This post is written in collaboration with Deepa, author of lifestyle blog Curry Strumpet. She’s a fellow foodie, international Amsterdammer, and – most importantly for the purposes of this post – a great mum.
As a restaurant critic, I get asked the same questions over and over: Where to eat Indonesian food in Amsterdam? Where to dine with a large group? Where to eat on a budget? And most of those questions I can answer pretty readily. Except one: Where can I take my kids to eat in Amsterdam? I have no idea. Literally none. I’ve never wanted kids (I know – burn me at the stake). And, while I love my nephews, nieces and friends’ kids dearly, I tend to avoid children when it comes to going out to eat. However, kids are important for little things like – you know – populating the earth, paying taxes when I’m a pensioner, stuff like that. So I’m happy other people are busy procreating. And
Amsterdam Brunch Spots with Kids
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: By virtue of its proximity to Vondelpark, the nexus of a great many kiddie classes and activities, Dignita is family central on weekends. Arrive before the brunch rush begins (roughly 12 noon) to score a spot beside the highly coveted, baby-gated play corner. An assortment of lovingly battered toys and books keeps young children occupied until salvation arrives in the form of a decent Bloody Mary. Your giant Bugaboo will fit comfortably beside the couch on the ground floor, while the hipsters escape to the stroller-free mezzanine. Staff are used to dodging wriggly tots while serving up some of the best brunch plates in town. High chairs and changing facilities available.
My verdict on the food: There aren’t many good brunch places in Amsterdam, and Dignita is one of them – kids or no kids. I really enjoyed their chickpea and courgette fritters with fried halloumi, poached egg, avocado, dukkah and a mint-yoghurt dressing. The fritters were moist, the egg perfectly poached, the textures well balanced – all in all, a lovely dish. Their coffees and breakfast cocktails are good too, and even the service is quick. If you are child-free, take Deepa’s advice and escape to the stroller-inaccessible mezzanine level. Read my full review here.
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: Nothing gets me more excited than a killer brunch and playground combo. About a block from the lovely Wachterliedplantsoen playground and kinderboerderij (petting zoo) in Bos en Lommer, Podium Mozaiek is one of my absolute favourites. Their Turkish breakfast has many different components served in small dishes, so even picky eaters can find something to enjoy. There’s lots of space for strollers both inside and on the terrace; high chairs and changing facilities are available.
My verdict on the food: One of the things I enjoyed most about my trip to Istanbul was the incredible Turkish breakfasts. So, if you’re looking to get your fix in Amsterdam, you’ll be happy to stumble upon Mozaiek. The Turkish brunch I had there included everything from filo-cheese cigars and chorizo skewers to fried halloumi and dozens of dips and toppings for bread. The individual portions weren’t huge, but there were enough of them that you certainly didn’t go hungry for a very reasonable €13.
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: Another lovely brunch spot in a very family-friendly neighbourhood, Drovers Dog knows its clientele well. High chairs and a small play corner make this a no-brainer for the young families of the Rivierenbuurt. Their spacious (by Amsterdam standards) terraces hold ample room for strollers when it’s nice enough to sit outside. I haven’t been back in a while (because I never leave my neighbourhood, that’s life as a parent for you), but when we last were there, our daughter loved the ricotta pancakes with blueberries as a special weekend treat.
My verdict on the food: The first time I went to Drovers Dog was years ago, and at the time I felt their corn fritters were not a patch on those at Little Collins. However, I went back more recently and they’ve really upped their game. Their take on an Eggs Benedict involved bacon, spinach and toast (as well as eggs and Hollandaise, obviously) but was no less delicious for being untraditional. Their Bloody Mary hit the spot too.
De Bakkerswinkel, Westergasfabriek
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: Being another lazy resident of Westerpark, like Vicky, De Bakkerswinkel is my go-to kid-friendly café. My daughter and I love to wind up here after a morning (or afternoon) spent kicking a ball around, feeding the ducks, and playing with friends at the wonderful public playground at the Samsam daycare in the park. De Bakkerswinkel offers simple breads and spreads for the kids, changing facilities and high chairs, and a small box of toys for babies and toddlers.
My verdict on the food: I like the Bakkerswinkel because it’s right on my doorstep (in the Westerpark – not that I sleep in the park, but you know what I mean) and it has lovely cakes and things. But you need to be a little careful what you order. A slice of quiche (decent quiche, but not amazing quiche) will cost you around €5. But add a slice of bread and a bit of salad and it’ll go up to nearer €10 for very little added value. On the other hand, the sweet stuff is more affordable: for Brits hankering after a taste of home (or really just a taste of nostalgia) you can get tasty scones with jam and clotted cream for just a few euros.
Amsterdam Restaurants for Dinner with Kids
D&A Hummus Bistro
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: My similarly child-saddled friends and I always seem to end up at D&A Hummus Bistro despite the fact that it’s not specifically catered to families. It must be because the staff is so friendly, the food so consistently good, and the atmosphere so homey and welcoming. It can be a bit of an effort to get a full-sized stroller inside, and there are no high chairs. But it’s worth it for a place where young families like us always feel at home. Bonus: you’re right in between a good-sized playground (Noorderspeeltuin on Karthuizerstraat) and Monte Pelmo IJs, the best ice cream in the Jordaan. Congratulations, you’ve just won at parenting.
My verdict on the food: When I was on the hunt for the best hummus in Amsterdam, D&A Hummus Bistro was right up there. Not only do they know their way around a chickpea; they’re also full of good ideas about how to spice it up with other things. They even serve a “Hummshuka”: yes, that’s shakshuka inside a bowl of hummus. What’s not to love? The pitas are plentiful and the wine flows as well… Read my full review here.
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: One of the great mind tricks nature plays on parents is how easily we forget things (this is how we end up having more children). Though I have a child myself, I’m forever asking my fellow parental units where I can drag my offspring (and those of visiting friends) if I want to have a decent dinner. Café-Restaurant Amsterdam always comes up. With high chairs, changing facilities, and plenty of room for strollers and toddlers running rampant, the general consensus places this spot high on kid-friendliness.
My verdict on the food: The un-google-able Café-Restaurant Amsterdam is one of those places that might not be doing the most creative things with food, but it has something for everyone and does most of it well. Think simple steaks with béarnaise sauce and fries, grilled fish, Caesar salad, vitello tonnato, and good affordable wines by the glass. Plus, the place is huge which gives you a high chance of getting a table even if you haven’t made a reservation. Read my full review here.
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: A-Fusion is another example of a great restaurant that grownups are happy to dine at, but doesn’t specifically cater to families with children, but that I always seem to visit with my child anyway. No high chairs, no changing table, and very little stroller space, but wow, such warm and accommodating service. Our daughter loves the steamed buns, playing around with chopsticks, and dim sum.
My verdict on the food: A-Fusion is hands-down one of my favourite restaurants in Amsterdam. I generally get their chef’s menu and let the kitchen surprise me with whatever’s good that day. But I often order an extra steamed oyster or two, just in case they’re not included in the menu… The sushi and dim sum here are both mouth-wateringly good (try the beef truffle nigiri and tell me I’m wrong). A-Fusion broke down every prejudice I had towards Asian fusion food – even back in 2008. If you’ve not yet been, make a reservation tomorrow – just trust me on this one! Read the full review here.
Le 4 Stagioni
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: I was lured away from my neighbourhood by the promise of a child-friendly dining experience. Vicky surprised me with the information that Le 4 Stagioni host kids’ dinnertime at 6 pm where they eat pizza and get to see inside the kitchen—but being brilliantly organized, as all mothers naturally are, I failed to arrive on time for that. Pizza is a no-brainer kiddie meal, but dessert is the show here. When you order the kids’ gelato, your little tot can go into the kitchen and decorate their ice cream cone with sprinkles, marshmallows, and all the things you’ve been trying to keep them away from all day. If you don’t mind a mad sugar rush afterwards, it’s very cute, and a (literally) sweet gesture meant to make families and kids feel welcome.
My verdict on the food: Le 4 Stagioni was the only restaurant on this list I visited actually because of its child-friendliness. Deepa and I made a date to check this pizza joint out with her daughter and husband a couple of weeks ago. After a bit of a wait (this place is clearly popular with the Oud-Zuid mums and dads), we were seated and looking at the menu. While hubby went for the risotto, Deepa and I both ordered pizzas and her daughter ate a couple of slices. I preferred her Robusta with pancetta and gorgonzola to my Baita. The latter was a white pizza with Italian sausage, radicchio, stracchino, mozzarella and olives. The mozzarella was excellent, the black olives less so. I regretted ordering a white pizza, but that was my own fault, not Le 4 Stagioni’s. Would I make the trek to Oud-Zuid without kids just for the pizza? I doubt it.
Amsterdam Pancake Restaurants with Kids
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: I’ve resorted to pancakes as bribery more than once in my brief career as a parent, something that I can admit to freely and without shame. We like the pancakes at Pancakes! (ooh, so perky) much better than at nearby The Pancake Bakery. Pancakes! has only a high chair but no changing facilities, and it’s a teeny tiny space with no room for strollers or buggies—so families with older kids will fare better. Babies probably shouldn’t be having pancakes anyway.
Note from the editor: Pancakes! have since got in touch with us to let us know about their other locations: they’re now in the Negen Straatjes, next to Centraal Station and by the Westermarkt – the latter looks to have much more space and a changing room. Hurrah!
My verdict on the food: Everyone loves pancakes, child or adult. And I particularly enjoy the weird and wonderful toppings on offer at Pancakes! (with that annoying exclamation mark). I tried one of the house specials: camembert, ham, chicory and raspberry sauce, while my other half went for a sweet-n-savoury combo of bacon, bananas and chilli. They both sound very odd to anyone who grew up on English pancakes (sugar and lemon were about as exciting as they got in my house), French crepes (although you can’t beat a Nutella crepe) or fat American blueberry pancakes. But they’re totally moreish so don’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried ‘em.
Amsterdamse Bos – Pannekoeken Boerderij Meerzicht and Ridammerhoeve goat farm
Deepa’s verdict on child-friendliness: Welcome to child-friendly paradise. The pannekoeken restaurant and goat farm in the Amsterdamse Bos is one of my favourite “lazy parenting” weekend outings. If you make the trek out, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best pancakes in Amsterdam, plus an amazing goat farm, playground, and petting zoo. It feels like a day trip without really leaving the city. What’s not to love?
My verdict on the food: More pancakes – this time in the Amsterdamse Bos (forest). And as anyone who’s ever spent five minutes with a child knows, having outdoor space for them to run around is of the utmost importance. At the Ridammerhoeve goat farm, I particularly appreciate the fact that you can buy goat’s cheese right from the farm – as local as it gets. It teaches kids where cheese comes from, and they can even eat goat’s milk ice cream!