Coffee shops: just one of the many reasons why tourists flock to Amsterdam year-round. With around 200 in the city stocking all kinds of weed, hash and pre-rolled joints, you’re absolutely spoilt for choice – if that’s your kind of thing, of course.
But, there was only one thing on my English brain when I visited: “Where can I go to get a good cup of tea and a sandwich?”
I made it my mission to try out as many cafes in Amsterdam as I could in just three short days – something which was immeasurably helped by the wet weather meaning we just had to duck into a cafe at least once an hour.
Emitting vintage, shabby chic with mis-matched armchairs, retro wallpaper and old Granny lampshades, Cafe Brecht is exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find in Shoreditch, East London – one that’s a regular haunt for hipsters and creatives alike. This was the only cafe I sought out after having read top reviews on TripAdvisor before I arrived, and I’m so glad I did. Despite being a little bit out of the way (in Weteringschans 157), the ‘living room style’ cafe was exactly my cup of tea. Atmospheric, tasty vegetarian sandwiches, and cute décor.
De Vier Pilaren
We’d been looking for our hotel for a good half-hour when we decided ‘Sod it – let’s go and get a cup of tea.’
We marched our suitcases into De Vier Pilaren, centrally located in Stadhouderskade 11. The creperie gave us our first taste of pancakes, which came with a list of toppings as long as our arms to choose from (nutella and cream = absolute win). It’s a little bit on the pricey side, but their cup of tea gave us the strength we needed to find our way to our hotel (which just happened to be down the one street we hadn’t gone down, naturally).
Mondaine is the place that happened when it started tipping it down as we made our way to the Vondelpark. Its windows, filled with cupcakes, tea and hot chocolate enticed us in – and boy are we glad we are easily persuaded. With a minimalist style inside and magazines stocked up for guests to pick up and read at will, it was the perfect spot for a cup of English tea and red velvet cake – and that was before I had even noticed the shelf of all the loose-leaf tea!
Just around the corner from the Anne Frank house, we stopped off in the Italian cafe/restaurant for a bite to eat. There was something about the dark, rich wood, black and white pictures and outside veranda that just gave this place an old-world, glamorous feel – almost like you’d just stepped straight into the 1930s. Their mozzarella, tomato and pesto roll was also bliss, made even better by our window seat to watch cyclists whizzing past.
In desperate need of a cup of tea one morning, we threw ourselves into the Coffee Company for a hot drink (note that in Amsterdam you need to ask for milk if you want some in your tea, which will often come in a separate cup).
Of all the cafes we went to, this was probably our least favourite. We weren’t sure if it was to do with the milk, but our teas were pretty undrinkable- so much so that my friend left hers after a sip or two and opted for a coffee instead, which was a lot nicer – in hindsight, perhaps the name of the cafe should have been a bit of a giveaway…
Pane E Olio
What drew us in to Pane E Olio? It may have been the quaint, Tuscan exterior, framed by greenery and rich, dark wood – but, in all probability, it was more likely to have been due to the fact the gift shop opposite had two cats waiting at the door. Either way, when we saw a cafe as cute as this, there was no way we could have walked past without giving it a go.
Inside it was a bit of an arty affair, with framed, abstract art hung up on the white walls. Meanwhile, Tuscan books and wooden chairs were dotted around – there was so much to look at, we were constantly finding things to point out. We had some yummy ice cream and a cold drink, before heading off to explore more of the Jordaan area.
AND ONE I DIDN’T TRY (BUT WISH I DID…)
As part of the #ParkInnExpress challenge, Jodie from The Little Backpacker popped into this quaint cafe, nestled behind the Heineken Experience. I absolutely adore the concept of it – run by volunteers, the cute thing about it is that there are no set prices. You literally just pay what you think the food and drink is worth. I visited a similar cafe in Lourdes, and found places like this are always a good place to mix with the locals. Definitely one cafe for me to visit when I head back to Amsterdam…
So, there you have it: a rundown of a handful of the cafes we visited in just three short days. (I don’t think six cafes was bad going, do you?) A shout out is also due for the teashop inside the Van Gogh museum which also served up tasty soup and other nibbles. Nom.
Do any of these cafes grab your attention? Or maybe you know of one that’s even better? Let me know in the comments below!