Pathe Theaters – Arena

I recently visited the Pathe Arena theaters to see a new movie (Goldmember) on the day of its release in the Netherlands. As usual, I went during a weekday afternoon. Why? Because not only did I get a nice discount, but the theater was almost empty (like about 8 people in the biggest theater!). I like that!

The seats are ever so comfy here. The red ones in the largest theater are well-padded and wide, with wide arm rests and lots of legroom. No more cramming your legs against the seat in front!

The sound system was awesome, but didn’t seem to work 100% with the movie I came to see, perhaps because it wasn’t filmed in a compatible mode. I counted at least 30 speakers that I could see.

I really like coming here for the reasons I’ve mentioned, and I would come here more often, if they didn’t only show the latest Hollywood-hyped, factory-made movies. What’s wrong with screening something alternative once in awhile? Well there’s certainly no shortage of theaters in Amsterdam showing non-mainstream films. See our article on Amsterdam Movie Theaters for more tips on movie venues.

The only other gripe I have is that the popcorn we got in the afternoon was stale (and encrusted with salt) from the night before. Someone should be shot for doing this. Stale, overly salty popcorn is inexcusable. Let your employees take it home at the end of the night instead, please!

I’ve seen movies in the smaller theaters at the Arena, and they’re all top quality, and airconditioned. Plus there’s no smoking, and usually no pause in the middle of the feature.

Amsterdam Arena Shopping Mall
Amsterdam
Phone:

Bolhoed

It’s often quite a challenge to find some place to eat where vegetarians can have a good selection, where organic ingredients are the norm and where the food is imaginative and well prepared. The Bolhoed is just such a find.

Once a hat store, the Bolhoed (Bowler Hat) restaurant now purveys a delectible assortment of vegetarian food. I tried the vegan special which included a very tasty pumpkin soup served with thick slices of fresh whole grain bread. The main course consisted of a variety of vegetable dishes including cauliflower with sweet potato in a mustard dressing (good tangy flavor, yet slightly sweet), eggplant and olives in tomato sauce (ok), Spinach with Tofu (yummy!), brown rice and a small salad (both very good).

With any of their specials you also get dessert, and I had a piece of chocolate cream pie that was scrumptious! There’s a beautiful selection of sweets in a display case inside, with more goodies like brownies and apple tart, all made without white sugar (honey being used instead).

All ingredients are organic including the very good red wine we had with our meal. My friend had pretty much the same except for a banana cream pie. I had a coffee substitute which was served cappucino style with foamed milk. It was very good. My friend had mu tea which he said was excellent. The bill came to 145 guilders for three including the wine. Not bad considering we pretty much ordered the most expensive items on the menu.

The restaurant is very gezellig (cozy) with warm colors, plants, even a buddha sitting in a corner. There are four outside tables, and ours had a mind of its own, moving around like a planchette on a ouija board.

Outside seating along the Princengracht

Having been an avid vegetarian and a vegan for many years, I can appreciate when this kind of food is done right. And at the Bolhoed, it’s done very well with everything one would expect from a vegetarian restaurant, and then some. I could find no flaw in anything that was served to us. The Buddha would love this place. I know I do!

This place gets busy so it’s a good idea to call for a reservation.
Princengracht 60-62
Amsterdam
Phone: 020-626-1803

Renee’s Croissants

Renee’s impressed me in the past because they WERE so amazingly consistent, but since the euro change they have become frighteningly expensive.

Recently we have had numerous complaints from readers about the rudeness of the staff, and the ever-increasing prices. Also we have been short-changed by their staff on several occassions. It seems they have new people working there almost daily. This is why their rating has dropped from 5 stars.

Unless the management of Renee’s starts to change things soon, WE RECOMMEND YOU AVOID THIS PLACE!

The following comments are from our original review written over a year ago.

Renee’s Croissants is delightfully “lekker,” with an assortment of pastries, bonbons, soft ice, sandwiches, donuts, pies and more.

No trip down the Damstraat is complete without a visit to Renee’s. They offer a delightful assortment of goodies. Who can resist such offerings as hearty bran muffins with raisins and nuts, their fabulously crusty baguettes, and of course, chocolate muffins.

Renee’s has seasonal offerings, some typically Dutch, that are best sampled from here. Appleflaps, in season, are a great example. I’ve never had a bad one yet from Renee’s – with just the right amount of filling so that it doesn’t gush out at first bite, and a smattering of sugar crystals on the flakiest pastry crust you’ll ever enjoy.

I could go on for hours describing every pastry they make, but I also want to mention their sandwiches. Their “belegede broodjes” are made with the usual ingredients, all freshly laid out for you to choose from, and with great breads or bagels to enclose the fillings. If they aren’t too busy (an unusual occurrence at times) they will make you a sandwich on the spot with fresh bread and whatever you want in it.

I’ve enjoyed many a great sandwich from Renee’s, while exploring Amsterdam.

I’ve also delighted lots of friends with a gift of pastries or bonbons from Renee’s.

Open seven days a week, and late at night; it’s a great place to stop after touring the town on the way home for a late-night snack.

Sukasari

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to hangout for a while right off the Dam Square that won’t set you back a lot of guilders, visit Sukasari.

Located in the very first block heading east from the Dam Monument, Sukasari is on the right side of the street just past the Old Man Headshop. The place is nicely decorated, Indonesian style, and was an oasis for lunch on one of Amsterdam’s hottest summer days. The spinning ceiling fans kept us quite cool as we relaxed over a lengthy business lunch. A steady supply of kleine biertjes chilled us even further.

The food is traditional Indonesian, not hot and spicy like Thai food. The menu is extensive, and they offer daily lunch specials if you don’t have a clue as to what to order…

The appetizers range from the standard shrimp-flavored kropek crispies to soups (meatball, chicken, chicken-corn or vegetable) and loempias. They offer a variety of sate’s (chicken on skewers) with the usual peanut sauces, and traditional bami (noodle) and nasi (rice) dishes. (Prices range from f5.25 for an appetizer to f22.50 for the most expensive item on the menu.)

Sukasari will also make up a Rijstafel with a variety of eleven Indonesian dishes for you to sample. (Priced at f45 per person.)

Being reasonably priced is the main attraction here, with a lunch special geared to the wallets of travelers who want a quiet oasis near the Dam Square. Be sure to ask for some hot chili sauce for your dishes to spice things up!

Sukasari is open from noon until 11:30 in the evenings Tuesdays thru Saturdays. On Mondays they are open from 4:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Closed Sundays.

Escape Nightclub

One of Amsterdam’s hottest spots – a multi-media experience on the Rembrandtplein. Lots of events held nightly.

To quote their website:

“Escape Venue has been a fact in the Dutch nightlife since 1987. Exclusive parties, music, light, decoration: all faces of a progressive club venue…For young adults who see themselves in a multi media environment, existing of modern dancemusic, hi-tech lighting, eye caressing visuals and internet.