I’ve visited many cafes and there are still many waiting to be explored. Here, I will recommend 4 places to go for food, and 1 specialty coffee cafe that you must try. These food places are a bit further off Amsterdam centre, but definitely still worth the visit if you are staying here for long, like a student doing his/her university exchange here 🙂
1. NAP Amsterdam
I chanced upon this restaurant as I was searching for cafes and coffee. NAP is located in the far east of Amsterdam central, nearer to Diemen, just opposite Diemerpark. From UvA Science Park, you can take a very scenic ride across the Nesciobrug, an award-winning cycle and footbridge in the Netherlands, the country’s first suspension bridge that carries only a cycle track and footway (for more, see Wikipedia).
The food here is a tad pricey, and at lunchtime it is not uncommon to see men in business suits sitting around for their lunch and talking business. This estate feels more expensive than the other neighbourhoods around Amsterdam, as inferred from the number of luxury brand cars parked on the streets here!
I ordered their cheesecake and the waitress gave me an approving smile and commented, “That’s a great choice”. I was not disappointed, and enjoyed my cake down to its last bite. If only it wasn’t that expensive, I would have ordered another slice!
2. Beter & Leuk
“Beter & Leuk” translates to “Better and Nice” or “Better and Fun” – Google gave me both translations as “leuk” could be nice or fun in different contexts. Upon stepping in the cafe, it definitely felt more “fun” than the many “serious” cafes around Amsterdam. I felt like I was transported back in time, as the decor and music played was like in the 80s’.
Beter & Leuk specializes in serving organic, vegan, and gluten-free food. The Dutch Weed Burger is also served here! I ordered a cup of latte and tried their gluten-free, chocolate brownie with sweet potato. It tasted heavenly.
Beter & Leuk also showcases fashionable products, and organizes events and workshops, with the aim of creating an accessible neighborhood where you get inspired by all aspects which have to do with a healthy and sustainable life. Anything that shouts “sustainable” will get my support =) Do visit this cafe!
3. Thai Food Cafe SOI 66
While I was enjoying my coffee and cake at Coffee Bru (did I tell you that this is my favourite cafe in Amsterdam?) a quick search for food around me led me to this Thai cafe/restaurant, located in the Oostport neighbourhood of Amsterdam.
Thai Food Cafe SOI 66 aims to bring Thai street food to the people here. The food prices are reasonable, and they serve the mango sticky rice. I’ve got to visit this place and have my first experience of Thai food in Amsterdam! When I think of Thai food, my favourite would be their green curry, and that was what I ordered here. The spice level was very mild, yet enough for someone who cannot take much spice sweat. The chicken in the green curry was very tender, such that my friend and I almost mistaken it for fish!
I can’t say that this is an “authentic” Thai restaurant, because the tastes would have been changed to cater to the locals. The curry and sticky rice taste different (in a good way) from those served in Singapore. This begs the question of what is “authentic”. Are those served in Singapore considered “authentic”? Or only those served in Thailand are authentic?
I would still recommend this place because of its affordable prices and nice ambience!
4. Volendammer Vishandel
Probably the best and freshest fish you can find in town. I was asking for cheap eats around east Amsterdam, and my friend recommended this place that he visited a few days earlier. I was craving for some fish and chips, so here I go!
At the counter, you get to see all sorts of fish being displayed – the prepared and cooked ones at one end, the raw ones at the other. You get to order fish and chips here, which will be freshly prepared from the array of fish they have on display. This is the modern fishmonger 🙂
The fish is fried on the spot upon your selection (have I said this?) and this one is in small chunky sizes, dissimilar to the usual longish kind of fish you get for fish and chips. In addition, the batter complements the fish well – the main star is still the fish.
Do visit this main outlet here in Middenweg! There are other smaller outlets where you can buy takeaways, but without seats to have your fresh fish and chips!
5. White Label Coffee
To the serious coffee geeks, you have to come to this place. I first read about White Label Coffee in a coffee magazine, and I learnt about how serious the founders are in bringing the third wave coffee movement to the Netherlands. “White label stands for openness: we love to share everything we know”, says their website. This flagship store, both a cafe and a roastery, is located about 20 minutes by cycling or tram from the Amsterdam Central station. White Label Coffee serves coffee by the type of beans – their menu boasts at least 10 different types – and then the brew method. Ask for the barista’s recommendations if you are lost in how to order, and they can suggest something according to your tastes!
Cafe-hopping and food-searching never ends. I thought I had seen enough, but clearly there are so much more to explore here in Amsterdam. It’s amazing. Do you have any recommendations for food and coffee? Let me know and I got to try it before leaving Amsterdam (in two weeks’ time!)
ANNOUNCEMENT: I recently got in touch with the founder of exchangebuddy.com and have some of my posts contributed in that website! Exchange Buddy is created to help students going on overseas exchange programme to prepare well and have a better expectation of their overseas experience! For more posts like this and information about other countries, do check out Exchange Buddy!