17-10-2012 | 13.38
Amsterdam is full of tourist traps. With a bit of local knowledge, you will be able to avoid them, eat and drink better and make the most of your time in this beautiful city. Since the nights will be filled with partying, this guide will concentrate on other practicalities such as eating, drinking and daytime entertainment.
Getting to the city from the airport
Taxis in Amsterdam are among the most expensive in the world. Avoid them if you can, especially for those 20 minutes from the airport into town. That short ride will cost you in the region of 50 euro, a laughable price. Instead, take one of the trains departing from the basement floor of the airport. There are direct trains servicing the stations Amsterdam Central, Station Sloterdijk, Amsterdam Zuid / WTC, Amsterdam RAI and Amsterdam Lelylaan. Tickets can be bought at the yellow vending machines in the baggage arrival halls as well as in the main hall of the airport. The fare into town is a measly 3 euros and something and you will be there just as fast as with a cab.
Start the day well at one of these places that piss all over Starbucks from a great height:
Small World, Binnen Oranjestraat 14
This small organic place is out of this world good. Everything is homemade, superb sandwiches, pies and small warm dishes. THE BEST!
Singel 404, Singel 404
Top sandwich shop close to all the ADE action, they have a lot of repeat customers for a reason. Big portions, lots to choose from, friendly staff and can get busy, be patient.
Café Latei, Zeedijk 143
Lunchroom and vintage kitchen utensils shop rolled into one. Cute, cozy, tasty.
Wolvenstraat 23, Wolvenstraat 23
Watch out, this beautiful hangout around the corner from ADE has no name written on its outside wall, it is easy to miss. Avoid the thai noodle soup, apart from that it's a fantastic place to escape the conference hustle and bustle and recharge for a drink or bite. A longtime local favourite.
Renzos, Van Baerlestraat 67
Beautiful Italian lunch shop just off Museum Square. Sandwiches so good they will make you fistpump, especially the crayfish salad sandwich is legendary. Homemade tiramisu.
Villa Zeezicht, Torensteeg 7
Their freshly baked apple pie is legendary, you can smell it the moment you enter the place. A must-do.
Screaming Beans, Hartenstraat 12
Coffee afficionados, look no further.
De Bakkerswinkel, Zeedijk 37 and Roelof Hartstraat 68
The high tea address of Amsterdam. Awesome sweet and savoury pies. They also do take-out.
De Jaren, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
Spacious, light, a great place for holding a small meeting or reading the newspaper.
There is no shortage of places to have dinner in Amsterdam, but it's tricky to find a place that gives you honest value for money. Know where to go and you'll eat well. I would always advice to reserve in advance, the good joints fill up almost every night.
La Perla, Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 14 & 53
The best pizza in town, Olaf from Trouw introduced me to it and I got hooked immediately. They also
do take-out. My favourite is the Calabrese di Spilinga. A ten minute walk from ADE. Thank me later.
Da Portare Via, Frans Halsstraat 63
Superb true Italian style pizza joint, beautiful in its simplicity, located in the Pijp, one of Amsterdam's liveliest neighbourhoods. I love the parma ham with rocket leafs variety. Add some spicy pepper oil, flush it down with a Peroni and Bob's your uncle.
First of all, if you come from a place with high sushi culture, like Japan, New York or Sao Paulo, skip the sushi altogether. Be especially warned of any all-you-can-eat offers, usually these places are run by Chinese and show little resemblance to the real thing. Only the super-expensive Yamazato restaurant at the Okura Hotel is really world class. If money is no objective then this Michelin decorated joint will do just fine. Here are a few more decent options that won't disappoint:
Morita-Ya, Zeedijk 18
Hole in the wall kind of place just off Central Station. Authentic, cheap and fun. The fish is fresh.
Kagetsu, Hartenstraat 17
Close to ADE, not overpriced and a cozy place. They also have good warm dishes.
Rakang, Elandsgracht 29-31
My favourite Thai place. The spicy shrimp salad and the pad thai jae are healthy and crazy good. And they serve cocktails!
Balti House, Albert Cuypstraat 41
Tacky Indian joint but the curries are plentyful and rock solid. Lamb saag is where it's at, and some hot chicken wings for starters.
Albina, Albert Cuypstraat 69
Big portions, super cheap, fast service, no table cloth, neon lights, 100 dishes on the menu, most of which taste the same. A true blue collar kind of locale and a great place to fill up for those on a budget. They serve an intriguing blend of chinese-indian-surinamese food, very Amsterdam. Try the Moksi Meti Special with lots of the red sauce they have on the table, or the Roti Kip. Rinse with coconut juice.
And a selection of personal favourites
Toscanini, Lindengracht 75
My all time favourite Italian place. Not cheap but oh so good in its understated beauty. Reserve now if you can. Don't skip deserts, they are made by an Italian mama and she knows her shit.
Le 4Staggioni, Johannes Verhulststraat 32
Very pretty place. Fits mosts budgets. Great atmosphere. Seafood Linguine is the one to go for.
Firma Pekelharing, Van Woustraat 127-129
Superb neighbourhood joint in the south of Amsterdam. Antipasti misto and especially the artichoke are top drawer. Steer clear of the smoked tuna. Finish your meal with a sgroppino. I love this place.
Hotel de Goudfazant, Aambeeldstraat 10h
A bit out of the way in the northern part of town. Bite the bullet and take a cab or grab the ferry
(Ijpleinfeer) from behind Central Station and walk for about 15 minutes. Worth it, it's a unique place – an old warehouse transformed into Amsterdam's most beautiful restaurant. The owners park their vintage cars in the back and there's even a ping pong table. Order some oysters and let the good times roll.
I am not an expert of bars and pubs but here's a list of a few watering holes that should do the trick, most of them near ADE.
Vesper Bar, Vinkenstraat 57
Brandstof, Marnixstraat 341
A busy local favourite.
Kingfisher, Ferdinand Bolstraat 24
Down to earth, unpretentious but a really pleasant place to spend hours, day- and nighttime.
Cafe Struik, Rozengracht 160
Oozes atmosphere and friendliness. Top address.
Weber / Lux, Marnixstraat 397 – 403
Two adjacent bars, absolute evergreens of the Amsterdam nightlife.
Doing your own shopping is the way forward to eating and drinking well without breaking the bank. These are a few downtown options:
Marqt, Overtoom 21 & Utrechtsestraat 17
Organic supermarket. This place rocks. Tasty ready-to-eat salads and sandwiches, freshly squeezed orange juice, delicious sweets, a good bakery, organic fruit. Use your brains, some things are simply overpriced but you will eat better and cheaper than in most restaurants. Try the raw chocolate bars called Lovechoc. Credit card / debit card only, no cash!
Albert Heijn, Damrak 89-90
Big supermarket in the heart of town just off Dam Square. They have pretty much everything you need to prepare a tasty meal or stock up on basics.
I will keep this fairly brief, ADE offers all the nighttime entertainment you could possibly wish for and I don't want to single out any clubs or venues, there is plenty of information on the web about that already. However, if you feel like spending a few hours away from the party madness, museums and cinemas are an excellent way to enhance your Amsterdam experience even further.
I like my art modern and contemporary, these are my picks:
Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10
Amsterdam's answer to MoMA and TATE Modern. After 8 years of reconstruction it has finally openened again a few weeks ago. Crowded, so get there early to beat the crowds. Mandatory.
Eye Film Museum, Ijpromenade 1
It's the amazing white and futuristic building opposite Central Station, just across the water. Take the
ferry from Central Station. It's a museum and movie theater rolled into one. Brand new and worthwhile.
De Nieuwe Kerk, Dam Square
Currently exhibiting Andy Warhol's masterpiece The Last Supper. Free entrance, so you might as well have a look.
Pathé Tuschinsky, Reguliersbreestraat 56
Amsterdam's most beautiful movie theater. Proper art deco. Especially cinema 1 is eyecandy.
Cinecenter, Lijnbaansgracht 236
Classy indy film theater. Tasteful selection of movies. Across the street from the Melkweg venue.
The Movies, Haarlemmerdijk 161
Another nice art house cinema.
For a complete movie overview, check this place.
I wish you a crazy week in the beautiful town that I call my home!