Pete and I recently enjoyed a short break in Amsterdam. Eschewing all the normal tourist attractions, we spent all our waking hours eating and drinking our way around the city.
I’ve already written about food specialities to look out for in Amsterdam.
In this post, I’ll share places we stopped for coffee, cakes and snacks during our visit.
TAART VAN MIJN TANTE
My Aunty’s Cake, as the name translates, may just be my dream cake shop. In the window is a display of crazy cakes, baubles and knick-knacks. Inside is an eccentric grotto of mismatched chairs and tables, many brightly painted or covered with vivid tablecloths, bright walls, multi-coloured lights and lots of random pictures and ornaments.
Along with our coffees, I ordered a slice of Swedish Princess Cake, described on the menu as “vanilla cake filled with a crème Suisse with light green marzipan“. It was absolutely fantastic, one of the lightest and loveliest cakes I’ve eaten, with a perfectly judged cream filling, a thin but tasty layer of green marzipan and visually beautiful too. Pete’s Chocolate Cake, described as “chocolate cake sprinkled with kirsch, a light sweetened cream filling, crème au beurre, chocolate royal icing” went down just as well.
Both cakes were €4.90 a slice and our lattes were €3.10 each.
Located just around the corner from the Heineken brewery, on the way from the tram stop to Albert Cuyp Straat Market, this is a definite must visit for anyone who loves really good cake with a big dose of kitsch.
Taart van Mijn Tante
Ferdinand Bolstraat 10
Open daily from 10am – 6pm
Named for its address, Single 404 is a popular cafe, particularly with students from the nearby university. Like us, I imagine they are drawn to the filling, tasty and great value sandwiches, toasties and oven melts and the relaxed vibe.
The space is small and always busy, though if it looks full at first glance, do check whether there are any free tables on the mezzanine level up the tiny stairs at the back. In warmer weather, the outdoor tables along the canal are a nice choice and the staff will come outside to take your order.
We visited twice during our weekend in Amsterdam, so impressed were we on our first visit, and particularly enjoyed the enormous, freshly made oven melts. Unless you’re hungry, you might want to share one and order a slice of cake afterwards. All Oven Melts are priced at €6.25 each – choose white or brown bread, panini or bagel and then one of the delicious combinations such as “goat’s cheese with honey, pinenuts and thyme“, “brie with smoked chicken, guacamole, sundried tomatoes and Italian herbs” or “ham with cheese, fresh tomato, jalapenos, mustard-mayonnaise and chives“.
Fresh smoothies and shakes, soft drinks, coffees, chai lattes and bottled beers are between €2.10 and €4.00.
Singel 404 is a great choice for brunch, lunch or an afternoon snack, especially for those looking for delicious options on a tight budget.
Open daily from 10:30am – 6pm.
DE LAATSTE KRUIMEL
We stumbled upon this recently opened coffee shop and bakery by accident and found it rather charming. The beautiful historic exterior leads into a quirky interior with a really home-made feel. The work counter has been made from old wooden pallets, as has some of the seating and light fittings include a row of colanders.
The Last Crumb is an appropriate name, as the savoury and sweet baked goods on offer are so good that crumbs are surely all that will remain. From sandwiches and quiches to cakes, brownies, tarts and scones (served with home made lemon curd or jam), everything has an appealing home-styled look.
I believe everything is baked on site from organic ingredients, but do check that with staff if its important to you, as I may have misunderstood.
There isn’t much seating, just one tiny table at the back with a couple of wrought iron chairs, and a few stools by the counter and next to a small shelf table, so I imagine most customers buy treats to takeaway.
Sandwiches range from €3.50 to €5. Sweet treats are priced around €2 to €4.
De Laatste Kruimel
Open daily from 8am – 8pm.
This tiny space is a combination of brocante (bric-a-brac shop) and café, and I rather liked its cramped, quirky interior and all the random bits and bobs on display for sale – retro ’70s lamps and crockery, old comic books, vintage handbags, rock’n’roll memorabilia and even furniture.
The menu is short, with a few sandwiches, a small selection of cakes and a brief drinks list, but is all you need for a relaxing pit stop. Drinks are €2 to €3, cakes are about €3.50.
Open Mon to Wed: 8am – 6pm. Thu to Fri: 8am – 10pm. Sat: 9am – 10pm. Sun: 11am – 6pm.
Febo is the ultimate progression of cheap, mass-produced fast food and I can’t say I would recommend it for anything other than the novelty value. As soon as I mentioned our upcoming trip, this place was suggested by a number of food friends as an oddity we’d surely find amusing. We did!
Staff and customer interaction is kept to a minimum; staff stock prepared food directly into glass-fronted vending machines; customers drop in their coins, make a selection, open the appropriate window and claim their chosen poison.
As well as burgers, you can select local specialities such as bamiblok, frikadellen, kaassoufles and a variety of kroketten including beef, chicken and satay. Prices from €1.50 to €3.50.
Be warned, the food isn’t great, though Pete seemed keener on the kaassoufle than I was. Go only if you’re curious about these strange snack automats or are desperate for a quick and cheap alcohol soak!
Leidsestraat 94 (and other locations)
Open daily from 11.30am – 10pm
ALBERT CUYPSTRAAT MARKET
The market on Albert Cuyp Street was on our must-visit list for Amsterdam. Easy to get to by local tram, we stopped for breakfast at Taart van Mijn Tante before walking all the way down the length of the market and back up again.
On sale is a glorious mix of fresh and prepared produce, flowers, tourist souvenirs, cheap clothing, make up and accessories. And what we came for – the street food stalls.
The fresh produce in particular reflects the multicultural aspect of the neighbourhood, and I was mesmerised by cassava root, green mangoes, haddock roe and other ingredients I’d be hard pushed to find at home. And the biggest grapes I’ve ever seen, I was so focused on taking a photo I didn’t notice the serious-faced bespectacled little boy behind them!
A wide range of snacks are available, from Indonesian grilled meats (with or without satay sauce), hot fried fish and maatjes to stroopwafels and poffertjes. I’d also hoped to find a stall selling Surinamese food, which the area is also known for, but didn’t spot it on our visit.
Herring from the North Sea has been a staple of the Dutch diet for centuries. Today, maatjes are a popular snack available from stands around the city. Maatje derives from the Dutch word for ‘virgin’, by the way and refers to the fact that the best herring is caught after the fish have gorged on food but before they’ve had a chance to reproduce.
Though most guides describe maatjes as raw herrings, in fact they are very lightly soused (preserved) in brine. The meltingly soft fish is usually served chopped into pieces, with diced raw onion and pickled gherkins, on a small paper tray (€2.50) or you can opt for broodje (€3) and the vendor will stuff the fish, onion and pickles into a soft bread roll.
Vlaardingse Haringhandel has been in business since 1916 and I can certainly vouch for the tastiness of their offering. The fish was almost silken in texture, with a fresh taste, strong but not overwhelming. The pickled gherkins were so good I bought a jar (€2.50) to bring home. And those raw onions may have been hell on my breath for the next few hours, but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on them!
Poffertjes are made to order, €2 for a portion of 10, €3 for 15 or €4 for 20.
Batter is poured into the specialist cast iron pan, with it’s deep round indentations. The stall holder knows just how long to leave them before flipping them over to cook the other side.
They are served hot over a melting pat of butter, with icing (powdered) sugar sprinkled over the top.
Albert Cuypstraat Market
Open Mon to Sat 9am – 5pm.
Eurostar UK provided Kavey Eats with return train tickets to Amsterdam and the first night’s hotel reservation.