With its picturesque canals, cosy “brown cafés”, and nightlife scene, you’ll never be stuck for things to do in Amsterdam. And sure, while its marijuana-related reputation can precede it, over the last decade, the city has become a buzzing hotspot for creatives across Europe and beyond. Whether you’re looking for galleries, museums, or even some of the best street art the world has to offer, the capital of the Netherlands delivers. Throw in world-class restaurants, luxurious hotels, and the overall feeling of Dutch “gezellig” the city exudes and you’ve got the perfect break to carry you through to summer.
HUNGER made the trip over to Amsterdam to provide you with a comprehensive guide to the best spots to stay, eat and experience all the culture the city has to offer…
Where to stay…
Blending unique architectural design with artistic interiors, the art’otel is the perfect spot for creatives. Created with those seeking escapism, inspiration and unforgettable experiences in mind, the hotel will help visitors discover a new side to the neighbourhood through vibrant collaborations with the creators at the heart of its art scene. Atelier Van Lieshout’s Joep van Lieshout is the hotel’s signature artist, and 120 of his unique artworks are displayed throughout, all of which relate to his trademark theme: the course of life.
The art’otel has 107 rooms, each boasting bespoke artwork. Amenities include rainfall showers, Egyptian cotton bed linen, Marshall Bluetooth speakers and Illy espresso machines. Guests can access the hotel’s swimming pool, wellness area and gym, and the art’otel gallery. As well as their in-house restaurant ARCA, the hotel offers a street art walking tour where you can explore Amsterdam’s extensive street art collection.
art’otel is located within walking distance to the trendy Jordaan and Nine Streets area — where you can eat, drink and peruse some of the city’s buzziest spots.
This luxury boutique hotel comes with trendy interiors and is within walking distance of Amsterdam’s Museumplein and the vibrant Leidseplein. With high ceilings and large windows, rooms at Sir Albert provide a combination of historical sophistication with a minimalist modern style. For holidaymakers looking to de-stress and decompress, the hotel’s study is the perfect place to sit back, enjoy a fine beverage and perhaps indulge in some literature – while Sir Albert’s gym, Vélo, is also available for those looking to let off some steam in a more proactive manner. If you’re feeling peckish, pop into the hotel’s signature restaurant IZAKAYA, which serves up authentic Japanese dishes, but more on that later…
Where to eat…
This modern rooftop restaurant is perfectly suited for visitors looking to take in the city’s best sights. Sitting elegantly at the top of hotel W Amsterdam, the sleek and luxurious interiors are only bettered by a breathtaking birds-eye view of the surrounding city and canal houses. While high-end steak is this eatery’s focus, the varied menu proves it’s not just a one-trick pony – with standout dishes including chicken in ras el hanout and grilled lobster, amongst others. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention, with DJs and top mixologists present throughout the night, diners will be more than swayed to stay later into the evening.
Providing a tastebud-tingling combination of Portuguese and Asian influences and authentic ingredients, ARCA brings a welcome twist to traditional dishes. The restaurant is the brainchild of award-winning Portuguese chef Henrique Sá Pessoa – who was recently named one of the top 100 chefs in the world – and offers up a relaxed sharing plates concept alongside mouth-watering cocktails. With popular dishes, including cuttlefish tempura, arroz de marisco and a delightful dessert selection, ARCA has everything to keep your tastebuds captivated.
Located in a former ticket office, this grandiose restaurant offers up cuisine that is just as breathtaking as its aesthetic. When it comes to food, THE DUCHESS offers tantalising flavours from Southern France and Italy, combined with fresh Mediterranean produce that arrives straight from THE DUCHESS’ custom-made Molteni kitchen. Later, if you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s plenty on offer in The Tea Room, where you’ll find a selection of fragrant tea blends with a bouquet of freshly-baked cakes and patisserie. When we visited THE DUCHESS, we sampled their decadent Chocolate Explosion — while it’s a seasonal dish, we recommend those with a sweet tooth keep an eye out for it when visiting during the holiday season.
This creative hangout spot combines a burger joint, cocktail bar, urban lounge, game hall and music club all in one wonderfully quirky space. Situated in the A’DAM tower, the venue is open from 8am until after midnight, giving you a chance to eat, party and socialise all night long if you so desire. Whether you’re looking for a scrumptious breakfast, filling lunch, tantalising dinner or even a midnight snack, The Butcher Social Club is there to satisfy cravings. Expect classic beef burgers, crispy chicken wings and spicy beef salads. Oh, and if you fancy a side of chips for lunch, THE BUTCHER also has three other locations across the city.
Located in the bustling De Pijp area, IZAKAYA first introduced their Japanese dining concept to Amsterdam 10 years ago. The restaurant became a trailblazer, offering up high-end Japanese cuisine with a South American twist, redefining standards for the Dutch fine-dining industry. Dishes come served on small plates made for sharing, inviting you to have conversations about new textures and flavours. The menu features fresh sushi, sashimi and a variety of high-quality meat and fish. Authentic elements are given a contemporary twist, which are then combined with creative techniques, including a traditional Robata grill positioned in the centre of the restaurant where guests can watch the chefs.
With a menu offering visitors a taste of authentic Italy, TOZI’s sharing plates concept, the so-called cicchetti, celebrates the Italian tradition of sharing great food. Located in the centre of Amsterdam’s Oud-Zuid area, the restaurant is perfect for a variety of occasions, whether that be a midweek treat, a celebratory function or an eccentric Sunday lunch. TOZI is a Venetian slang word used affectionately to mean “a group of close friends,” so if there’s anywhere in the city that should be enjoyed with exquisite company, it’s here.
For your intellectual fix…
STRAAT celebrates a wide variety of styles, shapes, techniques, and messages, as told through the medium of street art. The ever-evolving showcase at Amsterdam’s gallery for non-traditional art begins before you even go through the doors – on the building’s exterior, you’ll find a giant multicoloured portrait of Anne Frank. Here, artists from across the globe have exchanged their murals on the streets of New York, Tokyo and São Paulo for the walls of STRAAT. Their canvases remain larger than life, as do the stories and timelines that brought their work here.
For more than two years Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding in the annexe of the building at Prinsengracht 263. Now converted into a museum, it contains a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jewish people during the war. Quotations from Frank’s famous diary, historical documents, photographs, film images, and original objects that belonged to those in hiding movingly illustrate the events that took place there in this poignant experience.
The Van Gogh museum holds the largest collection of works from Vincent Van Gogh in the entire world. The museum helps shed light on the artist’s life, exploring his emotions, personal ambitions, the myths surrounding the artist and other artwork he influenced. In addition to some of his early and lesser-known works, you will get a chance to see his most famous paintings including Bedroom in Arles, a painting from the Sunflower series and Gauguin’s Chair. All these works are chronologically arranged so that you can trace Van Gogh’s growth and artistic development.