The Bottom Line
Chocolátl bills itself as "an eclectic premium chocolate shop in Amsterdam," and lives up to its self-description with a diverse, expertly curated selection of artisanal chocolate, imported from bean-to-bar chocolate makers all over the world. Visitors can also treat themselves to a rich, potent hot cocoa, the shop's small selection of own-made truffles and other chocolatey concoctions, or a cup of joe.
- Fine artisanal chocolate from all over the world, plus coffee and chocolate-based drinks
- Patient, helpful, and immensely well-informed and enthusiastic staff
- Sleek but cozy interior
- Few seats for eat-in customers (but most purchases are for take-out)
- Limited assortment of own-made chocolates; more a chocolate shop than a chocolatier proper, like Unlimited Delicious or Amsterdam's other top chocolatiers
1016 SM Amsterdam
Open Tues. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 1 - 5 p.m.
Location: Near the 9 Straatjes (9 Little Streets), on the so-called "10th Street"
Directions: Take tram 10, 13, 14 or 17 to the Rozengracht stop; follow Rozengracht back eastward to Tweede Rozendwarsstraat. Turn right; south of Lauriergracht, Tweede Rozendwarsstraat turns into Hazenstraat.
Guide Review - Chocolátl - Amsterdam Chocolate Shop:
I stumbled into Chocolátl on an ice-cold January afternoon, behind two children, mother in tow, for whom visits to this chocolate shop in the Jordaan district of western Amsterdam were clearly a much-adored ritual. As I contemplated the blackboard menu, I listened to the shop owner, in his American-accented Dutch, enthusiastically describe and proffer samples of each chocolate that captured the kids' fancy, from the peculiar smoked salt and bacon bar to the hot chili chocolate emblazoned with the words "Do Not Eat". Another shop clerk assisted me, and entertained my own queries about the store's assortment, such as the varieties of hot cocoa on hand: milk chocolate and two sorts of dark chocolate. To aid my decision, the clerk offered me samples of the dark chocolates, one a more bold, complex chocolate from Papua, the other a more subtle chocolate from Madagascar; I opted for the former, and took a stroll around the beautifully appointed store as my drink was prepared.
Rated the #1 shop on TripAdvisor - above De Bijenkorf department store (the Macy*s of Amsterdam), the coveted fashion boutiques of the 9 Straatjes district, and the exclusive upscale brand shops of the PC Hooftstraat - Chocolátl taps into the ecumenical appeal of chocolate with tastes to inspire all palates, from sweet-toothed children to refined connoisseurs. Visually, it feels more like an independent bookstore than a chocolate shop, with tall, narrow shelves stacked with chocolate bars instead of paperbacks, which nonetheless have a similar power to transport visitors to all corners of the world; while the cacao beans themselves are mostly cultivated in equatorial lands - the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Peru - the raw materials are processed by bean-to-bar chocolate makers, chiefly in the U.S. and Europe. Unusually for the Netherlands and Europe, American chocolate is amply represented: from Lillebelle Farms in the owner's native Oregon (producers of the aforesaid hot chili chocolate), to the celebrated Askinoisie Chocolate of Missouri, to Brooklyn's own Mast Brothers with their exquisitely-wrapped bars, it would be a rare thrill to find so much quality American chocolate in one spot in the U.S., nevermind in Amsterdam. And when the selection threatens to overwhelm, the fantastically helpful staff is on hand to share their encyclopedic wealth of information and supplement it with samples.
I'd scarcely processed all the store's treasures when my hot cococa arrived, a rich, subtly bitter, and deeply nuanced cup of exquisite dark chocolate, served with a carafe of water. The child customers settled down with a kid-perfect snack of chocolate-hazelnut "French fries" - a paean to the owner's other culinary obsession, Dutch friet. I couldn't stop at the hot cocoa alone; as I ventured back to the store counter, I asked about Chocolátl's own-made chocolates; a small selection of bonbons (which were sadly sold out that afternoon), and a series of chocolate bars produced in collaboration with the Amsterdam North-based Chocolatemakers. I went for the 40% cocoa Tres Hombres bar, whose beans were transported on a sailboat of the same name from the Dominican Republic to Amsterdam, where it's processed into bars spiked with a distinctive smoked sea salt from the Dutch Frisian Islands - a blend of exotically-sourced raw cacao and closer-to-home craftsmanship that characterizes much of Chocolátl's impressive collection.