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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, Blog, Stay, The Netherlands

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

September 22, 2015
Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

If you’re going to stay in a quirky, creative, unusual hotel, it might as well be in Amsterdam.  For those of you looking for affordable and fun accommodation then Hotel Not Hotel is the place for you.  As we were in Amsterdam to see the fantastic contemporary photographic fair and festival UNSEEN, it seemed an apt place for us to stay.

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

There’s a strong hint in the name in terms of what you may, or may not, expect from Hotel Not Hotel.  This is a hotel, but it’s also a series of individual pieces of ‘art’ (in a loose sense of the word); where each room is different, no room is just a ‘room’.  It also has a few hostel-esque features, namely the shared bathrooms (which are very clean and modern) for some of the cheaper rooms, and a relaxed, laid back vibe.  But it’s far from a hostel.  The interiors are in fact, rather beautifully done.  I love the book cases doubling for doors to hidden rooms.  And the Mr and Mrs front doors leading to two rooms (one of which was ours for the night).  The crows nest and the tram cart are two other unique rooms.  It’s all well thought through and, even though it may not be for everyone, it is at least a very original idea.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

They have a bar called Kevin Bacon.  While I’m not a massive fan of the actor, I thought the bar itself was rather beautiful.  It also has a small roadside terrace from which you can enjoy a morning coffee, or an early evening cocktail.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

Bicycles are for rent, for €12 a day (and they’ll reserve them for you in advance).  We depended on this mode of transport throughout the weekend, and if you want to act like a local, then it’s key that you rent one too.  Then the hotel’s location – slightly out of the city centre, in bustling Amsterdam West – is not a problem either.  It takes 10 minutes max (depending on the calibre of the bikers you’re with) to cycle into the centre, or Amsterdam West has so many cosy neighbourhood cafes and bars (like Ted’s), as well as the brand new Cafe Panache, which seems to be the place to be for dinner on the weekend (blogs to follow on these).

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

Stay here for the experience, for a laugh.  It’s full of surprises.  Don’t take it too seriously, just enjoy it for what it is.  Then like us you’ll giggle when you wake up in a room which is not much bigger than a cupboard, looks like a chapel and is labeled ‘Crisis Free Zone’.  100% worth considering for a weekend away with friends.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

For other Amsterdam accommodation ideas, consider the Volkshotel.  Plus sides is that it’s even more affordable than Hotel Not Hotel, has hot tubs on the roof, and a really fun bar.  Negatives are that it’s even further out of town.

Hotel Not Hotel

Piri Reisplein 34
1057 KH Amsterdam

Photos belong to Hotel Not Hotel

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

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

 

Amsterdam, Drink

Hanneke’s Boom

June 15, 2015

 

A lovely spot near Central Station (5 minute’s walk); Hanneke’s Boom may look like a little shack (built from reclaimed and recycled materials) on the river, but this is one of the best places to spend a lazy day in the sun.  It has a large terrace on the water, boots can moor along side, there’s often live music and it has a very chilled vibe. It’s also great during and after sunset, often followed with parties and DJs spinning. As with all great places, it has become pretty popular (but thankfully mainly with locals), so expect it to be busy and to wait in a queue for a while.

Hanneke's Boom

Hanneke’s Boom

Dijksgracht 4, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Drink

De Sluyswacht, Amsterdam

June 15, 2015

 

I love this traditional, wonky little black canal house from 1695, which somehow lost its neighbours and sits on the Jodenbreestraat by itself, overlooking the water.   This is Amsterdam’s answer to a cosy pub.  It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon watching boats go by on the canal on their large terrace, and drinking one of the many brands of beer on offer.  Apart from that, their savoury snacks are worthwhile too.  Too cute to miss.

De Sluyswacht

Jodenbreestraat 1, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Drink

Door 74, Amsterdam

June 15, 2015

For a while Amsterdam didn’t really ‘do’ cocktail bars, though thankfully this has definitely changed over the past few years.  But Door 74 was Amsterdam’s first speakeasy-style cocktail bar, one of the true originals which still manages to keep a fairly low profile.  Maybe it’s because the Dutch don’t like to spend money (it’s not the place to come to for a cheap beer).

Deliberately hard to find, with an elusive feel and a dark Prohibition era style interior, this place is worth waiting in line for.  They used to have a reservation only (on the day) policy, but they seem to have relaxed this.  Still, it’s worth calling/texting them (again, only on the day itself) and trying to book a table in advance.  The cocktails are expensive for Amsterdam (EUR 12 – 15) but they’re innovative and delicious.

Door 74

Reguliersdwarsstraat 74, Amsterdam

0031 (0)634045122

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