I’m not the biggest fan of pancakes but given that I was in Amsterdam it seemed a bit rude not to at least try some traditional Dutch pancakes (pannekoeken) while I was there. It was while I was walking down a side street that I came across Upstairs, a tiny hidden gem of a cafe/restaurant on Grimburgwal. The cafe has just four tables. Upstairs claims to be the smallest restaurant in Europe and its certainly a quirky Amsterdam restaurant. This hidden gem has been serving a range of traditional Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam since 1962. Despite its central location Upstairs is easy to miss, look out for a house with a flag and sign above it.
Accessing the restaurant presents a challenge in itself too as you have to climb a seriously steep set of stairs to get to the dining area, we did this twice as it was full so we were told to come back in 20 minutes to get a table. I almost felt a bit sick looking back down the vertiginous staircase.
I’m not averse to taking risks in life so I decided to order one of the Dutch pancakes topped with cheese and ginger (€8.75). I love ginger but I did end up scraping most of the sweet chunks off my thick pancake. Sharps fared better. He went for one of the Dutch pancake with ham, cheese and tomato (€9.50) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Dutch pancakes at Upstairs failed to convert me (click here for my post on Senzala creperie) but as I’m not keen on them anyway it may be fairer to judge them by Sharps’ opinion of them as opposed to mine. One thing I would say is that the Dutch pancakes at Upstairs are incredibly filling so you won’t leave here hungry.
While your food being cooked in a tiny corner of the room you can check out the selection of weird and wonderful teapots hanging from the ceiling (there are over 100). Old black and white photographs adorn the walls, there are also portraits of the Dutch Royal Family and old paintings of Amsterdam. And the kitsch blue and white table cloths come complete with drawings of windmills, clogs and cows on them.
It’s these quirky details that for me make Upstairs one of Amsterdam’s hidden gems. Upstairs is a great place to come for a coffee and watch the world go by and if you do like them then there’s no better place to get a flavour of Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam.