Earlier in the month we ventured to Amsterdam to celebrate my birthday – there’s no better way to welcome in your quarter century than in the Dutch capital! Before we go on trips like this, we always do plenty research about places to eat. As Craig is a vegetarian now, and I have officially given up meat (and am only eating fish once a week or so), it and be hard to find places that cater for our dietary requirements. From the outset, Amsterdam was nowhere near as accommodating as London had been last year. It seemed to me that ‘gluten free’ was still very niche and the majority of places did not openly advertise a GF offering. Even veggie food wasn’t that easy to find as Dutch cuisine is quite heavily reliant on meat (other than their obsession with chips and mayo!). However, we still did pretty well considering!
When we arrived we headed straight to Ivy & Bros, a small hip cafe in the centre of the Red Light District. We already knew they offered gluten free, but I wasn’t hungry yet so Craig had a cheese and tomato toastie and a chai latte while I had my first of many fresh mint teas of the trip. This was not your standard toastie! The cheese was perfectly melted, the sandwich itself was served with a delicious side salad with pomegranate seeds. I was determined to go back here before the trip was through so I could have a GF version!
On the evening we walked the city for several hours taking it all in. We were staying in an AirBnb on the west city of the city so it was about a half an hour walk into the centre of the city. We did hope to find somewhere to eat while we were walking but nothing stood out to us as being able to offer what we wanted. We headed back towards the AirBnb and had almost given up hope when we stumbled across Parra, a small wine and tapas restaurant. The menu was mostly vegetarian and, unlike tapas at home, not everything was deep fried or served with bread! We ordered a jug of sangria a selection of tapas from the menu. Despite us being ridiculously hangry by this point, we still managed to thoroughly enjoy this meal.
The next day we ventured to ARTIS, the Amsterdam zoo. On the way, we picked up a couple of snacks as we had a feeling we’d be starving later on and we weren’t sure what food the Zoo had to offer. I picked up a salmon nigiri set and Craig had a slice of veggie pizza on our way through the Red Light District. Amsterdam is big on takeaway food and I was glad to find something gluten free (no GF soy sauce though!) to line my stomach ahead our our five-hour zoo visit.
By the end of the day we were absolutely starving so we walked around the corner to Bloem Eten & Drinken, an organic veggie cafe. We decided to sit out by the canal and watch the world go by. Craig had a glass of wine but I just opted for a ginger beer. To eat, we both ordered a falafel bowl, which was chock-full of tasty ingredients including quinoa, goats cheese, sun dried tomato salad and so much more I can’t remember. Another fantastic meal of the trip in an absolutely beautiful setting.
The following day we went to the Rijksmuseum, which came highly recommended by everyone on the internet. The home of Rembrandt’s Night Watch, we spent a good few hours walking the corridors of Amsterdam’s famous museum. Half way through we found ourselves struck with hunger so we headed to the museum cafe (probably a bit posher than a cafe, but not really a restaurant!) and Craig opted for the Artichoke Soup. I was pleased to hear that they could offer gluten free bread so I ordered this fancy cheese sandwich (caramelised onions, dutch cheese etc.) and it really hit the spot.
That night we met up with a friend who lives in Amsterdam for a curry at the place next to our hotel (forgot to take the camera!). A quick Google showed that this was rated one of the best curry houses in Amsterdam so that was a bit of good fortune. We both ordered saag paneer and pilau rice, a great combo that has proven a firm favourite in any country. The next day we were going home but there was still time to head to Ivy and Bros for one last cheese toastie and I finally got my GF one – well worth the wait!
Al in all, we did pretty well eating veggie (and gluten free!) in Amsterdam, however had we not done as much research beforehand we might not as been as fortunate. We’re officially on the mortgage save-up now, but that’s not to say we’re not hoping for a couple more short trips in Europe next year so hopefully I will be able to report back on a few more veggie and gluten free places in Europe’s capital cities in 2017.