A Chicago Food Guide


Chicago is one of my top American cities. I’ve been at least five times and on the surface it appears a bit like New York with it’s really tall skyscrapers, but it’s got more of a lazy and open feel once you get to know it.  Plus, it’s in a league of its own when it comes to food. What’s particularly noteworthy about this city is that it’s famous for several iconic dishes: the deep dish pizza, the Chicago-style hot dog, and interestingly, popcorn.  And I’m going to tell you where to eat them all.

Where to have a deep dish pizza: Lou Malinati’s


No one should visit Chicago without trying it’s most famous dish – the deep dish pizza. Lou Malinati’s is known as the oldest family name in Chicago’s pizza history, opened in the 1940s by a man called Lou Malinati! It’s the pizza spot that all locals will recommend.  To me, the deep dish pizza is more of a pizza pie, they take 45 minutes to cook because the dish is so deep.  It’s unique butter crust sets it apart from it’s competitors’ pizzas.

Location: Various, it’s a chain
$15 – $30 per person

Where to have tacos: Milwalky Taco

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Mexican food in the states is always 200 times better than in the UK, so I make it a point to eat as many tacos as possible when out there.  Milwalky Taco is actually a little outside of central Chicago, in the quaint suburb of Libertyville, which is lined with loads of pretty shops and trees so is definitely worth a visit.  The tacos are also the best I’ve ever eaten so its worth the 40 minute drive from the city.  The tacos are pretty cheap, ranging from $3-5 and they’ve got a massive menu with all sorts from shrimp to lamb, to cactus tacos.  The pork taco was my ultimate fave and I still think about it a year later!

Location: 605 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL 60048, USA
$3 – 5 per taco

Where to eat at a classic American diner: Portillos

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No trip to the states is complete without a visit to a diner.  Portillo’s is a chain that first opened in Illinois in the 60s as a ‘dog house’ serving another Chicago classic – the beef hotdog, which is of course still on the menu. There’s loads of other traditional diner dishes like burgers, fries and chicken strips (yum). What I loved about it is the look and feel of the place, as a typical over-excited tourist, it really does look like a diner you’d see in ‘the movies’.

Location: Various, it’s a chain
Approximatley $10 per person

Where to have drinks with a view:  The Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Centre

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Chicago has an incredibly pretty skyline, there’s views of lake Michigan and loads of skyscrapers including the massive Willis Tower.  The John Hancock Centre has a bar on it’s 96th floor, they don’t take reservations so you can just walk in.  I found the best views were actually from the ladies loo! (Sorry fellas).

Location: 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Fairly pricy, cocktails are around $18.

Where to have a fancy dinner: Cafe Spiaggia

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Cafe Spiaggia is the sister restaurant (and cheaper version!) of Spiaggia, a Michelin starred restaurant under Joe Flamm, the Top Chef winner. It’s still fairly pricey and fancy but in a more affordable range, it’s great for a special occasion.  Their Italian dishes are really well made, featuring lots of meat, fish, salads and hand made pasta dishes. There’s something for everyone.

Location: 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
$70 – $80 per person for 3 courses and drinks

Where to have a light lunch: The Purple Pig

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The Purple Pig is based on Mediterranean fare, but that’s a loose description.  This is one of the ‘in’ restaurants in Chicago at the moment, probably due to their experimental cooking.  The flavours culminate perfectly and really are unlike any other dishes I’ve had before.  It’s got an informal vibe and a tapas style menu that’s good for sharing.

Location: 44 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
$20 – 30 per person

Where to have popcorn: Garrett’s


Interestingly, Chicago is known for it’s popcorn, mainly thanks to the guys at Garrett’s popcorn who opened up over 70 years ago in the city.  If your knowledge of popcorn mainly centres around the sad microwave bags you get at the supermarket, your mind is about to be blown after trying the hand crafted popcorn here.  They’ve got tons of different flavours from Buffalo Ranch to Caramel. It’s worth popping in and stocking up.

Location: Various throughout the city
Bags priced according to weight

My top things to do:

Millennium Park & Cloud Gate


Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (aka a massive shiny bean sculpture!) is so worth the hype. The city’s skyline is reflected from all angles and it’s an incredibly simple yet elegant work of art.  Plus, you can wander round the Millennium Park afterwards.

Visit a blues bar

Chicago will always be considered a Blues town and an informally known ‘Blues Alley’ is probably the best place to visit for a good time. Kingston Mines is an iconic institution that’s a bit of a dive bar that’s got live music most nights till late.

Navy Pier 

Navy Pier is the perfect place to visit when the weather is nice, for great views of the Chicago skyline, a few arcade games and a boat trip across Lake Michigan.  There are lots of nice cafes round here and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

Willis Tower

Be careful with what you call this one, as the locals will forever refer to it as the ‘Sears Tower’! This is the tallest building in the city, and has some fantastic views from the top. If you are brave, they also have a glass platform protruding out of the side which you can walk over…

The Shedd Aquarium

This is probably my favourite aquarium in the world, its HUGE, they have dolphin shows, they have seals and penguins and there’s plenty of activities going on for kids. If you do visit, plan to spend a few hours here as there’s lots to see.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago’s Art Institute houses a huge collection, ranging from Van Gogh to contemporary works. They often have some great exhibitions here so it’s worth keeping an eye out for what’s on.  If you’re really into art they also have some courses and lectures on throughout the year.



Miss Foodie’s Guide to New York

I visited New York for the first time a few months ago.  I was SO excited, mostly because it is often labelled as the Foodie capital of the world, so I was eager to see if it would live up to its reputation.  I’d been given tons of recommendations from both locals and previous visitors, and read a million food blogs with tips before my trip, so the list below really does feature some of the best of the best spots in NYC.

Where to have pizza: Rubirosa

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Rubirosa was so good, that I actually went twice during my 5 day trip! They serve HUGE, thin crust pizzas. You can even do half and half pizzas, so it’s perfect for sharing.  It’s very relaxed inside, with a simple decor – exactly what you’d expect of a Soho pizza parlour.  They also serve a range of side dishes and pastas – although the pizzas are their main showstoppers so I’d recommend trying those.  The menu even boasts a pizza with a vodka tomato sauce – perfect for any Bloody Mary fans!

The only downside is that it’s notoriously difficult to get a table.  They take reservations during certain hours, although you’ll need to book a few weeks in advance.  Otherwise, if you’re up for queuing you can just visit on the day (at peak times the queues can be 2 hours +).

The ‘smaller’ pizzas (that still feed 2 people) come in at around $20. So it’s fairly affordable, given their deliciousness.

Location: 235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012, USA
$15 – $30 per person

Where to eat in the Upper East Side: Uva

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Uva was recommended to me by a friend, a born and bred New Yorker.  I hadn’t seen it listed on any of the mainstream New York food blogs and magazines, so it really is a hidden gem, and my dinner there was quite possibly my favourite meal in NYC.  It’s a cosy, rustic Italian spot right near Central Park.  The wine list is affordable and the food menu extensive enough to feed all types of eaters, and includes pasta and a wide range of meat and fish.  It’s classy enough to visit for a special occasion, whilst still maintaining a casual vibe.

The food inherits a typically Italian flare with hints of non-conformity – such as their gnocchi made from beetroot (which was actually my favourite dish even though I’m not normally a fan of beets).  Another favourite was the Carciofi Fritti – panfried, crispy baby artichokes, unlike anything I’d eaten before.

Location: 1486 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075, USA
Price: $50 – $60 per person

Where to have brunch: Jack’s Wife Freda

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Jack’s Wife Freda is somewhat of an institution amongst New York Brunchers.  Naturally, I had to try it.  It’s a simple, cute and small cafe that was opened by a couple who met whilst working at Balthazar – so they know what they’re doing when it comes to brunch. The food is an eclectic mix of brunch classics with Middle Eastern and Israeli twists, making it a truly unique experience.  Their food is also on the healthier side – a welcome break after my 5 day food binge!   The menu is hand-drawn and it has an overall homely feel.

It lived up to the hype, and I even celebrated my birthday there.  They also take reservations, which is a bonus amongst New York brunch spots.

Location: There are two branches at 224 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA & 50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014, USA
$15 – $20 per person

Where to grab a bagel: Best Bagel & Coffee

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I couldn’t have left New York without having a classic New York bagel.  Luckily, there was a bagel shop right opposite my Midtown hotel which had queues out the door, so it had to be good. It’s called ‘Best Bagels & Coffee’, and they really are the best bagels.  You can select your preferred bagel, and customise your filling.  They have everything from smoked salmon to ham and cheese and many veggie options.  I must warn you, they are MASSIVE.  I ate half a bagel for breakfast and was full until dinner time!!

It’s a fast food joint and most people grab and go but there is some seating inside.  It’s not too far from Bryant Park, so if the weather’s good you can just pop it in your bag and walk over and enjoy your bagel in the park.

If you’re on the other side of town, Black Seed Bagels is another favourite bagel shop amongst New York Foodies.

Location: 225 West 35th Street New York, NY 10001
Website: www.bestbagelandcoffee.com
Approximately $10 per bagel

Where to have sweet stuff:

Head to Boqueria for NUTELLA CHURROS!!

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‘Nutella churros’ are in capitals above, because this is quite possibly the best combo of ingredients ever invented.  Boqueria, a little tapas place in Soho, serve warm churros filled with Nutella.  It gets pretty busy inside, in which case you can ask for them to go.  This was easily my favourite sweet treat in NYC!

Location: 171 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Website: www.boquerianyc.com
Price: 5 pieces for $8 or 9 pieces for $13

Head to Dominique Ansel’s Bakery for Cronuts & Cookie Shots

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Dominique Ansel’s bakery in Soho is just down the road to Boqueria on Spring Street – that street is a foodie’s heaven!  Dominique Ansel is a must visit not only as an eatery, but also as a tourist attraction.  This bakery is the site where the world famous cronut was invented, by Ansel himself, back in 2013.  Thousands of foodies queued up overnight to try this new pastry that was a cross between a donut and a croissant.  The cronut flavour changes monthly, and there is still a daily queue down the street to get your hands on one!

This place is more than just a bakery, it’s almost like a food lab, where the team are always cooking up new, inventive bakes.  The kitchen is open 24 hours a day to prepare freshly baked goods for the next day!  The cookie shot is my personal favourite,  this is a warm cookie in the shape of a shot glass, it’s interior covered in melted chocolate and filled with sweet milk.*

*Cookie shots are only served from 3pm daily.

Location: 189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Approximately $5 per item

Head to Union Fare for ALL the croissants:

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Union Fare is a cute cafe (think tons of fairy lights hanging from the ceiling) but their most impressive offering is their croissants – I’ve never seen so many different types of croissants in one place.  There were funfetti filled croissants, red velvet, matcha and apparently there’s an Oreo filled one which is sometimes on the menu.

Location: 5 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Website: www.unionfare.com
Price: Approximately $5 per pastry

Head to Grom for the best gelato

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Grom is my favourite Italian gelato chain, they only have a few branches around the world, and most of them are in Italy, but four are in NYC! Their gelato is super creamy, and basically transported me back to Italy.   It’s a must try.  One of the branches is by Columbus Circus, next to Central Park with outdoor seating, so on a sunny day its great for some people-watching and watching the world go by!

Locations: 4 locations in the city – click here for details
Scoops start at $2 – 3

Where to have drinks with a view: Rainbow Room

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This place is without a doubt my favourite place in New York.  It’s truly magical!  New York is full of rooftop bars, but this one is exceptional.  It’s located at the top of the Rockafeller Centre and it’s pricy, but it’s worth the investment.  Considering it costs a whopping $34 to get to the Top of the Rock viewing platform, a couple of floors above, you’re probably better off grabbing a drink or two at the Rainbow Room instead. Cocktails start at $10 a glass and are delicious, so you get the same great views AND can enjoy a drink or two them from a window-side seat, away from the crowds, in this classically designed dining room, dripping with chandeliers and class.  They also serve food.

The views are spectacular, you can see the whole city and the Hudson River.  I went just before sunset, so I got daytime, sunset, and nighttime scenes.   The dress code is smart, and reservations are essential.

Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor, New York, NY 10112
Website: www.rainbowroom.com 
Cocktails start at $10

Where to have fries: The Renaissance Midtown Hotel

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Whilst staying at my hotel, the Renaissance Midtown (by Marriott), I was lucky enough to stumble across the most delicious fries I’ve ever tried – GARLIC fries. I am a firm believer that garlic makes (most) things taste better, and this dish was no exception.  I’d seriously recommend popping in to the bar to try these, it has a nice relaxed vibe with lots of seating, so you can also grab a cocktail or two.

Location: 218 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001, USA
Fries are under $5

Where to have a picnic: Central Park with food from The Plaza Food Hall

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If you’re lucky enough to have great weather when you visit New York, a picnic in Central Park should be on your list.  Conveniently, the Plaza Hotel is located right opposite the park, and they have an incredible food hall serving all sorts of freshly prepared food to eat in or takeaway.  So if you fancy a ‘posh picnic’ you can find anything from pizza and pasta, to sandwiches, hot dogs or cupcakes.  Prices vary, and despite being part of a five star hotel, prices are not extortionate and there are plenty of cheap options available.

Location: 768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, USA
Website: www.theplazany.com/dining/the-plaza-food-hall/
Price: Varies, cheaper items and snacks start at $3-5

Where to have a swanky dinner:

Tao, Balthazar, and ABC Kitchen were my favourite, higher end spots for a special occasion.  All three have very different atmospheres.  Tao turns into a nightclub late in the evening, ABC Kitchen has more of a relaxed vibe and pretty interior, and Balthazar is like your typical Parisian brasserie.  All three are very popular so it’s best to book in advance as they all take reservations.

1. Tao

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Tao is one of the top Asian restaurants in New York, it’s super trendy and basically becomes a nightclub late at night (though is perfectly pleasant to dine in at dinner time!). They serve all sorts of dishes from sushi to stir fries.  In particular the vegetable fried brown rice really stood out, as did the duck spring roll starter.  As with most Asian restaurants, it’s a good place for sharing dishes and eating family style.

Location: There are 2 branches – Tao Downtown at 92 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA and Tao Uptown at 42 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022, USA
$50+ for three courses per person

2. Balthazar

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Balthazar is styled as your typical Parisian brasserie, it’s got high ceilings and an elegant vibe.  They serve Modern European style dishes and all that I tried was really tasty.  It’s nestled in Soho on Spring Street amongst all the great food spots.  It’s buzzy and fairly loud, so bear that in mind.  They also apparently do a great brunch.

Location: 80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Website: www.balthazarny.com
Price: $50+ per person for 3 courses

3. ABC Kitchen

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ABC Kitchen serve European style dishes but also include things like pizza, so it’s a good place to suit all tastes. It’s quaint, dimly lit and pretty inside, so is a good spot for couples. They also serve a great brunch.  If you do end up going, the salted caramel ice cream with popcorn dessert (pictured above) is a must try! It was easily the best dessert I had in NYC.

Location: 35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003
$50+ per person for 3 courses

Where to exercise: Soul Cycle

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As a keen spinner, I was SO incredibly excited to try  out the mother of all spin classes: Soul Cycle.  I visited on my birthday and the team at their Bryant Park branch bought in a cookie with a candle in it and sung me happy birthday at the end of the class! They even captured it on camera and gave me a Polaroid to keep. It was very special, and one of the highlights of my trip. What I love about spin classes in general, is that they suit all fitness levels as you can go as fast or slow as you like, and the instructors at Soul Cycle are all super energetic and motivational.  Their studios are also amazing, they provide everything including shoes, towels and toiletries so you only need to bring yourself and your gym gear along.

I am on a quest to visit as many spin classes around the world as possible, so far I’ve been to Pyscle in London, Soul Cycle in New York, XYZ in Hong Kong, Motion in Dubai and Rocycle in Amsterdam, and I’m looking forward to discovering many more!

Location: Several branches throughout the city, see their website for further information.
Website: http://www.soul-cycle.com
Price: $34 per class (with an intro offer of 2 classes for $34)

Where to stay: The Renaissance Midtown

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New York is full of amazing hotels!  There are too many to list.  When I go on a city break I’m usually out exploring most of the day but I still generally like to stay in a clean, comfortable, mid-range hotel in the city centre as I don’t like to spend time and money commuting.  New York hotels fitting this criteria can be a bit pricey, so I try to book as early as possible in advance to get the best rates.  The Renaissance Midtown fit the bill perfectly.  It was right in the centre of Manhattan and walking distance to loads of great restaurants and Central Park.  The beds are SUPER comfy, the rooms and bathroom are fairly big by NYC standards, and it has a great bar to relax in.

Location: 218 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001, USA
Website: www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/nycsg-renaissance-new-york-midtown-hotel/ 
Price: Room rates start from $200 per night

My top things to do:

New York is full of fun things to do, you’d probably need a few weeks to squeeze them all in! But here are a few of my faves and must-sees, including a bunch of free attractions.

Times Square

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Super touristy, but obviously a must see when in New York! It’s definitely best to go for a walk through at night to get the full ‘bright light’ experience.  There are no entry charges, you can just have a wander round.

Location: Manhattan, NY 10036, USA

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

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A walk across Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny day is very iconic, and you’ll get some great views.  Ideally, you’d probably want to walk towards Manhattan, coming from Brooklyn, to catch a glimpse of the famous Manhattan skyline.  To arrive by subway, get off at ‘High St. – Brooklyn Bridge’ and walk up the stairways to get up to the bridge.  The walk across should take around 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how many photos you stop to take! It’s an amazing architectural structure in itself and is not one to miss.

Price: FREE

Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty is located on Ellis Island, and you’ll need to catch a ferry from Battery Park in Manhattan to get there. Although it’s not a particularly long journey (under an hour), it’s extremely popular and therefore wait times for the ferry can as long as two hours, so it’s good to either arrive early, prebook, or use a tour company like Viatour who often arrange queue jumps.  Alternatively, there are a number of helicopter tours that will give you a great view of the statue.

On the island itself, you can see the statue, visit the museum which gives some history, and you can even climb the pedestal/the statue (but reservations are required in advance).  You can also catch some great views of the Manhattan skyline.

Location: Ellis Island, New York, NY 10004, USA
Website: www.nps.gov
Price: The ferry fee starts from $18.50 but prices will vary depending on what attractions you want to see on the Island and whether you visit with a tour group.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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New York is full of loads of great museums and art galleries, so if you’re pressed for time it’s difficult to decide which is best to visit.  For modern and contemporary art lovers, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is probably you’re best bet, but for a more rounded view of art spanning the last 5000 years, the Met is a great option, particularly because the building itself is pretty spectacular.

Location: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
For visitors outside New York State admission is $25

Ground Zero

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The 9/11 memorial is often referred to as one of the most remarkable in the world, serving as a tribute to the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 1993 bombing.   It’s made up of twin reflecting pools and waterfalls, marking where the towers once stood.

Location: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007, USA
FREE (to visit the memorial, but there are admission costs to the museum and One World Trade observation deck)

The High Line

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The High Line is a great walking spot, it’s an elevated linear park that was built on a former railway in Manhattan.  As you walk along, you’ll get some pretty views of the city. When we went there was even a little art exhibition going on, it’s very buzzy and is a great place for a stroll.

Location: West side of Manhattan, New York, NY 10011, USA
Price: FREE

The Friends Building

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For any fans of the hit TV show, you can see the exterior of the iconic Friends Apartment. It’s probably best to try and tie it in when you’re in the area around Greenwich Village, as it’s just the building, and you can’t go inside.  Sadly there’s no ‘Central Perk’ on the ground floor, but there is a highly acclaimed restaurant called the Little Owl where you can stop for a bite.

Location: 100 Bedford St, Corner Grove, New York City, NY 10014-5304
Price: FREE

Fifth Avenue


New York’s Fifth Avenue is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world.  It features everything from high end designer stores to high street brands like H&M and Victoria’s Secret.  The lavish window displays of stores such as SAK’s Fifth Avenue and Barney’s are updated every season, so even if you’re not looking to spend, it’s still great for window shopping.

Location: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
FREE (note – dependent on what you buy!)

So, do I think New York is the world’s Foodie capital? Although I ate some delicious, weird and wonderful food out in the Big Apple, I think I’d have to conclude that London is still, my favourite city for food, with New York now a close second.  There’s a lot more variety in cuisine in London and although New York does take food to inventive new levels, I was definitely craving some healthy comfort food by the end of my trip!



Miss Foodie’s Guide to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is probably my favourite city in Europe, I’ve been 5 times in the last 2 years!  It’s only a 45 minute flight from London costing as little as £40 return, and it has some of the best foodie spots.  Plus its so small that you’re practically able to walk everywhere, making it great for exploring.  The canal views are not bad too!

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Where to have breakfast:

De Bakkerswinkel

This place does the BEST french toast.  It’s made from brioche and served alongside maple syrup.  It’s super cute and cosy inside, but is very popular so be prepared to queue on weekends.  Its also great value for money, they throw in a juice and hot drink with any breakfast plate you order!

Location: It’s a chain, but the most central one is just off Dam Square at Warmoesstraat 69, 1012 HX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: www.debakkerswinkel.com

Price: €10 – €15


Where to have lunch:

Pancakes Amsterdam!

Here you’ll find some of the best pancakes on the planet.  Pancakes Amsterdam serve Dutch style pancakes, American style and mini poffertjes.  My favourite are the Dutch savoury pancakes, I always get the mushroom, spinach and dutch cheese pancake (because Dutch cheese > English cheese, obv)

Location: There are 3 branches throughout Amsterdam, but the largest venue where you are most likely to be seated quickly is at Prinsengracht 277, 1016 GW, Amsterdam

Website: www.pancakes.amsterdam

Price: Approximately €10

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Where to snack on Chips & Mayo:

Manneken Pis

This is actually just a chip stand, but chips with mayo seems to be a Dutch favourite, there are so many chip stands in the city but this one has been voted the best. Don’t be put off by their name & logo!! What I love about it is that whilst queueing you can see the hot chips being prepared in the background and placed onto one giant chip mountain!  Make sure you get the classic chips with mayo, its a slightly sweeter mayo than usual, but its SO good.  If you’re not a mayo fan, they have over 20 other different sauces to chose from.  Plus, they’re open late on weekends so are perfect as a midnight snack.

Location: Near Dam Square, Damrak 41, 1012 LK Amsterdam

Website: www.mannekenpis.nl

Price: Starting from €2.50


Where to have Apple Pie:

Winkel 43

Winkel’s is probably the most exciting spot on this list.  They serve THE BEST apple pie.  Ever.  I literally have never tasted nothing like it.  They are famous for this delicious dessert, which is freshly made every day and served alongside some whipped cream.  It’s super tiny inside, but they have some lovely tables set up outside which overlook a canal.  It’s a must-visit.

Location: Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: www.winkel43.nl

Price: €4 per slice

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Where to have Indonesian food:

Max Amsterdam

The historical Dutch-Indonesian connection means that there are so many Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam.  Seriously, they’re everywhere! My favourite was Max, Amsterdam.  You chose between a 2 or 3 course menu which features a fusion of Indonesian and Western items.  A must-try dish is the Indonesian Seabass in banana leaf.  It’s amazing! It’s a tiny restaurant and is very popular so be sure to book ahead.

Location: Herenstraat 14I, 1015 CA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: www.maxrestaurant.nl

Price: €31 for 2 courses/€39 for 3 courses


Fine Dining:

Guts & Glory

Guts & Glory is a prime dining hotspot in Amsterdam, opened by chefs Guillame de Beer and Freek van Noortwijk, who have also recently opened up a second venture, Breda.  The menu offers a single-ingredient concept whereby the chefs focus on a different type of ingredient for a few months and create a tasting menu with up to 7 courses around it. When I visited, the theme was ‘vegetables’, and they really went all out.  For dessert we had aubergine ice cream alongside a chocolate and pecan mousse, which sounds a bit strange but was honestly incredible.  The flavours worked so well together, and vegetable ice cream is my new favourite dish! Normally I’m not a fan of fine dining tasting menus because they tend to often be a case of style over substance, but here is an example of one that really works in a completely non-pretentious environment.  Reservations are necessary.

Location: Utrechtsestraat 6, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Website: www.gutsglory.nl

Price: €49.50 for 5 courses

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Where to have a fail-safe dinner:

Casa di David

I call this place a ‘fail-safe’ eatery because it’s not too expensive, is very central, has a great atmosphere, and as it is Italian, caters well to vegetarians and fussy eaters (who doesn’t like pizza?!).  The interior is rustic, warm and cosy and if you request a table on the top floor next to the window you will have great canal view.  The ingredients are super fresh, almost tasting as good as in Italy itself.  Their pizzas are particularly delicious, as was the fresh pasta.

Location: Singel 426, 1017 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: www.casadidavid.com

Price: Approximately €30 for 2 courses

What to do:

Have a picnic in Vondelpark

Vondelpark is a great place to have a picnic, pick up some delicious picnic food from Pluk or Sla and head over (when the weather is good of course!)


My top art galleries are the Rijkmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. They are both next door to each other so you could even visit both! The Rijkmuseum features Dutch Art from the Middle Ages to the present day, and features some key paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other Dutch Masters. The Van Gogh museum is massive, and is dedicated to the works of Van Gogh and his contemporaries in the Netherlands. Here, you can view his famous ‘Sunflowers’!

Anne Frank’s House

Anne Frank’s House sits on the pretty Prinsengracht canal and inside you can visit the Annexe where she lived whilst in hiding. It’s super moving and extremely popular, the queues are up to 6 hours long! So if you visit, definitely book in advance.

‘Cheese Hopping’

Dutch cheese is easily some of the tastiest I’ve ever tried! There are so many cheese shops dotted around the city, and most of them have free samples. I’ve had truffle, pesto and even chilli flavoured cheese! If you want to find the largest choice of free cheese samples, visit the Cheese Museum…its delicious!

Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)

This is more than just a flower market, it’s the world’s only floating flower market! Besides smelling amazing, it’s a great place for a colourful afternoon stroll, and you can even pick up some bulbs to take back home!