Sunday, July 31, 2011

Top 5 Amsterdam Value Eats - Part Deux

Finally, it's time to take that OG Top 5 and make it into a Top 10'er. This is one of two lists on the way by request, and you all know I need no arm twist to talk about food. Like last time, we'll run through a small variety of tastes and make sure you can actually find the place. Eet smakelijk!

#5 - Vapiano

Located in the city's main public library branch right next to Centraal Station, the place is nice, has a patio, the Italian food is good and it's plentiful for a decent price (most mains between €6-8). Need I say more?

To find it: Easy. It's on the same island as the town's transportation hub. If facing the station front, just walk to your right to find the library.

#4 - Broodje Bert

Breakfast and lunch. Crazy deluxe sandwiches and sweets. Perfect food to power up for walking or biking around town all day, and a good bargain for being so close to a tourist area. Aside from that, it's just far enough away from the throng to sit outside and chill in a proper Amsterdam setting with some good grub and a view.

To find it: Get to the Amsterdam History Museum (one of my favorites) on the main downtown Kalverstraat shopping street, walk through the alley street around to the back, cross Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and walk two blocks to the Singel canal. It's on your left at the corner.
#3 - Wild Moa Pies

These fresh baked pies are quite similar to the ones you'd find all over England, but this shop is actually running New Zealand game on ya. These tasty little monsters are a lot more filling than they look for €3.50 apiece.

Fair warning, though: they're not open Sunday or Monday, and you may want to call ahead to reserve the pies you want because they run through batches pretty fast
. Sometimes when I drop by on a whim for my preferred chicken pie, they are stone cold out of everything with ovens humming full bore.

To find it: It's just a hop from Saphartipark and the Albert Cuypmarkt, one short Tweede van der Helststraat block from the park's southwest corner. From Centraal Station, take tram 25 to the "2e van der Helststraat" stop to reach that park corner.

#2 - Sterk Waterlooplein van der Pouw Kraan V.O.F.

Forget the big crazy name, I doubt any local would even know it has a name. What they do know is the famous "night shop" is actually open from 8AM to 2AM everyday of the year. They also know it is a go to stop for fresh sandwiches and pastries, a decent selection of hot dishes, fancy chocolates, drinks and plenty of other food items. But it really earns rep late at night when it can seem like the only places open for a bite are shoarma joints (not that there's anything wrong with that). Need something else, though? Head here, there's something for every taste. It's not just the best night shop in town, it's also one of the most reasonably priced (not all around town are, I assure you).

What do I get at 1:30AM coming back from a game in another city two hours away? Usually a half-baguette chicken/boiled egg/cheese/mustard/pepper sammich (a steal at about €4-5 depending on how much you pile on) and a cheesecake brownie (€1.35) that you will go home telling stories about. This claim is not exaggerating to be humorous. That thing will haunt your dreams.

To find it: If you can find Waterlooplein, you can find this shop. It's right across the street, with a big windowed front that's lit up bright at night. Trams 9 and 14 drop you right next to the shop. Of course, it's also just a couple blocks from Rembrandtplein and a couple more from Muntplein, which is close to Leidseplein - all of which means it's near enough to a lot of nightlife.

#1 - The Taco Shop

Let's get serious. If one decides while in Amsterdam that they absolutely need to have some real Cali beach Mexican food, there is only one option. Run by a friendly pair of Americans, this corner shop on the Amstel delivers the goods. The portions are huge, which means a 3.75 taco is going to put some food in your belly. They also have killer chili to smother the burritos and make great homemade chips/salsa. If you're within range, they even deliver. Winner, winner, Amsterdam dinner.

To find it
: Not far from our other #1, Leeman Doner, this is the farthest out from the center - but also well worth the effort. This is a good excursion for bike renters because you roll down the side of the river all the way there and then pedal off some of the intake on your way back. Trammers can grab #4 to the Lutmastraat stop, track back two streets on foot to Tolstraat, hang a right and go until you hit the Amstel.

- Greg Seltzer

[Photos: Erik Rozendaal (top), Sarah Moore (bottom)]


SPA2TACU5 said...


Note: go further down south the Amstel and you'll hit the Amsterdam ArenA + de Toekomst (Ajax stadium + youth academy).

Greg Seltzer said...

Well... kinda in a general way, but not exactly. The river goes another way past Amstel station. And it would be a looong ride to go in that manner anyway.

With the North/South line completion delayed, one still has to get on Metro line 54 (toward Gein) at one of the stations running from Centraal to Amstel Station and take it to either Strandvliet or Bijlmer station to get to the ArenA.

Although... if you plan to hit De Toekomst as well as the ArenA, bringing your bike on the train is a good idea because the youth complex is actually 500m away or so from the stadium.

jason said...

i really need to get back to amsterdam. although, summer again this time.

Jay said...

Uh, left field here... any recommendations for Berlin on the cheap? I'm moving abroad in December for some edumacation in the fermentable arts. Yeah, I know it's not Nederland. Haphazard question day on NSC.

SPA2TACU5 said...

I'm gonna have to disagree: 4 miles from "Taco Bell" to the Arena should take no longer than 30 minutes on a bike.
And if it does: quit the taco's and bike more often!
Taking a bike for 500m... ridiculous. Really Greg, c'monnn. What are you teaching your readers? You can't be serious!!1! :D

If you're gonna do the Arena/de Toekomst best would be to try to catch youth games/training sessions or a 1st team practice.

Around the Arena there's a large cinema, places to eat, a big Ikea store, and a small shopping area.

Greg Seltzer said...

Here's the deal on that ride, which is twice the distance of crossing the entire city proper: it's not a pleasant Amsterdam ride like the rest of the city and I would hate to suggest a tourist take that ride at night, as the area around the ArenA can be a bit sketchy to get lost in.

As for De Toekomst, Young Ajax home games are on Monday nights and many of the old-timers and coaches will be in attendance. After the game, you can socialize with everyone in the canteen.