Restaurants near the Park Plaza Vondelpark, Amsterdam?
Coming to Amsterdam in August. Hubby & I would like to avoid tourist traps and find some good chow. We're adventurous diners. We'd love to eat where the locals eat. Don't mind travelling a bit to get there. Don't mind spending money for spectacular, but also love the hole in the wall gems. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Hounds!
Here's a link to some places we enjoyed a lot during a trip to Amsterdam in April. Getting around Amsterdam is very easy, so don't worry too much about which neighbourhood the restaurants are in.
No matter where you eat, don't miss the chocolates at Puccini Bomboni (two locations). They are out of this world! And if you want to try some Indonesian rijstafel, we loved Sama Sebo on a previous trip.
Amsterdam is amazing for hanging out, sightseeing and for food :) And we usually stay by Vondelpark so I do know the area a bit. Couple of really reasonable places that come to mind right away, hope these help:
Wok to Walk - yes a chain, but it's fun and slightly chaotic in a good way, and the food is gorgeous. You pick what you want - rice or noodles, sauce of your choice, then any meat/veg/tofu etc. - and it's made fresh for you there. You share tables and no one really rushes you out. We often go to the one on Leidsestraat and then go across the street for Australian Ice Cream on waffles. HEAVEN. ;)
Australian Ice Cream - part of that heaven! I've never had cinnamon ice cream that tasted this good and so deeply cinnamon-y without tasting like red hots! I can barely get past that to try any other flavours.
La Place, the food shop in V&D department store, near the flower market - my fave takeaway food, amazing pizza (rectangular slices off long strips of pizza - try the smoked salmon, YUM), and funnily enough fab brownies!
Maoz Falafel - another chain and you'll see so many in the 'dam, but it's ubiquitous for a reason - gorgeous falafel... and the one on Leidsestraat is friendly and clean and open fairly late.
Oh and if you like liqueurs at all, you have to go here to the De Admiraal tasting and hang out for a while trying out some A. van Wees specialties:
It was the loveliest, friendliest wee bar (with a bar cat in my mate's lap all the time we were there! :) I've been in in ages, and it was great to try their amazing flavours. I came out with a bottle of 'Rose without Thorns' (and an earthenware bottle of gin as a gift) cos it was so unique but I could have bought quite a few!
I think I need to add a few disclaimers on the gorgeousness of Walk to Wok as well as Maoz Vegetarian…
Walk to Wok
This place certainly is popular and busy – which is great, but the chaotic methods of preparing the food can be problematic. Are you a vegetarian? Sure, you can order vegetarian dishes, but you may get a few pieces of meat accidentally added in the whirlwind. On a more serious note – are you allergic to peanuts? Maybe shellfish? Don’t be surprised if you fish out some ground peanuts or maybe a couple two/three shrimp from your food. “Precision in Preparation” is not one of WtW’s strengths.
No dietary restrictions? Then no problem; you’ll be fine.
Again, this place is popular – and good, too. However, the more I visited Maoz, the more I became grossed out by the free salad bar. Lots of tasty options available, but they are all out in the open – and after seeing person after person grabbing things with their fingers, making return visits and accidentally dropping stuff from a half-eaten sandwich into the salad bar… it became less and less appetizing. This was especially true when the place was crowded with patrons who arrived fresh from nearby bars or coffee shops and were pretty much oblivious of their actions.
Not discouraged yet? Then no problem; you’ll be fine.
Nice suggestions from scotpaulabear if you're headed into or out of the town center...
Another option is the north side of the Vondelpark, it's decidedly less touristy and is a neck of the woods where I spend a lot of time...the Jan Pieter Heijestraat is a little more than halfway down the Overtoom, and there are a few places here that I like: Abyssinia for extremely friendly Ethiopian, my favorite in a town full of good Ethiopian food. Paloma Bianca is a very good Moroccan place that I haven't been to in a little while but I've heard it's still great. No alcohol is served here (but they have great fresh mint tea!), and service happens at a very leisurely pace, but it's nice food.
You might also try Proef on the Overtoom for interesting beers and wines. My wife has eaten there a couple of times and called the food "ambitious" but not entirely successful. It's really a drinking place anyway.
One of my favorite Indonesian takeaways is Toko Ikan Mas on 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat. Their loempias aren't as amazing as they used to be, but the maiskoekjes (corn fritters with lemongrass) and lempers (sticky rice filled with coconut chicken curry) are great as are the rendangs and most everything else.
There's also a very nice fishmonger across the street from Toko Ikan Mas, also on the1e Constantijn Huygensstraat, Smit Volendammer Vishandel. I would get some of their kibbeling with ravigotte sauce (fried cod or pollock)...their smoked fish and herring salads are also really good....
Just a block or two up from these two is somewhere I haven't been but have been hearing good things about: Zina, another North African restaurant.
Abyssinia. Jan Pieter Heijestraat 190
Paloma Blanca, Jan Pieter Heijestraat 145
Proef, Overtoom 160.
Toko Ikan Mas, 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat 61.
Smit Volendammer Vishandel, J, Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat 92.
Zina, Bosboom Toussaintstraat 70bg.
Lucked into Le Garage last night. Very impressive. Great service, a brief and focused menu, and a fine wine list. Not having hours to read the wine list we left it to the house to pair. They did a good job and seemed to read us well. Our appetizers were so delicious, I found myself feeling dizzy from the layers of flavours. A fish tartare wrapped in wagyu beef rested atop watermelon surrounded by nutty greens. Divine. On a slightly disappointing note, the quail was somewhat oversalted. I found this surprising as chef is cleary bold and savvy with his flavours and needs little, to no, salt enhancement. Hubby had a huge and delicious steak served with double fried chips and fresh hollandaise. Over all very, very good.
Tonight we're considering Sama Sebo. We want fine dining, but not necessarily of Michelin star quality with the Michelin star pricing. Thoughts anyone?
I'll give a full report once the vacation laundry is done. For now I'll say, yes, we went to Sama Sebo, but more importantly we found two absolute gems near our hotel (5 min walk max). They were Cafe Gruter for lunch and Pulpo for dinner. I'll probably repeat this, but Pulpo blows the doors off of Le Garage. Gruter has one of the best burgers I've had in years. I'm simply shocked I can find no mention of either of these places on the Hounds. More details later. Need socks.