Today’s Blogger in the Spotlight (BITS) is Keith of Velvetescape and he lives in Amsterdam. He is an incredibly accomplished travel blogger, but we figured we would push the envelope and give him the ultimate challenge of food blogging..
Not surprisingly, he passed with flying colors as you will soon see from the post below. Here is Keith with his Top Eats in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is a great place to live. Despite it’s relatively small size – hardly a million people live here – Amsterdam offers a rich and diverse lifestyle in a village-like setting. I often call Amsterdam a ‘global village’ because about 200 different nationalities live here and everything’s within walking or cycling distance! The multitude of different cultures that live in Amsterdam translates into a diverse culinary offering that’s second to none in the country.
Having lived in Amsterdam for close to twenty years, I’ve grown a list of personal favourites. These are places I visit regularly when I feel like a certain type of food or cuisine. These places never fail to put a smile on my face!
When I feel like having some great Italian food, the first place I think of is Saturnino. It’s a quirky place in the Reguliersdwarsstraat that’s always packed. The restaurant owners and cooks are from Sicily. Being smack in the middle of the gay neighbourhood and adjacent to the Flower Market, Saturnino draws in many flamboyant types as well as families and tourists. It’s a great place to people-watch and eavesdrop on conversations as the tables are crammed in like sardines.
Oh… the food! The menu is diverse and there are weekly specials on a separate board. My all-time favourites are the carpaccio, linguini vongole, spaghetti alio olio peperoncino, sirloin steak with black truffel sauce and porcini mushrooms, and the home-made tiramisu. The food is seriously good and never fails to cheer me up!
I sometimes have a craving for falafel and when I do, I head for Maoz in the Regulierbreestraat. Grab a pita bread and stuff it up with as many fillings as you want. It’s a quick, absolutely divine snack. Maoz is an Amsterdam institution that’s famous the world over.
Amsterdam is also famous for its Rijsttafel, a remnant of the Dutch colonial past. Rijsttafel is Indonesian fare and typically consists of a bowl of steamed rice and somewhere between 15-25 side dishes. The side dishes contain a variety of chicken, vegetable and/or seafood cooked in different ways. My favourite restaurants in Amsterdam to have a rijsttafel are Sama Sebo near the Rijksmuseum and Tempo Doeloe in the Utrechtsestraat.
I love a good steak and there are two places where the steaks are brilliant. Saturnino (see above) and De Klos (in the Kerkstraat). De Klos is another Amsterdam institution. It’s a pretty narrow, dark bar-like restaurants where guests sit in cosy nooks and corners or at the bar. The bartenders/waiters are a boisterous lot and can come across as downright rude at times, but De Klos is certainly entertaining. I love the steaks served on a wooden platter or the equally famous ribs.
If you’ve ever tried Dutch (or Flemish) fries with Dutch mayonaise, you’ll be hooked for the rest of your life. The best place in my book for fries is Fleminckx in the Voetboogstraat 31, a lane between the Spui square and the Heiligeweg.
The Dutch are famous for their pancakes. The crust is wafer-thin and they pack on the ingredients, making the pancake a full-blown meal! I’ve lived here for a long time but I’m still not accustomed to pancakes with cheese, ham and sausages. I do, however, have the occasional craving for the sweet pancakes, the ones with fruit and/or ice-cream toppings. My favourite pancake place in Amsterdam is without doubt the Pannenkoekhuis at Grimburgwal 2. It’s a very small place with only a few tables, and to get to it, you first have to navigate what must be the steepest, narrowest staircase in Amsterdam! The owner doubles as chef, waiter and cashier so eating here is always a leisurely experience!
Keith is a thirtysomething who lives in Amsterdam. He has visited more than 60 countries across six continents and writes about his travels on his Velvet Escape blog. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith offers travel writing services as well as social media consultancy and marketing services. He is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network , a community that helps individual and corporate travel bloggers grow and monetize their blogs.
Follow Keith on twitter: @velvetescape
Blog: Velvet Escape blog