Amsterdam is not known to hold many chain businesses (besides Bulldog coffeeshop franchise). The city prides itself on supporting small business owners, “mom and pop” cafes, and one-man (and one-woman) services.
Still, a few chain restaurants have begun to pop up. Here are a few that are wallet friendly, fun, flavorful, and worth a look-see.
The American classic rush breakfast of a bagel and coffee never took off in Amsterdam, but Bagels & Beans does a great job at a more relaxing and cozy alternative. These spots are little slices of American bagel house culture, with baskets of bagel varieties, an array of spreads and sandwich styles, fresh juiced fruit drinks and teas.
What surprises me is the staff is always incredibly friendly, helpful, and ready to take even the most complicated orders. It’s not a grab ‘n’ go place, but it’s perfect for a quick breakfast. And the free internet makes it all the more pleasant for business lunches.
Amsterdam didn’t have a Starbucks in the city center until just recently. Rumor has it the authentic Dutch brown cafes weren’t very thrilled with the American style coffeehouse. What developed was Coffee Company, a Dutch chain that blends a modern coffee house style with a basic version of hot-and-frapped coffee drinks.
Internet is free to use when you type the username and password found on your order receipt. Opening hours are great for earlybirds, but closing hours are also early, around 6 p.m. usually. Prices aren’t very friendly, I’d say the medium-size deal is the best. Coffee Company doesn’t brew coffee beans, but I go for the Americano, and a whole grain croissant in the morning.
There are three locations in Amsterdam, but Burgermeester seem to be expanding at a rapid rate. Their diner-style atmosphere is disturbed by large black and white photographs of cows watching you eat big and hearty beef patties. But for some reason it doesn’t bother most people. The open kitchen and easy-to-read burger menu (also in English) show that this burger chain is all about pure, healthy and as-organic-as-possible meals. Beverages include organic sodas, and healthy sides include mixed salads, baked potatoes, and grilled asparagus.
I’m not saying these guys have the best fries in Holland, because I’m pretty sure they’re from bags of frozen ready-to-fry potato sticks. But they’re a good choice for late-night munches simply because the sauce menu is unusually extensive for a fries stand. With more than 20 choices ranging from garlic to spicy samurai, chopped onion toppings and peanut sauté sauce, you can stay basic or get inventive. And you can’t really go wrong with a cone of fries, or a shop serving until 6 a.m. on weekends!
Pata Negra has three little casas in Amsterdam with tastes of fresh and tasty Spanish tapas. The atmosphere is 100% Spanish vibe, with mosaic tiles, candlelit tables with giant legs of mouth-watering jamon hanging all around. Come by in the evening, as some spots host live flamenco music, while others specialize in freshly-made €5 mojitos. It’s not the cheapest tapas place in town, but definitely the most authentic in flavor and style.