Amsterdam Highlights


Our trip started in the most inauspicious of ways.

We could have taken the time, as we usually do, to drop by the bakery on our way to the Gare du Nord, where a train was to take us to Amsterdam in just! four! hours!, but no. Instead, we chose to get ten extra minutes of sleep, and thus found ourselves on the Thalys train at lunchtime, pushed towards the voiture-bar — the car where they sell drinks and snacks — by the complaint of our stomachs.

Now, train food is not supposed to be good, I am aware of that. But one expects it to be edible at least, and the styrofoam sandwiches we bought, which we were forced to order by the ludicrous name of ciabatta poulet, did not resemble anything anyone in their right mind would want to ingest: the one bite I took was the most revolting thing I have ever tasted. So yes, we love the Northern European high-speed train network, but we shall remember to pack our own lunch next time.

The prettier side of the coin, however, was that we arrived in Amsterdam in urgent need of nourishment, and that is a happy state to be in when you’re visiting a city, for hunger is the best of compasses. As soon as we’d dropped off our bags, we went back out again and happened upon a bright and cheerful café called Lunchroom Klavertje 4.

The various types of ham, cheese, and crudités in the refrigerated case bode well, so we sat down and ordered these opulent open-face sandwiches: a pistolet (Belgian-style white roll) with warm ham, Brie, and mustard sauce for Maxence, and for me, two slices of whole wheat bread groaning under a mound of huttenkaas (cottage cheese, which makes such perfect linguistic sense I’m tickled pink).

What this opening lunch hinted, and what subsequent meals confirmed, is that there is excellent food to be found in Amsterdam, food that is sparklingly fresh, prepared with care, and gently priced.

This wasn’t my first trip to Amsterdam, but my last visit dated back to the late nineties, when Maxence and I were students still. This was some time before my culinary epiphany, and I do not remember much about what we ate then, save for little broodjes (bread rolls) filled with fresh cheese and chives, and an extraordinary rijsttafel at an Indonesian restaurant.

This Dutch colonial take on the traditional Indonesian dinner is what we sought on our first evening, and I had read good things about Tempo Doeloe. It was very busy when we walked in, so we went to the bruin café (Dutch pub) across the street to have a beer and work the jukebox while we waited for our table. Tempo Doeloe’s “small” rijsttafel unfolded in four cold dishes and eleven warm ones, many of them vegetable-based, and all quite good. Not as spectacular as what I remembered, but fresh and flavorful nonetheless.

The next day, we had sandwiches for lunch again — for sandwich fanatics, Amsterdam is the promised land — at Cafe de Tuin, a bruin café with a lovely skylight in the back, sulky service, and a mighty fine BLCT (bacon, lettuce, chicken, and tomato, for the uninitiated) on brown bread.

This was chased by a stroopwafel from Lanksroon. Stroopwafels, these thin waffle disks smooshed together by caramel syrup, are sold everywhere in Amsterdam, but they rarely seem to have been made on the premises. This one, however, was indubitably homemade, the filling still runny — a rare treat with a cup of coffee. (The more common stroopwafel can be placed over a mug of tea or coffee, so the steam can make the inside gooey again.)

We had no particular plans for dinner that night — our general plan for the weekend was to not make any — but we happened upon Na Siam, a Thai restaurant that looked very inviting. We trusted our instincts and enjoyed the finest and freshest Thai meal we’d had in a long time.

Saturday is organic market day in the Jordaan, but someone high up decided to rain (hard) on our parade, so we seeked lunchtime refuge in the arms of Villa Zeezicht, a canal-side café where we had our third and final sandwich: a stupendous vegaburger I might dream of every night if I lived in Amsterdam.

And then, later that afternoon, it was time to say goodbye. Our bags loaded with multicolored tulip bulbs, artisan cheese from De Kaaskamer, and De Halm muesli found at the organic grocery store Natuurwinkel, we boarded the train that would take us home in just! four! hours!, without neglecting to drop by Patisserie Kuyt — named best pastry shop in Holland in 2006 — to get our share of their deservedly popular appelschnitte* as a train snack: fool me once…

* Kuyt’s appelschnitt involves subtly spiced apples, raisins, and sliced almonds layered on a thin, cake-like basis and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Any Dutch pastry specialist out there with a recipe to offer?


Amsterdam address book:

Lunchroom Klavertje 4 / map it!
Utrechtsestraat 69, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 624 2849

Tempo Doeloe (Indonesian restaurant) / map it!
Utrechtsestraat 75, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 625 6718

Cafe de Tuin (bruin café) / map it!
Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 13, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 624 4559

Lanskroon (pastry shop + tea room) / map it!
Singel 385, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 623 7743

Na Siam (Thai restaurant) / map it!
Kerkstraat 332, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 421 0505

Villa Zeezicht (bruin café) / map it!
Torensteeg 7, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 626 7433

De Kaaskamer (cheese shop) / map it!
Runstraat 7, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 623 3483

Natuurwinkel (natural foods store) / map it!
Haarlemmerdijk 160, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 626 6310

Patisserie Kuyt (pastry shop) / map it!
Utrechtsestraat 109a, Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 623 4833

  • “So yes, we love the Northern European high-speed train network, but we shall remember to pack our own lunch next time.”

    That is too funny…I wonder if train food in the U.S. is similar? I was planning a tour/trip in the future and thinking I should probably pack my own meals as well!

  • for Joke!

    Clotilde! You were on my street! (The Natuurwinkel you were at). I am so glad you visited our lovely city!

  • I know exactly what you mean about train food. I had a similar experience with a panini on the Eurostar — bread with a cocktail of chemicals and bland cheese.

    The appelschnitte looks divine. I’d love to bake it too!

  • I went to Amsterdam 4 years ago with an ex, only to get dumped a month after I had paid for the trip and everything. Never mind, I did have a fantastic time there, food, people, the coffee shops drinking beer… ;).

  • Thanks for including all the addresses! I love stroopwafels….drool.

  • I love Amsterdam, and am quite jealous of the fresh stroopwaffle you had. It looks tasty! I’ve only had the packaged kind. Have you had a chance to try pannenkoken, the dutch pancakes? I finally had one on my most recent trip to the Netherlands, and it was fantastic! Bacon and cheese, you must try it on your next trip :)

  • gingerpale

    Oh my, every picture you’ve provided in this post is mouth-watering, I think more so than usual!
    But why is the stroopwafel lacking the “waffling”–the little grid pattern?

  • Jennifer K

    At first I thought a cottage cheese sandwich didn’t sound good, but after seeing its picture, I changed my mind!

    Just out of curiosity, did you try the food coloring with space cake? Hee hee…

  • Braden

    OMG, stroopwafel! You can smell those things from three blocks away. They lure you through the cobblestones like Hansel and Gretel to a bowl of cinnamon and spice oatmeal.

  • Michel-Antoine Renaud

    Mais c’est quoi cette photo… le sandwich pas mangeable ou le délicieux repas à Amsterdam? Parce que je ne sais pas si ça a l’air bon… je suis plutôt confus! Au départ, je pensais que c’était un biscuit langue de chat, puis peut être une très joli poisson frit style Fiash & Chip…

  • Michel-Antoine Renaud

    And on the Thalys first class, the food is just wonderfull… The last time I took it at lunch time, I was server a very posh lunch with sautéed cold salmon, japanese hard weat noodle miso salad, three different cheeses, a piece of cheese cake with fresh raspberry and couli… they even gave us a truffle after the meal… really, I think there is just two extremes on that train!

  • The one time we took a Thalys train, we rode in a first class cabin.

    There were attendants, who served lunch to us. It was quite a nice meal. Much better than any airline food I have ever had.

  • Stroopwafels! I miss those so much from Amsterdam. They are so amazing and you can hardly find them over. They’re starting to become more popular in the states.

    The food in general in Amsterdam was very good when I visited. It was very fresh food. There is also this place called Supperclub which I didn’t know existed until afterwards. If you ever get to Amsterdam, go to Supperclub!!! It is a tad expensive but it will be a crazy eating experience, you must go!

  • Oh, stroopwaffels, yum. There’s a Canberra baker who sells these at our local Farmers’ market. Very hard to resist, especially in winter.

    Did you have poffertjes? And raw herring? I lived in the Netherlands as a child, but then was too squeamish and anti-fish to try it. My Mum liked it, though.

  • marie

    wow! that all sounds so definately planning a short trip soon :)

  • I went to Tempo Doeloe last year and was a bit disappointed. Too bad you did not make it to the College Hotel : a hotel and restaurant run by students (supervised by professionals, of course). We had a lovely dinner there !

  • Your post brings back many good memories! I was working for 3 months in Amsterdam some years ago and I loved every moment…yesyesyes on the rijstaffel, thai food, and my all time favorite de Kaaskammer! You can buy bottles of stroop (the stuff in the stroopwafel) and put it on anything…I was (still am) seriously addicted :)

    As for the high speed train system…when my then boyfriend (now husband) visited me in Amsterdam we took it to guess where? Paris! We took the reverse trip! :)

  • Amy

    I’ve never been to Amsterdam but your post has made me desperately want to go! Anywhere that sells loads of different sorts of meats, cheeses and other tasty morsels is okay by me!

  • raw herring in amsterdam is heavenly!
    (so delicate, I could not believe my taste buds.)

  • Lanskroon is THE place to get a stroopwafel! Good skillz!

  • david e

    My wife and I were in A’dam last August and took the train from Paris as well. Having done this before I knew about train food and was the envy of fellow travelers as e pulled out our Parisian bread, ham, cheese, and wine.

    There are many fine eateries in Amsterdam — don’t recall a bad meal anywhere – but what I discovered my last trip was choc-o-lait. You’re served a cup of heated milk and a square if dark chocolate on a stick that you melt into the milk for the perfect (non-Parmelat) hot cocoa. I can’t find journal to tell you the places I found it, but keep an eye open around the Waterlooplein.

  • Griffin

    What amazes me is that you eat such good food and lots of it… but you are still the slim, wonderful being that you were when I met you in London!

    I swear magic is involved… you must have faerie blood in your family somewhere – you just must have!

    Glad you enjoyed Amsterdam! Long may you eat… and remain the amazing heroine you are… well you’re one of my heroines.

  • Wouter

    Doesn’t anybody notice this is NOT a stroopwafel? I’m very glad you had an enjoyable stroopkoek, but a stroopwafel looks very different indeed (a little like a ‘gauffre’; a wafer) and should of course be bought and eaten hot, in Gouda (yep, from the cheese, but also from the stroopwafels).
    Something else I (and probably you) missed here is a good herring, I can’t believe it! Next time, maybe you can ask for some tips before leaving, there must be more cheese heads reading this blog ;-)

  • Maaike

    It’s always fun to read what non-Dutch-people like to eat in Amsterdam. Stroopwafels are delicious indeed. The rijsttafel is a Dutch colonial adaptation of the Indonesian dinner.

  • swan

    while you are in ‘my’country I’m in yours. Enjoying the food, hoping to be able to buy your new book this weekend in Paris. Going to meet Judy and Debbie.(yey!) Having a great time. Glad you enjoyed Amsterdam! I am available for stroopwafel-delivery (in person) or sending world-wide :-)

  • Rachel

    What a shame you got rained out of the Boerenmarkt, I think it gives Batignolles a run for its money!

    Next time you go, you must try the apple pie at Lunchcafe Winkel (on the Nordermarkt), which is the best in the city, hands down. (and a pancake at Le Soleil, a pancake cafe so cute you’ll want to put the whole place in your pocket and take it home with you.) And next time I go, I’ll make a point of trying appelschnitte!

  • Sarah

    I got a SICK croq monsieur on the Thalys once. Ew, I feel your pain.

  • Veerle


    Wonderful post. As a Dutch girl currently living in France, I’m very happy some friends brought me a packet of stroopwafels last weekend. Effectively kept me from becoming seriously homesick while reading your post;-) Wouter is right though, the cookie on your picture is a stroopkoek, not a stroopwafel. I think both kinds are really good though, so I would not consider it a great loss…

    As regards the appelschnitte I’m affraid you’ll have to ask our beloved neigbours though – the German. Any pastry ending on ‘schnitte’ could be either German or Austrian but – unfortunately – not originally Dutch. Cannot offer you a recipe therefore, sorry

  • granuaile

    glad to hear you liked my city! de Natuurwinkel in the Haarlemmerdijk is a good one, and one of a chain. did you visit Tampopo next door? this shop has the craziest things from asia, like instant green tea icecream. love the place!

    make sure you do not miss the burgers at during your next visit. it’s near the Albert Cuyp market. a true burgerrestaurant, but different then i have seen anywhere else.

    the organic market Noordermarkt on Saturday’s, right in the heart of the Jordaan neighbourhood, is a must for foodlovers!

    hope you will visit us again soon. we are just a trainride away!

    to gingerpale: But why is the stroopwafel lacking the “waffling”–the little grid pattern? >>> without the grid it is called a stroopkoek, with grid: stroopwafel. cookie or waffle!
    – are there any Dutch to confirm this?

  • Marc

    To the poster re: Train Food in US….I can assure you that any train food in the US will make the European Train Food taste like a fine dining experience. Beware train food in the US, or better yet, don’t partake.

  • Oh I love Stroopwafels! My bf just went to Amsterdam and I told him if he didn’t come back with some stroopwafels for me it was over. I was serious.

  • Re: Train Food in U.S.
    Thank you Marc! I figured that, but always want to get a second opinion. I’ll be protein bar packing:)

  • Natasja

    I wondered about the Appelschnitte, since this seems to be a German sort of pastry, but the picture revealed one of my favourites: the appelkanjer (apple giant)! I have never tried to make it myself, because I didn’t know how to make the lovely, crumbly, almondy, crunchy topping. I found this recipe though and will try it this weekend.

    For 1 appelkanjer
    a square of puff pastry
    1/2 apple, peeled and cubed
    4 gr. caster sugar
    1 ts raisins
    a couple of drops of lemon juice
    a pinch of cinnamon (I think I’ll use a cinnamon stick instead)
    a few drops of vanilla essence
    a little water
    1/4 egg yolk

    For the topping:
    1/2 ts sugar
    1/4 egg white
    1/2 ts almond shavings
    icing sugar

    The pastry filling is rather straigthforward:
    Poach the apple cubes briefly with the lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla untill almost cooked.
    Drain (keep the liquid) and let cool. Soften the raisins in some of the leftover liquid and drain as well. Then mix gently with the apple cubes.
    Ladle some of the fruit mix on the puff pastry, brush the rims with water, fold over and press the rims together. Brush with the egg yolk.
    Now the interesting part:
    Mix the almonds with the egg white and sprinkle on top of the pastry. Just before you put it in the oven (no temperature given, I’d try a rather hot oven) you sprinkle it with the sugar. Bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and dust with icing sugar.
    Good luck

  • Stroopwafels or stroopkoeken? I must say, the last time I was at Landskroon I got confused myself (and I’m Dutch with a loooong history of eating maaaaany stroopwafels – the best ones of course fresh at the market!): they advertised with ‘stroopwafels’ but all I saw were the cookies that looked more like ‘stroopkoeken’. I bought one of these and it was delicious, despite the confusion about the name :).

    Apparently, the difference lies in the cookie. Stroopkoeken are more biscuit-like, they are more yellow and tend to crumble more. Stroopwafels are very soft when fresh, but harden when they cool down. The cookie is also thinner and brown.

    Hard to say which I prefer, the Landskroon stroopkoek-disguised-as-stroopwafel or the straight on fresh stroopwafels from the market….Well, a luxury anyway, since I live in Berlin where they are all pre-packed and expensive…

    By the way, fans of Dutch cookies: try the ‘Jodenkoeken’ (translated: jew’s cookies, after the jewish baker who made them first). Best brand is Davelaar, comes in a tin box with yellow wrapping. As all other Dutch sweets, not very ‘light’ ;).

  • Oh, and the stroopwafel comes with the grid, the stroopkoek without, due to different baking procedures. The two halves of the stroopkoek are baked separately, then the stroop is smeared on them and then they are closed. The stroopwafel gets baked as a whole – dough, stroop, dough, bake.

  • Suze

    He clotilde, next time you plan a visit Amsterdam get in touch with the locals before hand so we can give you lots of advice !
    You missed out on the Noordermarkt indeed (has allready been mentioned in another comment) > great saturday foodmarket.
    But best pastry shop = holtkamp on the vijzelgracht. They also do the best garnalenkroketjes in town (shrimpcroquetes).
    Another very good cheese shop is eric’s on the beukenplein > really nice guy with great unfamiliar dutch cheeses ( And ofcourse a visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without herring > check out the harbour in ijmuiden (visaflsag) > good day-trip to the beach aswell !
    Another great thing to have in Amsterdam (or any of the other bigger cities in holland) is Roti ! > it is a surinam dish with a kind of pancake, meat and curry (very mild).
    But by the sound of your blog you had a great time anyway :-))

  • Thank you all very much for the additional recommendations — I’ll keep them in mind for future trips.

    Suze – If you read the post carefully, you’ll see that we did go to the Noordermarkt. It was pouring rain, so it was hard to enjoy the experience to the full, but we’ll have better weather next time I’m sure.

  • It was a pleasure to read about your time in Amsterdam! It brings me back to when I went…I miss it so much! And Belgium too!

  • Clotilde, Your trip sounds wonderful despite the inauspicious start.

    I have to tell you that upon finding your site last week, I was moved to buy your first book. It is wonderful. I am reading it as if it were a novel. You have quite a talent with words.


  • Your train experience sounds just like what we experience on planes…it has become absolutely a necessity to pack a meal, or wait until you reach your destination.

    Loved your photo by the way…bread and melted cheese…one of my favorite things!


  • drea

    Looks great! Question: are the portion sizes all really big or are the photos close up?

  • My name is Helen and I am a sandwich fanatic! I must therefore go to Amsterdam as soon as possible. I like the sound of the stroopwafel too, sounds sinfully delicious.

  • Hi Clotilde,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve been living in The Netherlands for the past ten years and all I still hear are complaints (from tourists and expats) about how attrocious Dutch food is. I have made it my mission to change that opinion (well, at least try!) by writing more about great Dutch food in a column for an expat publication I write for:
    “Paola Cooks it Up”:(you have to scroll down to see the two articles I wrote about culinary Amsterdam).
    It is very refreshing indeed to hear from people who do enjoy the food here! Thanks for that!


  • Reading this really makes me miss Amsterdam.

  • That’s so funny, because I always think of European train station food at least as fantastic (well German at least, I must admit that I can’t normally afford a pastry at Paul) and I once had a sandwich jambon-fromage on a train from Ulm to Paris that was quite satisfying. I will add the caveat, though, that as an American, I’ll have to live a very long time in Europe before my food standards are ever raised beyond a point where, for example, a simple piece of baguette with camembert is not immensely tasty.

  • I have never taken a US train, so I don’t know about its food. However, I can confirm that in the French TGV they tried to improve the food and it’s not so bad!

  • I love Amsterdam! So nice to read your impressions.

  • Dan Dx

    About “train food”, some years ago I took a night train from Paris to Spain. I’d bought a ham sandwich in the Austerlitz Railway station, in anticipation of any potential “munchies”.
    In the middle of the night, I opened the sandwich’s paper bag and a ghostly green light illuminated the compartment! My ham sandwich was luminescent!
    I’m not against R&D about food, but I’m not fond of green in that matter, they should try something else: pink or purple, why not…

  • Pat

    Next time you’re in Amsterdam, don’t miss Puccini for chocolates. They have the best ones I’ve EVER tasted, and I’ve tasted quite a few. I saved a honey one for the flight home to the states and thoroughly enjoyed eating it when I was over the mid-Atlantic! I only wish I had bought more, and they don’t ship.

  • vicki

    Hi!!thanks for the tips, I was in Amsterdam for work from Sunday till today but took the time to go to Lanskroon on your recommendation, it was great, thank you!!grüße aus Freiburg, Vicki

  • June Pickering

    Next time you are in Amsterdam, don’t forget to try the chocolates from Puccini Bomboni. They have two locations. I think they may have been the best chocolates I’ve tasted.. ever. It’s a good thing I don’t live in that city! I found the food in Amsterdam much improved since my last visit. It’s difficult choosing where to have dinner, but De Witte Uyl was a favorite – a charming hostess and an unusual-style menu.

  • Manon

    you should go to Gartine lunchroom in the taksteeg (near the spui), I think it’s the best in whole Amsterdam (and always very busy!)

  • Hello! As a nearly decade-long resident of Amsterdam and a die-hard fan of all things tasty, I can confirm Kuyt’s appelschnitte is remarkably good; it’s one of my personal favorites. They manage to prepare it in such a way that the baked apples still have a fresh zing, and the spices are so well balanced. (For other readers, in the blog photo, there are two servings, one on top of the other).

    Kaaskamer is well worth the visit, and on the same street you can see other little specialty shops, like the one that sells only toothbrushes, and displays vintage ones riding a rather large, automated Ferris wheel in their window.

    Holtkamp is also a must-drop-in, if only for their shrimp croquettes (which you can get frozen) and their superb apple pie (the one that is open face). Right up there with Kuyt’s. The space is beautiful and original, a little architectural treasure that has remained within family hands.

    Absolutely have to agree with the recommendation of Puccini Bomboni…they have two locations, as well, which can make it more convenient.

    Frank’s Smokehouse is unique and offers delicious, smoked (obviously) cheeses, poultry, fish. Also smokers, the aluminum box in which you can do your own smoking. All high-quality with info on sources. I love the smoked trout and salmon, but he also makes gorgeous Indian flavored salmon cakes, with a chutney, yum. Really yum! (You may need a toothbrush from the toothbrush store later, though…all those eye-popping flavors) He has a long list of sandwiches, which look tempting.

    On Beethovenstraat there is an excellent Japanese delicatessen which offers a bit of everything, also in deep-freeze, for your home prep, but some very good sushi and other basic dishes to eat there (standing tables) or take away. It is called Meidi-Ya.

    Further down the street (two blocks) is a very, very good cheese shop, which has an excellent selection of Dutch cheeses, among others. This is the Kaashuis. Do not stop at the bakery in between, it really isn’t any good, I’m afraid. You can try some herring at the fish shop, three doors down from the bakery.

    The Dutch excel in making a very soft, brown/whole grain breads, and locals have their favorites in their neighborhoods. There is variation in quality, so find out what area you will be in, as many of the regular bakeries offer excellent sandwiches with their own bread.

    Enjoy Amsterdam, the eating still isn’t wonderful everywhere (but then no city I’ve been to is), it does however have quite a few hidden and not-so-hidden culinary treasures!

    Your blog entry makes me a touch sentimental as I have just moved to your country, but then nearly a four hour train ride to the south from your city…

    cheers from a used-to-be Amsterdammer in the Cevennes.

  • Charlotte Alston Legg

    Amsterdam was our home for 5 years. Now back in the US we long for the delicious food and fantastic koffie verkeerd (cafe latte) in our adopted city.

    A couple of tips for your upcoming trip: You must travel a little bit outside the Center and eat lunch or dinner at DeKas, an all-organic converted greenhouse. Easy to get to, right on the tram lines.

    Be sure to visit the Albert Cuypmarkt, apparently the largest outdoor market in Europe, located in de Pijp, a very diverse and wonderful area in the southern part of Amsterdam. Your dining opportunities are endless, but our favorite is De Witte Uyl (the White Owl). Tell Annemieke, Charlotte and John sent you!

    Bon voyage, and please bid Amsterdam “Groetjes”!

  • Eric Wright

    Many tourist only come to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam. But Holland has plenty to offer outside its capital. Crisscrossed with canals, the flat landscape is perfect for cycling with historic town centers,
    classic windmills and other tourist spots sprinkled across the country.


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