Bardak » Tel Aviv in the heart of Amsterdam

Have you ever eaten ‘Grilled Okra’? At Bardak, near The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, you can discover the taste of the Israeli kitchen.

The place is a organized chaos and that’s exactly the vibe they want to create in the restaurant. Get ready for some extraordinary tapas. The owners want to give you the real Israeli experience. You’ll get the real local foods on your table like ‘Burnt Eggplant’. I personally didn’t like the taste but it was nice to try it out. The ‘Grilled Okra’ is a real favourite. Not something you can order everywhere but very tasty and definitely worth trying.

Okra beans
This is the real deal

For the meat-lovers: Arais. This is a signature dish of the restaurant. Juicy lamb shish kabob in a crusty pita… The pita absorbed all the fat of the lamb which makes this dish very tasteful. If it’s too heavy you can always share it with your friends, you’ll get 4 sliced pieces. Room for dessert is very important, you don’t want to miss the ‘Honey Yoghurt’. Sounds simple, but it’s very appetizing.

Bardak interior
Tel Aviv! 

In Israel there’s a town named: Tel Aviv. (I’m sure you’ve all heard of it) The walls here are the canvas of many street artists, it’s (like Bardak) an organised mess. So I guess the name Bardak which means ‘organized chaos’, makes total sense. The restaurant is designed by Sheryl Leysner. She recreated the Tel Aviv style in the restaurant by some graffiti walls, pieces of bricks and corrugated sheets. In Tel Aviv you’ll find the best Israeli restaurants hidden in badly maintained market stables. In Amsterdam you’ll find Bardak in the heart of Amsterdam, De Pijp. The restaurant is open 7 days a week!


Cocktails you’ll have to try

In this cosy restaurant you can also enjoy some of the best cocktails in town for only 8 to 9 euro. Especially the Granny Smith Martini is a very luxury drink of high quality for this price. Made with fresh pressed apple juice, vodka and lime. So if you’re looking for some new acquired tastes, try the Israeli tapas here. You’ll be surprised!

Bardak
Ferdinand Bolstraat 12, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Larissa

*Larissa is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She is only 21 years old, and just graduated, but already runs the two lifestyle magazines BLVD and MisterDaily for two years. Her dream is to write a book one day, but now she’s focussing on her writing and content creation for brands and magazines among which Wander-Lust. Follow her on Instagram!

Branie, a surprise Indonesian restaurant with Balls

When I arrived at new joint Branie, on the Ten Katestraat in Amsterdam, I had no idea what to expect. The front window had a crack in it, and there was only a small sign. You would walk straight past it, to be honest. Once inside, I was welcomed by the owner and the wonderful Indonesian hostess (who is also co-responsible for the menu). I was totally blown away by the innovating dishes and incredible spices. Let me introduce..

Branie Amsterdam

Branie stands for guts
I’m told that the name Branie is a combination between an Indonesian and a typical Amsterdam word. It means daredevil, but in a cheeky way. It totally reflects the menu and cocktails. Owner Remco, previously owner of secret cocktail bar Porem, tells me that he wanted to combine his Indonesian roots with the Amsterdam spirit.

Branie Amsterdam

Branie brani, b[a bakje]ráni, is an Malaysian word that means cheeky daredevil, someone with balls

The Menu
In Asian countries, people share their food. At Branie they do the same. You are advised to order about 4 to 6 different dishes and you are welcomed with some spicy popcorn. We decided to go for the soft shell crab bao (which is served as a whole crab), the tea salad, the squid, prawn wangton (available upon request), some traditional chicken saté, and the Jackfruit Semoor, that has a meaty texture but is completely vegan. The tea salad needs a little more explanation because it actually contains tea and is specially imported. It has a sour flavour and great as a cold starter. The magic truly happens in the kitchen and behind the bar.

Branie dinner

Branie KFC bucket
The Branie “KFC” mushroom bucket

Branie dessert

Remco is a cocktail master and gives a modern twist to his cocktails. From Pandan Daiquiri, to Crying at the Piscoteque or the Damsko Fizz. You must try at least three!

The decor still needs some finishing touches, but once the details are added (such as a neon light, and some plants), Branie is set to be your next “local” Asian with balls.

Branie
Ten Katestraat 26, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

SNCKBR IV Utrecht, The largest vegan restaurant of Europe

Vegan food is hot hot hot! Everywhere you look, a new vegan restaurant pops up in Holland. We already wrote about the Vegan Junk Food Barand some secret vegan spots in Amsterdam. But there’s now also a new vegan restaurant in Utrecht, which is the biggest plant based restaurant in Europe: SNCKBR IV.

SNCKBR
SNCKBR already has three other restaurants in the Netherlands, two in Amsterdam and one in Eindhoven. But the one in Utrecht is very special, mainly because it is 100% vegan ánd has 110 seats which makes it the biggest vegan restaurant in the whole of Europe. So it’s 100% VGN and 0% BULLSHIT, to use their own words. The place is a perfect hotspot for people who like both guilty pleasures as well as healthy and cruelty free food and snacks. The name might suggest a snackbar kind of place, but that’s not the case at all. They serve all kinds of international classics like Chinese bao buns, Indian curry, but also Dutch kapsalon and various pizza’s. Everything is cruelty free, so you don’t have to feel guilty. Even the interior is 100% vegan and the clothes of the staff are fair-trade.

SNCKBR

100% VGN, 0% BLLSHT

Delicious vegan bites and dishes
I have to admit: I think I have never eaten vegan before. Shame on me, I know…Every time I’ve eaten a vegetarian dinner, it was topped with cheese, cream or eggs. I am curious about vegan food, but never cooked something for myself nor did I try it in a restaurant before. You can imagine my excitement when I got invited to the press dinner in the new SNCKBR. I really had no idea what to expect.

SNCKBR Utrecht Avo Toast
Avo special on toast anyone?

SNCKBR Utrecht 2

The restaurant arranged a six course menu for us so we would be able to taste a variety of nice dishes. We started off with Gyozas, made with spiced tofu, shiitake, leek and peanuts. Then we got the Peking Luck which were thin pancakes we could fill with soy protein, spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce. The protein really tasted like duck, which was very surprising. My favorite dish was the third one, the Bao Bun with eggplant, panko zucchini, mayo and cucumber. It was very crunchy and tasteful. And it didn’t stop there!

SNCKBR Utrecht food

We also had the delicious Mushroom Wellington, which tasted much like beef Wellington, but without the meat. And we had two small burgers, one made of chickpeas, miso and chestnut mushrooms and one which was filled with mushrooms, seaweed, beetroot and soy protein. We finished with a tasteful Chocolate Ganesha made of chocolate, dates, mixed nuts and custard together with a scoop of rice ice cream.

Vegan desert SNCKRBR

Wow, who knew vegan food tasted so good! I really liked it and I am definitely going to check them out another time to try something else from their big menu. SNCKBR’s menu changes every few weeks so make sure you check them out regularly. They have many delicious recipes coming up!

Love,

Merel

SNCKBR IV Utrecht
Vredenburg 28, Utrecht
Website

*Merel is one of our guest editors from Utrecht and describes herself as a daydreaming student who has wanderlust ever since she traveled sround Jamaica for 3 months. She can’t wait to travel the whole wide world after she finishes her bachelor. Follow her on Instagram!

Venster33 » Not a new spot, but definitely a hotspot!

Normally when it comes to brand new hotspots, I’m like a fish that sees the bait. As soon as they pop up, I want to drop by. But this time I shine some light on an established one: Restaurant Venster33. I hear you think ‘why not a new spot’? It’s the older family member of Miss Moneypenny, and because my boyfriend and I were so enthusiastic about their shareable food, ambiance, and hospitality, they invited us immediately for a dinner at Venster33. We said yes! (obviously)

The story behind restaurant Venster33 Amsterdam
Two years ago I moved to the increasingly popular Eastern part of Amsterdam, hello hello lovely Javastraat. Since that moment I’m not a frequent cyclist to De Pijp. But sometimes it’s great to go back to my old neighbourhood, brings back good memories. Enough, let’s talk about restaurant Venster33. They’re up and running since 2015. This month they celebrate their third anniversary on the 26th whoop whoop! Good job Cas Jansen and your two companions / childhood friends. All three are Amsterdammers in heart and soul. The city love was an aspect they really wanted to highlight in their laid-back restaurant. That’s why all what they do has something to do with Amsterdam. Think about the famous Holtkamp bitterballen (by far my faves), tasteful wines of the colourful wine brand Grapedistrict, and daily fresh fish from the Albert Cuyp market.

Venster33 outside
Venster33 has enough space to sit outside Source

All day long up and running
The three food Musketeers had the idea to create a relaxed place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. Recently they switched their whole menu. They’ve extended their assortment of small dishes to mix and match. And besides that, they’ve ’put some new more diet-friendly main dishes on the menu. More and more often they got the question for vegetarian, gluten- and lactose-free options. So voilà, they’ve taken it into account in their new menu.

I saw a lot of pretty cocktails leaving the bar

From a quick bite, till an extensive dinner
After my visit at Miss Moneypenny, my expectations were high with a capital ‘H’ for Venster33. The two have a totally different style, but the same welcoming vibe. Unfortunately, both of us were in a ‘no alcohol period’, so ginger beer it was! I did see a lot of pretty cocktails leaving the bar, so definitely don’t hesitate to go for the Grab Some Grape GT, the Apes and Apples or The Young Cuban cocktail. 


Pretty tasty drinks at Venster33

Food at Venster33 Amsterdam
Steak tartar

We started with some shareable food. Especially the steak tartare was very tasteful. For round #2 we decided to choose individually a main dish. I’ll never be the biggest meat lover, but my juicy leg of lamb was as it has to be. Tha boyfriend also appreciated his manly Picanha steak Brazilian BBQ style. Love to spice up your food? The last one is your match made in heaven. And surprise, surprise: we shared the choco lava cake and one of my favourite cheesecakes in town. Well hello food baby!

Yes, This golden oldie is worth visiting, no doubt. Thumbs up for the concept: mix and match or go for whole dishes, it’s totally up to you. Special likes goes to the sincere staff, bizarre how it can make or break your whole experience. So one more must-try for your food bucket list, no thanks!

Venster33
Eerste van der Helststraat 42, Amsterdam

020-3626423
Facebook /Instagram

Sunday till Thursday 10:30 till 01:00, Friday and Saturday 10:00 til 03:00

Love,

Sharmaine

*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!

Karvan Cévitam opens the first Lemonade Bar in The Netherlands!

We love ourselves a good pop-up bar. Especially if it’s something to do with food or drinks! Karvan Cévitam just opened the first ever lemonade bar in The Netherlands and we were there to check it out.

To celebrate their 70 year anniversary, Karvan Cévitam will open up the doors of this colourful pop-up bar in the heart of Amsterdam. They’ve turned the place into an Instagrammable whahalah, with 2 lemonade bars. For the pink flavors you’ll have to head upstairs, where you can roll into the pink flamingo ballpit, and order your favorite pink mocktail. For yellow you’ll go stay downstairs, where you can enjoy a confetti shower (must try!). Visitors can order a FREE lemonade with added fruits, chilli flakes or herbs. 

Free mocktails at the Karavan Cévitam Lemonade Bar
Free mocktails!

Lemonade bar Amsterdam

confetti shower at the pop-up lemonade bar
Confetti Showers!

Karvan Cévitam was founded back in 1948, and I think almost every household has grown up with their lemonade. Did you know that they sell around 22,5 million bottles of lemonade each year? Oh, and most people prefer the pink flavours such as strawberry or raspberry. What kind would you go for?

The KC Lemonade Bar is open from the 18th until the 26th of May between 10am & 5pm.

KC Lemonade Bar
Prinsengracht 715, Amsterdam
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Roootin » The Healthy Middle Eastern Hotspot in Amsterdam

Hello hello newbie, warm welcome to Roootin. For weeks or maybe even months they were renovating their place…and the result doesn’t lie. Don’t expect the usual hotspot with eggs Benedict’s, croque madams and juicy burgers, nops. Time for something new, let’s introduce you to the Middle Eastern cuisine! I think I never had something Iranian or Kurdish before, so let’s zoom in on what they’ve in store for you!

Roootin
Interior Roootin Amsterdam

Roooting

The story behind Roootin Amsterdam
Roootin is an idea of one Iranian brother, his two sis and their mom. How cool a family have teamed up. During reading the intro you might have thought: Roootin with 3x ‘o’? Yes, and I tell you why. Roootin is a combi of roots and origin. It doesn’t only has to do with their Iranian roots, but also with their interest in the essence of humans, nature, healing power of products…let’s say the roots of things. Mix that with origin and Roootin is born, a place where you can meet the healthy Middle Eastern food.

Amsterdam meets Middle Eastern food
When it’s bedtime I can become such a happy kid by thinking of how my next morning will start: yaaasss breakfast is callin’! Recently my day started even better with a brunch at Roootin. I had no idea what to expect from a Middle Eastern inspired kitchen, I couldn’t mention one typical Iranian, Kurdish or Lebanese dish. A totally new food world opened for this girl with dishes like orange blossom pancakes, labneh, avocado toast the Iranian way and a Kurdish dish called Sawar. Choosing didn’t last long, pancakes for me. Defenitely one of the best I’ve had in Amsterdam, and I can know as probably one of the biggest pancake lovers in town (wink wink). Dropping by at Roootin means experiencing lots of new flavours, unknown homemade dishes and…a bright colour overload! Even when sometimes the sun is hard to find, you can find her here on your plate. Oh and I don’t discuss their complete menu in detail, because it has so much more charm to discover it by yourself.

Roooting
Pancakes Iranian style, love them!

Roootin
Vegan avo toast, worth tryin’

Roootin, place to charge yourself
Besides I really liked the pancakes and juices, for me the whole atmosphere stood out. No hustle or bustle, just relaxed vibes, laidback music in a modern and above all warm place. East has some places where it is ‘see and be seen’, luckily they’re not that kind of a food spot. In terms of hospitality, they also score super high. In case you’ve a food allergy, nothing is too much to ask. They’re really supportive and focus on specific solutions for every vegan, lactose-intolerant or other special wish.

One last thing: Roootin hopes to further deepen the concept by initiating all kinds of projects that are in line with their philosophy. Think about workshops and yoga classes, you name it. I’ll try more of their brunch food and healthy guilty pleasures as soon as possible, and book a yoga class. Who wants join this beginner yogi?

Love,

Sharmaine

Roootin
Linnaeusstraat 16, Amsterdam
Opening hours: Tuesday till Sunday 09:00 till 17:00, Mondays closed
No reservations
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Instagram

More foodie spots from Sharmaine? Check out Tasty Hotspots section!

LUST Spots

Panama » the perfect exotic holiday destination

Panama has it all, for me, it’s the perfect exotic holiday destination! It’s small in size but it offers a big variety which is easy to reach; exotic tropical rainforests, beautiful beaches, more than a 1000 islands, best surf spots, an incredible nightlife, breathtaking views, Spanish colonial architecture, jungle, rafting and kayaking. Panama really surprised me and here are my personal tips!

Panama


Panama City

Downtown of Panama
When you enter Panama you will immediately see a very impressive skyline on the right side that is surrounded by tropical rainforest and on the left sight you see the beautiful ocean where people are surfing. In Panama city you will find the business district on one side, with lots of hotels and restaurants with the best shopping opportunities, and on the other side you will find Casco Viejo district, historical center built in the 17th centuryThere’s a lot to discover and activities like jungle trips, a visit to Panama canal are just a few hours away from the city.

Panama still struggles with crime and poverty. In some areas you’re not allowed to enter, which you will know when the police will tell when you try to enter a street.  Panama is definitely tourist friendly, you feel save during the day and night, but people recommend you to take a taxi in the evening.

2014-03-01 21.40.48
The skyline of Panama is so impressive!


Casco Viejo

The Old Town
We stayed in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo – which means old quarter in Spanish, and is only 10 min. away from the business district by taxi. Casco Viejo is small, but you can wander around for days, since this cozy neighborhood has a lot to offer: numerous bars, various restaurants where they service top notch food, great nightlife with some very nice bars where you can order delicious local beers and fresh cocktails, street art, castles, museums etc.

We only had two days to explore Casco Viejo, before heading to the islands, which was too short and therefore we came back again on the end of our trip! You feel at home right away; the locals are very friendly and the area is so incredibly beautiful. Take a walk along the beach where you will have the impressive ocean view, wander through the streets and admire the Spanish architecture with beautiful pastel colored buildings, have a coffee at one of the quality coffee shops, stroll at Plaza de La Independencia Market where I bought this handmade Wayuu Mochila bag, check out the Panama Canal, wander and end your evening with a very nice dinner and have some fresh cocktails at the oceanfront art bar.

image2
Catedral Metropolitana  & Market at Plaza de La Independencia


Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Town
A propeller plane took us from Panama City to Bocas Del Toro. After one hour you see the Caribbean Sea, the archipelago’s nine islands, surrounded by hundreds of tiny uninhabited islets and the mainland, Bocas Town.

It takes a 10 min.walk to enter Bocas. Bocas is a hotspot amongst travelers all over the world where most lodging and restaurants are. Water taxi’s depart from this mainland to the different islands. During the day you can wander the streets for shopping, drinks and food and in the night Bocas is known for their famous party’s.
Are you looking for a more quit holiday, then you should definitely stay at one of the island like we did. Each island has its own unique vibe and offers travelers diversity.

We skipped the mainland and went directly to Isla Bastimentos by boat, that takes 2 min. We’ve found this tropical romantic Caribbean beach front villa where we relaxed for almost one week. We stayed longer than planned since we really enjoyed the vibe and the surrounded islands with lots of activities.
We swam in crystal clear water, enjoyed beautiful sunsets while drinking delicious cocktails and ate fresh fish which the local fisherman caught. We slept in a very nice cabin where you hear the sounds of lapping waves, parrots and monkeys.
In the night we took a boat to the mainland for dinner and drinks.

Panama - Bocas
Taxi’s will bring you to different breathtaking islands where you can snorkel, surf, tan and relax.

Red Frog Beach
We often took the boat to some other islands. One of them is Red Frog Beach which is 10  min. from the mainland.

We found this very cozy place, Palmer Tent lodge, where we met some very nice people, one of them was the owner. Unfortunately it was fully booked, we really wanted to stay for a few days. This Eco-friendly beach front place offers lots of activities like; surfing, hiking, zip line riding, yoga and most important you can really just relax in a hammock. They have a small but yummy affordable menu.
I really enjoyed surfing, the teacher was so friendly and patient that I got the change the learn it even better.

image1(4)
Red Frog Beach, chilling and surfing at Palmer Tent lodge

Tips

» Bring Sunscreen SPF30, you can get burned very easily in Panama, my favorite is Lancaster
» Make sure to bring dollars or exchange your money into their local currency balboa
» Book your domestic flights upfront to save money, Air Panama
» Try to combine Panama with another country when planning a few weeks, like Costa Rica
» Book your stay at Bocas upfront, since it’s a very popular destination and fully booked very easily, check here

Costs

» Tickets cost around 800 euro
» Cabins at the beach start from 35 dollar
» We spent around 50 euro a day per person

We didn’t managed to go to the San Blas islands because unfortunately illness struck me for a few days. It’s suppose to be heaven so hopefully we will get the chance to travel there again!

Love,

Sarah

Nomads Amsterdam » a New Restaurant Inspired by Travel

Amsterdam is home to another restaurant, and this one is directly linked to travel! We welcome Nomads Amsterdam!

Nomads Amsterdam

Nomads is officially opening on the 25th of April but you can already pop in for a experimental bite before they start serving the actual menu. Why is Nomads unique?  The restaurant offers a new menu every few months where a different country is highlighted. This way, foodies can enjoy a trip around the world (of food) and cultures. Fist stop is..Peru! This means lot’s of fish, corn and spices. We are exited!

Nomads interior
You never know in which jungle you are..

Nomads Amsterdam food
This month the Peruvian kitchen will shine

Nomads
Oranje Vrijstaatkade 55, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

Hotel Buiten » a community hotspot in Amsterdam New West

Amsterdam New West is one of the area’s outside the city center of Amsterdam that is under massive development. Old flats are being taken down, and new houses are build. With the housing, come new hotspots and one of those is Hotel Buiten. The place to be this summer, if you live in Amsterdam West.

Hotel Buiten front

Hotel Buiten

Hotel Buiten is not just any hotspot, it’s a creative hub, build from raw and used materials, designed by lenka dittrichova. It stared with a few neighbours a few years ago, that wanted to do something with lost space full of weeds and grass. After a temporary set up, they managed to get more people involved and eventually 180 people and businesses helped fund the project. Many volunteers helped build the building, so you could say that Hotel Buiten is community. No, it’s not a hotel, but they do have future plans to rent out self-build houses  around the Sloterplas area.

Inside Hotel Buiten
Inside Hotel Buiten

Hotel Buiten terrace
The upstairs terrace

They started to build Hotel Buiten in the beginning of 2017, and even though they officially opened up their doors months ago, they’ve just recently added the finishing touches. Hotel buiten is located next to the Sloterplas and surrounded by water from all sides, which makes it an unique spot. Sloterplas is gaining popularity because of the man-made beach, sailing activities and the recently opened Van Eesteren Paveljoen.

Hotel Buiten overlooking the Sloterplas
Overlooking the Sloterplas Beach

The Menu
At Hotel Buiten they cook seasonal. Meaning, that they’re changing the menu every few months of the year to guarantee the best flavours. Most products are organic, and with the home garden recently finished, they will use their own herbs for seasoning. For lunch you can order homemade soups, salads or sandwiches. Nice to know; the bread comes from iambe, a non-profit organisation where people with a disability help bake the bread. For coffee you’re also at the right address with beans from The White Coffee Label, and beer drinkers are happy to know that they have a variety of local craft beers available.

The back of Hotel Buiten
Hotel Buiten with the new organic garden (that obviously still needs to grow)

I had a little peek this week because they’ve recently opened the upstairs and downstairs terrace, which gives you a nice spot in the sunshine. They are currently building an upstairs and outside bar, to accommodate customers during the high season. The location is also perfect for hosting a wedding or birthday party, with plenty of options.

With the beach, newly build housing projects and Hotel Buiten, Amsterdam New West is certainly worth visiting this season!

Love,

Elke

Hotel Buiten
TH J Lammerslaan 3, Amsterdam
Website

Find out where the best outside terraces in Amsterdam West are!

Katfé, the first Cat Café in Utrecht will open soon!

Cat lovers around the world listen up! After the success in Amsterdam and other cities around the world, Utrecht is finally coming with a “Cat Café” named Katfé.

After a crowdfunding process and help from 65 volunteers around the neighbourhood, they have finally managed to find the right location and the construction has started. Katfé will be located where the old Wibra store used to be, in the Amsterdamsestraatweg in Utrecht.

Cuddling with Cats
Katfé is going to be a place where you can enjoy a coffee or a small bite while you can cuddle with several cats from all shapes and breeds. Don’t be mistaken, it’s not the place to bring your own cat, but to enjoy the company of others. There are many cats on the streets of Utrecht that love to sneak into different café’s and bars, which is not always the best place for them to hide or relax. The Katfé will be the perfect sollution for this problem and the cats will have a safe and especially designed area for them to play and relax.

Cat café, Katfé in Utrecht

Jelmer Bergsma en Stephanie van Hovell came up with the idea a few years ago and believe that cats can bring cat lovers together. “It’s also the perfect place for those that can’t keep a cat in their own home, for whatever reason”.

Katfé is planning to open the doors early Juli 2018, Miawow!

Elke

Katfé
Amsterdamsestraat weg 253, Utrecht
Website