There’s No Place Like Home

By Taskin Quagliani  Magazine | January 23, 2023

Cover Illustration: The Lebanese Sajeria. Simon Ordonez / The Amsterdammer

Magazine reporter Taskin Quagliani offers insight into Amsterdam’s international eateries, providing the city’s international students with a taste of their home and alleviating feelings of homesickness.

Imagine this: it’s 8:00p.m and your overnight flight to Amsterdam is nearly ready to board. In the excitement to start your overseas studies, you stuffed suitcases full of winter coats, too many beanies for you to ever use and all the birthday cards you’ve hoarded since your seventh birthday – you know, the essentials. It’s only after you arrive in Amsterdam and settle into your place that you’re suddenly taken over by an earth-shattering craving for a pizza al taglio, just like you had back home. Then, disaster strikes. You’re on a completely different continent.

As an international student, there isn’t much that you wouldn’t give for a home-cooked meal. Fret not, the international student community of Amsterdam has got you covered! They’ve tried it all – the good, the bad, and the downright unpalatable. You can skip the admin and go straight to the places that international students recommend for a midweek pick-me-up to cure those homesick blues.

This is a sentiment shared by many international students living in Amsterdam. For most, it is their first time living abroad and away from family. This is where food and its culture step in to nurture the homesick heart.

If it’s Italian you’re after, look no further than La Zoccola Del Pacciocone in the center of Amsterdam. Tucked away in a side street just off Nieuwendijk, the restaurant is easily missed if you’re not paying close attention. It’s where international student Veronica goes to get a real taste of home. This quaint little pizzeria with ten small tables cramped into a tiny room is decorated with tapestries of iconic Italian photography. The clink of glasses and distinct chatter fills the room as Eros Ramazotti’s voice croons through the speakers.

If you’re looking for flavors of the Middle East, The Lebanese Sajeria located in De Negen Straatjes is a firm favorite for another student, Anthony. Here, he satisfies his cravings for kanafeh, a typical pastry that he enjoyed growing up in Kuwait. Middle Eat in Reguliersdwarsstraat also offers a unique blend of traditional Arabic cuisine in the heart of Amsterdam, where dishes such as the hummus and falafel dip and the burnt eggplant are the star of the show.

Less than a 20-minute walk from Middle Eat, Sophianna stops by her cherished Greek eatery, Kafenion Amsterdam. Kafeneio – or ‘café’ in English – is a traditional and integral part of Greek culture. From tiropita to freddo cappuccino (an iced espresso or cappuccino), this is the place for you if you’re missing a bit of Mediterranean flavor.

Whether it’s pizza, mpougatsa or homemade baba ganoush on offer, all the students emphasized that simply being in the company of those who speak their language and share their customs allows them to indulge in a little bit of home away from home.

“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.”

– Giada De Laurentiis

Taskin Quagliani is a university student in Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer. 

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