fries & mayo; dutch breakfast; poffertjes; waffle with banana & cream

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Theme song: Bicycle Race, by Queen

Objective: Amsterdam is a hodgepodge mix and everyone seems to be there for far and varied reasons. Sure there are the bucks weekends which is a no brainer really because there is just so much sex walking around on legs of all shapes and sizes that it’s bound to be a good weekend. There are also hens weekends, which has me more perplexed. There are also the maryjane fiends, who giggle their way in and out of coffee shops. And there are the genuine architectural enthusiasts who are in awe of the canals and bridges ~ more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris, they say.

And then there is me. My objective? Eat Amsterdam.

I didn’t quite expect to eat as much of Amsterdam as I actually did. No one but no one (not even me) actually believes this but it’s the honest truth! I knew I had to have poffertjes, I knew there was a dinner at De Kas, but despite the fact that I had no other solid eating plans, the sheer amount of gastronomic goodness I managed to fit into my foodhole over the course of two days astounded even me. After arriving home last night and having a long hot shower, I announced to anyone who would listen Panu, “I’m clean! … And fat.” 

Ain’t that the truth.

But anyway, dwelling on my metabolically challenged ass isn’t fun, so I shall submerge myself back into the throes of glutton heaven and give y’all catty’s quick guide to eating around Amsterdam. A number of people recommended a bunch of must-eats, and while I plotted everything on my eating map, I gotta be realistic. I eat a lot. We all know that, but there is a limit to the bottomless pit, sorry but there is. So thank you if you sent me recommendations, even if I didn’t get there.

Right let’s get on with business.

La Place Foodhall

La Place Foodhall is a bit of a minefield of amazing food. Fresh fruits, juices, sandwiches, baguettes, salads, pasta, pizza, even fresh off the grill meats and seafood ~ if the place didn’t have such good ventilation, I would have fainted from the sheer intensity of the frangrances wafting through the building.  Take a stroll around the three levels before committing to anything because if you’re anything like me, you committed two steps into the building, and then oooooh the eye candy! Take in the offerings, the smells and colours, then bring your tray back and queue for the winner.

La Place foodhall

De Kas Restaurant

De Kas Restaurant deserves its own post… but I’m far too lazy.

Recommended by Malaysian/Dutch foodie Valisa, the whole concept of no-menu-you-eat-what-you-get appealed to me because I’m often limited by my own obsessive taste buds. De Kas grow their own produce and they serve what’s fresh that day. Period.

Located south-west of central Amsterdam (tram number 9 drops you at the doorstep), De Kas Restaurant is an overgrown greenhouse in a park, surrounded by beautiful lawns, lakes and their amazing fruit and vegetable garden. The dining and kitchen areas are all within the greenhouse, with the option to dine outdoors on balmier nights.

De Kas restaurant

Once seated, we’re presented with a little bowl of the freshest tomatos imaginable, picked straight from the garden not ten meters away from us. The waitress explains that everyone gets five courses (with an option to add a cheesey sixth) ~ three starters, a main and a dessert. I’m excited.

Up first: a lettuce, potato and leek soup served with a juicy piece of lobster tail. The soup was surprisingly tasty despite me thinking processed lettuce?! and the lobster tail provided the perfect amount of saltiness and texture. Next we had a pretty little construction, consisting of two types of courgettes (yellow and green), topped with a crustini, jelly tomato and feta. We expected the courgettes to be plain (if cooked at all) but wow! I’m not quite sure what it was cooked with, but the courgettes presented a brilliant taste infusion when combined with the sweet jelly tomato and feta. The last starter I wasn’t super keen on. A salad consisting of aubergine, mushrooms, pickled onion and red cabbage… maybe it’s just me but I thought the cabbage was a tad lot too bitter.

De Kas starters: two types of courgettes with crustini & jelly tomato; lettuce, potato & leek soup with lobster; aubergine and mushrooms with red cabbage; vine ripened tomato

The main course didn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary… at first. “Duck wrapped in vine leaves,” they said, “with a red pointy cabbage (which I thought was enormously cute), camarelised plums…. served on…. an American pancake.” Squiz me? Pancake? For realz? Yeh, for real. This lovely European meal, served on a pancake. I loved it. The idea, the presentation, the perfectly cooked medium-rare duck. I was in happy heaven til I started thinking about De Kas and their on site greenhouse. Did the little duckies come from the lake? Anyhoos…

Panu snuck in a cheese course before dessert, sampling three cheeses from The Netherlands and beyond. I didn’t pay attention. I think the blue cheese was the best. Sorry, attention span is restricted to those things that I like 🙂

Dessert! A cranberry spongecake, topped with glazed strawberries, served with strawberry & white chocolate ice cream. I don’t really need to say any more do I? It was scrumptious and the almond flakes and dessicated coconut tipped it over the scale.

De Kas main: duck wrapped in vine leaves, served with a pointy red cabbage, caramelised plums on an american pancake; De kas dessert: cranberry sponge with glazed strawberries and strawberry & white chocolate ice cream

I thoroughly enjoyed De Kas and have announced all over twitterverse that it’s one of the best recommendations I’ve ever had. The food was perfect, but more than that, the service and the concept ~ truly organic and home grown produce. We were even allowed to wander around the greenhouse after dinner and were sent off home with an apple each, picked right there from their orchard that very day.

Cafe Winkel

With not one but two recommendations for Cafe Winkel‘s famous apple cake, we could hardly go wrong. It took us a little while to find the place in Noordermarkt (which is a square, not a street), but once we eyed the ample amount of apple cakes being served we knew we were at the right place. The standard order seemed to be apple cake and something that looked rather like a mojito, so when we sat (and after we’d pretended to browse the Dutch menu), I ordered a slice of apple cake (with cream, please) and uhhh, one of those. Oh mint tea? Oh is that what it is. Yes, please.

Strangely the apple cake came out before our lunch (maybe the Dutch do it this way?) so that technically became our starter but hey, when in the ‘Dam, do as the damned! The cake was ridiculously good ~ sweet apple and sultanas with a perfectly moist pastry shell ~ and upstaged the mains by miles. I had a tomato soup and Panu a nicoise salad, both a little salty.

Cafe Winkle: apple pie with cream; mint tea; tomato soup with olives and basil; tuna niscoise salad

Literally every table at Cafe Winkel had a serve of apple cake, so I’d say guys, if you’re after apple cake in the ‘Dam, don’t faff around, just go there.

Restaurant Haesje Claes

We stumbled upon Restaurant Haesje Claes while wandering around on Sunday. It looked crazy traditional with its dark woody interior and we thought we’d drop by later in the evening for dinner. I’ve no idea why but I ordered a boring old pan fried cod for my meal, so we won’t even talk about it. Panu on the other hand ordered a hotchpotch. A what? Turns out it’s a hearty Dutch dish, consisting of carrot and potato mash, beef stew, sausage and diced vegetables. We pre-quelled our mains with homemade pate for starters, served with a sweet onion relish. The pate was crumbly, but the flavour was good.

Haesje Claes

One slice of apple cake was not quite enough for one day, so we tried the Haesje Claes apple cake (and a serve of creme brulee, because that’s right when we go, we go the whole nine yards). It had nuthin’ on Cafe Winkel‘s.

Miscellaneous eating

Between the lunches and dinners described above, we had breakfast (traditional Dutch with meats and cheese), fries & mayonnaise (if you don’t try it for the taste, try it for the memoir that is the best line in Pulp Fiction), waffles (served with mountains of cream) and my favourite, my precious, poffertjes.  I didn’t realise how rare they were (which made them all the more wonderful) but in all our trawling we found maybe three cafes that served poffertjes. I did eventually get some fluffy baby pancake goodness, covered in icing sugar, butter and ice cream. God I’d die to have some more right now.

And the rest of ‘Dam

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. We walked. A lot. We almost got run over by trams and bicycles. We did the local thang and had some space cakes. We even checked out the sex museum which was… educational.  We wandered through the red light district, we checked out China Town, we did the canal tour – the canals are insanely peaceful and serene, despite our captain running our boat into the wall (slight glitch in the serenity).

The weather was a bit temperamental, starting with a lightning bolt striking our plane (no joke, but we’re all good) and flinging wildly between hot sunny spells, cold wind and even a monstrosity of a downpour on Saturday night. But it really didn’t dampen our holiday at all, me being perky and happy and all that. I told Panu I was a delight to travel with. He didn’t stop laughing for a long time.


By the way, you might have noticed somewhere along the way that I’ve picked up a new photo plaything. I’m giving Picnik a go, and first thoughts are that wow it’s good fun, but I’m not sure if I like this wonky photo thing I have going.

18 Thoughts on “when in the ‘Dam, do as the damned: my most gluttonous weekend yet

  1. De Kas I knew about (utterly fab place), but I need to check out some of these others… Great post!

  2. hey what about herring in a bun? with the onions. i love that!! dutch sashimi!

  3. I can’t imagine a better holiday than one filled with great food! Love your pics (and thanks for the intro to Picnik). De Kas sounds great although some people might be freaked out by not knowing what will be placed in front of them. Not me!

    But I must say, I’m a comfort-food kinda girl: the apple cake and hotchpotch sound perfect, now that the weather is turning cooler. Oh, and one of those waffle with the tower of whipped cream, please!

  4. aforkfull: De Kas is fantastic isn’t it? I would totally go back and at least know the menu will be different every day.

    mc: I’m not a huge fan of herring. Herring and onion bun sounds like the Chinese style tuna and onion buns, now that I love!

    Tangled Noodle: the food in Amsterdam was just overwhelming! I had a cake shop and a tapas place that I wanted to go to but simply didn’t have the time or tummy space! Haha the tower of whipped cream.. I couldn’t even see my waffle 🙂

  5. Wow you tried a lot of food! Was the food expensive in Amsterdam??

  6. What an eating fest that was! I love the sound of De Kas and apple cake very much. And generally all your weekend trip posts have been lots of fun to read! I need to get out of London more…

  7. Mins: umm.. no not especially expensive compared to London or the rest of Europe 🙂

    Helen: Thanks 🙂 It was an eating fest and a half. You absolutely should go to the ‘Dam and head to De Kas (and try the Winkel apple cake!)

  8. the reason why poffertjes are so rare —> make your own at homelah! Reading this, I am so sending you poffertje pan and mix for xmas!
    So glad you had a great time esp at De Kas! It is my favourtie resto in NL 🙂

  9. Holy moly – that’s a proper blow-out.

    I went to Amsterdamage when I was 16… I ate a lot of crepes, and too many Maccy D’s.

  10. valisa: is that really why? Because I honestly thought they would be everywhere and it was so hard to find. I also asked for a scoop of ice cream with mine – the waiter looked totally confused but gave me some anyway 🙂

    Lizzie: you gotta do the ‘Dam again! And definitely check out De Kas 🙂

  11. I don’t know why re:poffertjes. I guess because it is so easy to make and most dutchies make them out of a box! It is easier to buy frozen/readymade poffertjes than getting them in restos/cafes. Strange but true. My favourite place to eat poffertjes is in Rotterdam on a street leading to the rotterdam library. They make it in front of you by the roadside! I didn’t recommend it because you’re doing Amsterdam.

    Lizzie reminded me of another thing I forgot to recommend which is Dutch appelpannenkoek – dutch apple pancake. You must do Dam again one soon and eat the rest of the things hahahahaha – come in winter to celebrate sinterklaas 😉

    The other thing I completely forgot and only realised that weekend was you’re in amsters during the restaurant weekend. That is why a lot of the restos were full (the participating ones) because they were offering 3 course menu at Euro25.

  12. I have visited Amsterdam quite a lot of times. I love all the food there. The pics given above remind me of all the lovely food. I loved the Mac D’s the most.

  13. valisa: I’m glad I found some poffertjes afterall.. they were so delicious! Would LOVE to make them at home 🙂 The weekend we were in the ‘Dam was also some street festival weekend – lots of stalls and performances. Very cool 🙂

    l-carnitine: Man I should have tried ‘Dam McD. Everyone loves it!

  14. Hello from Russia)

  15. I went to the De Kas Restaurant. The food available there tastes really great. Thank you for the sharing the information.

  16. Polprav: hello.

    green tea: De Kas was just fantastic. I’ve been recommending it to everyone since!

  17. 50decs on May 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm said:

    Can anyone give me the names and street addresses of places to get poffertjies in Amsterdam please?

    • Hi there – I’ve been recommended this place – although it’s a half hour out of Amsterdam but apparently very good! Personally I had poffertjes along one of the canals but it was just passable. I was told by a Dutch person that it is actually quite hard to find poffertjes out because they all make it at home! Hope this helps anyway 🙂

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