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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > April 2019 > A WEEKEND IN AMSTERDAM THE INDECENTLY BEAUTIFUL CITY

A WEEKEND IN AMSTERDAM THE INDECENTLY BEAUTIFUL CITY

One of the best ways to go Dutch is to head to Amsterdam for culture, cuisine and canal-side cool. Writer Nicky Evans, who lives there, shares her insider’s secrets for a flavourful weekend
ANCIENT AND MODERN Traditional houses line Amsterdam’s Singel canal

I moved from London to Amsterdam almost three years ago, and I still find the city staggeringly, almost indecently beautiful. When the sun’s out – which happens more often than you might imagine in spring and summer – I defy anyone not to swoon as they cycle canal-side, taking in the colourful boats and barges bobbing on the glittering water and the fairytale backdrop of those crooked townhouses. It’s a city that’s easy to fall in love with. Hiding in plain sight among the tourist traps are street-food collectives, historic hostelries, whizz-bang Michelin-starred restaurants and salt-of-the-earth ‘brown bars’ (the equivalent of old-school British pubs). Amsterdam’s centre is so compact and culturally rich that you can pack in a surprising amount in a weekend – even if you do want to include frequent pit-stops.

PARK LIFE

One of the city’s top draws is the Vondelpark, a 120-acre oasis that fills up daily with boot-campers, dog-walkers, families and, of course, tourists. Masterfully stage-managed, it’s living proof of the Dutch reputation for green fingers: in the spring, its flower beds erupt with blast after blast of colour like some sort of slowmotion firework display, while its meandering wooded paths and lakes offer plenty of surprises (search for the treehouse if you’re travelling with kids). Pausing for a drink here is a treat throughout the day – the open-air Vondeltuin (vondeltuin. nl) segues particularly well from cappuccinos to caipirinhas – but just streets away, brunch beckons. Head into the well-to-do Oud-Zuid district to Dignita (eatwelldogood.nl), a buzzing café serving rustic all-day brunches, including wedges of rösti topped with hot-smoked salmon, poached eggs and tangy hollandaise. A half-hour walk from here lies the museum quarter with its architectural jewel of a centrepiece, the Rijksmuseum. If world-class art is your bag, your weekend starts and ends here: feast your eyes on masterpieces including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, or learn more about Van Gogh and his art at his dedicated museum next door. For special-occasion dining, don’t miss Rijks restaurant (rijksrestaurant.nl; see The Insider’s View, overleaf). Otherwise, cross the bridge to the Grachtengordel, Amsterdam’s rainbow-shaped canal belt, to Buffet van Odette (buffet-amsterdam.nl). Ostensibly a convivial salad bar with mix-and-match platters atop the counter, it’s better known for its decadent truffled-cheese omelette. Alternatively, weave your way towards the Negen Straatjes – a three-by-three grid of quaint cobbled streets packed with concept stores, clothes boutiques and art dealers – to Libertine Cafe Cafe (libertinecafe.amsterdam), a cool, small-plates hangout (try the asparagus and taleggio-topped pizzetta for a taste of spring).

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About delicious. Magazine

Celebrate spring with our April/Easter issue: the maestro Francesco Mazzei creates an Italian feast while Raymond Blanc roasts a salmon French-style. Finish off with cakes from Bake Off’s Martha Collison, Paul A Young's new sticky, chocolate pud or Brick House's orange hot cross bun loaf. Read how in 1999 British food changed forever and find out whether counting calories works. If you've ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, we've got the latest foodie recommendations as well as a round-up of the best Easter eggs AND 16 extra pages of brilliant cheesecakes!