course open to locals too.  I will be returning their for one of their signature cocktails.  Their restaurant Jansz also looks great, and can be accessed from the Reestraat (one of the nine ‘little streets’ / Negen Straatjes).

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

In short, all the Amsterdam old-timer hotels and even the new kids on the block need to watch out, as the Pulitzer provides a more affordable five star option, which will especially attract a younger, trendier crowd.

The Pulitzer

Prinsengracht 323,

1016 GZ Amsterdam

Rooms from EUR 275 a night

Photo credit: Pulitzer Hotel (apart from the photo of the bar)

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, The Netherlands

Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

April 11, 2016
Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

It’s no surprise this place is always busy.  We were nearly turned away on a Tuesday evening as they don’t allow people to stand, you must have a table.   So while the bar will be full, it will never be heaving, or too noisy.  It is the ultimate date place.  Dim lights, an excellent, inventive cocktail menu and a romantic ambience.

Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

Upstairs they have a restaurant too, which I’ve heard good things about.

This is one of my favourite bars in Amsterdam, along with Hiding in Plain Sight (but Tales & Sprits has a better location).

Tales & Sprits

Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7
1012 TE Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Stay, The Netherlands

W Lounge, Amsterdam

March 19, 2016
W-Amsterdam---W-Lounge---WET

I’m not really a W Hotel girl.  Yes, they are luxurious and super comfortable hotels.  But usually they are a bit flash, a bit loud and a bit ‘trendy’ for me.  But then I went up to the W Lounge (6th floor) for the new-ish W Hotel in Amsterdam and, while the interiors aren’t really my style, I could quite happily admit that this was a very cool place to come for a drink.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

Firstly, the views.  They are quite ridiculous, especially in a city which doesn’t have much of a cityscape.  With the W Hotel’s enviable location right in the centre of town, the views are directly of the Dam Palace and Amsterdam’s beautiful centre.

Secondly, the terrace.  Yes, it’s small and I can imagine it overflowing with people in the summer months.  We came on a sunny day in December and we had the whole place to ourselves.  There is a long pool, which you can swim in (guests only) and while it’s clearly not for children’s recreational use, I can’t think of a better wake up than a few laps in the pool with the view of the palace.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

And lastly, the vibe.  While I mentioned above that I find the W Hotels a bit too loud, that doesn’t mean that they’re not fun.  And the W Lounge is certainly a lively place to be in the late afternoon and evening.  Even if you’re not outside the huge windows mean you can still enjoy the views of the city, while fireplaces and comfy sofas mean it’s a great place to visit all year round.  The ideal place for a pre-dinner cocktail.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

W Hotel Amsterdam

Spuistraat 175, 1012 VN

Photo credit: W Hotel

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Eat, The Netherlands

Cafe Panache, Amsterdam

October 19, 2015
Cafe Panache, Amsterdam

I always thought the Dutch liked to have dinner early; that eating at 10 or 11pm like the Spanish was just not a done thing.  Until we arrived at – heaving – Cafe Panache, the new restaurant & bar in Amsterdam West that everyone seems to be talking about and loving.  We were late, having just been to the fantastic UNSEEN Photography Fair, but I thought that at 10pm we wouldn’t have a problem getting a table.  Wrong.  We were told to wait at the bar while we waited for a table to clear.  I was astounded.

Cafe Panache, Amsterdam

Cafe Panache has the feel of a buzzing warehouse restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking district.  The energy of the place, which was still in full flow when we left past midnight, is unlike any restaurant I’ve been to in Amsterdam.  This is where all the locals hang out – as the Dutch would say, it’s the new ‘hotspot’ in town.  And it’s a complete mix of people; hipster/posh/grungy/yummy mummy/student.  I loved it.

Cafe Panache, Amsterdam

Their menu tends to seem quite fish-heavy, but what I really recommend if you’re looking for value for money is their three course set menu.  For 30 Euros you get a starter (we had the gravlax), a main course (we had beef) and pudding (baked cheese cake).  The main course was the best of the lot, the beef cooked perfectly, with celeriac mash and chicory.  The gravlax was slightly on the dry side, and while the girls weren’t a massive fan of the cheesecake, I loved it.  We also ordered oysters on the side (3 euros a pop), as it seemed a shame not to try more of their seafood selection.

Cafe Panache, Amsterdam

If you don’t want a full on meal, then you can just enjoy the large bar area and order bar snacks (we saw some phenomenal sharing platters come by).  It seems a bit more casual there, and open until 1am.  While the location is a bit out of the way (in the less familiar part of the Ten Kate markt), you’re in the centre in less than 10 minutes (by bike) and there are a number of other pubs and bars you can head to in West if you prefer.

Really recommend it.

Cafe Panache

Ten Katestraat 117,

1053 CC Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, The Netherlands

Hiding in Plain Sight, Amsterdam

October 18, 2015
Hiding in Plain Sight, Amsterdam
I was always of the impression that Amsterdam lacked cocktail bars.  With three English girls over for the weekend, I wanted to start the night with a quiet cocktail, before heading to the more obvious bars (Cafe Cox, Weber Lux) where I always seem to end up when out late in Amsterdam.
Having been to Door 74 (a New York style speakeasy) I was in search of something similar.  A friend recommended the secret speakeasy at the Butcher, but it proved so difficult to get a ‘password’ and I didn’t want to risk not getting in, that I had two other options in mind: Hiding in Plain Sight (HPS) or Tales and Spirits.  In the end we opted for HPS, mainly because I liked the name so much.
Hiding in plain sight, Amsterdam
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It’s a bit of a bike ride if you’re staying in West, but if you’re close to the station (or staying on the grand canals) it’s very easy to get to.  It is not perhaps in the most bustling of areas, but it is very local. And local is good in a city which does get a bad rep for its touristy areas.  We arrived around midnight and the bar, which looks very unassuming from the outside, was close to empty.  I think it’s busier early in the evening, if you’re looking for more of a buzz, but it was perfect for us as we could chat and enjoy the (truly excellent) cocktails in peace.  It’s also open until 3am on the weekends, so ideal if you don’t feel like clubbing but want to stay out drinking.
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Hiding in plain sight, Amsterdam
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The bar is dark and ambient, with a small upstairs area with more seating (big sunken sofas, Chesterfield armchairs).  The bar men are skilled and concoct fabulous drinks.  We asked for ours to be fresh rather than sweet, and a bit spicy – and were then served a range of unique and original drinks.
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Hiding in Plain Sight, Amsterdam
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One word of warning, they are expensive (15 euros a cocktail); this is not your typical Dutch bar where you pay 3 euros for a beer.  That aside, this is a sophisticated, intimate place, where a pre or post dinner drink will go down very well.
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They also offer brunch.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Rapenburg 18,
1011 TX Amsterdam
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Photo credit: Hiding in Plain Sight, Instagram shot mine.
Amsterdam, Drink, Eat

De Hallen, Amsterdam

June 15, 2015
de hallen, amsterdam

De Hallen opened last year with rave reviews, which meant that when I went at Christmas (hence the stars and twinkles in my photos) that it was totally packed.  With very good looking people.  So I didn’t complain.

De Hallen (meaning the Halls) is Amsterdam’s version of E Mercado de St Anton in Madrid, or a covered, more structured version of London’s Street Feast.  It’s effectively lots of little independent stalls selling lots of different food.  From Vietnamese to Japanese to good old Dutch food.  It’s buzzing and sociable and a lot of fun.

de hallen, amsterdam

My main criticism would be that there aren’t enough seating areas, so it’s very much a drink in one hand, tapas in the other kind of place.  Which can get a little messy at times.  There are more sophisticated restaurants in the same building, like Halte 3 Brasserie (even more popular than the Hallen itself) or the more expensive, very slick Meat West.  We ended up heading to Meat West and grabbing a drink at their bar there, as it wasn’t full.  So that’s always an option if you want to sit somewhere more peaceful.

de hallen, amsterdam

de hallen, amsterdam

Great place for a pre-dinner snack and drink.  It’s about a 10 minute cycle from the heart of Amsterdam, and in a very local neighbourhood, so really worth it.

Hotel de Hallen is next door, which has also opened recently.  It’s had good feedback, but I found it quite somber and cold when I went in for a peak.

De Food Hallen

Bellamystraat

 

Amsterdam, Drink

Paradiso, Amsterdam – PARTY

June 15, 2015

Clubbing isn’t my thing; not in London, not in Amsterdam.  But I do really like this place – and it’s no wonder it is one of Amsterdam’s most loved clubs. Great music (large range, depending on night), incredible venue in an old church and it attracts a good crowd.  Plus the location is super central, around the corner from the Leidsche Plein.  The website shows you what’s on and you can pre-book tickets for the more popular nights.

Paradiso

Weteringschans 6-8

Amsterdam, Drink, Eat

Cafe Winkel, Amsterdam [NON ALC]

June 15, 2015

 

Cannot be missed for the ultimate Dutch experience.  They serve the best ‘appel taart’ (apple pie is probably the best translation, but still does it no justice) in the city.  There will be a queue – on market days it snakes around the corner – but that’s a good sign.  Eat it with ‘slag room’ (whipped cream) and a Dutch ‘koffie’ (unfortunately as far removed from the standards of an Italian coffee, but combines well).

Café Winkel

Noordermarkt 43

Amsterdam, Drink

Cafe Morlang, Amsterdam

June 15, 2015

Prime location on one of Amsterdam’s most glamorous canals – this is the place to come to for an afternoon drink in the sun.  Their terrace is always teaming with people (mostly locals), the staff are quick and friendly and it is a prime spot for people watching.  You can have lunch or dinner here, but the menu isn’t extraordinary.  It’s more about the location, and the view.

Morlang 

Keizersgracht 451

 

Amsterdam, Drink

Cafe Hoppe, Amsterdam

June 15, 2015

This traditional and simple ‘Brown Café’ has built up a very good name for itself over the years. Long established (one of the oldest pubs in Amsterdam, set up in 1670) and very popular, this bar attracts a diverse, fun crowd and is always full of locals.  The beer selection is vast and you’re in a super central location for post-beer partying.  This is nothing fancy but it has that old pub-like charm you can’t help but like.

Café Hoppe 

Spui 18-20

 

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