My most-loved Dutch pancake house is Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs, which is (unsurprisingly) up an extraordinarily steep and narrow flight of stairs – even by Holland’s standards. It’s a tiny place, and easy to miss, but worth it once you get inside. Teapots hang from the ceiling in every size and shape, while the pancakes are the diametre of dinner plates and as thick as pizzas, with both sweet and savoury toppings. Try a hearty classic like ham and cheese (add pineapple if you’re feeling the Hawaiian thing), or go sweet with apple, cinnamon and whipped cream.
Mr Foodie had been living here nearly four years before I finally remembered to take him out for pancakes. And where better to try them than the place of the same name? With five locations in Amsterdam and counting, Pancakes Amsterdam serves some of the best versions in the city, and while you will see plenty of tourists, locals do treat themselves to the occasional pancake there too. Of course, you can order the regular toppings (bacon and cheese, apple and stroop, and so on), but you’ll also find some more adventurous combinations. I tried one of the house specials: camembert, ham, chicory and raspberry sauce – it sounds odd, but it was strangely addictive. Mr Foodie went for a sweet-n-savoury combo of bacon, bananas and chilli – it was equally tasty so I demanded we share.
Best American pancakes in Amsterdam
Luxuriously thick, fluffy, American-style pancakes seem to be having a bit of a moment in Amsterdam right now. And it makes sense, given the country’s passion for pannenkoeken. It’s not often that I eat out in the Red Light District, but I recently made an exception when I accepted an invite from Madam Pancake. Tucked down an alleyway replete with sex shops and snack bars, this pancake house attracts its fair share of tourists, but for good reason. The coffee is strong, the orange juice freshly squeezed (and comes with a shot of hangover-relieving pressed ginger on the side) but most importantly the pancakes are as they should be. Warm and pillow-soft, with plenty of maple syrup and excellent bacon (or fruit, or salmon, or pretty much any pancake topping you can think of). This is one breakfast that’ll truly set you up for the day.
Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at Madam Pancake as a journalist, and I didn’t pay for my meal. Obviously I try to be as objective as possible, but I always disclose when I’ve had a freebie.
The pancake house formerly known as MOOK, MOAK presumably changed its name to make it easier for non-Dutch speakers to pronounce it properly. But the concept is the same: fluffy, American-style pancakes with all manner of sweet and savoury toppings – now brought to you from three locations, in Centrum, de Pijp and West respectively. I ordered the Blue Magic Deluxe: three wholegrain wheat pancakes with Canadian maple syrup, bananas, strawberries and blueberries. With that much fruit, it surely counts as health food?!
All-you-can-eat pancakes… on a boat!
The Pancake Boat
What could be more Amsterdam than eating pancakes while on a 75-minute canal cruise? Well, quite a lot really, since as Amsterdammers we never actually do this. Still, you only live once – so I say book yourself on the (possibly) world-famous pannenkoekenboot and embrace your inner tourist. Boats depart from Ms. van Riemsdijkweg, next to the NDSM ferry in Amsterdam Noord, and seem to run daily. But there may be seasonal differences so check the website and book before you show up.