This post is also available in: Dutch
It’s funny, because I’ve personally lived in Amsterdam for six months in the past and there is still so much to explore for me. It’s almost as if I’ve never really lived there. Probably because when I lived there I was a broke ass student and still spend most of my weekends in the Dutch city I was born in (and currently live in): Rotterdam. Anyhow, let’s get to the point: Amsterdam is a very cool city – which most people know and why it’s so damn touristy – and there are so many amazing hotspots to explore. Now that I’m a bit older and luckily have a bit more cash, I’m planning to visit this city more often. It’s just a train ride away and I want to explore more of the amazing places to eat! That’s why I asked other travel writers what they consider to be some of the best, most unique hotspots in Amsterdam. Just to get the ball rolling!
This article includes amazing hotspots in Amsterdam, with plenty of vegan options, fantastic interiors and delicious Instagram-worthy dishes. Be aware that because these hotspots are very unique in terms of their interiors and dishes, most of them are often quite busy and you need to plan your trip wisely (which is pretty much always the case when you visit Amsterdam…).
I’ll be sure to update this post regularly; whenever I discover new place in Amsterdam. For now, this article serves as an inspiration for me, but of course also for you, my dear readers! Enjoy :).
Ps. Are you also visiting Rotterdam? Then be sure to read This Ultimate Foodie Guide for Rotterdam, which is full of amazing hotspots!
8 Unique hotspots in Amsterdam
While Amsterdam is certainly not short of a pancake house, Mr Stacks filled a void that we Amsterdammers didn’t know was missing. The most delicious and beautiful vegan pancakes in a hipster haven that has a Pinterest-worthy decor.
Tucked just off the busy Ferdinand Bolstraat in the popular De Pijp neighbourhood, Mr Stacks opened in 2018 and has already proved such a hit they’re opening a sister restaurant in London in So-Ho, the ultimate trendy neighbourhood.
But back to Mr Stacks in Amsterdam and the mountains of vegan pancakes. While I’m not a vegan myself, I do like trying plant-based food. However, there are some things I’ll always prefer the original, and pancakes used to be one of such treats I’d always want to keep dairy. But Mr Stacks may have changed my stance on this as their pancakes are among the best I’ve tasted!
With a savoury pancake menu as well as a choice of sweeter flavoured dishes, each stack is beautifully presented and if you really take offence at veganism, you’ll find a few of the savoury meals come with fish, eggs or meat.
Now let’s talk about the decor which is almost just as impressive. There is a huge Hawaiian or tropical theme running through the interior of Mr Stacks with bamboo chairs and banana tree leaf wallpaper, and this is the perfect backdrop to enjoying the other thing Mr Stacks specialises in, bubble tea. Go early for breakfast (and to guarantee a table!) or pop in later in the day for one their signature teas with your stack.
2. Vegan Junk Food Bar
When most people think of vegan food, they think healthy meals- salads, maybe some stir-fried veggies. Vegan Junk Food Bar turns this idea of veganism on its head- from its mouth-watering plant-based burgers to loaded fries, piled high with cheese, shawarma and fried onions, nothing about this joint says “healthy food”.
In a lot of ways, the restaurant feels built for your Instagram – punky graphics are splashed across the interior, with tongue-in-cheek phrases like “Eat me!” boldly emblazoned on the walls.
Beyond the fun interior design, the food itself is an explosion of colour, with a solid nod to whimsy – try the unicorn bread, dyed bright blue, with hot pink aioli for dipping, or the red velvet cake, a delightful puff of scarlet cake served with a test tube shot of Bailey’s Almande.
Perhaps the best thing about VJFB, though, is that it offers plant-based folks the opportunity to try some classically Dutch dishes- for example, try your hand at the Dutch bitterballen, complete with tangy mustard sauce, or coconut curry bitterballen, with a spicy chili dipping sauce to finish off this sweet and savoury combo.
With its late night hours (the downtown location is open to 03:00 on weekends), there’s no better place to go after a long night in the Red Light District and enjoy some mindbendingly tasty vegan treats.
Are you a vegan visiting Amsterdam? Then be sure to read Uprooted Traveler’s vegan weekend guide to Amsterdam.
A short (and completely free!) ferry ride across from Centraal Station will transport you to one of the most exciting and artistic parts of Amsterdam: NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam Noord. Here you’ll find mural-covered warehouses, industrial crane-hotels, and hip waterside bars and restaurants. Just a few minutes’ walk from the NDSM Wharf ferry port is Pllek – a quirky, shipping container-turned-café bar with its own private beach area, overlooking the city skyline.
Whether you’re stopping for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just one of their local beers, Pllek is the perfect place to relax and unwind. In the winter months, you can curl up by the fireside with a coffee, or if the sun is out, kick back with a cocktail on a deck chair on the beach!
Pllek prides itself on its organic, sustainably-sourced menu and has an excellent range of vegetarian and vegan options available. I’d recommend the falafel and hummus platter, or one of their delicious open sandwiches. But it’s not all about the food – Pllek also plays host to live music, DJ sets, festivals, and even yoga sessions out on the terrace!
Whether you’re a local in the know, or a first-time tourist, this is one unique hotspot that can’t be missed in Amsterdam.
4. Blue Amsterdam
If you’re looking for a spot with good food and a great vibe in the city, try Blue Amsterdam. This coffee place and restaurant is located right in the middle of all the action, at the Kalverpassage Shopping Center, housed in a futuristic glass tower. For this reason, Blue Amsterdam also offers stunning panoramic views to the city and many of its main attractions, such as the Rijksmuseum and the Royal Palace. We visited on a grey and cloudy day and were still mesmerised by the sights around us.
The interior is carefully decorated and filled with plants, making it quite cozy. As a true hotspot, Blue Amsterdam gets crowded, so there’s a chance there will be a line. From our own experience, it’s worth the wait! However, if you can, book a table ahead.
There’s a menu for brunch and lunch, and another for sweets and snacks. The menu includes a good mix of options, whether you’re looking for a healthy salad or a sumptuous burger. Dutch classics are also available – we loved the croquettes locally known as bitterballen.
During quiet hours, Blue Amsterdam can also be a great place to have breakfast and doing some work using the free internet for customers. It will be easier to work when inspired by the views around you!
Prices are in line with what you find in the city, and Blue Amsterdam is open every day during day time, so there’s really no excuse not to visit!
Pollux is a unique floating bar and restaurant located at the NDSM-Werf. Its views are unparalleled as it overlooks the IJ bay. Docked at a pier across from Botel and just a few steps away from the NDSM ferry crossing originating from Amsterdam Central Station. The best way to get there is to take the NDSM Ferry from Amsterdam Central Station, the ferry ride takes about 10 minutes. From the dock it’s a two-minute walk left from the ferry headed in the direction of the large Botel ship.
Pollux is a beautiful boat, docked alongside a pier with a unique dining experience. As soon as you enter you see a cozy interior with cherry and maple coloured wooden walls. The classic interior pulls you in as soon as you step inside.
As a former training vessel, the Pollux was decommissioned in 1989 and sat in ruins. It was purchased and restored into the beautiful vessel and dining experience it is today.
With multi-level floors that can be explored, Pollux has a restaurant and bar on the main deck with additional seating on the lower deck. There is also a dance room on the lower deck where patrons can listen to music and dance the night away.
The menu provides something for everyone. There are a host of international dishes to please every patron as well as a kid’s menu for the little ones. The main deck restaurant can seat up to 50 people while the combined spaces can host anywhere from 250-300 people. Nevertheless, Pollux has a calm and classic atmosphere and makes for an amazing evening in Amsterdam.
This charming café is one of the best spots for brunch in Amsterdam. Packed with locals, TEDS has a relaxed vibe and an interesting crowd. Sunday is my favourite day to stop by TEDS for a late breakfast or a proper brunch.
The menu has everything you need to start a fresh new day or to cure your last night hangover. From yogurt with fruits to steak cheese sandwiches, from shots of espresso to champagne glasses. My favourite is the Eggs Norwegian with smoked salmon paired with an Espresso Martini, strong flavours to start the Sunday. They serve the breakfast and food menu for the whole day, so if you crave for scrambled eggs and a glass of beer in the middle of the afternoon, this is the place you can get it.
TEDS is open daily from 7am to 5pm and on weekends it is always busy, so if you are on a hurry it’s better to book a table in advance. If you’re travelling to Amsterdam in Winter stop at TEDS for brunch and for a coffee in the middle of the afternoon. This is the perfect place for a quick stop between attractions, so you can warm up and refuel.
Amsterdam embraces diversity and social tolerance in many aspects of daily lives. The city’s vibrant food scenes reflect this spirit with local restaurants that feature international flavours. One of the hottest spots in town that embody such a diverse culinary culture is Foodhallen.
Foodhallen is a concept food court located in Amsterdam’s Oud-West neighbourhood. This refined street food market and bar ooze out the relaxed luxury vibes. Remnants of the tram depot linger in the architecture. The open space invites plenty of natural lighting from the ceiling. The trendy food hall with a hint of nostalgia attracts locals to unwind and enjoy happy hour after work.
For food lovers, Foodhallen is the perfect place to grab a quick bite alone or to indulge in a gastronomic feast with a group of friends. The venue features a wide variety of food selections. From Indian Chicken Masala and Vietnamese egg rolls to Italian Fritto Misto and Spanish Jamón Ibérico, all with a Dutch touch. There are tons of adult beverage options, too, including crafted gin and tonics, a variety of beer, aromatic cups of coffee, and virgin smoothies.
Although it is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the touristy canal rings, Foodhallen offers an authentic local experience. If you want to get a genuine feel of Amsterdam and eat at where locals eat, check out Foodhallen on your next visit to Amsterdam.
8. The Avocado Show
With so many great museums to tour, it is important not to miss the most important meal of the day while visiting Amsterdam. Starting off with a heaping portion of healthy fats at The Avocado Show is the perfect way to fill up. Luckily it’s conveniently located only an eight-minute walk away from the famous Rijksmuseum.
Not only is it adorable inside, the food and drinks are fantastic! Who knew this green breakfast fruit could have so many more uses than everyone’s favourite go-to toast? From pancakes with avocado on top and eggs served in whole avocado halves, to a burger with avocado buns and even avocado ice cream. This cute hipster-esque restaurant is well worth an encore visit!
With so many unique options, it is hard to choose. But on your first visit, why not give the classic a go? They make a version of avocado toast that will ruin those less-inventive versions forever… A giant piece of toast with an entire avocado cut up on top with some delicious, toppings (choose from vegan veggie, mango curry, chicken thighs with truffle mayo, or pickled beets and hummus). The ingredients are all fresh and sustainable – and you can really tell. Don’t be surprised when you go back for lunch.
A few notes: Like many places in Amsterdam, The Avocado Show only takes cards for payment – no cash. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They don’ t take reservations, so there may be a wait at peak times.
Those were the 8 unique hotspots in Amsterdam. Hopefully you have a wonderful time in the capital city of the Netherlands. Definitely let me know in the comments if you have some recommendations for Amsterdam yourself!