Eating vegan in Amsterdam.
Oh, hey. Only me. (do I start every post with that, now? I quite like it actually, because it's casual and mildly self-deprecating but it also acknowledges the fact that I've been away for a while without providing any explanation, silly me. anyway...)
I went to Amsterdam last weekend and had an absolutely beautiful little break. Hilariously, I'd planned to visit this very city with an excellent close pal of mine before Lockdown #1 in 2020 (we were due to fly on the 23rd of March, I sh*t you not) but it wasn't meant to be, obviously. Well, over two years later, I ended up going with someone who had you told me back then would be the one I'd be eating pancake breakfasts, visiting the Sex Museum, and wandering through Vondelpark with, I'd have gasped quite theatrically.
Oh yes, there were many pancake breakfasts. You see, I did some research before the trip and mapped out a few spots I wanted to hit for culture/educational purposes, but I'd say I put just as much if not more effort into my planning where we'd be having coffee and eating. Here are a few of my favourite places/meals - warning you now, don't read when hungry!
(tap the place names for links to menus)
Willemsparkweg 223, 1071 HC Amsterdam
Our first stop! It was right around the corner from our hotel, on the edge of Vondelpark. We spotted it as we walked from the Emmastraat tram stop to Park Plaza, and walked back for a 'first evening bev' after we'd checked in and washed off that very distinctive Plane Smell. As we had our respective drinks - a fresh herbal gin concoction for me, beer in a very round glass for my lovely companion - we looked over the menu and were intrigued by some of the food they had on offer. In the end, we got vegan camembert with crudities and teeny breadsticks, and it was - I don't say this lightly - BLIMMIN' AMAZING. So amazing that we ended up going back to the same place on our last night and ordering it again, along with mains (which almost measured up to the cheese, but not quite).
I've had vegan camembert only a couple of times before, and while I don't particularly rate the ones you can buy in the mainstream supermarkets like Tesco or Sainsbo's, which don't hit quite like ones I've had in restaurants (or maybe I'm just preparing them wrong?) I'd say Honestly Tasty's Shamembert is the very best.
Does what it says on the tin, doesn't it? A colleague of mine recommended this place, saying although it is a chain (hissssss), she and her friends absolutely loved it for brunch times. They did have a few vegan options, and although they weren't particularly wild, I really rate the Dutch strawberry special! It's spenny too, though. Be warned.
Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 17
Do you need the most exquisite deep-fried vegan tidbits? Maybe a smasher of a bean burger and curly fries (aka the most underrated type of fries in existence)? Look no further. I had avocado fries (I'll admit, I ordered them out of curiosity and while they weren't the best offerings on my enormous platter, they did blow my mind a little), vegan shrimps and bitterballen.
I'm always amused when 'omnivores' eat plant-based meat subs and remark on how similar they are to the real thing. I've never eaten meat in my life, so I can't judge, but apparently, my shrimps were pretty true to death in texture!
*the onion rings weren't mine. Because, eww.
Govert Flinckstraat 122, 1072 EM Amsterdam
[email protected] - 020 773 1709
The second pancake breakfast of the trip! 100% vegan.
I really struggled with my order - there was too much choice! Tiny violin I know, but listen. As someone who was raised veggie, and grew up with only 2 options (and that was the absolute max, one of them always being some unique blend of falafel and hummus or that 'mushroom burger' bollocks) being presented with a whole menu of things I can eat is... a lot. I remember the first time I went to Veggie Pret in Soho before I quit dairy - I had a minor meltdown.
ANYWAY. I eventually decided on their Vegan English Breakfast, because I'd had a sweeter pancake the day before and I was curious about the vegan scrambled egg... overall verdict was excellent, but I'll admit I did sneak a few longing peeks at the super sweet stack across the table from me as I ate. Maybe I'll have to go back one day...
Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 28, 1017 RR Amsterdam
Could there be a more millennial business name? Wow. This place isn't fully plant-based but had a couple of good vegan options. I had a delicious Totally Tempeh; bell pepper, roasted cauliflower, and pickled cabbage on a bed of diced, roasted sweet potato, with Teriyaki-marinated tempeh and topped with sliced avo, of course. It was the perfect green-ish fix after 24 hours of mostly sweet and carby foods. It was also good to get something to go (they have sit-in branches, but this one was just a takeaway spot on a corner) because it meant we could sit on the grass outside the museums and enjoy the sunshine while eating.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 57, 1017 BK Amsterdam
The big kahuna. I'd seen this place pop up on so many bloggers' posts about Amsterdam, and Vegan Amsterdam (who I relied on quite heavily for the food planning, thanks stranger!) rated it well. It did not disappoint. I was on a weird comedown at the time (don't ask) so this level of junk excellence was so needed, and I definitely felt better after a happy helping of Iconic Rainbow loaded fries (the Fly Wingz strips were highly praised by the omnivore, too) with a side of Mac 'n' Cheese Betterballs. And while I don't usually bother with desserts, we couldn't resist the quirky jars they had on offer - the Better Pnut Butter was rather wonderful. I can't remember which one we went to, as there are a few! I so badly wish I had one near me so I could try everything on the menu - it would take a while, as they have so much on offer, but I'd take it on for the cause. The cause being my happiness and a very satisfied belly.
PS. my childish brain loves that they've named starters 'foreplay' on their menu, okay bye.
Amstelveenseweg 192, 1075 XR Amsterdam
The last proper breakfast of the trip! We discussed (at length) making it a third pancake adventure, but when I stumbled upon this place online I was low-key desperate to check it out.
I had a super seasoned tofu on toast situation with some avo and a fava beans/salad thrown in the mix. Across the table from me was a shakshuka with all the extras - including crumbled feta, a little bowl of chicken bits, and some particularly sharp seasoned hummus. Side note: I always enjoy seeing chickpeas chilling on top of hummus. What else can we reverse juxtapose? Maybe we can float some rolled oats in a glass of oat milk?
Something I will add about all of these meals - they weren't cheap. We went in with our eyes open and not counting costs, of course; major European cities will always be more expensive than somewhere further out. City chips will always inexplicably and wrongly cost more than seaside ones. It's just a fact. But our breakfasts were typically coming to 30+ Euros, and dinners averaged around 70? Yeah, so please bear that in mind when you fancy a cheeky city break!
Hmm, what other tips can I give you, while I'm virtually in Amsterdam... go to Red Light Secrets (the Museum of Prostitution) and educate yourself on one of the world's oldest professions, have a giggle at the giant penises in the Sex Museum, book a boat tour (but maybe not on a sunny afternoon after you've had a smoke - you'll likely be snoring for half of it!), and for goodness sake, you must mark some time to switch off the tourist mode and just sit in the park with a little picnic and a book. Play chess in your hotel's bar while you wait for your room to be ready. Allow plenty of time to get to the airport - and always triple-check your BA app the night before, because you never know when they'll have cancelled your flight and moved you onto an earlier one without thinking to email you.
Until next time!