Meal with a View: Tips for Exploring Amsterdam's Culinary Scene

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Eating your way through a new city is a fun and delicious way to access local hang-outs, people watch and flat out enjoy yourself in different surroundings. As most European cities are extremely walkable, they make excellent foodie travel destinations – you’ll burn off more calories than you would at home just by walking (or cycling) between attractions, cafes and restaurants.

Today our guide Karen has four great restaurant suggestions in Amsterdam for those who want their meals to be an important part of the travel experience. Karen is eminently qualified to be dispensing this advice: she’s not only a city and culinary tour guide, but also gives cooking lessons and has owned her own specialty food shop in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is unlike many other European cities in that is doesn’t have a mass of towering, modern skyscrapers, or even majestic avenues and awe inspiring palaces. It’s just not that type of place. What it does have though is much more understated, but no less beautiful than the Champs Elysees or Buckingham Palace.

Amsterdam’s charm lies in the city itself. The canals and the character, the history and the secret stories, all give an insight into the life and culture of the people and their home.

I have always found that the best way to get to know the city is to walk (or cycle, if you dare!) around its streets, discovering the less obvious gems along the way. I will admit though, being a food lover, I always plan my refreshment stops in advance as they are just as important for me as my sightseeing. What could be better than finding a viewpoint to get your bearings or plot your progress, or just to soak up the atmosphere. In a city with no obvious commercially built tourist traps where you queue for your view, it pays to have some local knowledge!

So, whether you live here and are staying in town this summer, or are just visiting Amsterdam, here are some ideas for food with a view:

The City Library: Take the escalator to the top floor and enjoy the terrace view out over the city centre. Good lunch spot, bonus is that it makes you feel smarter even if you don’t pick up a book!

De Kroon: Only 2 flights up, but gives you the best view of one of the busiest, most popular areas in the city. Lunch, dinner or just drinks.

Okura Hotel: Ciel Bleu Restaurant and Bar 23rd: The Okura, a Japanese hotel in the city is one of the tallest buildings with one of the best reputations for food. Have dinner or just drinks in the bar to enjoy the best view of the sunset over Amsterdam.

Blue: In the centre of the shopping district, high above the hustle and bustle, modern, trendy, light and airy, nice simple lunches with a Mary Poppins-esque view of the rooftops!

Thanks for sharing your insider knowledge Karen! If any travelers are headed to Amsterdam in 2012, consider getting in touch with Karen for more tips (foodie and otherwise!) on how best to explore the uniquely charming Dutch capital.
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