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Where to Stay and Where to Eat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam held a certain interest for me. I wasn't sure what to expect, so when The Professor asked if I wanted to go, I didn't hesitate to say yes. Because we aren't full-time travelers, we always travel on a budget. And our trip to Amsterdam was no different. We found a super cool place to stay and lots of authentic eats for very little money. I've put together this travel guide to help you plan where to stay and eat in Amsterdam for authentic Dutch experiences!



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Where to Stay in Amsterdam

The Professor has a knack for finding fun, modern, and affordable places to stay. And he totally knocked it out of the park in Amsterdam! He discovered an excellent home away from home on Prinseneiland, one of the many small islands that form the city of Amsterdam. When visiting European cities for more than three days, we like to rent apartments, as it gives us the most flexibility.

The Wharf House

Our Amsterdam apartment, The Wharf House, is a super-modern apartment with sleek finishings and an incredible view of a large canal. And even though the property owners were next store, we totally felt like we had complete privacy, something we expect and desire.

I simply loved the layout of the apartment: the bathroom and bedroom were downstairs while the kitchen, dining and living area was upstairs. The elevation and large windows provided a terrific line of sight to the beautiful canals.

The open, airy space partnered with modern furnishings produced a romantic feeling that I fell head-over-heels in love with INSTANTLY. Best of all, we had everything we needed to save a few bucks by dining in for breakfast, munching late afternoon snacks and taking much-needed coffee breaks after long excursions in the rain.

Other Cool Places to Stay in Amsterdam

Some people aren't keen on staying in apartments. Although you can save a lot of money by staying in an apartment, there are also perks to staying in a hotel. You don't have to clean anything, and you have tons of cool amenities depending on the hotel. If you're more of a hotel person, check out these cool places to stay in Amsterdam!

Where to Eat in Amsterdam

One of the things I look forward to the most when traveling is trying local foods. I love tasting foreign delicacies and experiencing new, unfamiliar flavors. Initially, I felt underwhelmed by the lack of variety in Dutch foods. But, over time, I grew to appreciate the cuisine in Amsterdam once I understood the subtle flavors and the difference that FRESH, quality products made.

There were so many yummy things we savored during our stay. But best of all was the beer. I loved the clean, light flavors of Dutch beer, which partners quite well with many of the fried pub-foods offered in Dutch bars.

Overall I would say that our dining experiences in Amsterdam were great. And although we didn't find much variety in the menus, the foods we tried were terrific. I still crave some of the treats we found in Amsterdam!

Fresh Seafood

The amount of fresh fish in Amsterdam was surprising, yet it shouldn't have been. We found fresh fish on every menu, even on the street food menus! We enjoyed a variety of deliciously prepared, freshly-caught fish over the course of our stay.

During our time in Amsterdam, we enjoyed a variety of deliciously prepared, freshly-caught fish. One fantastic local restaurant stands out in my mindDe Gouden Reael

An institution in Amsterdam, De Gouden Reael offers diners a taste of Amsterdam's rich history. You quickly realize that the restaurant has been there a while (since 1648 to be exact). The lamp-lit, quiet atmosphere of the place makes it feel home-like with a romantic touch.

We were warmly greeted when we arrived, and, I must say, we received excellent dinner service. One thing we tried was plaice, a delicate flatfish.

Traditional Dutch Cuisine

An excellent example of traditional Dutch cooking is Moeders, a sweet little restaurant dedicated to the mothers of the world. Dining at Moeders was an unforgettable experience. Brightly lit and toasty, this place is welcoming from the very start. Yes,

Brightly lit and toasty, this place is welcoming from the very start. Yes, it's crowded, but the overcrowding works in the restaurant's favor. The proximity to your neighbors helps create a home-like atmosphere that perfectly complements the restaurant's theme.

The walls are covered with framed photos of other people's mothers. You can’t help but relax and enjoy your fabulous comfort food when surrounded by pictures of smiling mothers.

My selection was a traditional hotchpotch, or stamppot, which was amazingly warm and comforting after our walk in the misty night air. Think of shepherd's pie but way better. The tables are few, so try for a reservation if you can.

Amsterdam's Sweets

Other standouts were the local sweets. Poffertjes are the most delicious little pancakes dusted with powdered sugar. Pancakes Amsterdam is a great place to enjoy authentic Dutch poffertjes in a bright, cheery atmosphere. Their poffertjes were oh-so-tasty, and their coffee was deliciously strong.

I later discovered fresh stroopwafel at a local outdoor market. This amazingly addictive cookie is made from thin, crispy waffles with a gooey caramel center. And, trust me, finding fresh is so worth your effort. You'll find it hard to stop eating these sweet, gooey cookies!

Amsterdam's Street Food

Much to my surprise, there was a unique street food culture in Amsterdam. By far, my favorite local street food was patat, golden fried potatoes slathered in curried mayo!

Trust me guys; this is street food at its finest if you ask me. Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx gets top nods around the web for their fries! Best of all, the stand is super close to the train station.

The Professor also really enjoyed another local delicacy: pickled herring. We found a sweet little street food stand in the Albert Cuyp Markt that was exactly what he was looking for: unassuming, no frills, local.

I must say, I am not a fan of the herring, but to each his own. This is a traditional food if ever there was one, so you have to try it at least once. So, I gave it a whirl only to find out what I suspected from the start: I'm not a fan of pickled herring.

Amsterdam's Pubs

One of the things I enjoyed most about Amsterdam was the warm and cozy atmosphere of many of the local pubs. Most of the bars we visited were found out of sheer necessity: we had to escape the rain. But each one welcomed us and made us feel instantly at home.

One of my favorites was Cafe Van Daele, situated right off Dam Square near the Royal Palace. The cozy, quiet atmosphere mixed with tasty treats and delicious brews made this place so worthwhile.

Another thing I loved was that each pub had a unique selection of beers and small plates. We enjoyed local pub foods including kroket (meat-filled croquettes, deep fried) and bitterballen (crunchy, deep-fried meatballs).

Most of the pubs offered free WiFi (with purchase). And every single one was welcoming, with friendly, helpful staff and locals.

Amsterdam's Cheese

And let's not forget the amazing Dutch cheeses (did I mention I'm addicted to cheese)! If you like Gouda, you must visit Amsterdam.

One day out of sheer coincidence we found ourselves in the most fantastic little cheese shop ever, De Kaaskamer. There was cheese as far as the eye could see, stacks and stacks of it. You can tell by the gleam in my eye that I was enthralled with it all.

We were able to try samples of local cheeses before making our selection to take back to our temporary home. The staff were welcoming and encouraged us to explore different cheeses and flavors. With their help we found the perfect Dutch cheese to savor for the rest of our stay.

More of Our Adventure in Amsterdam

I'll leave you here, hungry for more! Be sure to read my other Dutch travel guides to find out more about preparing for your trip to Amsterdam and all the fun things to do in Amsterdam! Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Drop a line below telling me your thoughts on Amsterdam. I'd love to hear about your experience.

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  • Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I’ve never been to Amsterdam but you have me sold on the food! Poffertjes sound so yummy!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      OMG @ourfamilytravel:disqus they are soooo yummy! You have to try them and the stroopwafels!

  • Reply
    Journal of Nomads
    April 7, 2016 at 7:14 am

    When I read the title, I thought you would visit the ‘red light area’ 😀 Amsterdam is a beautiful city and has a lot to offer. And oh cheesus, those cheeses!!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      @journalofnomads:disqus it was not until after I published the post that I realized the play on words. I wrote this in response to all the “adult” posts featuring the seedy aspects of Amsterdam. But, as @wtraveltogether:disqus says above, sex sells. So if the title gets some folks to click I won’t mind! They will be surprised to find no sex and drugs here 🙂 It is a great city with tons to see and do. I’m happy that we went!

  • Reply
    We Travel Together
    April 7, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I’m glad to see there are more of us with this feeling about Amsterdam. I wanna go, but still I’m note sure. Your post is focusing on other than drugs, sex, prostitution etc, and that’s what I’m missing in other Amsterdam posts. Sex and drugs sells, but that isn’t what I’m looking for. Really look forward to read you next post about Amsterdam. Maybe my appetite for the city grows!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks so much for your support @wtraveltogether:disqus! It’s so true that sex and drugs sell, but it’s definitely not being sold on this blog! I write for folks like you: intelligent, educated and culturally-curious adults. Glad you enjoyed the post and stay tuned for the “things to see” follow-up post! Amsterdam is worth seeing, for sure. There is so much more to the city than sex and drugs 🙂

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Cass Travels
    April 7, 2016 at 7:20 am

    I’m currently planning a trip to Amsterdam and this is so so helpful, thank you!!!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Yay @disqus_QOfK0F5vBX:disqus! Glad you found this post helpful! Stay tuned for the second part which is all about what to see! It’s a great city that everyone should experience at least once. Happy travels!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Thanks for showing us a more mature side of Amsterdam! Too bad it rained so much. I guess you’ll have to visit again

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking @disqus_fcjCw2pGnM:disqus! It’s a great city with a lot more to offer than the party scene! The rain definitely was a bummer, but we still had loads of fun.

  • Reply
    Tiana Harris
    April 7, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Loving your blog and this post – hope we can get together again soon!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks so much @tiana_harris:disqus! Y’all are doing great things over there at, too! Let’s connect in the coming weeks for a brew!

  • Reply
    Brave Little Cheesehead
    April 7, 2016 at 9:24 am

    That apartment you stayed in looks so cozy — exactly what I would have expected for Amsterdam! And that cheese shop…. !!!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      The apartment was the best part of the whole trip @bravelittlecheesehead:disqus! I would highly recommend it to anyone going to Amsterdam. And the cheese shop…… die for!

  • Reply
    Kevin Wagar
    April 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    So much fun! Makes me think about getting away from the kids and seeing some of Amsterdam’s best!

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 7, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Amsterdam was great and definitely worth visiting even with the kids @kevinwager!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 6:02 am

    I haven’t been to Amsterdam but always knew there was more to it than pot, sex and tulips. Great idea to have the proper equipment for such moist weather.

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 13, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      glad you already knew that Amsterdam has more to offer travelers and tourists @2traveldads:disqus!

  • Reply
    Vyjay Rao
    April 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Amsterdam has always been on the bucket list, more for the beauty of the place, the picturesque canals and bicycling opportunities then anything else. Getting there when the weather conditions are amenable should make a great difference.

    • Reply
      aCajuninCali blog
      April 13, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      @vyjayrao:disqus You are so right about the picturesque nature of the city. You would love it!

  • Reply
    Kids Travel Books
    April 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Amsterdam is one of my favorite places in the world. There is a great culture outside of the things people know it for, which is why I’ve brought my kids there a bunch! But, you’re right. The rain definitely makes it harder to enjoy. Fortunately, there are a lot of great places to go with kids when it’s raining, but I wonder what options there are for adults. If you get a chance, the next time you’re there, the city museum of Amsterdam is really cool. Great museum.

    Thanks for all your insight on some of the other options. The place you rented looks awesome!

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