Subject: re: Amsterdam restaurants
Hello Evelyn, I'm not a huge fan of Amsterdam restaurants, because of the price/quality. There are excellent restaurants, but expensive. In general I'd say avoid the congested areas, around the Dam or Kalverstraat. Eating-places there are touristy, not good, imo. In the Jordaan, on the Lindengracht, you find nice ethnic rest., among others Toscanini, Italian, very A'dam in-crowd and always busy. But they also have a communal table which you can most always join. Then on the Singel, the part where the flower market is, you find a good Indonesian rest. I've forgotten its name; it's small but nice. Erina's advice to have pancakes is to the point. There's a decent one on het Singel canal (which is very long), on the odd # side, around 201, I'd guess. Also snack places, such as coffee shops. One word of warning though: places labelled coffeeshops in A'dam are for the most part where you can buy and smoke a joint, not the Starbucks variety! No food of interest there, if at all. On the Leidseplein you can buy the best sandwiches at Broodje van Kootje in existence since I was born and that has been a while.

For day train trips outside Amsterdam, I recommend Enkhuizen, a historic fishing town on the old Zuiderzee; Alkmaar, with its cheesemarket; Haarlem, with the Frans Hals museum. To the south: Leiden (29 min. by train -- 4 times an hour), a lively and old university town with very pretty canals, the oldest university in Holland (1574), the oldest hortus botanicus in the world, the Lakenhal with the triptych of Lucas van Leyden, and for Americans a strong historical link to the Mayflower people who spent 1 1/2 year there, before returning to Plymouth and then crossing the ocean. The puritans found a safe haven in the city, but scorned the loose morals of the citizens. They feared for, let's say, the safety of their daughters. In Leiden I recommend a favorite restaurant of mine: Verboden Toegang (No Access -- when you enter the rest. you know why they chose the name). It's in the Kaiserstraat just a few steps away from the old academic building on the Rapenburg canal.

Hope this helps, Frieda