While cozy brown cafes seem to be the places to visit in Amsterdam, somehow we never made it to one, opting instead for the newer, brighter, airier grand cafes. The grand cafes of Amsterdam are usually spacious and beautiful and well worth a visit for a bite or just to rest one’s feet.
We spent our last morning in Amsterdam at Cafe de Jaren, a beautiful cafe in the university district of the old city. There was plenty of space for us and our bags and suitcase and we spent a calm couple of hours here snacking and poring over their reading material.
Something we discovered absolutely everywhere in Amsterdam is the existence of verse munt thee on the menu. Fresh mint tea. This is fresh mint leaves steeped in water and strictly isn’t actually tea but a tisane. Honey is always offered with it though I think I prefer it as is. It’s something we became addicted to over there and that we’ve brought back to our home in London.
We took this opportunity to try their version of the Dutch apple tart too. While it was delicious, studded with raisins and topped with flaked almonds, it was served disappointingly cold and would have been about a billion times better warm.
If the weather had been more cooperative, we would have been able to sit in their terrace leading directly onto a canal. This would have been the view!
After killing some time in the shops and having more frites, we headed to train station to wait for our Thalys train to Brussels, where we’d connect to the Eurostar. Our first destination within the station though was the 1er Klas Grand Cafe, where we went in search of some light refreshment prior to our train journeys. The room was originally the first class passenger lounge in the station which explains how luxurious it looks!
The bitterballen at this cafe are sourced from the famed patisserie Holtkamp (we tried to visit the day before but they had an extra long queue thanks to it being Easter). Their bitterballen are considered to be some of the best in Amsterdam and they are indeed fantastic. Crisp crumbed on the outside, creamy meaty bechamel on the inside – our order of six were served with mustard and pickles. They’re fantastic bar snacks.
An apple pancake was accompanied by butter, powdered sugar and stroop (syrup) – everything you might want with a pancake. I’ve definitely developed a thing for the eggy Dutch pancakes.
And perhaps the best part of the cafe? There’s a house (cafe?) parrot – say hello to Elvis! The white cockatoo loves grooming and shredding bar coasters and the regulars love to have him on their shoulders!
Café de Jaren
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20 – 22
1e Klas Grand Cafe
2b (platform), Centraal Station