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Plethora of Amsterdam Cheap Eats

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Plethora of Amsterdam Cheap Eats

Joseph | Apr 15, 2005 07:27 AM

I moved to A'dam leass then a year ago for work, following university in the Bay Area. Although I had originally hoped to return to my hometown and favorite food city, NYC, I've been pleasantly suprised with the quality and quantity of exciting eats. Places in Amsterdam that I've enjoyed recently:

A’dam Cheap Eats: Under 25euro

1) IJBrouwerij + Café Kameleon for tapas: the Brouwerij is located in a windmill, contains a brew museum, and is basically a really old, very good microbrewery. Get there in the early evening and go next door to Kameleon for more local beers, decent tapas & fondue, and a very local scene, although the brewery well-known. This is very doable for under euro 25, but also very dependent on intoxication level. Tram 14 to Mauristkade, walk towards the windmill.

2) Humrah: tiny Indian/Surinamese with great, home-made naan from clay tandoori oven. Obviously, the tandoori is very good too. You can leave this place very satisfied for under euro 10, or in a serious food coma meal for under euro 20 (I don’t think I’ve every actually spent that much here). There owner is a friendly Punjabi guy and has some good homemade chutneys. Note: it’s probably not worth eating anything that doesn’t come out of the clay oven and you can always ask to substitute naan for your rice. Tram 14 to Mauritskade, walk about 100yds back from tram stop. Also a great option after the IJBrouwerij.

3) De Cantine: besides the free wi-fi, live-music on Sundays, and friendly crowd, this place has very good food. Let me start with the damn good burgers, usually topped w/dutch cheese, bacon, and fried onions on fresh Turkish bread. I say usually, because at times the chef mixes thing around—but he’s flexible and since I’m from the “bacon enhances everything” school, I always ask for bacon. The potatoes are quite good too, well-seasoned, and crisp. Besides the burger option, there is always a daymenu, weekmenu, and small regular menu (E8-14 per dish). These offerings range from Thai style soups, to boullibaise, lasagna, chili, veal, duck, venison, fish, etc…basically, they follow the Alice Waters, farmers’ market approach. Fish and soup dishes are usually great, meat is hit or miss. The desserts: typically duth clemon cloud cake and apple tart are always fresh and way above average. Then there is the balsamico caramel tart…I’ve observed others eating this, heard them cry in delight, and ordered it about a dozen times myself…but somehow, every time I order it, they’ve run out. You’ll never spend more then euro 20 here. Tram 10 to Reitlandpark, cross tram tracks, it’s adjacent to the Lloydhotel.

4) Sal Meyer: fish cakes, home-cured corned beef, soups, and other deli offerings. If you’re homesick for NYC, this about as close as you’re gonna get. It’s surprisingly good though, in a dutch-sort of way, and great for a Sunday post-hangover lunch. Multi-generation family business and A’dam institution. Kosher, closed on Sat. Scheldestraat 45

5) Sa Seada: best neoplitean pizza the city (E8-12 per pizza). You can always ask for mozzarella di bufala. On par with Una Pizza Napoletana in the East Village. Pastas are good too. Run by and primarily patronized by Italians. Eerste Oosterparkstraat 3. Tram 3.

6) Warmme Bakker: a hole-in-the wall ethnic bakery, in an otherwise residential neighborhood, everything here is fresh and good. They basically make whatever they feel like on any given day, in addition to the regular croissant, baklava, and bread offerings. Lamb pies, curry-chicken patties, curry tortilla sandwiches, date cookies, etc. Most likely, you’ll never find yourself in this part of the city, but just in case...it’s on Czaar Pieterstraat, adjacent to the Tram 10 Eerste Leeghwaterstraat stop.

7) Moeder’s: pre-fixe (euro 23-25) includes 3 course meals, sort of modern interpretations of dutch cuisine, as well as some classics (huitspot, spare ribs, fresh fruit + pancake dessert, etc). The potatoes here are particularly nicely prepared, often accompanied by various dipping sauces. Rozengracht 251, Amsterdam (tram 14).

8) Simon Meijssen Bakeries: There are a about 4 or 5 of these bakeries and I’ve eaten the ham and cheese croissant at every one. It’s just incredible. As good as Tartine’s (in San Fran), the dozens I’ve had in France, better then any I’ve ever had in NYC. Get it early in the morning when it’s just baked, or ask for it heated and down it right there in the bakery, while you’re deciding what to have for dessert. Or if you have the willpower, take these and a few chocolate croissants to the nearby Vondelpark for lunch. Most of the Meijssen bakeries are in or near de Pijp (Ferdinand Bolstraat, Centuurban) and Oud Zuid neighborhoods (Museumplein). And the breads are great (dutch and French style), as well as tarts and cookies.

9) Turkish Pizzas: generally, at any bakery in the heavily Turkish East neighborhood, you can get an excellent Turkish pizza (make sure to ask for garlic and hot sauce) for euro 1. But make sure that you get one fresh out of the oven (as opposed to from the display case). These bakeries usually also have various interesting baklava-type pastries, butter cookies, and meat/cheese/spinach pies. Near Molukkenstraat, or Muiderpoortstation.

10) Cinema Paradiso: for a New Yorkish/Milano-type scene with quite good pizza + great tiramisu + espresso, within a euro 25 budget. The pizza is Roman-style (as are the owners). There are some nice antipasti and secondi as well, but they will push you out of the euro 25 range. Westerstraat, in the Jordaan. Tram 14

11) Any of the markets are worth visiting for the herring (raw, maatjes, creamy,etc), stroopwafels, and fresh doughnuts…Albert Cuypmarkt is the most famous of these markets, in the trendy de Pijp neighborhood. Here you can fine the largest and plumpest herring sandwiches (w/onions & pickles) and consistently good stroopwafels. Cheap and appealing anytime of the day. Occasionally, the vishandels will offer eel paté or eel sandwiches, a fantastic, classic dutch offering.

12) For mezze, check out Orontes or Bazaar: 3-4 mezzes per person—sigara borek (feta pastry), hummus, lamb & babaganoush are among the typical offerings. Orontes for more refined food in a low-key setting, Bazaar for “theme-style” atmosphere with cocktails and hipsters. Both places can be done for under euro 25, pending personal levels of alcohol consumptions. About a block away from eachother, on the Albert Cuypstraat in de Pijp. Tram 16. Note: Stop by Kismet, next door to Orontes, for some good halva.

13) Simpel or De Ondeugd—next door to eachother, similar straightforward, French/med style in a trendy atmosphere. The patés are good, seafood dishes, the eggplant/aubergine dishes. Desserts not worth it. Around Ferdinand Bolstraat. 13 in de Pijp

14) Japanese Pancake World: Japanese street food, the pancake is grilled in an “open kitchen” and filled with meats, veggies, seafood, etc…They do a pretty good take on it here and it’s nice for a change from typical A’dam fare. Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat 24, in Jordaan.

Notes:
-Falafel/shwarma/donner is overrated in this city. There are many places, but most aren’t very good. They don’t compare to the best in NYC, like at Azuri Café, or those in Lebanon, Israel. Just eat a Turkish pizza. The only passable option is Maoz chain, sort of the Gray’s Papaya of falafel shops, which pairs an ok falafel with a good condiment/salad bar.
-Amsterdam isn’t a good dessert city, so avoid saving room. Pancakes, however, are a reasonble solution to the dessert dilemma(i.e. at Moeder’s). Sweet or savory pancakes with syrup are a more than passable dessert substitution.

Any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me.

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