Amsterdam’s most kid-friendly places for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
We are often asked to recommend the best places to eat with kids in Amsterdam. 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!)
On the plus side, the Dutch tend to eat ridiculously early so don’t worry if your chicks need feeding at 6.00, you’ll more than likely be dining alongside adults and won’t feel like you’re missing out on the gezelligheid.
Pizza and pasta are always reliable options. We love Fa. Pekelhaaring which is a cool, incredibly family friendly modern-Italian(ish) joint which is always full of locals who rave about the amazing food (worth booking as its often full) . Yam Yam, Pazzi, LouLou Pizzabar or branches of De Pizzabakkers can also be recommended for pizza lovers as can the wonderful La Perla in the beautiful Jordaan. But if you’re after Amsterdam’s very best pizza (officially) then you absolutely must take your crew to the fabulous Nnea – who serve their award-winning regular (or kid-size) pizzas with scissors for extra fun (don’t plan on booking which requires doing so 10 months in advance – yes really – just turn up at about 5.00 and wait until it opens it 5.30 for early dins)
Of all the Amsterdam restaurants, our favourites for dinner when we’re with our little people are grown up places with a cool vibe that also cater specifically for children. We have found Café Restaurant Amsterdam and the Ij-Kantine to rank highly for this – the first in a breathtakingly wonderful space (one of Amsterdam’s finest) along with a decent kids menu and good brasserie food for adults, whilst the Ij-Kantine over the other side of the River Ij has the advantage of a (free) ferry journey to get there and a dedicated play area inside – although recently we’ve heard the food has been a little lacklustre. Another good alternative is to head to one of the George restaurants. There are about five of these in Amsterdam, all with a slightly different menu and ambience but the unifying theme is “French brasserie, New York style…in Amsterdam’ – think Soho-House-esque neighbourhood spots with metro tiles, leather couches, brass lighting and marble bars. For the kids – Cafe George, George WPA, Petit George and George Marina all have a small kids menu featuring faves like mini burgers, fishsticks and chips and pancakes, whilst even the branches without a specific offering for the littles tend to have mini-burgers, chips and the like. Another recent discovery has been Celia at the Kimpton de Witt, a cool Californian-influenced central Amsterdam restaurant that also has the added benefit of a kids menu featuring pizza, pasta (and even fish and chips)
Our all time favourite though is Loetje – kids can enjoy “crunchy kip” (effectively high quality chicken tenders) or our boys’ total fave ‘kaastengels’ which are filo wrapped cheese sticks. Meanwhile grown ups get to enjoy the city’s best steak. Be sure to click the link to get the full sense of why this is so special.
For more general food-options, consider brasseries like De Ysbreeker, Cafe de Jaren and Wildschut some of which have kids’ menus and where they might enjoy fish, pasta or burgers as well as snacks known as borrel. Another recent discovery is the lovely looking Hicks Brasserie in the Haarlemmerstraat. We haven’t been yet but it looks promising and seems to have a strong family-focus for all-day dining. In their words:
Hicks is inspired by nostalgia and the homely feeling you get from eating during family visits – good portions and conviviality. hicks is a child friendly hotspot with a relaxed vibe and high-chairs. feel welcome in an authentic yet contemporary diner with its blend of chic and vintage serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day.
If snacks are your thing, you’re in luck – Amsterdam snacks are ridiculously kid friendly and you’ll never be more than a few footsteps away from something yummy for the littles. Street-side herring/fish stands are a great option – your youngsters might not be brave enough to try herring but if they’re anything like mine they will love the kibbeling sold there – hot crispy battered chunks of white fish served with mayonnaise. Children also typically adore stroopwafels and store-bought options bear no comparison to the freshly made market offerings. This link will give you all the best hotspots for them as well as for poffertjes – another obsession for youngsters. These coin-sized mini pancakes are served under a mountain of icing sugar and eaten with a toothpick or tiny fork. Again find a market stall for fresh ones cooked on a poffertje iron. Our nephew is planning his next trip back to Amsterdam exclusively for them!
And if you’re comfortable with a more relaxed approach to sweet treats when on holiday, then start you day with hagelslag for breakfast (chocolate sprinkles on bread) before stopping by one of Amsterdam’s amazing sweet shops like Jamin. This post will give you a full round up of Dutch foods to try, many of which are exceedingly child-friendly.
If however you’re looking for a sit-down experience with more savoury options, an excellent destination to add to your list is the astonishing and hip Foodhallen food hall in the De Hallen complex – there’s something for everything so no-one has to compromise and if you go at lunchtime its pretty chilled. If you find yourself there be sure to check out the Kanarie Club at the back which has heaps of space and a sunken bar made to look like an empty swimming pool which kids LOVE to explore.
For lunch, we recently we took our boys to The Butcher for the first time. There are four branches in central Amsterdam and it’s become somewhat of a fixture on the local food scene. With the tagline “Bloody Delicious Burgers” it’s perhaps not surprising. That said, it was a bit of a gamble for our two because…they don’t eat burgers! The good news is that we discovered that The Butcher Social Club on the North side of the river which has a huge and rather fabulous terrace, has a killer kids’ menu that includes options like hot dogs, milkshakes and popcorn chicken and the staff were super friendly. Definitely one to consider.
If you’re up by NEMO or Central Station, there’s a Vapiano on the top floor of the fabulous public library. Kids can create their own pasta and pizza and watch it being made.
It’s also worth saying that all the museums have restaurants many of which are fantastically child-friendly, and as you would expect the cafe’s at museums like NEMO and the Scheepvaartmuseum are best of all for the littles (we would consider going to the one at the Scheepvaartmuseum even if we weren’t heading there for a visit!)
There are also other places to recommend:
For breakfast, brunch or lunch Pain Quotidien and Bagels and Beans are safe bets. For something more Dutch and with huge charm, head to The Bakkerswinkel – there are a few branches of this total institution beloved by Amsterdam mamas in the city but the Westerpark branch is by far the largest and absolutely perfect for kids – lots to explore in the area afterwards as well. Ask our two and they’d probably send you straight to the home of Amsterdam’s best unicorn shakes by way of Corner Bakery. Other favourites include the airy art deco CT Coffee and Coconuts or the very pink Sticky Fingers.
Perhaps best of all is the unfortunately named Dignita– but don’t let the name put you off! The original is in the Old South part of town at the bottom corner of the Vondelpark but give that a miss and make tracks to the gorgeous Hoftuin garden in the Plantage area. It’s an incredibly cool and popular place for amazing grown-up brunch and what’s more it’s fantastic for kids. The lovely menu includes kids’ specials with items including the wonderful sounding “Kids’ Fluffy” or hot chocolate made from “Tony’s Chocolonely” (Amsterdam’s best chocolate). The Vondelpark branch has a small play area and the Hoftuin has a fabulous garden for kids to roam free. Overcome the name and give it a chance.
Talking of Tony’s Chocolonely, this extraordinary brand has opened a superstore in the heart of town serving sweet things alongside savoury. Read more about the brand, their Amsterdam stores and this latest opening here.
For tea, pancakes are an obvious win. Aside from the dreaded Pancake Boat we recommend an afternoon trip to the pancake house and farm Boederij Meerzicht for one of Amsterdam’s very best kids’ activities, though do bear in mind its a little out of town (you’d need to get an Uber as its not accessible on public transport). Alternatively any Central Amsterdam pancake restaurant is a safe bet. You could try the Carousel Pancake House which as the name suggests has tables in an old carousel. The truth is the concept is somewhat nicer than the reality (and the pictures on their website!), it’s touristy and pretty basic but they are famous for their poffertjes (mini pancakes drenched in icing sugar) so if you’re in the area and you’re hungry you could probably do worse. Many visitors enjoy a visit to Moak– these aren’t traditional Dutch pancakes so we’d urge you to head to Pancakes Amsterdam or one of the other suggestions above instead.
When it comes to cafe’s (and cake) all Amsterdam’s parks have lovely local cafe’s where the food is reliable and kids are incredibly well served. The Blauwe Theehuis in the Vondelpark is legendary as is the Groot Melkhuis with its playground outside but all the parks have their own special spots to settle down for a break.
Other lovely places for tea and cake are traditional cafes like Pompadour in the 9 Little Streets or cosy brown cafes such as Cafe Papeneiland in the Jordaan who have some of the best apple pie in town.
If you’re after ice creams, make tracks to Pisa for the best ice creams in Amsterdam – other favourites include branches of IjsCupje across the city or Banketbakkerij Van De Linde right in the centre of town.
Looking for something quirky? Give the hip cat cafe Kattencafe Kopjes a go or 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!
Fancy 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!
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.
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!
Or for ideas about how to enjoy a family-friendly weekend read our post about how to spend the perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids.