So, as you might have seen in one of my last posts, Lewis and I recently spent a few days in glorious Amsterdam. We decided not to bother with anything too touristy, instead preferring to wander the streets and live like a local for the time that we were there. We ate a lot, we drank a lot and we bought a lot in some beautiful shops, so I’ve put together a little guide of our favourite places from our new favourite city. Enjoy!
On the morning of my birthday, we skipped the hotel’s breakfast offering and headed out into the city to see what we could find. We stumbled across the canal-side Cafe George; a deliciously stylish-looking bistro tucked away from the main street, with plentiful tables outside and the most gorgeous branding (I’m a sucker for good typography). Luckily, it lived well up to expectations; I ordered scrambled eggs with bacon and a pot of breakfast tea (so English) and received an absolute mountain of food, and it was so yummy! Lewis ordered Eggs Benedict and he was equally impressed – as were the crowds of locals who ended up sat beside us when they spied our plates…
Leidsegracht 84, 1016 CR Amsterdam
C’est Magnifique Croissanterie
No trip to the Netherlands would be complete without some traditional waffles, and we really did indulge here… on our first afternoon, we couldn’t resist a stop by this bakery to sample some caramel-covered waffles. It was one of the more affordable, less tacky waffle houses that we found, and so delicious!
Leidsestraat 18, 1052 XH Amsterdam
More waffles! As I said, it’s impossible to resist – and this place does them with salted caramel, it’s a no brainer. Incredibly rich and sticky, we found sharing one of these bad boys was more than enough. Wowser.
Warmoesstraat 135, 1012 JB Amsterdam
We stopped here for lunch on our last afternoon, whilst wandering around the picturesque Jordaan area. The restaurant terrace atop a canal boat outside made us stop initially, but the food was amazing. It’s a really tiny bar/restaurant inside, playing the best music throughout our time there (almost all Rolling Stones, perfection!), but the boat terrace is the real attraction. We found a table right beside the canal and tucked into a seriously delicious lunch. I ordered the salad and didn’t expect much; I certainly didn’t expect a bowl piled high with prosciutto, olives, rocket, cucumber, sundried tomatoes, courgettes and much more, drizzled with a heavenly balsamic honey dressing. You can sit beside the water as long as you like, taking in the views and watching everyone on the canal work really hard pedalling or rowing by, whilst you sit in the sun and eat an amazing lunch. A real little gem of a find!
Prinsengracht 96-98, 1015 DZ Amsterdam
Typically, we didn’t pre-book anything for my birthday meal; cue scrambling around that afternoon with the hotel wifi, trying to find somewhere we liked the look of for a special dinner. Two hours later, Lewis stumbled across Za Za’s, and the menu sounded amazing. They only had one table left (always a good sign) and we snapped it up. I am so glad we did! The staff knew it was my birthday, so we had balloons tied to the chairs, as well as a complimentary palate cleanser (I believe it was some kind of five-spice carrot mousse tart?) that was yummy. The restaurant was full to the brim without feeling overstuffed, but the staff were still so attentive.
We ordered scallops to start, served on a fennel filo tart with tarragon butter, followed by the palate cleanser. Lewis chose the cod for his main, whilst I went for the most tender, delicious rib-eye steak, with fries and a red wine jus. Absolutely amazing, I don’t have words for it. SO GOOD. To finish, Lewis had lemmon meringue pie while I went for a flourless chocolate cake with a pistachio gelato; cue it arriving with a sparkler cannon and a birthday serenade! Cringe but so cute. The staff took polaroids of everybody at their table too, for the perfect memento. I would absolutely visit Za Za’s again next time we go to Amsterdam – it was a fabulous experience from start to finish (lucky, given that it’s vaguely Ab Fab themed!)
Daniël Stalpertstraat 103, 1072 XD Amsterdam
We stayed at the Hotel Carlton, located just by Rembrandtplein and the famous Amsterdam flower market. We didn’t really know what to expect, as we booked it cheaply a few weeks before we went, but we were pleasantly surprised. We had a large suite, with a balcony overlooking the city, a huge (and very comfy!) bed and an elegant bathroom with my favourite his-and-hers sinks. The breakfast there was delicious, and we couldn’t fault the location. An easy option for an affordable stay without feeling like you’ve gone too “budget”!
Vijzelstraat 4, 1017 HK Amsterdam
Dille and Kamille
Amsterdam has the best homeware shops! Perfect traps for new homeowners and interior obsessives like us… We found Dille and Kamille whilst exploring the Jordaan area, and agreed that this could be the best homeware shop we’d ever been in. It was kind of like IKEA, but just for bits and pieces – and so much cooler! It had everything from crockery to cutlery to toys, candles, cookbooks and gifts, and I was mesmerised. I left with a gorgeous grey candle for our bedroom – the only thing I could fit in my suitcase! I have already resolved to come back here with an empty suitcase to make sure I can bring back everything I loved in the shop, I could furnish the whole flat from here! Plus, my candle was beautifully wrapped – it felt like a present to myself, what more could you want?
Nieuwendijk 16, 1012 MK Amsterdam
We found this little boutique post-waffles, on one of Amsterdam’s main shopping streets. We were drawn in by the quirky window display (to say the least!) and found so many cool bits inside. Again, there was so much we could have bought, from gifts and gadgets to oils and kitchen bits, but we ended up leaving just with the coolest travel cup I’ve ever seen. No more crappy paper Costa cups for us…!
Leidsestraat 12, 1017 PA Amsterdam
I can honestly say that Amsterdam has the best vintage stores I’ve ever shopped in! After scouring stores in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Brighton and Paris, I’ve never found any that are full of such well-preserved items. Pieces that look like they’ve just rolled out of Topshop! My favourite was the Kiloshop in the very trendy De Pijp neighbourhood; I spied this while we were dining in Za Za’s and resolved to come back the next day as it looked too good to miss out on. I was right! This vintage store is also a very chic coffee shop, serving seriously good coffee by the way, and is stocked to the rafters with the most amazing 60s and 70s pieces. There was the option to buy by the kilo (where’s that suitcase when you need it?) or to buy by weight of individual items, which is what I did. I found a super cute red gingham blouse for serious Bardot vibes, and the perfect Breton top. The hunt is over! There was everything from sunglasses to scarves and bags, as well as some incredible 80s prom dresses – a perfect way to escape for a couple of hours and find some real treasures too!
Waterlooplein 189, 1011 PG Amsterdam
Circle of Trust Concept Store
This might just be the most beautiful shop I have ever set foot in. Everything about it was gorgeous – serious interior inspo alert! I’m basically recommending this store because of this. The clothes were also gorgeous, made even better by hanging on copper hangers (the dream!) but the displays and the accessories – oh my. Pineapple candles, metallics, feathers, coffee table books, lights… it was a hipster home dream, Pinterest come alive. HEAVENLY.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 47, 1072LB Amsterdam