We often get asked for recommendations for places to eat with kids. This is both easy and challenging depending on how picky your children are!
Most restaurants are more than happy to host well-behaved children although kids’ menus are less ubiquitous than in the UK and when you do find them, the options can be fairly unwholesome (avoid frikandel at all costs!)
Pizza and pasta are reliable options in our experience. We love Casa Sabatelli a small, sweet and authentic modern Italian restaurant serving home-made wholewheat pasta with the added benefit of an extensive kids menu or Fa. Pekelhaaring which is cool, incredibly family friendly, full of locals and the food is GREAT. Yam Yam or branches of De Pizzabakkers can also be recommended.
Another excellent option is the astonishing and hip Foodhallen food hall in the Hallen complex – there’s something for everything so no-one has to compromise and if you go at lunchtime its pretty chilled. If you’re there, check out the Kanarie Club at the back which has heaps of space and a bar that looks like an empty swimming pool and which kids LOVE to explore.
Of all the Amsterdam restaurants, our favourites when we’re with little people are places that specifically cater for children, we have found the Ij-Kantine and Café Amsterdam to be particularly good – the first with a dedicated play area and the latter with a nice children’s menu. Perhaps more importantly they are all grown-up places that we like to hang out too.
There are also other places to consider:
For breakfast/brunch/lunch, Bakkerswinkel, Pain Quotidien and Bagels and Beans are all safe bets. Its also worth looking at the Corner Bakery and CT Coffee and Coconuts or for a treat the gorgeous Sticky Fingers.
For fishfinger-lovers, try one of our real favourites Stork or how about Haddock – a fish restaurant in a cool shed on the river Ij that offers a separate kids’ room with table-football, occasional movies, organised weekend entertainment for little ones and fabulous outside space including a large terrace, sprinklers and a sandbox.
For tea, pancakes are an obvious win. Aside from the dreaded Pancake Boat we particularly enjoy Boederij Meerzicht but its a little out of town and any Central Amsterdam pancake restaurant is a safe bet. On a sunny day make sure you head to Pisa for the best ice creams in town.
For a really unique experience, check out the KinderKookCafe (Children’s Cooking Café) in the Vondelpark – a place where kids get to make their own meals and yours!
Looking for something a little more luxe? Why not head to Jansz at the Pulitzer for their monthly Family Sundays. With a great kids’ menu and wonderful staff to entertain young ones in a separate room, you can enjoy quality food at your leisure knowing the kidlets are being incredibly well looked after.
I’ve recently been given a few other recommendations, some of which sound great although we haven’t been so I can’t vouch them directly:
There are two branches of Boca’s Bar in Amsterdam, both in hip parts of the city – one in De Pijp and the other in The Jordaan. Their speciality is “broodjes” or little rolls, just tick the boxes you like the sound of on a checklist menu, and voila, a selection of mini-rolls will be returned to the table like tapas. Inevitably kids will enjoy the sweet options with speculaas biscuit spread or hagelslag (Dutch chocolate flakes) but there are lots of grown-up suggestions too.
Or for the “original” Amsterdam sandwich experience be sure to check out Van Dobben – where as well as savoury bites they can have a chocolate and peanut butter combo that’s like eating a Snickers sandwich!
The stand out contender for worst choice of restaurant name in Amsterdam is a café called Dignita. The original is in the Old South part of town at the bottom corner of the Vondelpark but there’s now a new branch too in the gorgeous Hoftuin garden in the Plantage area. It’s an incredibly cool and popular place for brunch and what’s more it’s fantastic for kids. The original café is light and spacious, split across three levels and has a small play zone next to a large sharing table. Puzzles, blocks and small toys for toddlers along with a lovely menu including kids’ specials with food names like “Eggy” and drinks like the wonderful sounding “Kids’ Fluffy” or hot chocolate made from “Tony’s Chocolonely” (which is Amsterdam’s best chocolate). Overcome the name and give it a chance.
Next up, Vandaag. Opposite the convention centre is a place that seems to divide opinion. Restaurant Vandaag offers buffet-style meals with the idea that you pay for the length of time you eat rather than how much you eat. There’s a huge selection including a dedicated kids’ buffet where they can bake their own cookies as well as a large supervised “kids corner” play area where they “have fun whilst you finish dinner”. I’m not sure it’s us (we tend to avoid buffet food at all costs) but it definitely has it’s fans.
Finally, a suggestion that’s a little out there, but for mini-hipsters it’s a must-visit. Radion is a trendy cultural centre in a industrial-chic building in an untouristy spot a little out of town. There is a restaurant/pub/bar/café in the complex but the big secret is that it’s heaven for kids…and parents. Next door to the bar is a huge playroom for children of all ages. On Sundays from 2.00 there is a free nanny service with certified carers to watch the kids whilst you get to kick back and enjoy. What’s more, if they want to hang out with you at the bar by the piano or fussball table that’s fine too. The play-haven includes toys, books, crafts and activities as well as play tunnels, tents and dress up clothes. Frankly it sounds like the kids will be having more fun than their accompanying adults. If you go, be sure to let us know what it’s like.
I recently wrote a post for the wonderful City of Amsterdam, “I amsterdam” blog called “10 x Hip Places To Eat In Amsterdam That Are Also Brilliant For Kids” which has more detail on some of these suggestions and others. You can find it here!