It’s me Mr Quinn, talking about food again. I actually do have other interests, so maybe one day I’ll write about them too (maybe after a nice lunch).
Before our recent 3 Cities trip I spent some time looking for good veggie and veggie friendly places for us to eat in each city. Of the three cities Paris and London are the ones that immediately spring to mind when you think which will have great places to eat, but it was Amsterdam that blew us away with some amazing veggie food and quirky cafes.
A quick mention first of our favourites in London and Paris –
London – Vapianno – Luckily for us, this Italian pizza/pasta restaurant was just by our hotel. You are given a card when you enter and then order your food directly from the chefs at the open kitchen. It’s a great concept that means that your dish is tailored to you as the chef can ask you exactly how you like it down to small details. It also means that there are more staff in the kitchen as there is no need for waiting staff
Paris – M.O.B – This American style veggie burger joint was the perfect stop for a beer and a burger in-between a visit to the Jardin des Plantes and a stroll along the Promenade Plantee on a sunny day. I especially enjoyed the Okinawa burger with nori seaweed and Japanese flavours. Along with VG and East Side Burgers, Paris is a great place for veggie burgers.
Bazar – We visited Bazar on the Albert Cuypstraat for a late lunch/early dinner after arriving on the train from Paris. Housed in a former church, the colourful décor matches the bright North African cuisine. The generously sized fresh salads were the perfect antidote to a cheese rich Parisian diet and a hot train journey. Wilf was rewarded for his patience on the train with some Algerian ‘holey’ pancakes served with fresh fruit and honey.
Olive & Cookie – A tiny local café with one large table and a friendly proprietor. The glass counter contained such an abundance of delicious looking tarts, salads and other delights that we struggled to choose. This is home cooking, but as if you are visiting the home of the best cook that you have ever met. As you sit around the large table with other guests/customer while the food is prepared it really does feel a bit like you are in the hosts’ home. I love it when simple ingredients are elevated beyond their standing by the skill of the cook. The lentils that we ate with our meal were so flavourful that I could have eaten a giant bowl of them alone. I also love it when someone takes such great pride and care in their work. If you eat in one place in Amsterdam let it be here.
Latei – The epitome of a ‘quirky café’. With mismatched 50s furniture, vintage lights and various vintage/retro items all over the walls, I knew that Fritha would like this place. And with a friendly café cat I also knew that Wilf and I would be happy. The great surprise was that the food was also delicious. The café is famed for its apple pie, but Thu - Sat it is open late serving dinner. We had a great platter of veggie bits and pieces with tofu thai red curry and plantain chips.
Pllek – A short (free) ferry ride took us over to Amsterdam Noord and the NDSM Werf. An industrial docklands area that is currently inhabited by artists and ‘hipsters’. Pllek is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the ferry landing and has its own little beach (a hit with Wilf). A large light filled industrial unit with great views back across the water to central Amsterdam. Fritha and I shared a roasted aubergine and goat’s cheese sandwich and poached eggs with hollandaise. Classic flavours done well. Wilf was again rewarded with a big plate of Dutch pancakes and berries (When in the Netherlands…). One thing I really liked about this place and the area in general was that although this was a ‘hip’ place to be, I saw none of the pretentiousness that certain parts of London possess. And again there was a resident cat relaxing in the sunshine.
The Press Room (INK Hotel) – We were lucky enough to stay in the newly opened INK hotel, named due to the building being a former Newspaper offices. Firstly the breakfast was fantastic, lots of hot and cold options, all of a very high standard, and deserts! Lots and lots of apple cake, cheese cake and various other sweet delights. What’s not to like. The venue itself has an open kitchen at one end and a bar at the other. Down one side is a glass wall onto the hotel atrium, and the décor is classy with a slightly retro twist. After a long day in the sunshine Fritha suggested we have dinner in the pressroom. This turned out to be a great idea. Fritha and I both had the INK salad a mixture of finely sliced and pickled vegetables including various colours of beetroot. We also shared some tempura vegetables. They kindly made a tired Wilf a cheese toastie. The food was great and you would certainly not have guessed that they had only been open for a week. We shared a couple of rich deserts and then (a sugar high) Wilf and I pretended to be trains in the courtyard garden. It was at this point that I realised what a great idea deserts at breakfast is, rather than just before a three year olds bedtime!
All the above restaurants were great and along with some other places that we didn’t manage to visit this time – the café on the top floor of the Central Library, De Waaghals, De Bolhoed and a few branches of Maoz, Amsterdam really is a great city for Vegetarians to visit.