Amsterdam remains a vibrant city with myriad opportunity to socialise with friendly locals. If you’re invited to a borrel (an after-work social occasion, typically with drinks), snap up the opportunity. The Dutch are very social and borrels offer a great chance to network. By Michelle Margherita.
Although recent years have seen the resurgence of more urban areas such as De Pijp and the post- industrial NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam Noord, which have revitalised the city with hip eateries and boutiques, the beautiful Old Town, with its waterways, canal houses, restaurants and shopping streets, remains a top option for the time-stretched visitor.
Here are some of the best places to eat and drink like a local when in Amsterdam on business. And don't forget: Amsterdam is full of cafés and “coffeeshops” and it pays to know the difference. Cafés sell coffee and cakes; coffeeshops sell marijuana. With that sorted, here’s how to make the most of your stay in the Dutch metropolis.
Coffee pit stop
Bocca’s artisanal roastery is highly rated and its flagship store – in a quiet, leafy part of the Old Town – has a hipster, industrial feel. With its bespoke blends, diverse coffee menu and the best baristas in town, this is more caffeine experience than dash-and-go. One for the coffee snobs.
Kerkstraat 96, Amsterdam
The Dutch seldom do breakfast meetings – it’s just not part of their business culture. Moreover, many cafés don’t open until 10am so hotel breakfasts are your best bet. Lotti’s at The Hoxton hotel is chic and casual and serves a superb all-day breakfast. For something quieter, go to Café Restaurant De Plantage, located in a beautiful glass-sided atrium.
Herengracht 255, Amsterdam
Drinks with clients
Speakeasy cocktail bars are a thing in Amsterdam but none does it quite as well as Door 74. It takes Prohibition-style secrecy to the next level; there’s no sign on the door outside so if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never find it. Once you do, ring the doorbell and wait to be let in (dress smartly or you’ll be turned away). Inside, it’s all Art Deco flourishes, comfy sofas, smooth jazz tunes and complimentary snacks. It’s open every evening until late but you’ll need to call earlier in the day to make a reservation.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 74, Amsterdam
At this delightful Michelin-starred fine-diner situated on lively Rokin canal and close to Amsterdam Centraal Station, executive chef Bas van Kranen serves inventive dishes. While the à la carte menu offers impressive meat and seafood options, the tasting menu is the one to try. Start with an amuse-bouche of North Sea crab with fermented carrot, cumquat and citrus marigold.
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14, Amsterdam
This trendy canalside eatery on the edge of the 9 Streets district has a cool, chic vibe that matches its casual fine-dining menu of international small plates. Enjoy exquisite bites of pork belly with samphire and pear or sea bass with a champagne beurre blanc and be sure to try the housemade pickles and syrups. Feeling adventurous? Order the Dive In menu for a surprise six-course dégustation. Reservations are essential.
Prinsengracht 381, Amsterdam
SEE ALSO: 5 Things to Do Between Meetings in Amsterdam