I’ve heard Alkmaar referred to as ‘Provincial’. Ok, it's not Amsterdam but Alkmaar still has a fantastic seelction of restaurants, cafés and bars to satisfy whatever you are in the mood for!
In no particular order, here are five of my favourite places in Alkmaar. Enjoy!
Kowalski Comfort Store
Kowalski’s is cool. It isn’t the super shiny, modern café that you may think of when you think of a European café and that is precisely why I like it. The interior is funky, and it has a cool selection of retro and fun things for sale. The menu is simple with a selection of sandwiches and grilled sandwiches all done very well. The coffee is excellent and there’s a good selection of teas, colas and lemonades - many of which are organic. The ladies are all lovely and it’s no problem if you don’t speak Dutch!
Now let’s talk about their homemade treats as a good cake is quite dear to my heart. Just one look at the display cabinet will have your mouth watering with its good, simple home baking. Try the brownie. And the Dutch apple pie. And anything else that happens to be there! This is my kids favourite place for the simple reason that they get chocolate milk served in cool mugs and a fabulous cake. What more could you possibly want?
Kowalski’s is really close to the Waagplein (and the Cheese Market) and has an entrance on the Fnidsen as well as on the Luttik Oudorp. There is even a small outside seating area on the Luttik Oudorp side where you can watch the world go by next to one of the oldest canals in Alkmaar.
Vegetarians, vegans and anyone else wanting fresh, healthy food rejoice – Soepp is the answer for your hunger! As a vegetarian myself, I know it can be hard to find good veggie fare sometimes…and good luck finding soups that are made with vegetable stock. But Soepp has this covered. The menu here is simple and evolving. There is always a selection of seasonal, fresh, organic, veggie friendly homemade soups served in a cute little pot with delicious bread and humous or garlic herb butter. Not feeling soupy? No problem – there is a selection of other fare such as a veggie burger, curry, salad as well as a breakfast option.
The interior is warm and inviting with a wooden floor, exposed brick walls and mismatched furniture. There is plenty of fun vintage stuff for sale and the walls are covered with interesting pictures.
Soepp is located close to the Cheese Market on the Hekelstraat, which is in the heart of the Old City and flanked by cool artisan shops. Go! You won’t be disappointed.
If you are looking for something a little more substantial, then this is the place! De Binnenkomer has an enviable location by the Grote Kerk. It has a good sized outdoor eating area which is popular on a sunny day and it is a great place to people watch while enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine. The menu here is varied and you can enjoy smaller nibbles as well as larger meals. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, try the Arabic platter. Yum!
The interior is relaxed with a good vibe. It feels a lot more like you are sitting in a cozy living room rather than in a restaurant. It is also one of the top 10 restaurants in Alkmaar on Trip Advisor, so it must be good!
Gunnery’s Irish Pub
Looking for food and an atmosphere that is a bit more familiar? Gunnery’s may not be your obvious choice if you are visiting Alkmaar during the day as it is technically an Irish Pub, but it has a fantastic, large outdoor terrace and has a great menu of Irish foods like the Irish Beef Burger, Fish and Chips and a Traditional Full Irish Breakfast. And of course, you can wash all this down with a pint of Guinness!
The staff are very friendly and it is a gathering point for expats and locals alike, so there is always a good atmosphere. Gunnery’s also hosts events, so check out their website for what is going on when you are in town.
Gunnery’s is located close to the Cheese Market on the Verdronkenoord by the old Fish Market.
't Friethuys Alkmaar
And last, but not least….if you are only visiting for a few hours and don’t have time to stop but need a bite to eat then head to the Friethuys located at Magdalenenstraat 4 just next to the Cheese Market for the best fries/chips in Alkmaar.
The fries are fresh, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and teamed up with mayo they are divine (don’t worry, you can also get ketchup as well a large selection of other sauces!).
Alkmaar Tours offers top rated Private and Small Group Tours of Alkmaar’s medieval centre and the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market! For more information on the different tours, please visit the Alkmaar Tours Website.