You might want to wander innocently by canals. You might want to stroke a rogue bronzed breast embedded in the pavement of the red light district.
You might want to pop into coffee shops like Dampkring and sample some of their special cakes (no Mum, I promise I didn’t eat the cakes).
Or you might be after some of the more straightforward pleasures of the flesh.
Like tasting some of the best apple cake in the world.
Or one of the best beer snacks (a bitteballen- a cross between a meatball, a scotch egg and a croquette).
(NB bitteballen are made even better with a good splodge of mustard).
You may be after some extraordinary chocolate truffles.
But what you’ll really need to do in Amsterdam is taste some pancakes.
The Dutch are pretty keen on their pancakes.
Just to make things easy for you, I can tell you that best place to try them is conveniently known as ‘pancakes!’ (I like to think the exclamation point was attached so one can really grasp how exciting they are).
Dutch pancakes (or pannekoek) sit somewhere between a the thick, kitchen sponge thickness of an American pancake and the lacy elegance of a French crepe.
Over in the Jordaan- within skipping distance of nifty stores, calming canals and a house where a 12 year old once hid from unspeakable evil- is where you’ll find some sterling specimens.
Pancakes!; it’s a trim restaurant that is staggered one level up and one level down for the kitchen. There’s something for everyone.
There are novelty child size dress up costumes of batman hanging from the wall.
There are the soothing sounds of Tracy Chapman and her fast car being played on the first morning we visit.
Every second table is covered in a calming blue and white Wedgewood meld of windmills and tulips. There are laminated menus in a variety of languages.
The orange juice is freshly squeezed. The espresso and lattes were the best we found in Amsterdam- and even come with a complimentary sugar cookie on the side.
And then there are the pancakes! (exclamation point mine).
The menu hops all over the world for inspiration and each day there’s a special. A special banana and muesli pancake with yogurt was the clear winner on the first day. A good mix of crunch and squish and just a hint of sweetness. You can even get a glass of buttermilk to go with it if you’d like. On one hand I’m glad I tried it, but on the other, am not sure it”s an experience I need to repeat (imagine adding lemon juice and thickened cream to your glass of milk and you get the picture)
It’s very hard to go past any listed combination that combines batter with apple and sugar.
Then there are the savoury options.
A savoury pancake is like the very tasty, mongrel offspring of a crepe and a pizza.
The second time we returned a ham, leek, mushroom and cheese did me in (too much cheese for this appetite first thing in the morning).
When The Hungry One ordered a banana, onion and chilli version I rolled my eyes and scoffed. When I tasted it, I took the expression back. The banana gave a little body and sweetness, while the chilli gave it a very grown up, exciting twist.
There’s plenty to like about pancakes! including the fact that it’s open from brunch right through to early dinner (10 am -7 pm).
For my money, it’s the best place for breakfast in Amsterdam.
And once you’re well fed there’s still time for plenty of classic Amsterdam activities. Like pretending to sleep in giant clogs.
Counting the sad busted bikes.
Or just strolling in canal side in the sunshine.
It’s your weekend, your choice. But if you make it to Amsterdam, please, just try one pancake. For me.