Amsterdam is the kind of city you can visit a thousand times and still discover something new. Famous for its Old Masters museums, atmospheric canals and buzzy Red Light District, we seek out some of the lesser-known hotspots which could make your next trip feel like the first.
Find out about the best hidden places to dine out in Amsterdam
This charming family run restaurant opened in 2013 and has been wooing locals with its top-notch Mediterranean-inspired dishes ever since. The use of local, small-batch produce, from the beer to the beef, is the key to its success. The menu at Wink changes weekly, but it can include delights such as smoked red beet with Jerusalem artichokes and buttermilk, and succulent Beemster pig with roasted carrots and a cardamom gravy. The restaurant is open Tuesday–Saturday, 1800–2200.
Located south of Central in the trendy De Pijp district, this charming restaurant is another locals’ favourite. Chef Elmar Gerekink’s dishes are all influenced by classic French and Mediterranean flavours and he uses local and organic produce. Dishes at Elmar include wild goose served with Serrano ham stuffed cannelloni, and rouleaux of Dover sole, all complimented by an exemplary wine list. The restaurant is open Tuesday–Saturday, 1200–2200.
Housed in the old Ceintuur Theatre, this stylish tri-level coffee bar is like hanging out at your cool best friend’s house. Think bare brick walls, slouchy sofas and retro furnishings, it’s a real gem of place that attracts a largely local crowd. Coffee & Coconuts serves everything from breakfast burritos to late-night suppers, but it’s the wide range of speciality coffees, fancy cakes and chilled vibes that makes it so special. The café is open daily 0800–2300.
Amsterdam is full of wine bars and breweries for your beverage needs
Hidden in the catacombs under the historic Nieuwe Kerk church, this cool wine cellar and pop-up bar is a real hidden gem in Amsterdam. Run by wine expert José Belgerette, you enter the bar through a cookie shop and down a spiral staircase. José’s range and knowledge of New World wines is exemplary. He also hosts a series of exquisite wine tasting events and sells an extensive range of wine by the bottle (or case) for taking away. Wine tastings are by appointment, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Known as the windmill brewery, the Brouwerij’t IJ is a craft beer brewery popular with local beer enthusiasts. Housed in a former bathhouse next to the De Gooyer Windmill, the bar is only open from 1400 to 2000 (although it’s open every day of the year) and serves a wide range of its own home-brewed organic beers, both bottled and draft, for a surprisingly reasonable price. It also offers brewery tours and great beer snacks, such as cheese and sausage platters.
Although not quite a locals’ secret, this speakeasy style cocktail bar is well worth a mention as folk flock from all over Amsterdam to sample its pleasing wares. The bar itself is compact and oh-so bijou, with opulent chandeliers, Chesterfield armchairs and crystal glassware bringing a real flavour of the ’20s to the Canal District. HPS offers an extensive range of well-mixed cocktails, including house favourite, the Voodoo Child. The bar is open Monday–Thursday, 1800–0100, Friday and Saturday, 1800–0300, and Sunday, 1800–0100.
Perched next to Vondelpark, the Hollandsche Manege is a Dutch riding school and stables housed in a neoclassical building dating back to 1882. Open to the public, it was inspired by the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna. It has a small but buzzy bar overlooking the indoor school and a fascinating pony museum. If you feel inspired to hop on a horse, you can even book riding lessons. Open daily, 1000-1700.
Tram: 1e Con. Huygensstraat
De Pijp Neighbourhood, South Amsterdam
Fancy something a little different to Dam Square and the Red Light District? Head south of Central to De Pijp in the Latin Quarter of Amsterdam – the city’s buzzy, bohemian neighbourhood. In addition to the dozens of hip bars, art spaces and live music clubs, there are plenty of neighbourhood restaurants to choose from, serving up numerous international dishes from places like Syria, Morocco and Turkey.
Before you leave the area, potter around De Pijp’s Albert Cuypmarkt, which is open six days a week (Monday–Saturday). It’s one of the oldest markets in the Netherlands and locals flock to pick up everything from freshly baked stroopwafels to awesome vintage threads.
Head to Albert Cuypmarkt to try Dutch delicacies like local cheese
Fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour or so? Head over to Amsterdam Noord and the charming Schellingwouderpark, which can actually be reached by boat. Sandwiched between the Orange Locks and the Oranjewerf, this 10-hectare park is strewn with walking paths and wildflowers – perfect for a quiet, leisurely waterfront picnic away from the masses.