Address: Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam
Cuisine Type: Dutch
External Links: The Pancake Bakery
When visitors to the Netherlands think of Dutch food, one dish which immediately springs to mind is the pancake, and there many pancake restaurants spread all over Amsterdam. The Pancake Bakery, established in 1973, is popular with tourists, expatriates and the Dutch alike. Located on the Prinsengracht in a converted canal-side warehouse previously owned by the Dutch East India Company, the restaurant is a short walk from the Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House.
Inside, the restaurant has retained its warehouse feel, with wooden ceiling beams and furniture, and is traditionally decorated featuring brown tiled walls and pictures of old Amsterdam. We visited on a sunny Sunday lunch-time, when all tables outside and inside were full. Reservations are recommended at busy times although it is possible to wait. The Pancake Bakery caters easily for groups, and we were shown our table for eight without any delays.
Menus are available in English or Dutch, and aside from pancakes there is a selection of sides and starters or ‘Giant Omelettes’. The sides include soups at €4.95 and €5.50, Greek salad at €3.95 and €4.95, bread and garlic butter for €2.95 or Taco chips with cheese and chilli sauce at €4.75. The omelettes all come with bread, salad and ketchup and range in price from the most basic cooked with ham or cheese at €7.95 to a Masai (mixed vegetables) or the Canadian (bacon, ham, mushrooms, onions and cheese) both at €12.75.
Pancakes are available either sweet or savoury and there is also a section for poffertjes, a Dutch favourite consisting of several small round sweet pancakes usually sprinkled with powder sugar. Poffertjes here range from the traditional version served with butter and sugar for €4.95 through to alcoholic versions at €6.95 each. There is then a full selection of pancakes, starting from a plain version with just syrup or sugar through chicken, ham or cheese at €7.95, to bacon and apple or banana and nutella at €9.95. Savoury vegetarian options include cheese with pineapple, mushroom, tomato or ginger all at €9.95. There is also a special children’s menu available in sweet or savoury and themed around Firemen.
Softdrinks start at €2.10, a small beer will set you back €2.35 and wine is available by the glass (€3.25), Karaf (€9.95) or bottle (€18.00).
As a large group we all ordered separately. I went for the Greenlandic from their international menu, a selection of country-themed pancakes priced at €13.95 each. In fact the Greenlandic, with a topping of spinach, French-cheese and cashew nut, was the only one without a definite connection to its supposed country of origin, the others having much more recognisable themes including Thai, Mexican, Belgian or Indonesian. The food arrived in small groups meaning some diners had to start while two of our group still waited to avoid hot toppings going cold or ice cream melting. The spinach and cashews were good, but the thick slices of Brie somewhat overwhelmed the thinness of the pancake. Everyone else who picked a more traditional type of pancake was more than satisfied, however.
The staff were friendly and helpful, and made no attempt to hurry us after we had finished eating. We were able to divide the bill up between those paying by cash or card. Although there are cheaper pancakes available in town, The Pancake Bakery has a nice atmosphere and is a great place to come as a group – but stick to the traditional choices to avoid any disappointment.