A September 2005 trip
to Amsterdam by RID12
Quote: You cannot do Amsterdam in one day. In order to move beyond Dam Square and the Red Light District to Amsterdam's actual treasures, you need a weekend. Here, I detail a day and evening schedule by which you are sure to come across more locals than tourists.
Restaurant | "Kantijl en de Tijger"
The first time, I went in a large group and ordered several rijstafels. About 20 minutes later, our table was covered in small plates of Indonesian fare, all delicious and in large quantities. There was enough for each one of us to taste each plate. The next time I returned, it was just three of us for dinner, and we ordered off the menu--nasi goreng, a spicy meat dish, and a vegetarian entrée. You can't go wrong. In fact, these dishes were arguably better than the rijstafel--there was more of each, so we fully savoured each one. For first-time Indonesian-food eaters, go for the rijstafel,, but if you have a sense of Indonesian food, pick entrées and share them.
The food is excellent, the ambience casual, the decor simple, and the customers a combination of locals and tourists. Two other aspects of de Kantjil that make it even more attractive: the to-go menu option and the early bird special, where you can have a complete meal between 4:45 and 6:30pm for 9€. For 9€, you get rice or noodles, a meat dish, and a veggie dish.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 11, 2005
Kantjil en de Tijger
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 VS
+31 20 620 09 94
My date and I started off our meal with a glass of white wine and raw oysters as our appetizer. The wine list, for both red and white, was reasonably priced and fairly extensive. I would discourage the oysters--ours were much brinier than we were accustomed to in tthe States. You can get better oysters down the road at Cineac for a better price with a drink later in the night. But from then on, the meal didn't disappoint. We ordered a grilled fish and veal--and they came back juicy, tender, and cooked to perfection. The portions were just right and the vegetables excellent compliments. All around us, the chicken and meat dishes (rosemary grilled chicken breast, for example) left customers very happy as well. We did not order dessert here, so I can't comment on it.
All in all, one of the best dining experiences I have had in Amsterdam. Romantic setting, competent waitstaff, and well-known chef. We were the only ones speaking English in the entire restaurant. The decor is minimalist, but trendy. The crowd ranges from young 20- and 30-year-olds to slightly older groups.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2005
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 27, 2005
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1075 AE
+31 (0)20 523 92 22
Attraction | "Small Galleries"
The artists welcome you warmly into their galleries--a stroll down the Brouwersgracht and you'll already see a few--and serve you some tea and pastries or cookies. But the tastiest morsels they serve you--the opinions of the art world, the evolution of their work, the interpretations of individual paintings--is an experience you will go back to on subsequent trips to Amsterdam. The walk through art galleries is a journey of discovery--enjoy.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 10, 2005
A cool Oriental theme dominates here. The crowd is chill, gathered in small groups--hanging out, talking, and slowly sipping drinks served up from the bar. Downstairs, the scene is a little different. There's a DJ mixing tunes—hip-hop on Thursday nights (the best night to go, with the least amount of tourists)--and a low ceiling full of hundreds of light bulbs that go off in alternating patterns throughout the evening. Aside from the white light that emanates from the ceiling, the bar and the walls are black. Like upstairs, the scene is pretty laid-back--people are doing there own thing, as long as it's dancing.
Even though it's known as one of the hottest spots in Amsterdam, you can still tell you're at a club in Holland and not New York City--the vibe is more chill, and it's much less of a scene. For that, Jimmy's scores some points. The only element of Jimmy's that is more New York City is getting in, but once inside, you'll enjoy the small space, the drinks, and the lounge or downstairs dancing. If you're in the right mood, Jimmy's won't disappoint.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18
+ 31 20 626 3150
There's a pretty long cocktail list at this lounge that's all in red, with dimmed lights. But if I were you, I'd stick to more simple mix drinks, bottled beers, and wine. I paid 12 euros for an overly sweet mojito that didn't pack a good punch. In line with everything at Cineac, it came well presented, but it wasn't worth the money. At the lounge level, they have appetizers, like the oysters I mentioned earlier. Some of the best I have had in Amsterdam--certainly better than those at one of the Jordaan's hidden, but delicious restaurants--Gespot. Apart from the oysters (you receive five or six for 25 euros), a few other finger foods are available for your consumption. Upstairs on the second floor there is a brasserie. Reportedly good, I never had dinner at Cineac. With so many places to go in Amsterdam, I always chose to have dinner at another restaurant, go have a few drinks at Cineac, and then go dancing at a club.
If you're not into the dancing scene, you can make a night of Cineac. This chill out lounge lets out good vibes all night--until its 2am close, that is. There is dancing on some Friday and Saturday nights, but it doesn't dominate the scene--go up to the mid-level of the lounge (the main bar is downstairs in the dead center of the room and circular and the space in front is where some of the dancing happens) and you can admire the dancing from afar. Cineac is awesome--classy, trendy, and unique. Instead of shipping the Jimmy Woo's opium bar/lounge/club groove to NYC, Cineac owners should try to replicate this lounge in the States. It's hands down one of my favorite places to go in Amsterdam. It won't disappoint.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 14, 2005
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1017 CM
Attraction | "Sinners"
Inside, Sinners in Heaven is, as the name may suggest, dimly lit and red. There are three floors to this club, but don't expect to walk into a warehouse--the overall area is small. Downstairs there was a DJ spinning house music. The mid-level had a bar overlooking the downstairs. Suspended from the ceiling, down into the red crowd beneath, were silver disco balls of all sizes. It was cool to look down on the crowd and cooler to be downstairs dancing and take a peek up at the disco balls overhead. This club doesn't call itself Sinners in Heaven for just any reason. On the stairs, there are fake bills. And upstairs on the third floor, the tunes are more hip-hop and Top 40--we found ourselves singing along to many of them as we danced into the early hours of the morning. Sinners is open until 4am. The area is slightly cramped upstairs, but fun. The bar is tucked away to the side, and there are large plants on the floor. Still, the pervasive color is red.
Sinners has a solid mix of DJs, who you can see in advance on their website, www.sinners.nl, and a great vibe to boot. You won't be disappointed drinking and dancing, or just dancing, the night away at this club. Personally, I'd rate it higher than Jimmy Woo's. And the crowd--everyone is carefree and doing their own thing. Grab a Dutch friend, get a group together, and enjoy a Friday night here.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 17, 2005
Sinners in Heaven
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1017 CZ
+31 20 620 13 75
Attraction | "Renting a Bike"
The bike ride I most recommend is one that takes you to Museumplein and then to the Vondelpark. Vondelpark is a beautiful park in Amsterdam, where there are always people walking around, enjoying the lush vegetation, trees, and cool weather. Pickup soccer games take place, rollerbladers do tricks, and couples walk around slowly, taking pause every few steps to look at flowers.
And one of the greatest rewards lies in the center of the VondelPark at the Blauwe TheeHuis--a tea house in the center of the park. It's a blue round bar with outdoor seats where you can sit, chill out, and take a beer or a glass of wine and a small snack. It's a relaxing way to spend an afternoon in Amsterdam, away from the packed Leidseplein, Dam Squares, and Red Light Districts, and a perfect stopping point after going on a bike ride or even seeing the museums. And if it's sunny out, it can't be better. You can enjoy the sun and people-watch--a yuppier scene than some other places in Amsterdam.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 18, 2005
Central Station, Amsterdam
Attraction | "Museums--Rijks, Van Gogh, Stedelijk: MUSEUMNACHT"
But back to the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, and Van Gogh Museums. Of these three, you should go only to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The Stedelijk has been moved to the Old Post Office near Amsterdam Centraal Station and even less of its collection than before is shown. The first time I went in the summer of 2002, I was disappointed by the disorganization of the rooms and the pieces--you really are best served going to a modern art museum in any other city. I would argue that Boston's Museum of Fine Arts section on modern art is better organized and presented.
The Rijksmuseum is one that should not be missed. Even though only one wing is open, the 7 euro admission is worth it to see the artwork on display--the Rembrandts are breathtaking and impressive, even if he is not your favorite artist. If you have extra time in the Netherlands, hop on the train in Amsterdam and go to Leiden (about half an hour away), the birthplace of Rembrandt. You can see his house and take a walking tour of his neighborhood.
When you next go the Van Gogh museum, expect to take about 2 hours maximum in there. There's no other place where you can see such a large collection of Van Gogh's works are all together. There's a bit of a line to get in sometimes, so don't show up an hour before the museum closes expecting to just run in and check it out.
Also, if you are in the Netherlands in October, make sure to check the calendar for Museumnacht (Museum Night). Tickets are available for purchase near the Leidseplein (it's better to buy your tickets in advance, because the line is incredibly long and they get sold out) and are at most 18 euros. For 18 euros, you have free entry into every museum in Amsterdam until 2am. It's a really cool evening and scene--there are food samples and tents set up outside some of the museums (the Rijksmuseum for example) and people usually stop by the museum after having dinner at one of Amsterdam's many restuarants. It's a great vibe and not something to be missed if you're in the area.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 20, 2005
Museumplein (Museum Quarter)
South of Leidseplein
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 2, 2006
21 Jonge Roelensteeg