When it comes to loaves you’ll love, Amsterdam is home to a few rising stars – and life is sweet here for lovers of pastries, croissants, tarts and macaroons, too. In the city of concentric canals, which bakeries run rings round the competition? Here they are, then – the best bakeries in Amsterdam.
Ever eaten préfou à l’ail (a type of garlic bread) in Amsterdam? Thought not – but now you can. Made by French artisan baker Sébastien Roturier, it is a speciality of his home town, Fontenay-le-Comte in France. He relocated to the Netherlands in 2007 with his Dutch wife Susan, and has wowed the city ever since. Other specialities include canelé from Bordeaux, madeleines and chocolate macarons. The bakery is renowned for traditional home-made French bread, prepared with the highest-quality ingredients and without colourings or artificial seasonings. The results are crispy and delicious.
Coffee roastery and artisanal bakery Rum Baba is out in trendy Amsterdam-Oost, or East Amsterdam. Green, leafy and family-friendly, the area is hugely popular with the young and young at heart. And Rum Baba knows just what’s good for them. Freshly roasted coffee beans and superbly crafted pastries can be picked up directly from the store on Pretoriusstraat or sampled at the café on the same street. The American-style sweet treats are delicious, from the vegan pecan-blueberry loaf to the outrageously moreish chocolate stout beer cake.
Welcome to STACH, a trendy chain of grocery stores in the Netherlands, concentrated in Amsterdam and loved for its Dutch specialities. Try gevulde speculaas – a crumbly, almond-filled cookie that goes like a dream with a cappuccino. Every branch serves freshly baked pastries, such as croissants and pains au chocolat, plus melt-in-the-mouth meringues and macaroons – grab one with a fresh coffee to go. STACH also has shelves lined with imported drinks and is one of the few places in Amsterdam that stocks Club Mate, the favourite soda of Berlin.
De Laatste Kruimel (the last crumb in Dutch) might be the best place in Amsterdam to pick up a quick and delicious lunch. The freshly baked quiches, pies and cakes will wow you with their superb flavours. Desserts include apple pie and bread pudding; lunchtime classics include sandwiches and savoury pastries. You can buy any of it to take away, but De Laatste Kruimel also has a relaxing little dining area. The appeal lies in the terrace, which gives you views onto a narrow canal in central Amsterdam as you sip your cappuccino.
Everyone loves the open-plan layout at Bakhuys. It’s mesmerising watching the bakers busy with the gymnastics of preparing bread and pastries while you pick your way idly through breakfast or lunch at the café. You’ll find the international big-hitters here – the baguettes, croissants and quiches have a loyal following that’s not only local. The tartlets are terrific, particularly those with pecan, coconut and pineapple. Also on the menu are traditional Dutch loaves, made with the freshest ingredients and the highest-quality grains.
Other spots could doubtless claim the title, but we’re convinced that Lanskroon makes the best stroopwafels in the city. The name means syrup waffle and the treat comprises two crisp, circular waffles with a runny caramel middle. The king-size ones they make at Lanskroon truly take the biscuit: the dimensions of small plates, they’re quite a mouthful, filled with gooey sugar syrup, honey or ambrosial coffee-caramel. So settle into the delightful tea room and ice-cream salon here and have yours with a cuppa. Bet you can’t dunk it!
Hartog’s has been serving compact home-made bread in Amsterdam since 1896, so this place knows a thing or two about the perfect specimen. The grain is ground daily in a dedicated mill, there’s a dough factory where it’s all kneaded and left to rise and the store opens for business at 7am, when customers file in to get the delicious bread and the expert, friendly knowledge dispensed by staff. Hartog’s uses only wholemeal grains for a unique, slightly sweet flavour and a distinctively crispy crust.
This is an inspirational story of three friends deciding to turn the pandemic into an opportunity to live out their dreams by opening a bakery in their favourite city. The result? One of the best bakeries in town. The pains au chocolat are among the flakiest, butteriest and most moreish you’re ever likely to have – ideally along with a bullet of boiling-hot espresso. The bread is standout, particularly the baguettes, which merge crunchy, pillowy and chewy in just the right measures to make a life-changing sandwich, whatever the filling.
In the trendy Haarlemmerstraat neighbourhood, this cute, contemporary bakery does what it says on the tin: small cakes. These bite-size tarts come topped with fruits and berries, like elaborate edible brooches. Also on the menu are glossy glazed eclairs, almond-flour macarons and delectable savoury mini-quiches. A picnic of these, packed into a hamper with a bottle of something bubbly, will make the perfect romantic canal-side picnic.
The cool De Pijp district is chocker with Middle-Eastern cafes, Korean barbecue restaurants and Mexican taco joints. Among them is this much-loved bakery, which also displays international influences. The Eastern European-inspired babkas – braided, loaf-like cakes – are the stars, generously laced with either cinnamon or chocolate. Also good is the croissant-like rugelach stuffed with toasted nuts. Settle in for a rich, velvety flat white, or take away a glossily burnished challah bread topped with sesame or poppy seeds, to tear into later in a sunny spot in the park.
Vegans love this little bakery, a couple of bridges from the landmark Oude Kerk (Old Church), on the fringes of Chinatown. There are stacks of regular cakes and pastries, but the vegan selection – think grilled vegetable sandwiches with vegan cheese, and vegan BLTs with grilled tofu strips for bacon – is superlative. Still hungry? The cheesecake and chocolate cake are miraculous. The owners are generous and welcoming, often handing out free samples and hot drinks if you’ve ordered a lot of food.
You’ll have to go to France if you want to find better French baking than you’ll see here. Baking in a stone-floored oven gives all the bread and pastries their signature flavour, and everything is prepared using traditional techniques with, wherever possible, organic ingredients. The results are some of the best you’re ever likely to taste: tangy, chewy loaves of walnut and fig sourdough, classic baguettes – all crunchy crust and pillow-soft crumb – and sculptural, butter-burnished pastries, their brittle layers warped like the pages of an old book.
Alex Allen contributed additional reporting to this article.
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