Take me to the sea (in Holland)

It took me a while to understand it’s possible to go to the beach in the Netherlands. When I moved to Amsterdam I didn’t realized the sea was so close and that it implied the presence of the beach. I realized that after a few months, when the summer broke – well let’s say when the temperatures reached 20/25 °C – and my Dutch friends started asking “so, shall we go to the beach this weekend?”.

The beach is wide and sandy, while the sea…well, I must say it’s not  as clear and warm as the sea in Sardinia. The water is very clean, but the wind lifts the sand and makes the sea dark and unwelcoming. I like it anyway, maybe because I spent lots of summers in Romagna region in Italy, where the sea is not crystalline at all.

Zandvoort beach

Zandvoort beach © Sg

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Best cocktail bars in Amsterdam: my favorite ones

In Amsterdam there’s not the same cocktail scene you can find in London, that’s true. But we must say things have changed in the last few years and some interesting cocktail bars have popped up in town. Daring bartenders blend gin and other spirits with spices, syrups, fresh in order to make sophisticated and balanced cocktails. It’s not cheap to have a very good cocktail in Amsterdam: unfortunately that’s the price to pay to enjoy entire worlds enclosed in a glass.

Gins at Door 74

Gins at Door 74 © Sg

Enjoy this list of my favorite cocktail bars in Amsterdam! My choice has been based not only on the drink per se, but also on the quality of ingredients, the venue and the service.

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The best pizza hotspots in Amsterdam

I always love trying different kinds of cuisine and I must say in Amsterdam it’s quite easy to find good Chinese/Thai/Indian/Indonesian/French (and many many more) restaurants. If someone asked me “what dish would you bring if you had to move to another planet?”, I would reply with no hesitation: pizza! Pizza is home to me, if I think about it and I get instantly hungry, it is one of the beautiful things Italia made. But pizza is serious stuff and it’s not easy to find a very good pizzeria, especially outside Italy. It’s all about good ingredients, natural raising, wooden oven and a proper cooking time.

Here is the list of my favorite pizzerias in Amsterdam, where you can have amazing pizza Italian style!

FUOCO VIVO | PIZZA in AMSTERDAM

Pizza margherita at Fuoco Vivo, Amsterdam

Pizza margherita at Fuoco Vivo, Amsterdam © Sg

My favorite pizzeria is Fuoco Vivo, a restaurant in De Clercqstraat with a great pizza. Always cooked in an excellent way and with good ingredients. I still remember the first time I called to reserve a table for dinner and they picked the phone talking in Italian: I felt so much at home! Bonus: the outside tables, nice for summer dinners.
ADDRESS: Fuoco Vivo – De Clercqstraat 12 Amsterdam

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Magic food experience in the Netherlands

I know, it doesn’t sound right. When some Dutch friends of mine told me about some divine chefs in the Netherlands, I must have thought: “Seriously? They are talking about food and chefs with an Italian, do they really think they can impress me?” Ok, I admit I was biased, but I’m a very curious person and after some time I decided to experience with my eyes and my taste buds if those statements were true (It’s a tough job but after all someone has to do it!).

To start my Dutch cooking discovery process, I asked my boyfriend to give me as a present for my 30th birthday a dinner at De Librije, 3 Michelin stars considered the best restaurant in the Netherlands. The venue is just great: it’s located in the former library (in Dutch, ‘librije’ means library) of a 15th-century Dominican abbey which is close to the main canal in Zwolle.

The chef Jonnie Boer – he’s the owner of 3 restaurants, 7 Michelin stars in total – is a big friendly Dutch guy, who welcome guests and usually introduce the menu: if you decide to go for the tasting menu, you have to choose the main ingredient for each course without any other details about the dish (the staff will ask you about any allergies or ingredients you don’t like). After a very pleasant drink in the waterfront courtyard, you’ll be conducted to the table inside the former library where the show can start: you’ll be offered some meat, fish, vegetables, leaves and flowers in very original and ecstatic combinations.

Here are the amazing dishes I’ve been so lucky to taste:

Amuse bouche: oysters from the North Sea, clams, Dutch shrimps, razor clams

Amuse bouche: oysters from the North Sea, clams, Dutch shrimps, razor clams © Sg

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Best things to do in Amsterdam: what to do and where to go

I have been living in Amsterdam for some time and I’m still in the falling-in-love-phase. Everyday there’s something new I can experience; it’s a big and stimulating place, but it takes just 20 minutes to go from one side to the other one of the city. People from 178 countries live here in a very peaceful way and I like to think of Amsterdam as a colored soup made of different cultures and dreams. There’s a lot of respect for everybody and everyone (some better than others!) can be whatever he or she likes the most. If you live in a particular city it’s not that difficult to describe its vibe, but’s it’s less easy if you spend just a few days in that city while on holiday. Some friends of mine who have never visited Amsterdam often ask to me what are the best things to do in Amsterdam. The time is never enough because there would be so many things to see and to do, but I think a long weekend (3/4 days) can be good to have a first and unforgettable taste of Amsterdam.

Winter sunset in Amsterdam

Winter sunset in Amsterdam © Sg

The light of Amsterdam

The light of Amsterdam © Sg

Here is my personal list of 10 best things to do in Amsterdam to enjoy its fascinating vibe!
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