My friend Marios is all about the great little places of Amsterdam. One of his favourite coffee and lunch spots is a cute one in the bustling Utrechtsestraat: Zuivere Koffie, literally: ‘pure and clear coffee’. This small place with wood and vintage dishware is like a comfortable ticket to the past. It’s hundred percent laptop-free, the women that run the place chat with each other and their guests, the house cat gently passes by. In the middle of the place there’s a table with home-made pies that will make your heart skip a beat: apple pie, carrot cake, date pie and a pecan pie. Marios urged me to eat the date pie, but I couldn’t resist the one with pecan nuts, orange and maple syrup. So glad I surrendered. The combination of pecan with sweet and fruity ingredients is much better than the usual pecan-caramel merger. This crown jewel is fresher, lighter and ‘sunnier’. Best eaten on the little garden terrace, the other hidden gem of Zuivere Koffie.
Pecan pie with orange and maple syrup, one piece, €4.00
Utrechtsestraat 39, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 624 99 99
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9.30am-4pm
Mondaine is the cutest coffee bar at the not so cute Overtoom. It looks small, but upstairs there’s plenty of room to chill with one of the many types of chai or a cup of Italian coffee (Buscaglione). Pair it with cupcakes, chocolates, carrot cake or, even better, the chocolate brownie with caramel. First it gets syrupy, then it gets moist. A mouth full of chocolate. This babe is bloody rich. Impossible to resist and making you longing for more. Luckily, Mondaine is within walking distance of the Vondelpark. So if you really feel guilty about all the sugar you had today, you might want to go for a long walk. While in action you could analyse the lyrics of that famous Donna Summer song, MacArthur Park: ‘Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don’t think that I can take it ’cause it took so long to bake it.’ (Say WHAT, Donna?)
Chocolate brownie with caramel, one, €2.75
Overtoom 85, West
+31 (0) 20 755 78 48
Opening hours: Monday 10am-Friday 8am-7pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-7pm
‘A black banana is a good banana.’ That’s what my Dutch-Indonesian mother used to say when she was making pisang goreng (fried bananas). She shares this love for over-ripe bananas with Michael and Catelijne, the happy go lucky-owners of Deli-caat. That’s one of the reasons their home-made banana bread is a must-eat. It’s sweet, pure and exotic – thanks to the bits of coconut. It’s just so, eh, ‘banana’. Thank god the two left their office jobs to start Deli-Caat last year. This place where affordable organic and local food reigns has it all. There’s a bakery where the two make quiches, pizza, carrot cake and super duper madeleines. Fruit, veggies and wine are for sale in the mini market. In the back you can have a cup of local White Label Coffee, together with sandwiches (mozzarella, smoked free-range chicken). Don’t bother to cook yourself, just bring a healthy meal back home. There may be a touch of Ottolenghi on the weekly changing menu, something Indonesian or something Tuscan. Michael and Catelijne cook around the clock and around the world.
Banana bread with coconut, one slice, €2.50
Admiralengracht 223, West (De Baarsjes)
+31 (0) 6 24 75 09 45 (Michael), +31 (0) 6 24 67 59 45 (Catelijne)
Opening hours: Monday-Tuesday 4pm-8pm, Wednesday-Sunday 11am-8pm