Eating out in ..., Europe, Food, Food on the Road, Travel

Eating Out in Amsterdam

Back at the start of January I travelled to Amsterdam with a friend for a quick weekend away, after the chaos of the Christmas festivities. A trip that included walking around the freezing city for 8 whole hours and copious amounts of free cheese (yes, FREE!) You can read my top tips for visiting the city and how to get free cheese, here.

As with everywhere I visit, food is always at the centre of my trip. The first meal we had in Amsterdam was at a Turkish restaurant called Ali Ocakbaşı ,with pretty damn terrible service but delicious food. Sitting in the window with a flickering, red candle smoking between us, it took us almost 15 minutes to order our food. Now, we were in no hurry of course, but when everyone else around us was getting seemingly great service and prompt responses, the ominous finger wave signaling ‘one moment’ just seemed to never end. Opting for a traditional Turkish Pide and some fries by food arrived promptly. My friend however, opting for a lamb dish, had to wait an additional ten minutes after mine arrived. My side of fries then arrived several minutes after my friend’s dish, by which time I had finished my Pide and was left unimpressed needing to have my fries as my dessert, even though the food itself was delicious. Asking for the bill was also a feat in itself, which resulted in an argument with the finger signalling waiter who was attempting to split our bill 50% each despite telling him the amounts (all round numbers) of how we wanted to split it. Granted if his English had been poor his confusion may have been understandable, but he was fluent and the ‘Why though?’ I got when we said how we wanted to split it was the icing on a very soggy bottomed cake that evening. (Evidently, my friend owed me some money and was paying me back by paying the larger part of the bill – not that this was anything to do with the waiter). Needless to say we left no tips in this place.

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Pide is one of my favourite Turkish dishes, and regardless of the service, this one was delicious!
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A lamb dish my friend picked out

As we explored the streets of the Dutch capital on the Friday evening, the aromas of weed and waffles were evident at every turn. We actually waited until Saturday morning to sample some waffles and crepes for breakfast. Picking Sweetella for our sweet treats, I opted for a simple nutella crepe filled with mini Smarties and vanilla ice cream and my friend selected a waffle with nutella, broken up pieces of Kinder Bueno and vanilla ice cream. Evidently, we did come to need the extra sugar as we went on to spend eight hours walking around Amsterdam exploring every little street.

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This. Was. Too. Sweet.
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And this is where we slip into sugar comas …

Before heading back to our hotel exhausted, we stopped at an Italian bistro for dinner. A fairly mediocre place, both dishes lacked any substantial flavours with the waiter advising that they had no condiments (at all, not even salt), they did not provide knives for customer unless they bought the steak (like, seriously) and water was not a drinks option here, even though tap water in Holland is some of the cleanest in the world. A very strange place, Pasta Pasta gave us a pretty disappointing dinner but given how tired we were, we just wanted something warm to eat, and again the food was okay – very simple and just a tad overpriced.

A pretty basic version of salmon pasta, which I can make better myself and what is with the lack of condiments?

Honorable mention must go out to the stroopwaffles here, which we never officially stopped for as I am not a big fan of them. The churros always smelled divine, especially the Nutella smothered ones my friend ordered. Donuts, macrons, muffins and assorted candy are also readily available. One of my favourites however would need to be the free cheeses on offer all around the city. 

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Sweet treats in Amsterdam looked a lot better than the ‘proper’ food.

Now on to what we have all been waiting for. The free cheese. You can’t walk far in Amsterdam without passing a cheese shop or cheese museum or cheese factory or something similar. Some of them are obviously very crowded (usually the ones on corners of the streets) but if you go in to one when passing, free cheese samples are passed out abundantly. If you engage in some cheesy conversation, usually about cows or goats or the type of flavour you like in a cheese, they will give you even more, all for free. Obviously in the hope that you will buy something, most of the places are happy to chat for several minutes, in that time offering you as many baby cheeses as you can manage to talk about. From pesto flavoured cheddar to garlicy Gouda, try as many as you can.

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Cheeses, that is a lot of dairy

I was pretty underwhelmed by the food in Amsterdam all in all, even though there were some good opportunities for the ole Gram. Have you visited Amsterdam before? What did you think of the food/sweets?

31 thoughts on “Eating Out in Amsterdam”

  1. I don’t think most people visiting Amsterdam go for the food…..And by the sound if things just as well….doesn’t inspire me to head back there🌷🌷🌷⚘⚘⚘

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    1. Awww that’s a shame! It was a nice time we had over there, I’d go back but not too soon. I’d like to visit another part of Holland maybe for the tulips and windmills 🌬️🌷🌷🌷

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    1. Thank you for reading Andrea 🙂 Amsterdam is not really somewhere I will be returning to for the food but it wouldn’t keep me away from the city or visiting elsewhere in Holland ♥

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  2. Amsterdam was where I first discovered my love for crepes! Never looked back on the nutella flavoured one 😋, in fact it’s given me more of an incentive to make Dam the first foreign city to visit twice 🙂 Anyway sorry the food wasn’t to your expectations out there Ellie. It’s always even more disappointing as a traveler when the customer service is not on point either.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
    https://johnnystraventures.com

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    1. The crepes here were good but they did not even come close to the ones in places like Prague or Paris. Nutella is the best wherever! It was really strange that there were no condiments available in the Pasta place too!

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    1. RIGHT!! I mean, I know some places are different and that is perfectly fine, but this was so strange. I think a lot of people found it weird, especially not being able to get a knife!Every time I try to explain it to myself like, ok, salt is bad for you and maybe they just wanted to sell water instead, it just seems crazier! We couldn’t leave because we had the food on the table by the time we came to realize there was no salt…or knives! Needless to say I won’t be going back there! Thank you for reading ♥

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    1. This is exactly me. I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth though 😦 The sweet stuff looked a lot better than the savoury things – but cheese is always my fave! Thank you for reading ♥

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    1. I love Turkish food probably best of all when it is done right. I was so excited to show my Mr around Istanbul earlier this month and I hyped the food up so much (post coming soon!) and it did not disappoint!

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  3. Oooh I’m So sorry to hear about your food experience. That Italian sounds horrible. I ate at Ali Osacbasi once with a group of colleagues and like you said, the service was terrible. I did like the pide and the mezes we had as a starter but no, never again. The city is filled with bad/overpriced restaurants and I usually stay far away from the center when I eat out in Amsterdam.

    Patty x | https://www.pattycular.com

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    1. Oh no 😦 that is so bad, but it does make me feel better that it wasn’t just me! We weren’t even staying in central it was just practical to eat in central after a day of walking around the city. I definitely would prefer the smaller places next time!

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    1. Thank you for reading Shar 🙂 I found the food (the none sweet stuff) just a little bit too bland really – it wasn’t ‘bad’ enough to put me off from going back to Holland but at the same time does not inspire me the way the middle east does, which always makes me want to rush back!

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    1. The food was really good – it was such a sham about the service. The other place was really strange too with the lack of condiments! The sweet treats saved the city on my visit at least but the cheese was just something else!! Thank you for reading Andrew ♥

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    1. They sound so nice! I didn’t really sample much sweet food apart from the crepes, but I did take lots of pictures of it all. I think next time I am there I will eat at places outside of the city centre. Thank you for reading ♥

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  4. Some interesting experiences. I can’t believe anywhere are unable to offer water, surely that’s just standard for any restaurant? You could understand certain things if they’re more complex to make but water? Wow. Interesting to read though and given me some ideas of places to look for and avoid next time I’m in Amsterdam 🙂

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    1. Thank you for reading. I am glad you found my post useful. I could understand if water was toxic from the taps, but the salt thing and the knife rules were so strange! I’d definitely avoid places in central next time as I have heard there’s lovely places on the outskirts of the city 🤩

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