Neatly located on a sun-drenched corner of the Bilderdijkkade, PAMELA describes itself as an LGBTQI+ bar and restaurant open to lovely people from all walks of life. What’s on the menu? Healthy bites at all times of day, a stand-out bottomless brunch and some exceptional cocktail concoctions. Local DJs from the community are regularly invited to spin records as the Smoky Palomas are flowing. It’s a popular spot, so do make a reservation, though sometimes it’s possible to swing by just for drinks.
If you like your flat whites strong and your latte art crispy executed, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the range of specialty coffee bars in the area. LOT61 brings the coffee-making expertise of Bondi Beach and Williamsburg to the mean streets of Oud-West. You’ll find their beans sold at cafes across the city but a cold-brew pilgrimage to their store on Kinkerstraat will impress even the most dedicated of coffee geeks. Monk's Coffee do their specialty roasting in an eco-conscious way, eliminating plastic waste and reusing coffee grains to make plant fertilizer and body scrubs. Pick up a cup from their cafe or have a browse through the shop to kit out your kitchen with quality beans, drip filters and aeropresses. Over on Jan Pieter Heijestraat, the baristas at Trakteren have been warming the soul of the hood with cocoa and coffee beans for over six years now. They even host espresso-tasting masterclasses so you can learn more about the origins of those delicious aromas.
Natural wine lovers need too check out Bar Centraal on the bustling Ten Katemarkt. Its the cosy little sister restaurant to GlouGlou in De Pijp, showcasing wine made with absolutely no additives, just plain old grapes. In addition to the impressive wine list, the restaurant serves inventive small plates and snacks for lunch and dinner. And for those that just can’t part with their bottle, there's also a range of wines available for purchase.
Experimental brewery Troost has a trio of locations across Amsterdam: the O.G. small-batch brewery housed in a spectacular former monastery in De Pijp, a cavernous space at the Westergasterrein (which is open for tours) and the cosy brew pup in Oud-West, considered to be the little sister of the three. This venue is too small for beer to be brewed on-site, but you can still enjoy freshly poured organic beers - pilsners, saisons, IPAs, tripels and you name it - from the tanks above the bar. Compliment your hop-infused palette with gourmet burgers, flammkuchen and stand-out pub grub and sample their home-distilled gins and jenever.
Five Brothers Fat
If words like serrano, padrón peppers, manchego, patatas bravas and calamari are music to your ears, then get yourself down to Five Brothers Fat, a bustling little tapas joint on De Clercqstraat. The thinking behind the restaurant was to bring the festivities and flavours of Barcelona’s Champañarias (cava bars) to Amsterdam, with a modern small-plate menu that also absorbs influences from Asia and Latin America. Prop up at the marble bar for cocktails, wine and dinner as you ogle the sizzling dishes tearing out of the beautiful open-plan kitchen.
Anybody who has spent time in Montreal or New York will understand what a real bagel should be, i.e. nothing like those squidgy supermarket monstrosities you’ll find over here in Europe. Flo’s Appetizing on Jan Pieter Heijestraat is doing everything right: old-school recipes, new innovations, cream cheese, capers, salmon, BLTs and daily specials which normally involve some delicious smoked meats. You’ll always find a throng of North Americans in the line waiting to get a bite to go with a hot coffee and a wad of napkins.
Staring at Jacob
Famed for its chicken and buttermilk waffles and dirty bloody mary pitchers, this cheerful breakfast joint is one of the founding fathers of American-style brunch in Amsterdam. The menu at Staring at Jacob is packed with options for carnivores and vegans alike including those who want a green bowl with a health-conscious twist and those ready to consume all manner of maple syrup-doused sins. The cafe has a cosy international vibe, fabulous cocktails and is perfect for groups.
Hidden inside alternative venue OT301, De Peper is more of a cultural kitchen than a restaurant where the chefs serve up only organic and vegan dishes (with lots of options for kosher and halal guests too). The experience is a bit different in that it’s run by volunteers and there’s no table service or menu. The price of a meal, which includes a starter and main course, is on a sliding scale from €7 – 10. Desserts are a mere €1.50, and all donations go to the upkeep of the restaurant.
At bar-restaurant Gertude, Chef Amadou Dia serves simple dishes with heart-warming seasonal flavors. The menu encompasses small bites like bread and olives with anchovies or charcuterie that pair perfectly with an aperitif, followed by small plates that are perfect for sharing - think miso-glazed aubergine, daily fish dishes, handmade ravioli or a rack of lamb. Follow this with a cheese plate courtesy of Fromagerie Kef, and you’ll really be experiencing the best of Amsterdam’s culinary scene. The chintzy antique decor and laid back vibe will make you feel right at home.
Levain et le vin
Levain et le vin is a sourdough bakery and natural wine shop where pastries and breads are baked fresh every day. Swing by for picnic essentials - a delicious bottle and a stand-out loaf - to make your venture into Vondelpark all the more luxurious, or simply stop in for a coffee and a small bite from the changing menu. Anyone who wants to get their dough on, should sign up for one of their baking workshops and courses.
The prize-winning dough masters at nNea honour the authentic pizza heritage of Naples, constantly reinvent recipes with contemporary twists and top-notch seasonal ingredients. Don’t even think about asking the chef to substitute an ingredient; every fluffy crust is loaded up with meticulously well-balanced flavours and centuries of baking know-how behind it. Dishes are lovingly paired with bottles from the fertile vineyards of Campania, Italy’s oldest wine region.
All housed in a converted tram depot that’s had something of a face-lift, De Hallen comprises not just a great range of artisanal shops but a hip industrial-chic hotel, and De Filmhallen, the largest independent cinema in the Netherlands. Lets not forget to mention the giant indoor food court, De Foodhallen, packed with dozens of pop-up eateries for dim sum, fried chicken, pho, tacos and pretty much everything else that’s ever been accredited tasty in between. This cultural complex also hides several lively spots like De Kanarie Club, a concept bar and workspace that’s perfect for those clocking-off work, early-evening drinks.
Het Blauwe Theehuis
Parked slap bang in the middle of Vondelpark, Het Blauwe Theehuis is a striking modernist pavilion that resembles something like a giant teacup crossed with a spaceship. Surrounded by a large terrace, the café is popular with locals keen to catch the sun as they sip on a latte. Outdoor heaters make it a great spot in winter, DJs spin laidback music on Sundays, and in the summer it's the perfect spot to watch the passing throng. It’s also run by the Brouwerij ’t IJ Brewery, so there’s a fantastic selection of local beers to sample.