Amsterdam abounds in food choices. Happy streets for hunting include Utrechtsestraat, Spuistraat and any of the little streets lining and connecting the west canals such as Berenstraat.
A great place to sample Dutch pancakes in an atmosphere free of clogs and other kitsch – and there are just as many locals here as tourists.
Open since the 1940s, the venerable Van Dobben has white-tiled-walls and white-coated counter men who specialise in snappy banter. Trad Dutch fare is the speciality: try the pekelvlees (something close to corned beef) and the best kroketten (croquettes) and pea soup in town.
An old-school vegie eatery, De Bolhoed has been dishing up generous helpings of Italian, Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes to Amsterdammers for decades. Enjoy the tables among plants by the canal.
Run by students for students (ID gets you one-third off), this friendly, fun cafe-bar is a nice place to get some tasty Mediterranean fare. Bands occasionally perform at night.
One of the most respected Indonesian restaurants in the city, this tiny place is also more formal than most. It’s the place to go if you’ve never enjoyed a rijsttafel (rice table).
Drinking and Dancing
On a busy crossroad between the Amstel and the Red Light District, this cafe dates back to 1895 and looks it: carved wooden goat’s head, stained-glass lamps, sand on the floor. During fine weather the tables spill across the street for picture-perfect canal views.
This gritty bruin café (brown cafe) has been luring drinkers for more than 300 years. Journalists, bums, socialites and raconteurs toss back brews amidst the ancient wood panelling. Most months the energetic crowd spews from the dark interior and onto the Spui.
In De Wildeman
An oasis in the otherwise grim tourist ghetto south of the station. There are seats outside on the quiet street and a good selection of beers inside.
Amsterdam’s biggest, glitziest club has managed to keep the bass pumping since the ’80s; it got a recent major tech revamp. Long lines get longer when a big-name DJ mixes.
Set in a skinny canal house, the Odeon has been a creative party spot for decades. Glam but accessible, its club nights cater to a veteran crowd.
One night it’s Balkan beats; another, it’s a 10-piece soul band – the Sugar Factory has all kinds of live entertainment. Equally important, the vibe is always welcoming and creative. It’s an excellent midsize space, with a smoking lounge upstairs.