The city of coffee and cannabis, bicycles and boudoirs… and Anne Frank’s house. The latter is the reason I’ve wanted to go to for years. Finally we decided to jump on the train (London to Brussels to Amsterdam in 5 hours) and spend the weekend.
As with any trip, we did our research when it came to food. We also took some supplies with us just in case, courtesy of the M&S at St Pancras: a chicken sandwich, cocktail sausages, two gf scones, two bags of nachos and a fruit salad. This started as our on train picnic and became back-up snacks as we roamed the streets in the snow, sun and rain.
We were set for dinners – there are many restaurants serving delicious gluten free dinners across the city – any google search will bring these up and I think we picked three of the best. From our research, lunch options seemed a little more limited (hence the sandwich and scones being a useful back up) but we needn’t have worried.
Here are the places we went to, hopefully this gives you a taster. I’d also recommend looking at the following blogs which I found invaluable:
Friday night we arrived in Amsterdam to snow so with soaking feet (me) and dripping wet hair (matt) we arrived at Lieve a charming place not far from the station in the Western Canal Belt, with three ‘dining experiences’ in one room: you can choose to sit under chandeliers, share tapas or eat from chintzy plastic covered tables, in a recreation of your ‘Mum’s kitchen’. We shunned opulence and sharing and headed to the kitchen, and had a lovely time.
Although the concept is slightly confusing (the food looked pretty similar whichever experience you went for) the staff were friendly and the place immediately welcoming. They have a separate gluten free menu with a selection of starters, mains and desserts. We went for mushroom (Matt) and crab (me) soups to start, pork with potatoes, vegetables and gravy for our main and sorbet (matt) and rhubarb and pink peppercorn roulade (me) for dessert. Despite slight confusion when ordering two gf main meals and only getting one, this place was very comfortable and cosy as the snow came down outside. Topped with a carafe of red wine, we couldn’t have been happier.
On Saturday we headed to the museum district and found a calm, bright oasis in the form of the Rijksmuseum cafe where we lounged with drinks and a gluten free blueberry cake. We then traipsed through many streets to find Vers Gesneden Friet for gluten free fries. There are many places selling fries (something about lots of people having the munchies…) but this place was the one we found online to be gf. It didn’t disappoint so we set off through the busy streets with our cone of fries topped with ketchup.
That evening we headed to PS. It’s a bit out of the way, the other side of the train tracks from the main bulk of the city, but worth the walk (or tram ride.) It’s a bright beacon on the street corner that welcomes you in out of the cold. From the moment we arrived the service was second to none. I’d booked in advance and told them we’d need to eat gluten free, which meant they’d warmed up some gf bread for us to enjoy with oil and olives. The menu is only in Dutch but the waiter talked us through it all, interpreting everything in a friendly, knowledgable way. We ended up choosing an Italian ham, courgette, goats cheese and hazelnut salad (matt) and scallops (me), lamb shank (both) and a selection of local chocolates for pudding as the only other alternative was a cheese board and we wee too full for that. The waiter shared anecdotes about the local, family wine makers and made us feel at home. We can’t recommend PS highly enough.
Sunday we visited Anne Frank’s house (you MUST book before hand or risk queuing for hours), after which we mused our way around the streets, trying to comprehend the horrors of the Second World War (to no avail) and found ourselves reflectively falling into Piqniq a small cafe in the Jordaan area serving soups, salads and sandwiches. I’d read they always serve a gf soup and salad and can make the sandwiches with gf bread. The staff were very knowledgable and there was so much choice we headed back the next day choosing the Tuscan tomato soup, club sandwich, Greek salad, pineapple and coconut cake and the blackberry and almond bake. It was all lovely.
For our final night we went to Seasons – a quiet, warm restaurant on a street of boutique shops near Dam Square serving everything from upside beef Wellington to chicken curry and crime brûlée. We both had the butternut squash and coconut salad to start, duck with celeriac mash (with basil mash on the side as we mis read the menu) and chocolate moose for dessert. It was again, delicious.
On our last day we headed to the Skylounge in the Doubletree by Hilton to look out over the city. We didn’t eat there but we’d highly recommend the house red and whiling away some time watching over the business below.
All in all, it was easy to eat great gluten free food in Amsterdam. There are many places, spread around the city so wherever you are, you’re not too far from gf options. It does help if you have WIFI/ 3G (or a map you’ve already made notes on) as the city is sprawling and the streets winding so it can be hard to locate places. But everyone we encountered was friendly and willing to help, seemed to have a good understanding of what ‘gluten vriej’ meant and if it wasn’t already gf, they’d happily change a dish to make it so. We’d definitely recommend it as a gf city break.