Eating vegan in Amsterdam - part 2!
Hey, friends. Once again, it's been a while. And instead of apologising, I'm going to allow myself to be absent; to come and go as I please. As I've said for years now, this is my weird little corner of the internet, and I'll do with it what I wish. And as I've also said for years, that said, I really appreciate all of you who are taking the time to read these inconsistent scribbles.
Spoiler: this post isn't super personal, nor is it a story-type thing as such, but it is definitely a little creative, and it's been fun to write.
So, remember I spent a few days in Amsterdam last Spring with my partner? Well, we went again! Only this time it was just for a couple of days in the last week of October, so the overall vibe of the place was very different (less sunshine and tulips, more steamy windows and puddles), we only devoted one day to being tourists and spent the following one relaxing (then seeing a gig, yay!), and we tried some different places for food, coffee, and cocktails. So, much like I did last time - exactly like, in fact - I'm going to write some quick-fire foodie reviews! I'm low-key hoping they help my fellow vegans (or even vegan/omnivore couples) find some exciting spots if and when they happen to be walking aimlessly along the canals, wondering where they can go to grab a nice 'zalmon' bagel with a side of crispy sweet potato fries and eggless mayo - or perhaps a nice pot of overnight chia seed pudding they can slop and nibble while their partner has a ham toastie.
(tap the place names for links to menus!)
Bilderdijkstraat 65-67, 1053 KM Amsterdam, Netherlands
This place was one of the recommendations I was given by a lovely vegan colleague of mine; a purely plant-based, very pretty restaurant that was super easy to find, and not too far to walk in the rain from the Anne Frank Huis (where we'd gone on our first tourist jaunt of the day).
Our lunch was delightfully refreshing, and although the restaurant was quite quiet at that time of day (early afternoon on a rainy Tuesday, y'know), the energy in the space was lovely and the service was perfectly pleasant. I had a delightful Kraanvogel kombucha with my smoked 'no salmon' bagel, tomato lox with horseradish cashew cream cheese, red onion rocket, capers, dill, and lemon - plus sweet potato fries and salad on the side. My partner had the chipotle-seasoned portobello, king oyster and chestnut mushrooms with pea guacamole on sourdough toast, plus a beer. Our meal came to around 40 euros with the drinks, which isn't bad considering how spenny restaurants in the Dam can be - let alone the vegan ones!
Next time I go (manifesting...) I'll definitely go for dinner to have that different experience - and get the grilled aubergine and smoked almond dip.
Where shall we go next? I think I'll reverse from this lunch and go back to brunch - I'm crazy like that. We visited Coffee Room, conveniently down the road and round the corner from our hotel, on Kinkerstraat 110, 1053 EC. I had their overnight chia seed pudding with berries. In all honesty, I forget what my partner had but I suspect it was something on toast. The vibes were spot on - cosy, warm, snug, arty crowd; laptop-friendly tables were clearly marked, long blacks served short and in the tiniest cups imaginable before they could be better described as espressos, and the team behind the bar were all operating at a level of chill I can but barely aspire to. Top-notch first stop. 28 euros total (that's the two breakfasts and two coffees each).
Righto, where to next? Further back in time? Sure.
Our first meal in Amsterdam this time round was a bit tricky because we landed around 7pm, and by the time we'd got to our hotel and freshened up, we were searching for food at nearly 9. I was surprised a lot of places closed early in central Amsterdam that night, but I guess it was a Monday and the streets were very quiet (and cold). Anyway, I came through for us both (obvs) by finding Foodhallen (Hannie Dankbaarpassage 16, 1053 RT); a big old warehouse-type space that has been well and truly snazzed up with street food vendors, bars, and fairy lights. They were boasting all sorts of cuisines - dumplings, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, kebabs - and although most were closed by the time we got there, I managed to snag a vegan wrap and fried bits from Padrón, and my boyfriend found Holy Fried Chicken which seemed to live up to its name (for the convenience, or quality, or both - who can say?). I think we had three (?!) rounds of bevs at the bar too, before they closed up for the night. A big success. I'd love to go back in the daytime and catch the hustle and bustle a bit more; it was quite quiet when we went but there were enough small groups of eaters and drinkers to bring a little party to the place.
Next up, we had to get pancakes while we were in Amsterdam, didn't we? Well, on the morning of our second day (the lazier one, after the touristy one), that's what we did! We went to MOAK Pancakes...
(formerly known as MOOK)
De Clercqstraat 34, 1052 NG Amsterdam, Netherlands
I'll try and keep it simple. The two people working there were lovely. The space was aggressively Instagrammable. The coffee was average (not the server's fault, it was made on a button-presser). There was only one vegan option, and it wasn't specifically vegan, just an 'ask for alternative' jobby. Because of this, I accidentally ordered it as a 'normal' dish, had one bite (it was quite dry!), realised it wasn't quite right and had to return it to the kind server in exchange for the (much yummier, and PINK!) blueberry-packed alternative. I apologised profusely to the server, to which he replied 'it doesn't affect me at all, you do you hun'. So, overall? The actual place gets 4/10, my vegan pancakes get 7/10 (perfectly tasty but need more options please, so many other pancake places around Dam have already got that memo!), the service was 10/10.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 57, 1017 BK Amsterdam
In all honesty (maybe because I wasn't on a weird comedown this time around?) this place didn't *sparkle* for me quite like it did last time. That said, it was a safe bet at the last minute, I really appreciated them squeezing us in, and it was actually rather lovely to see so many different kinds of humans in there - a person on their own, a 'girl tribe' group, a young family, and a pair I assumed were mother and adult daughter. There really is something for everyone at this place, it seems!
Bosboom Toussaintstraat 43, 1054 AN Amsterdam
The last of our lazy day meals before we saw the excellent City and Colour live at Melkweg (eeeee, so good!). We were running through rain all day and had spent a few hours in a cafe before this, so the vibe was sluggish but jittery at the same time and very much 'need pre-gig sustenance'. This place was conveniently close to the hotel and very modest - think 'A+ takeaway but by all means, sit in??', and the pizza was delightful. The vegan cheese hit just right, the bases were thin and crispy but had a good bite to them, and my shrooms were fresh af. Exactly what we needed! Thank you very much.
Elandsgracht 84-H, 1016 TZ Amsterdam
After the gig this particular evening I was exhausted, emotionally drained, exhilarated, excited and... tipsy. A key perk when taking my partner to see a gig that I'm more into than he is? I've got myself a happy drink-fetcher! I must have had 3 or 4 double whiskies while the wonderful Dallas sang, and I didn't want to stop as we stumbled out onto the cold, wet street post-encore. I pulled my phone out to quickly search for a nearby cocktail bar and found this snazzy spot a short walk away. And what luck! They just so happened to have a table for two beside the bar, and the experts were able to whip me up the best vegan whisky sour I'd ever had. I was too drunk when I was paying and chatting with them to remember what they said their secret ingredient was, but I know aquafaba (aka chickpea juice) is often what does the trick replicating an egg white topping.
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam
Yep, I had a beer*!
... *I drank a few meagre gulps of 3 half-pints, as and when I was given them at regular intervals during this whole tour/experience, and then attempted a passionfruit beer cocktail (what an invention!?) on the rooftop bar with one of my freebie drink tokens. I had a couple of gulps after taking the above photo, before handing it over to my partner, as I had every other glass at this point. I tried, folks. My tastebuds just don't do beer. Also in my limited experience, I can honestly say Heineken is the most average and 'meh'-tasting kind I've tried. The brewery tour was enjoyable, but a little too long for my liking (lots of 'filler' activities, for instance at one point there's just an expansive dark room with a big screen showing Heineken's latest advertisements over and over again? Huh?). I'd say go if it's a rainy day, you have time to spare and fancy seeing some Willy Wonka-esque brewing equipment, but don't bother if you're not a beer keeno or aren't travelling with a partner or a group of friends.
Berenstraat 6, 1016 GH Amsterdam
Exquisitely strong and well-made coffee, good Wi-Fi, lovely staff, quiet and cute little space where everyone is welcome - even laptop folks! We skulked in here for a few hours on day #2, The Lazy Day, because it was so miserable outside, we just wanted to relax and entertain ourselves (me with a book, le boyf with a laptop) - and after a mediocre breakfast with uninspiring push-button coffee, we needed some good quality caffeine. Tick, tick, tick.
I'm very aware that a lot of my content on here and on social media is coffee-centred, which is quite silly because I don't actually work in coffee any more, but I still have a deep love of the stuff - and the magic it can bring to the everyday. Not just the jolt of energy/enthusiasm for life that I so desperately need right now (seriously, the winter slump is setting in) but also the community feelings it can form, the friendships it sustains, the small independent businesses you can support just by buying a crew, and the ritual I've come to love of making my own in the kitchen, using my snazzy new espresso machine.
Anyway, hope y'all enjoyed these rambly and maybe slightly less snappy reviews of vegan Amsterdam eating, this time around. Here's a link to the last one I did, in 2022! Let me know if you wanna see more content like this because, in all honesty, I'm a bit lost in terms of writing blogs and sharing things on socials. I want to do it, I just don't know what, or how. What do YOU actually enjoy getting from me? I'm leaving that question out there and hoping for inspiration and/or support.
Speaking of support, I'm starting up my Patreon again soon as I have some new projects coming in 2024! Subscribe if you fancy coming along on a weird old journey. I'd appreciate it very much.