Thursday, October 26, 2017

Favorite Places in Amsterdam

It's early in the morning and I'm jet lagged, as I just got back from the International Fundraising Congress (IFC), produced by The Resource Alliance. This conference is held every October in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, just outside of Amsterdam, and is a gathering of thought leaders and innovators in the charitable/philanthropic/NGO sector. This was only my second trip to The Netherlands, but I've already developed a short list of "must do" places in Amsterdam. So here are a few of my picks, from a total newbie tourist perspective!

De Drie Fleshjes
Gravenstraat 18 (behind the New Church)
1012 NM  Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 624 8443

Mon-Sat » 2:00 - 8:30 PM
Sun » 3:00 - 7:00 PM

360 photo by Jim Anderson

I think this is my favorite bar in the world. This is the place for jenever and beer. Please don't come in fussing about Sauvignon Blanc. David (in the picture above) has been our bartender three of the four times we were here, and he remembered us by visit two! He was very helpful about guiding us through the multiple styles of jenever and the history of the bar. Go old school and have oude jenever and a Heineken. You also must drink the jenever properly, as shown here. This bar has been in operation since 1650, and holds claim to being the oldest bar in Amsterdam. While this place has been on many travel shows, it has never seemed crowded.

Restaurant Haesje Claes
Spuistraat 273-275
1012 VR Amsterdam
Tel. +31 20 6249998

Open 7 days a week, 12:00 H-24.00 H (Last kitchen orders at 22.00 H)

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This was one of my favorite meals of this trip. Lively atmosphere and appropriately old setting for a solid Dutch meal. We started with herring and jenever, which was a great pairing to cut through the oiliness of the fish. We then moved on to the eel soup, which tastes strongly of the mustard and the smokiness of the eel--it had more of a meaty taste than fish. We split the shrimp krokketen, and then had two generous entrees: the marrow peas and the sauerkraut stamppot. These are definitely winter weather foods! Heavy, but in a comfort food way. The staff is very friendly and helpful with the menu if you have questions. Natalia, our server, was fun to banter with! Great food, service, and a good value.

Cafe Loetje
Johannes Vermeerstraat 52
1071 DT Amsterdam
020-662 81 73

Open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m.
Kitchen is open until 10:30 p.m.

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Another "light" lunch at this classic. Everyone on Yelp and Trip Advisor said to order one of the steaks. That was good advice. Their filets are prepared in butter, and you have your choice of just butter, the spicy version ("Bali") or the "de Roode Waard" version, which has onions, bacon, and chicken livers. We, of course, went all in, and ordered the "loaded" one, and it was delicious.

Kalfsvlees krokketen
FEBO (website is in Dutch only)
Multiple locations around The Netherlands, hours vary

These are old fashioned automats, and they serve fried nuggets of goodness. Krokketen are a big thing in The Netherlands: breaded, fried snacks with a meat and gravy filling. If you have exact change, usually 1.80-3 euros, you can get the snack from the vending machine. If you don't, that's okay, you can order at the counter and have your krokket made fresh.

Singel 498
Amsterdam centrum
tel.:+31(0) 20 625 32 64

Open daily at 12:00

I've been hunting for rijstafel, the Indonesian "rice table," which is a collection of small dishes served family style. We've been to three restaurants so far, and this one is the best. There are many more restaurants serving rijstafel in Amsterdam, so I'm sure there are other great ones, but I like this one. Atmosphere is cozy and the service was good.

Cafe Bern
Nieuwmarkt 9
1011 JR  Amsterdam
telephone +31 20 622 00 34 (from 3:00 pm)
Open 7 days a week: 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
kitchen: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm

One of the few places where I have no photos! This was a nice surprise in Nieuwmarket. They have a brief menu, but everyone is there for the fondue. The cheese fondue is decadently rich, as you would expect, but the surprise for me was the Steak Bern, which you cook at your table on a metal plate of Bearnaise sauce. So good. Mostly Dutch here, but they do have an English menu if you ask. Communal tables and a tight squeeze in this cafe, so don't bring a big bag!

Number 11: Bananas, bacon and chile with added cheese
Pancakes Amsterdam
Multiple locations, but we go to
Prins Hendrikkade 48, 1012 AC Amsterdam
Phone: +31 (0)20 820 42 40

Open daily from 8:00 to 20:00

Dutch pancakes are very thin and can be simple: traditional ones are just cheese, or ham and cheese, or a little bit of fruit. But, in the name of excess, we start piling on the toppings! My favorite it number 11, with bananas, bacon, and chiles. I added grated Dutch cheese this time and it was fabulous. This is a "card only" establishment, but tips are accepted in cash. It's also first come, first served, which sometimes makes the queue awkward, because if there is a party of 6 next in line, they will wait until a table for 6 is open, even if they have several tables for two available. If you find yourself behind a large party, it doesn't hurt to step up to the front and ask about a smaller table.

Veal Tonnato
Restaurant Van Kerkwijk
Nes 41
1012 KC Amsterdam
+31 20 6203316

Open 11:00-1:00 daily

This is a charming little place near Dam Square with a spoken menu, so everything changes day to day. The servers are friendly and helpful, and the european style fare is a little bit lighter than the heavy Dutch food we spent most of the time eating.

I'm looking forward to adding to this list next year at IFC 2018!

This post originally appeared on Alice's Restaurants.