My friend and I wanted to visit a typical "Brown Cafe" when in Amsterdam. According to our research, "Brown cafes are to Amsterdam what pubs are to London. That is, they are casual, neighborhood gathering spots located all around the city, featuring dark wood and people looking for a drink, a snack and friendly conversation." We found all of those things at Cafe Hoppe. The atmosphere was perfect and the bartender was fun and friendly. We met a nice Dutch couple there, and we chatted over Dutch beers as they gave us tourism and restaurant tips. We also sampled a local specialty - bitterballen. Our tour guide described it as "fried mystery meat," but to me, it seemed more like deep fried balls of creamy gravy (like the gravy poured over biscuits and gravy in the deep south of the U.S.). While the snack was a bit heavy and heart-clogging for my tastes, I appreciated the fact that Cafe Hoppe made a perfectly-executed bitterballen. They were piping hot when they came to our table, the outside was crispy, and the inside was creamy and flavorful. If you're looking for an authentic, laid-back Amsterdam experience, Cafe Hoppe is an absolute must!
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