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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, Eat, Healthy, The Netherlands

Benji’s, Amsterdam East

April 17, 2017
Benji's, Amsterdam

Instagram has its uses, one of which is spotting good brunch places.  I’ve seen photos of the very pretty Benji’s come past quite a few times, so I decided to grab my chance and go and check it out myself.

Benji’s is in East Amsterdam on the Wibautstraat, very close to one of my favourite Amsterdam hotels the Volkshotel (it’s worth also having a drink on their roof terrace).  It’s not the most central of places (i.e you will need a bike to get here) but it’s worth the ride.  There have been quite a few cool openings on this street, like the Breakfast Club and roof terrace NEST, but Benji’s is the place that was top of my list.

Benji’s is very aesthetically pleasing, with huge ceiling to floor windows, and countless plants hanging from the ceiling and plant pots in every corner.  It feels a little like you’ve walked into a trendy greenhouse.

Benji's, AmsterdamBenji's, AmsterdamBenji's, Amsterdam

The guests here are as cool as the place itself, with bloggers typing away on their MacBooks and groups of gossiping friends sipping flat whites.  The staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful. All day breakfast/brunch/lunch is their thing, and their food has a definite health focus.  They are known for their yoghurt ‘bowls’ like the ‘Love Bowl’ I had (soy yoghurt, chia, berries and coconut) but they also offer incredible salads (Mol had the burrata salad) and great toasties.

Benji's, AmsterdamBenji's, AmsterdamBenji's, Amsterdam

The vibe is super laid back here, and very easy going, which makes it the perfect place to wake up.  I loved the coffee here too, which gives you that extra kick ready for a day of exploring Amsterdam.

Benji's, Amsterdam

Benji’s

Wibautstraat 196

1091 Amsterdam

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, Eat, Stay, The Netherlands

Hoxton, Amsterdam – the perfect brunch & coffee place

March 25, 2016
Hoxton, Amsterdam

I love the Hoxton in London (Hubbard & Bell is great for brunch), so I had high hopes when I heard that the Hoxton had opened in Amsterdam. A few years ago Amsterdam was severely lacking in good hotels.  Then the Waldorf Astoria opened, then the Hoxton, and the W Hotel, and soon even Soho House will be arriving in Amsterdam.

The Hoxton is five canal houses combined, and occupies prime location on the Herengracht.  Lotti’s is what they call their ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ (managed by Soho House), and it really has become a hub for locals; from businessmen having meetings over lunch, to bloggers and entrepreneurs typing away furiously on their Macbooks, sipping cappuccinos.  Amsterdam has needed a place like this, and the Hoxton has fitted in superbly.

Hoxton, AmsterdamHoxton, Amsterdam

Their design is what you’d expect from a Hoxton Hotel; sleek but homely, a combination of mustard yellows, muted blues and worn leather sofas.  The main eating space has a large retractable roof, which lets in the light in the winter, and the sun in the summer.  I came here with old friends, and we much enjoyed brunch here; a combination of avocado on toast, eggs and pastries.

While I didn’t see the bedrooms, they are stylish and comfortable, and not ridiculously priced (rooms from £110 per night).

Hoxton, AmsterdamHoxton, Amsterdam

The Hoxton

Herengracht 255,

1016 BJ Amsterdam

Photo credit: The Hoxton

Amsterdam, Blog, Eat, The Netherlands

Ted’s Place, Amsterdam

October 21, 2015
Ted's Amsterdam
Amsterdam West has slowly transformed itself into a haven of fantastic coffee bars and brunch places.  While I am usually loyal to places like Staring at Jacob when I’m in this neck of the wood, I’d heard good things about Ted’s, known for its brunches and high teas and so decided to give it a go.
Ted’s is located on a very pretty residential tree-lined street, where sitting outside on their terrace in the autumn sun is a real treat.  The interiors are very pretty, white and light and the perfect place for a girlie brunch or high tea.  It is clearly a neighbourhood cafe, pleasantly busy on a Saturday morning.
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Ted's Amsterdam
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As we may have consumed a little too much the night before, our main aim was to re-hydrate before ambling along Amsterdam’s famous canals and doing some window shopping in the Nine Streets.  At one point our table was filled with three glasses per person: a coffee, a juice and a glass of their excellent (and complimentary) flavoured (lemon/mint) water.  The perfect hangover cure.
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Ted's Amsterdam
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On the food side, I tucked into a French toast and bacon combo which totally sorted me out.  Two of the girls enjoyed sharing a pastrami sandwich and salmon omelette.  Amber was sadly a bit disgruntled as her eggs and solders didn’t quite make the cut, and the toast she asked for never appeared.
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Ted's Amsterdam
Ted's Amsterdam
Ted's Amsterdam
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That aside, if you’re in the area this is a very affordable and cosy neighbourhood hang out, and a lovely place to start the weekend.
Ted's Amsterdam
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Ted’s
Bosboom Toussaintstraat 60,
1054 AV Amsterdam
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Photo credit: Ted’s own
Instagram: my own
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, Eat, Healthy

Pluk, Amsterdam – for the perfect healthy brunch

September 26, 2015
Pluk, Amsterdam

Pluk is one of those places which draws you in off the street.  A place so photogenic it will send the most expert of Instagrammers into a tizzy.  It looks good from every angle, with huge windows allowing lots of light in, bright white walls, vases spilling with beautiful flowers, and huge crates and baskets laden with fruit and vegetables.  It’s feminine and pretty, and makes you want to recreate the whole place at home.  It is exactly my kind of place, and possibly – dare I say it – one of my favourite cafes in Amsterdam.

Pluk, Amsterdam

So what is it?  It’s the place to come for a healthy brunch, but it’s also ideal for a take away sandwich, salad, coffee or juice (they have so many options).  Having been going through a health craze for close to two years, I’ve visited as many healthy cafes and restaurants in London as possible, and have always thought Amsterdam was fairly disappointing on that front.  But slowly but surely the health craze has reached Amsterdam, which is now reflected in the cafes, juice bars and restaurants which have opened in the past few year or two.  I love places like Lavinia’s, Dr Blend, Vinnie’s Deli and now Pluk.

Pluk, AmsterdamPluk, Amsterdam

Pluk seems to have really nailed it though.  With seating upstairs on the mezzanine level overlooking the cafe, you can easily spend your whole morning here, watching people come in and out.  Have an energy booster shot to start, and work your way though salmon salads, cold-pressed juices and delicious coffees.

Pluk, AmsterdamPluk, Amsterdam

It also sells pottery and trinkets, reminding me a little of Anthropologie.  And apart from that, it is in the heart of the ‘Nine Streets’, Amsterdam’s cutest little streets crossing the main ‘royal’ canals in the centre of town.  These streets are perfect for a weekend stroll, with so many great shops and other cafes and bars.  Pluk’s sister property Ree7, is a few doors down and looks just as inviting, with perhaps a slightly trendier, more masculine feel to it.  It’s another one of Amsterdam’s most popular brunch hangouts though, and is most definitely next on my list.

Pluk, Amsterdam

Pluk Amsterdam

Reestraat 19

1016 DM Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Eat, Stay

Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam

June 21, 2015

By Emilia van Lynden

The Conservatorium hotel, which opened in 2012, is a treat for all who visit. It is not only one of the Amsterdam’s best hotels, but it also boasts two superb restaurants, a swanky cocktail bar and a private dining room. The building used to be to a conservatory which housed three music institutions but after it closed in 2008, the Italy designer Piero Lissoni was asked to restore this late 19th Century building back to its former glory. The hotel is incredibly popular with tourists from all over the world, however the restaurants and bars have become a place where locals also often enjoy a luxurious dinner or a cocktail on a Friday night.

conservatorium hotel amsterdam

I was lucky enough to go there with my father a few weeks ago and certainly did not turn down his offer. Even though we only went for a quick bite, I was stunned by the good service, quality food and fine wine.  We had dinner in the brasserie which is in the internal courtyard within the hotel. The windows are from floor to ceiling  – roughly six metres high – and which allow the restaurant to be lit mainly through natural light.

conservatorium hotel amsterdam

I went for scallops with lemon risotto and zucchini flowers, whilst my father decided for a meat option; duck breast with beetroot and raspberry. I don’t often find myself in swanky restaurants and the scallops were some of the best I’ve had.   My father, who refuses to cook duck breast at home anymore as he creates such a mess, was more than pleased with his choice.

If you really want to go out for a treat in the heard of Amsterdam’s Museum quarter, then I would highly recommend this fabulous restaurant. You don’t have to necessary splash out but can choose one course with a bottle of their house wine.

Rooms from £340 per night

Conservatorium Hotel

Van Baerlestraat 27

Photos belong to Conservatorium Hotel

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, 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

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