We will be staying at Hotel Estherea in Amsterdam next month. Can anyone recommed their favorite restaurants and help me narrow the choices by proximity to our hotel? We are interested in everything - high end, low end, in the middle. Also - in what area can we spend the day shopping and also eat and drink well?
Amsterdam is so easy to navigate that I wouldn't restrict your eating choices to the hotel's proximity. Also, cabs seemed quite inexpensive, but the trams are more fun. That said, you're in a very central location and there are lots of choices nearby. The Nine Streets area for shopping is also right there and full of wonderful shops. There's a website that describes that area.. a short Google away.
A very interesting restaurant is De Witte Uyl. We had a lovely meal there a few years ago.
If you want to try an Indonesian rijstaffel, Sama Sebo and Tempo Deloe are both very good.
Amsterdam is really not that big and it's easy to walk or take the tram. For any restaurants within Centrum, the Jordaan, Oud-West, Oud-Zuid, or de Pijp you should have absolutely no trouble getting there.
Some of my favourites are Brasserie de Joffers (lunch nearish the Van Gogh museum), Cafe de Jaren (lunch or dinner near the flower market), de Taart van mijn Tante (cakes for afternoon snack near the Albert Cuyp market), Puccini Bomboni (chocolates to-go near the Waterlooplein). There are tons of lovely little cafes and small restaurants to discover in the Jordaan (Tweede Tuindwarsstraat is a good street to start with).
For a fancy dinner, I think de Kas is my favourite place to go, and it's the only restaurant I've gone to that is probably worth just hopping in a taxi for (should cost under 20 euro) as it's a bit off to the east.
Avoid the restaurants around the Leidseplein. They are all tourist oriented and unlikely to be very good.
Do the Albert Cuyp market (don't go on Monday, not all stalls are there and some of the shops near the market are closed). Eat some streetfood: broodje haring (herring) from the stall at the market, a freshly made stroopwafel from the stroopwafelguy. Surinamese broodje Pom from Tjin's Toko in de van der Helststraat.
The market is a mix of foodstalls and cheap textiles (a good place to get some cheap socks or t-shirts...)
Don't forget to check out Duikelman (Ferdinand Bolstraat 68) , a great kitchen supply store. On the other side of the street is their other shop which has nothing but white china and cookbooks. Great for browsing.
Bakken met Passie for lovely bread and excellent, allbeit expensive, pastries.
De Peperbol (Albert Cuypstraat 150) for any spice and dried herb imaginable, including some uniquely Dutch spice blends you can take home to make your own speculaas cookies.
The Haarlemmerstraat/ Haarlemmerdijk is also a great area for food- and other shopping.
Het Vlaams Broodhuys for great bread, have lunch there for one of the delicious open-faced sandwiches.
Hollandaluz for Spanish stuff (also sandwiches, but take-out only).
Jordino for whimsical chocolates (chocolate shoes, anyone?)
If you keep walking west you'll end up in Westerpark.
Westergasterras has nice food and one of the nicest terraces in Amsterdam 9although that's not much use this time of year.
Or sink into the pillows at Rainarai
for some nice Algerian Food. I like their first courses better than their mains, I would suggest making a meal of those.
Your hotel is in a great location for all kinds of goodies, although as other people have said, Amsterdam is small and it doesn't usually take long to get anywhere.
Just behind Noordermarkt in the Jordaan is DiVino, a lovely Italian wine bar which also sells a small selection of antipasti and freshly made pasta dishes. Also in the Jordaan (Egelantiersstraat) is La Oliva, a bar/restaurant on a typical narrow street which serves pintxos (sort of North Spanish tapas). This is a great option if you are not very hungry or want to try a little of everything.
CousCousine on Westerstraat is a modern take on Moroccan food with French flair.
For top-notch Dutch food, I highly recommend Gartine (near Rokin), a lovely spot for breakfast, lunch or high tea. The owners are passionate about what they do, and many of the ingredients they use are sourced from their own garden. Another option for excellent Dutch food, although a little further from your hotel, is Greetje (near Waterlooplein). Again, the chefs use lots of local ingredients and while the restaurant is old and atmospheric (wooden beams, view of a canal), many of the dishes have been updated to be lighter and more refined.
Singel 404 is a bustling lunch spot with a list of sandwiches almost too long to choose from, or try the Haarlemmerstraat/Haarlemmerdijk area for some of Amsterdam's best pizzas at De Pizza Bakkers or excellent cakes and coffee at Small World Catering deli.
Albert Cuyp Market is a good place for shopping and street food (herring, waffles, warm roasted cashew nuts, thick crispy fries - with mayo!).
Utrechtsestraat is also quite good for shopping and you can stop off for coffee and sandwiches at Zuivere Koffee, Indonesian at Tempo Doeloe or Dutch/southern European food at laidback Vooges.
Enjoy your visit.