It has to be said that Amsterdam is not a city that lunches. Obviously, people eat lunch but if you are trekking around time and want something other than soup, salad or a sandwich but you don't want a full meal then your options are going to be a little more limited.
Step in La Place eateries. La Place have quite the coverage in Amsterdam. Not only do they run the catering in two major department stores (V & D and De Bijenkorf), but they also service several major workplaces. Lucky workplaces.
It is self service, but certainly not the self service I recognise from British department stores. At La Place everything is divided into zones. A salad bar zone, and what salads! Grilled veggies as far as the eye can see. huge bowls of leaves and wedges of tomato. A grilled meat bar, a grilled fish bar. Some locations have a pizza oven, some a stir fry bar. A soup station, juice bar and drinks bar are all within striking distance. Just pick up a tray and load up. The best thing is that everything is prepared right in front of you - fresh, fresh, fresh.
Once you have paid and collected your cuttlery then you can choose your seating. Today I was in the V&D on Kalverstraat and scored an outside table in the glorious sunshine so that I could watch the world go by beneath me. If the balcony is full or the weather a little less clement then sitting inside is no hardship underneath the glass roof (pictured above). If you are meeting someone there then there are rooms named after nearby streets, "I'll meet you in Damrak..."
Over at De Bijenkorf, following last year's major facelift you can sit in differently themed areas all showcasing designer furniture from the furniture department below. Eames chairs, Tom Dixon lighting. Or sit out on the new roof terrace secluded from the busy streets below, snacking on sushi before heading back down into the chaos of central Amsterdam.