NEW HOTSPOT | BENJI’S TOKO AMSTERDAM WEST

Meet your new best buddy in town: Benji’s Toko. The culinary Indonesian side of Benji’s. Not to mention that this new addition will take you right to the tropics with a jungle vibe in the middle of Amsterdam West. Located next to a waterfront with a handsome, sun-kissed terrace. 

Time to expand

Proud. Flattered. The owners are grateful they got the change to open a second spot. A toko driven by their roots, Indonesian food heritage and a cosmopolitan twist. Almost three years ago – oh baby, time flies – I wrote an article about Benji’s. Such an addition for Amsterdam Eastside. And where the norm seems to be to open a spot in West firstly, followed by a second spot in the upcoming, vibrant Eastern part of Amsterdam, they have done it exactly the other way around.

Benji's Toko

Needless to say, that I was very-very curious about the newest creation. A concept inspired by the tropical spheres of Bali. With a two month workcation on the schedule this winter on this island, this absolutely was already the best preparation. Hello gorgeous! Benji’s Toko is a place where you can escape from the high-paced city life and find yourself in a peaceful, green oasis. Lots of plants, steel, rattan, other natural materials…and more plants.

Breakfast at Benji's Toko Amsterdam

All Day Indonesian Food

Once you set foot in this green-overloaded place your guts tell you that there’s Indonesian blood flowing through the toko. They life to eat. They adore the food moments. Sounds familiar? Maybe there’s a little Indo in you as well, who knows! Because of this food-is-the-Indo’s-number-one-spirit, Benji’s had to come up with an all-day food concept. So, Benji’s is the one with the all-day breakfast, Benji’s Toko with the all-day brunch menu and in the evenings shareable street food.

Beji's Toko Amsterdam

What.A.Menu!

It contains an abundance of tastebud-tempting dishes. Normally I have to cherry-pick between at most two alternatives. But at Benji’s Toko my belly was in for almost 90% of their pampering menu. Even the salads caught my attention. And to think that I sort of have a love-hate relationship with those green basterds. Thumbs up for you little Benjamin!

Benji's

Expect some happiness on your plate

Bali Inspired

As a matter of fact, the menu at Benji’s Toko would not be out of place at Bali. Easy-going. Photogenic. Bursting with passion. Açaí bowl, raw rainbow noodle salad, rendang fries, rainbow buns, satay, gado gado rolls, lava cake. And, of course, colourful cocktails and delicious coffee on the side. One by one tropical treats. Another reason to stop by is the crew. Equally important, they offer genuinely hospitable service. Let’s call it ‘joyful enthusiasm.’ With flair and a tiny pinch of craziness, but without fuss and fakeness. Love it!

Instead of taking a 15 hour flight, you can get the same vibe just around the corner at Benji’s Toko. Who’s in for a breakfast, lunch or dinner date at this mouthwatering newbie?

Selemat Makan,

Sharmaine

Benji’s Toko
Baarsjesweg 188, Amsterdam
Website / Instagram

Opening hours: Tuesdays till Sundays 10:00 – 24:00
Mondays closed

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!

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The ultimate list for our favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam West

Over the years we have tried a lot of lunchrooms in Amsterdam. It is time for that ultimate list of places and this month we start off with our favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam West. All tried and tested!

Meatless District
Bilderdijkstraat 65-67

This lunch spot has really improved over the years. They are now fully vegan and have recently opened up a new location in the Eastside of Amsterdam. Our favorite dish is the vegan rainbow wrap, and sunshine bowl. www.meatlessdistrict.com

Saus West
Amstelveenseweg 170A

Crazy but true, we only discovered this cute lunch spot last week! They’ve been open for more than 12 months, so I guess we were living under a stone. We recently ordered the Humus, grilled vegetable sandwich and it was so big and yummie! The interior is cute and feels like coming home. Have a little chit chat with the owner, he always has funny stories to tell. Nice to know; during the summer, they offer filled picknick baskets (including bubbles) for in the Vondelpark! www.sauswest.nl

Best lunch spots amsterdam west
Saus West

Waterkant
Marnixstraat 246
During summer, Waterkant is one of our favourites! during the winter you can still enjoy the nice food and indoor parties, but we prefer Waterkant when it’s a sunny day and everybody is sitting outside watching the boats pass by. Our favorite dish? The gado gado or pumpkin roti roll!

Morgan & Mees
If you’re looking for a little bit more luxe, try the lunch/brunch menu at Morgan & Mees. Avo on toast with poaches eggs at it’s best! They also serve soup, burgers and oysters (with bubbles of course) Use this lunch spot to treat yourself! Prices range from 8,- to 20,- euro, you can make it as expensive as you want. www.morganandmees.com

Vondepark 3
Vondelpark 3

Vondelpark, one of the most beautiful (green) gems of Amsterdam. A perfect place for a lazy Sunday walk, a giant playground for dogs, or for a really surprising lunch or dinner at Kitchen & Bar Vondelpark3. The restaurant has recently launched their Keto menuWebsite

Vondelpark3 new menu

Jacketz
Kinkerstraat 56
Oh how we love jacket potatoes! At Jacketz you can get them in all sorts of flavours. Pick a potato, add your favourite toppings and saus. Warning; you will be full for a while! Good news if you live in Utrecht, they have just opened a new place there.

Bar Lely
Cornelis Lelyplein 4

It’s one of Elke’s favorite workspots in Amsterdam at the moment, and situated at a briljant location in Amsterdam West. Bar Restaurant Lely is so much more than just a restaurant next to a train station. Bar Restaurant Lely opens at 8am, so early birds can drink a quick coffee and have some simple breakfast such as granola & yoghurt or a croissant. For lunch they serve simple but very tasty options and I must say that the avo on toast with a poached egg. Website

Bar Restaurant Lely Amsterdam
Bar Lely

Peperwortel
Overtoom 140

For the best sandwhiches and delicatessen on the go, you must visit Peperwortel. Elke was in a hurry, but also very hangry. She entered Peperwortel and wow, such good eating! They prepare their food freshly every day and the whole neighbourhood comes by for their dishes which varies from salads, to quiches, pasta’s, sandwiches and much more. There is enough for veggies and meatlovers, and most of it is organic. The place itself is small, so not great to sit down at, but when it’s sunny you can sit outside. www.peperwortel.nl

Bar Kantoor
Haarlemmerweg 8

Every detail in Bar Kantoor has been carefully thought of. The menu, the accessories and the cool ceiling painting. It’s located in the Westerpark and has a large outside terrace which is great! The service is good, the lunch is tasty and healthy, but you can also order yourself some snacks. Nice to know; next door to Bar Kantoor, you can find Café Conscious where you can grab a coffee or snack to take to the park. You can also sit down, relax and buy local goods at the café shop. Find more on Bar Kantoor here.

Bar Kantoor food

De School
Even though De School isn’t located in a central area, it’s doing more than well. The restaurant has two sides; the cafe side and the luxury dinner side. We are talking about the café here. It’s also a great place for freelancers, with plenty of tables and a chill corner. They serve fresh juices, salads, sandwiches and the menu changes now and then. When it’s sunny, you can sit outside underneath the trees. www.deschoolamsterdam.nl

SLA
For one, it’s healthy, and second of all, it’s a great place to drink oatmeal coffee while working on your laptop. You can hang around as long as you want and the salads are so nutritious that it fills you up for the whole afternoon. No cravings! They already have 7(!) locations in Amsterdam, and in Amsterdam West you can find this lunch spot on the Amstelveenseweg across from the Vondelpark entrance. (officially it’s south, but it’s on the border so we count it in!) www.ilovesla.com

Café Zurich
Mercatorplein 2b

Cafe Zurich has been around for a number of years now but it’s right to say that this place really changed the face of the Mercatorplein in Amsterdam West. Where before it was an empty dull square, is now a vibrant area where adults chat, eat and drink and children play. During spring and summer the large outside terras is never empty and one of the largest in Amsterdam West. During Autumn and winter it’s a cozy place to drink hot chocolate by the fire place. More about Zurich here.


Zurich

Moak Pancakes (previously Mook)
De Clerqstraat 34

It’s Dutch, it’s clever, it’s Moak Pancakes. Yes, they have recently restyled their name and look. Amsterdam West is going though the make-over as we speak but will re-open very soon! This place is always full during the weekends and we understand why. They serve fluffy “healthy” pancakes, sweet or savoury. We love the hip-hop/R&B tunes they play and the fresh juices they serve. A great edition for breakfast or lunch spots in Amsterdam West. www.mookpancakes.nl

Mook Pancakes
Moak Pancakes (source)

We say to you; try them all and bring your friends! We hope you enjoy these lunch spots in Amsterdam West as much as we do.

x

Wander-Lust

Bar Restaurant Lely in Amsterdam West

It’s one of our favorite workspots in Amsterdam at the moment, and situated at a briljant location in Amsterdam West. Bar Restaurant Lely is so much more than just a restaurant next to a train station.

If you’re commuting from home to work, you must have passed Bar Restaurant Lely if you travel via train station Lelylaan. They’ve been open for business for about two months now and it has become my favorite hangout for writing my articles. (Come and say hi!)

Bar Restaurant Lely

The new hotspot has an industrial feel to it, yet the comfy chairs and sofa’s make you feel right at home. There is a lot of green and natural light and the kitchen is placed on the 1st floor, so you’ll find yourself in a large space that can also be used for parties and events.

It’s like a large living room with an industrial feel to it

The Menu
Bar Restaurant Lely opens at 8am, so early birds can drink a quick coffee and have some simple breakfast such as granola & yoghurt or a croissant. For lunch they serve simple but very tasty options and I must say that the avo on toast with a poached egg, is my favorite. The burgers (meat & vegan available) look pretty good too. Bites and snacks start around 4pm and include buffalo wings, nuts, potato skins or a whole artichoke with dippings.

Avo on toast bar lely
Avo, feta cheese & poached egg on toast

You should definitely stay for dinner if you get the chance because the food only get’s better with a 3-course menu for €32,50,-. Afterwork drinks? The bar has plenty of beers on tab and serves 6 different cocktails. I like the fact that that people come and go, and others stay all day to enjoy coffee and lunch. The staff is lovely and I really love coming here. Take a look if you pass by, i’m sure you’ll love it too!

Bar Restauarant Lely
Cornelis Lelyplein 4, Amsterdam
Website

Spa 1001 » The Private Spa in Amsterdam you need to visit

The warm weather is making way for the colder and cozy days and it’s the perfect period for a visit to the spa. But if you don’t feel like sharing a sauna or bubble bath with people you don’t know, Spa 1001 is THE place for you. This spa is private and available to hire for you and your friends only. Me and my girlfriends put it to the test.

Most hotspots are in the city centre of Amsterdam, at least that’s what most people think. I live outside the centre so I know better. Restaurants, coffee spots and shops are poppin’ up in and around Amsterdam and you should know about them. Spa 1001 is located in Amsterdam New West in Osdorp and close to the upcoming Tuinen van West area where you can also find one of my favorite hideout spots. The spa is also popular with Dutch celebrities like actrice Victoria Koblenko and footballer Justin Kluivert, vlogster Sisi Bolatini and other top sporters and well known vloggers.

Spa 1001

You really experience a middle eastern ambiance

You can either book 2,5 or 5 hours and enjoy the sauna, steam room with a optic star-ceiling, spacious jacuzzi or unwind in the luxurious (and large) lounge area that includes a fireplace. Here you really experience a middle eastern ambiance. Here you can watch Netflix, turn on the music you like and eat a breakfast or a delicious high tea, depending what arrangement you book. You have several options.

Spa 1001, lounge
The upstairs lounge at Spa 1001

  • Private for 2 arrangement for the romantic peeps (from €149)
  • Good Morning arrangement for the early birds (from €119)
  • Girlfriends arrangements for gossip and sweets (from €149)
  • Spa & Party arrangement for 8-12 persons (from €54 per person)

I tried the Luxury girlfriends arrangement with 3 of my friends and this included a welcome drink and a high tea in the lounge area. We could even lock the door from the inside and put on the tunes we liked. If we needed anything, we could dial the reception with the phone provided. The Spa has 2 floors and a nice dressing room for you to get changed and dry your hair. You will get some comfy slippers and a beautiful bathrobe to wear. Mind you, you need to pay an additional €10,- for this if you book the normal girlfriends arrangement. Swimwear is allowed but not necessary. Perfect for those who hate walking around naked with other strange people around. This is your chance to let it all hang out without feeling a bit shy!

Spa 1001, breakfast
The breakfast at the Good Morning Arrangement

Love,

Elke

Spa 1001
Meer en Vaart 4, Amsterdam

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Vegan friendly » BarTack in Amsterdam West

Oh how I love Amsterdam West. I can’t get enough of it and it may has to do with the fact that I live there. Well, I live in Amsterdam New West (yes boys and girls, that’s outside the center of Amsterdam). But I also love it because it’s fast developing. Since I have a baby, I walk around a lot more instead of using my bicycle and by doing so, I discover new shops, restaurants and coffee bars. This is also how I discovered Bartack.

Bartack
You may have heard of Bar Spek on the Admiraal De Ruyterweg in Amsterdam West. Well, they are the same owners of Bartack, so when I walked past the other day I had to check it out. The look of Bartack is industrial combined with a little touch of vintage. Round tables, mixed with some big lounge chairs and small stools. The space is not wide but long with the kitchen in the back (or front, depending on which way you are entering)

Interior Bartack

The Menu
They are open for breakfast from 8am (go for the fluffy pancakes!), up to lunch and dinner. I noticed that the menu offers a lot of vegan options, something you see more and more of in Amsterdam. I love plant based foods so I was happy to see this. From soup to salads or a variety of filled pita breads, I decided to go for the vegan falafel with coleslaw and tajine saus. The open kitchen is always good news and this dish didn’t disappoint me al all! (yummie!) Oh, and another important note; the coffee is great! Yup, bad coffee will turn me off completely and that would have been a shame.

Falafel at Bartack

Add this one to your hotspot list!

Bartack
Postjesweg 124, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

Body Sugaring, and why we love this new trend

I am all for trying new things and when it comes to getting my skin smooth and ready for a holiday, I’m first in line. So when I got invited to try a Body Sugaring treatment, I thought it would involve eating something sweet because then hell yeah, count me in! Nope, this was a new waxing method and I was going to test it at Amsterdam based salon Sweet & Smooth.

sweet_smooth_ body sugaring

The Sweet & Smooth salon is situated in Amsterdam West, near Mercatorsquare. This is somewhat surprising because you would expect that most award winning salons are based near the city center. Yes, you’ve read it correctly, Sweet & Smooth is award winning. It’s officially the best waxing salon of The Netherlands, voted by Treatwell customers. When entering the salon I noticed that it’s quite small and it doesn’t look like your typical beautysalon. Owner Nicoleta tells me: “I don’t like those hospital white walls and floors, I’m a retro kind of girl who likes jazz and authenticity.” She immediately makes me feel comfortable, something that is quite nice before you’re about to experience something rather unpleasant. Nicoleta explains that sugaring is already popular in Scandinavian countries as well as in Eastern Europe. 

Sweet & Smooth Salon Amsterdam
Proud and well deserved, Nicoleta with her award

So What Is Sugaring?
Sugaring might be new to you but it’s an acient Egyptian beauty method used all over the world, including Europe. The natural ingredients (sugar and lime) are kind to your skin and less painful. The difference to waxing with strips is that the body sugaring paste will be applied against the direction of the hair growth, but the hair will be removed in the direction of the hair growth. The result is that hair almost never breaks, it reduces ingrown hair. So back at my treatment. Nicoleta grabs a lump of warm sugar and twists and turns it before rubbing it onto my skin. She is using the same sugar for my entire treatment and adds some new sugar now and then to keep it warm and smooth. I’m realizing that this sugaring is quite sustainable as you don’t need any waxing strips and a lot of wax. That’s a bonus!

sweet_and_smooth_2232_9

It’s not completely painless (let’s be real girls) but the Treatwell voters didn’t lie, it’s seriously a lot less painful than any other hair removal treatments I’ve experienced! And I have to admit that my skin feels all mighty soft without a trace of a rash. And even after a few days, my skin feels like it has had a much needed peel. This sugaring is definitely something I can get used to, especially when it’s time to wear that bikini again. This salon might be smaller and less luxurious than you might be used to, this treatment combined with Nicoleta’s comfortable service is definitely worth coming for.

Sweet & Smooth is available for bookings via Treatwell.
Hondiusstraat 10HS, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

Koala Republic Amsterdam

Innovating seats, a Scandinavian and Japanese look plus healthy homemade food. Koala Republic has opened their doors on the Jan Evertsenstraat in Amsterdam West.

The Jan-Eef, as locals call it, is one of the most developing streets in Amsterdam at the moment. 5 years ago it may have looked a bit miserable, but once the Mercatorsquare was re-done, the rest of the neighborhood followed the example and new entrepreneurs saw the light. One by one, new shops and coffee bars started opening (like T’s where we love to drink our popcorn tea!)

Koala Republic
Innovating seats at Koala Republic

Koala Republic is one of those new hotspots and you may discovered it by chance because it’s a bit tucked away next to a döner shop and a jewelry store. We walked inside for a quick peek and immediately took note of the cool interior. There is a sky high table for 2 where you’ll need to climb the stairs, and there are seats with swings for your feet. You can also sit on the bright orange cushions, chill at the bar or grab a larger table in the back.

seats at Koala Republic
Where will you sit?

The food menu at Koala Republic is very healthy but far from being boring. Everything is homemade. From eggs to a Indonesian style chicken broth (Soto) and a corn tortilla wrap, they even serve healthy fries made from vegetables served with a wasabi mayonaise. Besides eating in, you can also buy some of their products like coffee and peanut butter. 

Menu Koala Republic

Go and check this new place out, even if it’s only to climb up those stairs and drink your coffee from a new perspective.

Koala Republic
Jan Everstenstraat 115, Amsterdam
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Love, 

Wander-Lust

Falafel galore at hotspot Bar Kaufmann

If you’re a vegetarian you’re going to be very happy with this hotspot but wait, who am I kidding? Even if you’re not, you’re going to love love love this place! A little hidden in a side street in Amsterdam West, Bar Kaufmann is great for food lovers all over Amsterdam.

The name might confuse you a little bit at first because it doesn’t really sounds like a restaurant that serves falafel but it’s actually the last name of owner Saskia Kaufmann. She decided to collaborate with Iranian chef Azar that she met during her time at food concept Van Ver. She was tipped by a friend to start a falafel bar and Miss Kaufmann listened. 

On the Menu
Falafel! Of course, but many many options! Sarah and I tried the original falafel in a pita because we were really hungry. Sarah chose the Pita Falafel with Feta cheese while I picked the Pita Falafel with spicy green peppers and pickles. Both pita’s have a lovely tasting Tzatziki inside and the pita itself was so crunchy! You can order a side order of tasty fries or go for the healthy option and order the sweet potato fries.

Pita Falafel at Bar Kaufmann
Our Pita’s Falafel at Bar Kaufmann

If a full on pita falafel is a bit too much, Bar Kaufmann also has 2 great falafel salads on the menu. We also really love the interior, it’s cozy, trendy and has some interesting art on the walls. (check it for yourself) Besides the food, they have a wide selection of beers to choose from and during the weekend they open until 3am so this calls for an invite! 

Love,

Elke

 

Bar Kaufmann
Reinier Claeszenstraat 4B H, Amsterdam

Tel 020-8461606 / Website
*Header photo source: Facebook Bar Kaufmann

More hotspots in Amsterdam? Check out our Amsterdam Guide!

Looiedet Coffee & Toast in Amsterdam New West

I live outside the “ring” in Amsterdam which means I don’t live in the center but this doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do around here! I live in Amsterdam new west and I’m happily surprised to see new cafe’s, restaurants and shops opening up by the month. So has Looiedet Coffee & Toast.

Even though they’ve been open for weeks now, I had never heard from this cool lunchroom yet. It all started with the motorcycle lessons school. They used the space to fix bikes and it quickly became a hangout for friends, family and acquaintances. So why not expand right? The result was a place to book your motorcycle lessons, a barbershop, a vintage bike store and a coffee/lunch bar. The perfect combination for people on the go that enjoy coffee and a simple but tasty meal. On the menu you can choose out of 15 different toasts from mozzarella with pesto to banana and nutella.

Looiedet Coffee & Toast
The original toasts as we know it

Looiedet Coffee & Toast recently invested in the king of coffee machines and even held a party to celebrate it. The Sanremo Opera is the best technical coffee machine out there and you can really taste the purity of the beans after it’s roasted and pressed into your cup. The only downside is that they don’t serve soy milk so that’s a shame for the peeps that have an intolerance to milk. Maybe this is a sneaky hint..? Besides coffee they also serve delicious leaf tea’s and with that the occasional cakes or scones.

Looiedet Coffee & Toast
The king of the coffee machines is ready for you!

The building has a very nice industrial look and feel and looks like a place where hip Amsterdam would normally sit. However, the owner told me: “we like to keep this place low key and gain customers by word of mouth. Bike lovers, men with beards and people who enjoy good coffee and a killer toasty are at the right address here. “Everything we serve is Halal too so whether you own a bike or not, everybody is welcome!” In the store you will find jeans, shirts and cool vintage biker stuff while upstairs the men can get their  beard pimped. If you’re an early bird, you can get a coffee for just 2 euros until 10am.

Barber shop Looiedet
Hair did. Beard did.

For me it’s just around the corner but even if you’re not in the neighborhood, this place is definitely worth the extra bicycle (or motorcycle) ride!

Looiedet Coffee & Toast
Burgemeester Rendorpstraat 11-15, Amsterdam
Tel: 020 411 6688 / Opening hours: 9am – 6pm Mon – Sun
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Love,

Elke

The School » Amsterdam’s new hottest club

Exactly one year ago, the famous club Trouw closed it’s doors in Amsterdam.
The Trouw was a place that had a solid fan base of techno music lovers from all over the world. The worlds best DJ’s played there and it was one of the only clubs I would stand in line for longer than 45 minutes. So when it closed, people didn’t really had another club to fall back on with the same allure.
Until now. The School (De School) has opened it’s doors yesterday with an opening party starting at 9pm tonight.

club-trouw
Club Trouw was a club with a solid Techno fanbase (Source: www.hctwins.nl)

“New Kid The School is suppose to close the hole left behind. Will it live up to its expectations?”

De School Amsterdam
The toilet area at The School (source: De School Instargram)

Situated in Amsterdam West, The school is not just a club but also a Cafe, Restaurant and Gym. 
The restaurant is open 5 days a week and you can choose between a 3, 5 or 7 course meal starting from 35 euro’s per head. We still need to test the food but it’s already cool idea to be eating in an old school building with perfectly set tables and candlelight.
If you feel like signing up to a healthier lifestyle, you can join the oldskool gym (build in the 60’s)  for several group lessons like yoga, boxing or kickboxing.
They are really bringing an old building back to life in a cool kinda way.

The School Gym
Get your boxing skills up to speed at “het Gymlokaal”  (source: De School Instargram)

The club already has an impressive line up on their program that includes the likes of Seth Troxler, Job Jobse, Barnt & Cinnaman and Makkam.
These Techno heroes will have to make this new club into something people are going to talk about in the next coming 5 years. That’s the amount of time the club will exist for (until further notice). Together with the industrial ambiance, The School is set to bring something fresh to the Amsterdam’s clubbing scene.
Check here for the full club program or their Facebook Page for news.

De School
Dr. Jan van Breemenstraat 1
1056 AB Amsterdam
info@deschoolamsterdam.nl
www.deschoolamsterdam.nl/en
+31(0)20-7373197

Love,

Elke