(this is an email in reply to the question are there any ‘can’t miss restaurant in Amsterdam’ for a friend of a relative that was visiting)
See if any of these appeal;
breakfast, nothing exciting. The Dutch normally have ham and cheese at home.
But there is a really cool trendy restaurant called; de bakkerswinkel that does amazing coffee and scones http://www.debakkerswinkel.nl/
Also cafe ‘t smalle (across from the anne frank house – Egelantiersgracht 12 ) does a nice european breakfast. They have a floating dock on the canal that’s terrific in the morning.
You have to try dutch apple pie – apple taart. They’ll ask you if you want whipped cream as an extra. They don’t do ice cream and pie 😦
Close to the Anne Frank house is the pancake bakery. Dutch pancakes are popular for lunch. They are more closely related to crepes than American pancakes and can come filled with and infinite number of goodies. I like apples, bacon, raisins and walnuts. http://www.pancake.nl/indexeng.php
For atmosphere; you can’t do better than ‘de waag’ – this is in the old weigh house and has oodles of candles http://www.indewaag.nl/?English
Food, I always go to Ludens on Spui for great food – for lunch I’d eat in the bar, for dinner in the restaurant. This has to be my favorite. There’s a dutch restaurant in the same area called Haesje Claes http://www.haesjeclaes.nl/, and an indonesian one called Kantijl http://www.kantjil.nl/**
Up and coming is Fifteen. Incredible service. http://www.fifteen.nl/ I would make a reservation
**Indonesia was a Dutch colony so we have tons of indonesian restaurants. Their meal is called a rijsttafel (rice table) it’s family style that comes willy nilly of asian food.
Must sees would be a canal cruise (catch them outside the Allard Pierson museum). I like the Willard Holthuis and Our Lord in the Attic. The van Gogh museum is just a stone’s throw from the Rijksmuseum – the old masters exhibit is probably a ‘can’t miss’ for some people.
Heiniken does have tours. They’re fun. http://www.heinekenexperience.com/
If you like to read and study before you come. I would recommend;
An Embarrassment of Riches
Under the Low Sky – this guy’s writing style is really off putting but he unintentionally give you an amazing view into the local psyche that way
The Island at the Center of the World
Ray Klunn’s Love Life
(give ‘Girl with a Peal Earring’ a pass IMHO)
Definitely get bikes with hand brakes and go along spui to princengracht to vondel park and the rijksmuseam
and you have to do the Albert Kuijp street market.