An introduction to De Pijp
De Pijp has been my home for nearly four years and it's where we bought our first house (okay, apartment) after renting two other apartments in the area. I've long wanted to write a neighbourhood guide to De Pijp but it's quite hard to pull together all your favourite places - and I'm also a little reluctant to share them because some of my favourite places already have too long queues! Anyway my desire to be useful and helpful outweighs my need for a Sunday brunch without a long wait time so here is a list of my favourite places to eat, shop, drink, hang out, people watch and generally enjoy life in De Pijp. In this guide to the area I've only included things we've done, places we've eaten or drank in so while the list could be a lot longer I hope you know that I've only recommended the places we've tried and tested several times or have some experience of.
A bit about De Pijp, Amsterdam
Pronounced near enough to how you would imagine*, ("de pipe") De Pijp is one of Amsterdam's most popular and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods and is found in Amsterdam's Oud Zuid to the west of the River Amstel. I touch on the area's history in my Amsterdam neighbourhood guide so I won't bore you with that now.
What I will say is that I find De Pijp a relaxed mix of young professionals, families, businesses, long-time residents and new arrivals from all walks of life. While some streets on Friday and Saturday nights are full of young revellers, it's just as fair to say that daytime De Pijp is mostly people pushing prams, walking dogs or going to the Albert Cuyp Market to get their groceries.
Referred to as the Latin Quarter in the past, there is definitely an international feel to the area though it's changed from a working class area to a gentrified, popular and increasingly affluent neighbourhood which has both good and bad sides to it. It's also one of many areas in Amsterdam that is constantly changing, something that is set to continue when the North-South Metro line opens up in a few years and connects De Pijp with Amsterdam Noord. In the meantime new shops, bars, restaurants, coffee shops (the kind that serve coffee... and otherwise) are regularly opening on most of De Pijp's street corners and I will endeavour to keep up with this as much as possible while also staying loyal to the places I love to frequent. It's a tough job...
It is therefore necessary to say that this is a list that I will hopefully update on regular occasions but please accept my apologies in advance if somewhere has closed since it's inclusion on this list.
Best hotels to stay in De Pijp
De Pijp is a great place to stay to not only explore the immediate area but to also go adventuring in the East of the city, head into the centre of town, and to access all the museums and attractions around Museumplein. While there are several Airbnb and self-catering options in De Pijp, the city council recently clamped down on how long residents can rent out their homes on Airbnb so you may find these aren't as cheap as you would expect and there isn't the same availability. That's why I highly recommend looking at some of the following hotels in De Pijp if you'd like to be based here during your stay in Amsterdam.
Sir Albert is arguably the most stylish hotel in De Pijp and is a place to stay if you want to impress your travel buddy. It's home to a swanky cocktail bar and restaurant (called Izakaya), has a modern interior and slick service. It's also in one of the best locations close to Albert Cuypmarkt (hence the name) but also on the right side for Museumplein. Just be aware that around the corner you'll find the local red light district!
Hotel Notting Hill is on the outskirts of De Pijp, close to Utrechtsestraat (which is also a lovely street to wander along) but the hotel still gives you walking distance to many of the places listed here. It's a very slick hotel that caters well to business and tourist visitors but it's not huge and the room sizes reflect that,although the prices don't! I would just try and pop in if you can to see the wall of suitcases in the lobby!
The College Hotel is strictly speaking closer to Museumplein than De Pijp but that makes it perhaps in an even better location than the others if you definitely plan on going to Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum (one word of advice - BOOK YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE!) and it's close enough to Bakkerswinkel (see below!) so you can even forego the expensive add-on breakfast. We've actually stayed in the College Hotel and loved the atmosphere inside, and it's also one of my mother-in-law's favourite hotels! One thing I should add is that the hotel is where hospitality students are working and learning, getting on the job training so you should expect them to be young, eager but not perfect.
Hotel Okura is a Japanese-owned that has one of the few Michelin star restaurants in Amsterdam and it definitely pitches itself as the most luxurious hotel in the area. However, while the service is exceptional the rooms' decor is a little dated as is the spa which I've used.
Now for some budget hotel options in De Pijp...
The Arcade Hotel has recently been refurbished and transformed from a nothing-special 3-star hotel to a place to stay with a quirky feel. It's in the best possible location for exploring De Pijp, opposite Sarphatipark, and you will have easy walking access to everything in this list. Obviously this is a perfect place to stay for gamers!
Another good budget hotel with a bit of personality is the Bicycle Hotel which has a hostel feel with hotel facilities. Needless to say they have bikes to rent, as do most of the hotels on this list. This hotel is a nice option as you will like to feel a bit more like you're staying close to locals as it's on a side street away from the main stretch of Ceintuurbaan.
EasyHotel is an orange hotel that is clean, modern yet offers no-frills. They do have family rooms and a few different options depending on what kind of traveller you are. It's also in a great location for having breakfast at Omelegg or G's - see below!
Best places to eat in De Pijp
For breakfast or brunch
Named after a street in Melbourne, Aussie restaurant Little Collins is my number one spot for brunch in De Pijp but it does get busy after 10am on a Saturday or Sunday (and they don't take reservations) so go early! But they're also open for brunch from Wednesday - Friday too so try and go on a weekday. They're also open for dinner and will take reservations then.
Bakers & Roasters keeps the Antipodean theme going with a menu mixing Kiwi and Brazilian dishes as that's where the owners are from. It's a slick operation inside this side street brunch spot that is incredibly popular and will nearly always have a queue, but get your name on the list and you can choose from one of the biggest brunch menus in the city including healthy, gluten-free, vegan and other options.
G's is a really nice place, apparently as that's what their website address is, but while it looks like a traditional Dutch brown bar from the outside (and indeed used to be one) inside you'll find the craziest Bloody Mary menu (like soooooo many to choose from!) and their brunch and breakfasts have more of a North American twist, which is ace.
Omelegg on Ferdinand Bolstraat is another popular spot for an egg-cellent breakfast or brunch. Sorry. It opened not long after we moved to De Pijp and has suffered a bit due to the TripAdvisor effect (they have an extraordinary high number of reviews!) and always have long queues outside but the omelettes are still the best I've had in Amsterdam.
CT Coconuts & Coffee is a huge hipster-haven of a restaurant on Ceintuurbaan that was once a theatre (the CT stands for Ceintuur Theater) and while they've opened up the whole building they've retained a lot of the art deco features. Head here for some healthy breakie options or for a coffee and cake if that's all you want. CT Coconuts & Coffee is also a great place for dinner and indeed is a bit quieter then so you can avoid having to wait for a table.
Wasserette is a De Pijp OG compared to most of the others on this list having been around longer than most of them. It also has more of a locals' feel to it with all Dutch staff (not a common thing in international De Pijp!) and a more limited but still satisfying breakfast and brunch menu. When it's warm and you can sit outside this is the ultimate spot for people watching while putting away some poached eggs!
For coffee (& cake, obviously)
You're falling over coffee shops and places to get cake in De Pijp but here are a few of my favourites and they are all the reason I will never lose weight as long as I live around here...
Scandinavian Embassy, in my opinion, is home to the best coffee in Amsterdam and they've won a ton of awards to prove it over the years. The consequence of this is that weekends can be (VERY) busy here and because of their principles and reputation they DO NOT rush making the coffees, but I urge you to persevere (or go early or on a weekday) to get the caffeinated drink of your choice (the baristas will be happy to advise!) and to maybe peruse the menu for pne of a selection Scandinavian-influenced meals that have coffee pairing, of course! If that sounds too much for a morning on the go in De Pijp get a take out coffee and one of their cinnamon buns; they're the best - I average at least two a month.
Hutspot is home to my second favourite coffee in De Pijp as they stock Bocca beans (an Amsterdam-based roastery) but they also have some of the best cakes. Their cafe is upstairs so don't get distracted by the good stuff in their shop (see below) and just think "red velvet cupcake" or "carrot cake" because they are the best.
I used to think I was the creator of the best scones in Amsterdam. Then I went to Bakkerswinkel. That took me down a peg or two. This is a great spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch too, and you can try some Dutch dishes too here!
If you like tarts and pastries pop into Vlaamsche Bakhuys on Van Woustraat. You can sit in upstairs or take-away or both because there is so much choice here. We love their mini tarts and like to get a selection for desert.
When I say go to My Little Patisserie I'm not thinking about the coffee, I'm talking about the cakes or most specifically the eclairs because they are incredibly. Lucky for you (and me!) the coffee is also good. But please don't insult me and step in this place without trying one of their eclairs, s'il vous plait.
Cotton Cake is diagonally opposite to My Little Patisserie and is home to some of the best vegan and gluten-free cakes in Amsterdam. Warning, it's also a clothes shop with lovely garments inside.
I also like picking up cake from Little Collins and Bakers & Roasters as both will do take-away. I will also warn you away from De Taart van m'n Tante which has wonderful looking cakes in the window but sadly they don't taste anywhere near as good as they look.
SLA is a salad bar ("sla" is the Dutch word for lettuce) where you can make your own leafy creation or choose from a menu of healthy options. And don't think this all sounds like rabbit food - there's so much more to these salad bowls as they have flavours from all over the world.
Sir Hummus and Sir Hummus Kitchen are my favourite lunch spots in De Pijp, and can you guess what they serve? Hummus! Would you believe it? Feast on the creamiest pureed chick pea dip you've ever had (with a choice of toppings) at Sir Hummus one day and then try out their falafel pitas the next.
SnckBr is the third in a trio of healthy food options for lunch in De Pijp as this place has a menu full of healthy interpretations of typically unhealthy foods. Sometimes I think this takes the fun out of eating junk food, but every now and again it's good to feel bad but really be good!
In a similar vein, Vegan Junk Food Bar is re-inventing fast food but with vegan interpretations which FYI is definitely not healthier versions of junk food. But with a lively graffit-wall decor, staff young enough to be your children and most excellent Spotify playlists, you're sure for a decent feed and a few Instagram opportunities.
Pekelhaaring is my partner's favourite lunch spot in De Pijp and it's because of one dish, their spicy chicken sandwich (or "broodje"), which he likes to call Chicken Mountain, and yes, capitalised. Head here for yummy sandwiches or smaller versions of their dinner dishes. And yep, it's a great spot for dinners too with fab wine choices and an open, lively atmosphere.
The Butcher is home to Amsterdam's best burger and while you can't actually sit in and "dine" there - it's a takeaway joint unless you know people who know people who know how to get in the secret bar out the back (but that's a blog post for another day) - there are a few (pretty uncomfortable) seats to perch on. What I'm really trying to say here is bookmark this place on Albert Cuypmarkt for your late night drunken feast!
As mentioned above Hutspot and Bakkerswinkel are also great lunch spots!
Annoyingly Arles opened up two streets behind our old apartment just a few months after we left it. Or maybe this is a good thing as I would have spent more money and time in there. A French-influenced menu and a French-only wine list set the tone of what to expect in a restaurant named after a French town, but there is something quite Dutch about this place as it has a homely and gezelig ("cosy") feel, apart from the service - the service is really, really good.
Restaurant Waaghals has been one of the best places we discovered semi-recently. A vegetarian restaurant that has been around for a long time and is really nothing much to look at inside or out, Waaghals served up some of the best veggie food I've tasted in a long time and they had several vegan options too.
Hennequin en Toe is another new addition to De Pijp and has the same friendly and welcoming vibe, with an excellent wine list the staff can talk all night about, but it has more modern, European food and is in a livelier part of the neighbourhood.
Moroccan restaurant Mamouche is also in this busier part of town (on a weekend night!) and is a place we go to at least once every six months because of my partner's love of lamb tagine (it is impressive!). This is quite a nice and fancy place to go out but don't expect small portions - you'll not leave here hungry.
Surya is another place you should go to if you have a big appetite... however, you definitely need to book in advance as this Nepalese-Indian restaurant is one of the better places to get a decent curry in Amsterdam. Coming from the UK, I consider myself a bit of an expert on curry and this place ticks all the right boxes from the poppadoms at the beginning to the huge bottles of Cobra beer.
De Japanner on Albert Cuypstraat has more of a bar or even nightclub feel to it than a restaurant with the loud music and young crowd but go to eat because you'll be pleasantly surprised. Serving up Japanese tapas and delivering dishes as and when they're ready, you will share tables with others and enjoy an upbeat but intimate atmosphere.
De Pizzabakker is actually a chain restaurant and you'll find other branches scattered around Amsterdam but I had to mention it as it's where we often get our takeaway pizza from, which is a huge mistake because then I miss out on the other important part of this place's menu... you guys, this is a PIZZA AND PROSECCO RESTAURANT!!
Again, Paskamer is more of a bar than a restaurant but they do have a great selection of dishes that shouldn't be ignored. They're the little sibling of the restaurant Restaurant Reuring across the road which is a very fancy and foodie-oriented place (a bit too "out there" for me) making Paskamer feel more relaxed and welcoming in comparison.
For another casual dinner choice (or lunch on weekends) head to Pho 91 which has the best Vietnamese food in Amsterdam (I think!). While the name hints at the pho being the main highlight of a visit there, I'm actually more of a fan of their bun noodle salads. Yummy!
Best places to go for drinks in De Pijp
Confession time... we don't do much drinking in bars these days. If we do it's normally around 3pm on a Sunday afternoon and within two hours we all need to go home for a nap. This is not because we're actually 80 and have just aged well, it's because we have a two-year-old son who likes to wake up at six o'clock, so any kind of late night drinking turns into early morning hell very quickly... Anyway, I still have a few recommendations for you based on our "good old days" and friends' recommendations.
Boca's Park is a nice little bar on one corner of Sarphatipark (and is also another good lunch spot as they do a really big selection of mini sandwiches) and always has plenty of atmosphere. You're also close to a few other places on Eerste van der Helststraat....
....Like Schilders which is where we have spent a few late nights (before our son was born!). The bar seems really small once you head inside but quickly feels very full and busy but not in an overwhelming way.
Cafe Lokaal is worth finding if you want a more cosy and relaxed place to try a decent craft beer. It's off the beaten track (and quite close to where we live!) and will show you a bit of the neighbourhood "gezeligheid" that we like.
Cafe Ruis is still a favourite of ours, especially in the summer when you can sit outside and watch the world go by on bikes. It also has kids' so that explains why we go there really. Anyway, this bar has a more cosy and homely feel than the others, if that's what you like.
Wijnbar Paulus is my favourite place to go to learn about wine and try something different. If you're lucky enough to go there when Paul himself is learning you can ask him for recommendations and even if you don't he will explain most of the wines to you.
I've also heard good things about Tolbar and Helst though we're yet to go there. If you're also looking for an area to generally try a few bars I recommend starting at Marie Heinekenplein and seeing where you end up if you walk towards Albert Cuypmarkt!
Best places to shop in De Pijp
It's impossible to wander around De Pijp and not find a cool, cute or quirky little shop you want to pop inside. A good street to find for this is Gerard Doustraat, parallel with Albert Cuypmarkt, though having said that not many of the ones on my list of favourites are actually on that street. Ah well, you'll still have fun.
In recent years, I've been trying to shop more responsibly, particularly when it comes to clothing. Studio Jux is helping me by stocking ethically made or "guilt-free" fashion. They have their own line (for men and women) but also stock other conscisous labels such as People Tree and Kings of Indigo.
Another sustainable Amsterdam brand is O My Bag who unsurprisingly make bags. They're on the same street as Studio Jux (Ceintuurbaan), though you will probably find O My Bag products in their too. This is their newly opened flagship store so you will find a wide range of designs and styles, and some other accessories. I have an O My Bag bag (a bit of a mouthful) and always get compliments on it so if you're looking for a new handbag, put this shop on your list.
Rounding off a trio of conscious fashion stores, Charlie + Mary (which is on Gerard Doustraat - hurrah!) actually predates Studio Jux and O My Bag and was one of the first boutiques of its kind. They stock a wide range of sustainable fashion brands and labels, and with it different styles. A lovely little shop I like returning to.
A few doors down from Charlie + Mary is Baskets a shop stocking trainers (or sneakers, for my US friends) and sportswear... but with a difference. Here is where you find those unusual Nikes or Adidas, it's where you discover a brand you read about online but are yet to see. A very cool shop (where very cool people go so be sure to try very hard to look cool).
Marbles Vintage on Ferdinand Bolstraat is arguably my favourite vintage clothes store in Amsterdam so lucky for me that it's in my neck of the woods. It's small, simple and reasonably priced - and packed full of vintage gems that are well organised and easy to rummage through. Think 25 Euros for a dress and 15 for a top.
Kilo Vintage Shop is a bigger vintage store with more choice for men, but I haven't had as much luck there as I have had Marbles. That doesn't stop me going for a rummage... and don't be put off by the name of the shop. You don't have to buy by the kilo, most items also have an individual price too.
Indianaweg is a fairly new shop that specialises in vintage clothes (can you sense a theme here?), jewellery and plants - the ultimate hipster boutique! But it's really nice inside so don't dismiss it. Instead head down there - it's a little off the main street of Ferdinand Bolstraat - and have a look around.
And finally, head across the neighbourhood back to Hutspot for a look around their ground floor shop which is full of clothes, homeware books and other bits and bobs. They regularly change the brands they stock so I often go back to see what they've got and inevitably end up buying something I think I desperately need. The sign of a good shop...
There are lots of book shops in De Pijp worth checking out. Firstly, if you love cook books you have to go to Mevrouw Hamersma Koekboekwinkel on Gerard Doustraat, because that's all that this shop sells. Admittedly only a few publications are in English - but enough to warrant a visit - otherwise why not try your hand at a Dutch cook book? It could make cooking a much more interesting experience! Other book shops I like to pop into every now and again are Fenix Books on Frans Halstraat (think quintessential book shop with floor to ceiling shelves of old books), and Casperle on Sarphatipark for children's books - yes, most are in Dutch but they have several picture books with no words too.
Best places for to see or do something cultural(ish) in De Pijp
Can you believe we've got this far into our De Pijp guide and I still haven't really told you to get your bottoms to Albert Cuypmarkt? Well, here it comes. Albert Cuypmarkt is the beating heart of De Pijp. It's a daily market (everyday apart from Sundays) that runs along the length of Albert Cuypstraat. It's the longest running and busiest daily market in the Netherlands and is reportedly the largest in Europe too with 260 stalls. What I love about Albert Cuypmarkt (apart from the cheap groceries) is that it reminds me of London markets. The market traders banter with each other and with game tourists or passers by, and you can hear radios blasting all sorts of different music stall to stall. You'll find everything you need to cook a delicious and healthy (or unhealthy!) meal, but you'll also find stalls selling things you never knew you needed too. The market has adapted from feeding De Pijp locals when it first opened in 1905, to now entertaining and feeding tourists with freshly-made stroopwafels, poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes), and err. churros... Expect it to be busy, crowded and even more entertaining on Saturdays!
For something a bit different, why not experience some world cinema while hanging out in De Pijp? Art Deco cinema Rialto on Ceintuurbaan is one of Amsterdam's best known (and loved) cinemas and its famous for showing the best international films. I love going to watch a movie there, it's like stepping back in time. Also the seats are REALLY comfy. By the way, you can also just pop in for a cup of tea if you like.
If architecture and turn of the 20th century design movements are your cup of tea, then you may want to head off the beaten track in De Pijp and discover some of the city's best examples of Amsterdam School style architecture. If you seek out Berlage Lyceum (high school) you'll see one of the city's most famous buildings designed by Hendrik Berlage, who is considered the father of both the Amsterdamse School movement and of modern Dutch design. To find out more and to go on a walking tour be sure to go to the Bezoekerscentrum (Visitor's Centre) De Dageraad.
I umm-ed and ah-ed about including the Heineken Experience in this list because it's one of those Amsterdam attractions that gets far too much attention for what it is. However, it's not that bad, and is worth checking out if you're in the area (which you will be) and if you actually do like Heineken beer. (I don't so that puts me at an instant disadvantage). Because the queues to go oin can be VERY long you should definitely book your tickets online in advance and go early to avoid the crowds. PS If you;d like to sample some local beer from a smaller local brewery head to Brouwerij Troost just off Ferdinand Bolstraat, or out of De PIjp, I highly recommend Brouwerij 't IJ which is a brewery in the shadow of a windmill, Brouwerij De Prael which is a social enterprise helping people who find it hard to get work.
GRIMM Gallery on Frans Halstraat is De Pijp's own little modern art gallery. With sister studios in central Amsterdam and in New York, GRIMM boasts a number of artists' exhibits for about a month at a time. I've still never been in but have often popped my head in window and been impressed with what's on show!
Best places for families in De Pijp
De Pijp is fast-becoming a very family friendly area as a lot of the hipsters who moved there ten years ago, gentrifying the place, have now popped out a baby or two (guilty as charged!), which is a great thing for me but also you if you're visiting with your children. Below are my suggestions for kiddy cafes, great children's shops, and parks and playgrounds to play in.
De Kleine Parade opened up not long after I found out I was pregnant which, considering I don't know the owner at all, I consider to be most excellent luck. It's a kiddy cafe and beautiful shop full of lovely children's clothes (aged 0 - 8 I would guess) and pretty toys you would actually want cluttering up your living room floor. The cafe has a play area, great coffee and toasties, plus the much appreciated benefit of staff who don't blink at the sight or sound of tantruming children or the messes they leave behind.
Kwinkel Kinder is a small kids shop stocking a mix of new and second-hand clothes. They have a small play table with toys to keep little ones busy while you look for a bargain. Definitely pop in if you're walking down Albert Cuypmarkt.
Over on Van Woustraat, Broer en Zus (Brother and Sister) also opened up around the time I became pregnant and I can estimate about 40% of my son's wardrobe has come from the shop (we used to live less than a minute away!). They have a lot of popular European brands (most of them organic or sustainable) as well as their own brand of clothes which feature onesies and tops with AMSTERDAM written on them - a nice souvenir.
Round off my list of kids' clothes shops is Big en Belg which is perhaps the biggest and flashiest of the three. Stocking more designer labels, I sometimes have to blink a few times when looking at the price tags and then gently put the item back, but this means I go crazy whenever they have a sale. They recently created a little play area for kiddos - thank goodness! - so you can shop in near peace and quiet.
If the weather is kind, take your kiddos to Sarphatipark. There's a huge sandpit play area with slides and things to climb on, as well as enough open green space to kick a ball around. In the summer you'll find local families picnicking, or even hosting birthday parties in the park so it really does have a lovely family atmosphere here on a sunny day. Regardless of the weather you'll find lots of ducks, pigeons and striking-looking Egyptian geese to chase... and most likely my son doing just that! Just be warned that the corner diagonally opposite the park is a dog-walking zone and some of De Pijp's dogs (ahem, owners) aren't so careful about where dog waste goes so don't pitch up over there to have a BBQ!
If you'd like to go for a drink with your kiddos on a warm and sunny day in De Pijp, get yourself to one of the bars on Helstplein. This paved square has lots of space for kids to run around or draw on the ground with chalk and bars Ruis and Buhrs each have a few car and bike toys for kids to race around on (or fight over!).
Just opposite the Heineken Experience (on the other side of the canal) is a huge gated playground called Speeltuin UJ Klaren. This is an absolute must-visit place if you have children under the age of ten who need to run around or expend some energy. They have a wide range of slides, swings, a sand pit, a football pitch and other play areas for all ages, including a large climbing structure for older kids. On Friday afternoons they unlock a number of pedal toys and kids like to race around the "road" system that winds around the playground, featuring zebra crossing and traffic lights. We love this play area!
Best places for a walk in De Pijp
Compared to its neighbour Vondelpark, poor old Sarphatipark is a little bit lacking in size, but it's still worth strolling around if you get a chance. I would also recommend taking a walk down the Stadhouderskade toward Museumplein, and if you stay on the De Pijp side of the canal you'll see a very busy strip of our local Red Light District. Another nice walk can be enjoyed along either side of the Amstel. Of course, it's very easy to get lost in the side streets of De Pijp and on a Saturday morning walking down Albert Cuypstraat can sometimes feel like a marathon as it proves impossible to weave around the other shoppers at anything faster than a snail's pace. Good luck!
(*IJ is actually how the Dutch spell a unique letter to their alphabet which when written looks like a y with an umlaut on the top, like this Ÿ and as with most vowel sounds in Dutch requires some practise to get right... As in, I'm still struggling to get it right!)
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Frances M. Thompson
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