Americano Bar & Kitchen, Amsterdam

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Americano Bar & Kitchen is an Italian-American inspired restaurant at the edge of de Pijp in Amsterdam . It’s right on the Amstel river, a handy 5 minute walk from our house and was the perfect place to take Matt for his birthday dinner.

The interior is totally dreamy and everything looks like it came out of an Anthropologie show room. Gold accents and interesting accessories were EVERYWHERE. Just look at that swan tap!

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We started the evening at the bar with a couple of cocktails and had a good chat with the barman.

Unfortunately, the Dutch are not revered for their customer service. In fact it has a reputation for being generally a bit pants, something I have experienced a couple of times since moving here.

So I was relieved when we experienced the best customer service I’ve had in Amsterdam. Granted, it was a quieter Tuesday night but the service at Americano was above and beyond thanks to the host/barman/waiter extraordinaire, Mark. (Thanks, Mark!)

I am a creature of comfort and stuck with the tried and tested Espresso Martini but Matt went for a ‘Tommy Gun’ cocktail which was served in a tall pasta jar with ‘gun smoke’ – the hipster rating was through the roof.

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imageWe chose a table by the window and enjoyed a meat sharing platter to start. SO MUCH FOOD. The sausages were especially delicious.


imageimageimageMatt then went for the veal with saffron rice croquettes which he loved and I went for the small portion of the carbonara and a rocket salad.

The pasta was really tasty but I was just so full from the massive starter that I couldn’t finish it. So attempted to move the leftovers around my plate like a sneaky child to make it look like I’d eaten more…

Unfortunately we were so stuffed that we didn’t make it to dessert. But I’ve got my eye on that chocolate parfait and with the restaurant being so close it would be rude not to go back and try it.

Americano  is a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere slightly fancy but still relaxed with good service and even better food. We will definitely be returning soon (even if it’s just for dessert!).

Brunch at Dignita, Amsterdam

dignita1A weekend without brunch is a weekend wasted. My favourite weekend activity is finding a new brunch spot, so I was happy when I came across Dignita online and quickly added it the brunch list (I know, a list? What a loser.)

Dignita’s motto is ‘Eat Well, Do Good’. Eat Well because they work with local suppliers to serve delicious home-made brunch all day, and Do Good because Dignita is part of a Not For Sale social enterprise model. Not For Sale is an international organization that provides certified training programmes and coaching; these social enterprises support a vulnerable target group of individuals, assisting them in developing greater resilience as each seeks to become reintegrated into the workplace and society. 100% of Dignita’s profits go towards supporting the work of Not For Sale.

The decor is totally Pinterest-worthy. All hanging plants, succulents, hanging lights, copper and geometric wall pieces.

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80% of the time, if there are pancakes on the menu then there will be pancakes in my belly, with the only exception being something with eggs. So understandably the menu had me torn between the American pancakes with fruit and the dreamy-sounding Benny Boy.

We’d had a bit of a long leisurely morning so by the time I’d washed my hair and actually got out of the door it was more like lunch time and I was STARVING. I needed some coffee and some protein so Benny Boy won and I was presented with some pretty sexy looking eggs and a hunk of potato hash.

Before and after the carnage.

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They also do home-made desserts and sweet treats. Some more saintly than others. Some proper chunky Dutch apple pie too.

imageBrunch at Dignita, Amsterdam. Apple pie.

There was a queue when we arrived and we had to wait a little while to get served but the food was well worth the wait. They do a mighty-fine cup of coffee too, as you can see from my super smug coffee face.

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So, if you’re looking for somewhere to eat well and do some good in the process get yourself down to Dignita.

Dim sum at Happyhappyjoyjoy, Amsterdam

Happyhappyjoyjoy red parasols

I love asian food – be it Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, Korean or Thai. So I was Happyhappyjoyjoy to find out I could find it all under roof, in walking distance of our apartment.

Happyhappyjoyjoy is relatively new and is a hip and happening place to get Asian street food in West Amsterdam. So hip and happening in fact that we had to wait over two weeks for a table.

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Fortunately, it was well worth the wait. The restaurant is an explosion of colour and the ceiling is covered in red parasols – making all my pictures look slightly like they were taken in a photographer’s dark room. The atmosphere was buzzing and our waiter was super friendly.

We sat down, ordered a lychee juice and a ‘cheeky’ beer and perused the extensive menu. Happyhappyjoyjoy recommend about 3-4 plates each. Challenge accepted and then some.

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I had the best dim sum I have EVER had.  The duck gyoza was just the right amount of squishy yet crispy and the beef was crispy and delicious.

We shared three types of Bao. Pork was the winner for me but I would gladly eat all three again.

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Followed by stir fried chicken with cashews and red curry with beef, both served with sticky jasmine rice. The stir fried chicken was my favourite part of the meal – sticky chicken and cashews is a winning combination.

By this point I was ready to roll home but Matt wanted to try the mango bao for dessert. He loved it, I thought it was okay (weird). Tasted like a sugared doughnut you’d get from a circus, stuffed with mango and ice-cream. Which I can imagine is up most people’s streets but not for me, thanks.

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It’s my new favourite food find in Amsterdam and we loved it so much we booked to come back in a couple of weeks time.

How a-bao-t it? Check out the menu and book yourself a table.