The great news is everyone’s needs can be met in many Amsterdam restaurants. Try these places for a good time and not a pancake in sight:
Pof is the perfect Noord family hangout. The kids can run free on the open-air playground while the adults eat and enjoy local beer and wine. Pof is all about artisan cooking techniques steeped in tradition and using locally sourced ingredients. So expect all things smoked, stewed, pickled and roasted in a special ‘puff’ oven. The menu is mostly vegetarian with lots of vegan options, but you will find some meat dishes, courtesy of their neighbours. Everything is fresh, and the ingredients don’t have to travel far: they all come from the Netherlands. Don’t worry about the menu being too complicated for the little ones: there are apple syrup sandwiches, sweet soups and two types of poffertjes for your picky little eaters.
This gorgeous restaurant on the Northside of the River IJ will quickly become one of your family favourites. IJ-Kantine is the perfect example of a grown-up place that also happens to be fantastic for kids. Aside from the bright colours and vast windows overlooking the water, they have a play corner with touch-screen TVs, stacks of games and toys for all ages. When the weather is good, there’s a sandpit on the terrace, and every weekend from 14:00 to 18:00, they provide kids’ entertainment overseen by a childminder in one of their lovely meeting rooms. Activities include necklace threading, cupcake decorating, dreamcatcher making or even settling down to watch a kids’ film. Having said all that, they’ve managed to preserve the grown-up cool in the main area, and it never feels overrun by children. Come armed with a book because chances are your little ones won't want to leave.
Cafe Amsterdam ticks all the boxes. Located in a former pump station, this vast industrial space is full of fascinating turbines for kids to explore. As well as a kids’ colouring corner, they offer a children’s menu with crowd-pleasing favourites such as fresh fish nuggets, burgers and pasta; a gorgeous terrace for when the sun comes out and great food for grown-ups too. Perhaps most importantly, the fantastic acoustics mean that even the noisiest little ones won’t cause a disturbance.
There’s no denying that De Hallen is one of the hippest places to hang out in the city. The whole complex is fantastic (be sure to check out whether there’s a kids’ film on at FilmHallen), and it’s the perfect lunch spot for meeting fussy foodie needs. Evenings are hectic, so it’s best to come around midday. Check out VietView for awesome Vietnamese street food. The kids are sure to enjoy fish and chips from The Butcher, Pizza from Renatos or a hot dog from Bulls and Dogs. The great thing is that due to the pick and mix variety of food on offer kids often end up stretching their food boundaries and trying something a little more adventurous.
If you make your way to the back of the Foodhallen, you’ll find the stylish Kanarie Club. It’s a place that actively encourages people to stay all day, plugging in laptops, having a bite to eat or a drink at the bar. Best of all, it’s the perfect place for little ones to join you. The star of the show is the ‘pool bar’: a small empty swimming pool seating aria which kids go crazy for. Come for brunch on the weekend when it turns into an impromptu gathering of mini-hipsters.
Haddock is a restaurant in a cool shed on the river Ij that’s more than family-friendly. You will find a separate kids’ room with table football, toys and even occasional movies, but the fun peaks on weekends with supervised kids-only discos and craft activities. With a huge lawn, a terrace packed with stylish seating, sprinklers and a sandbox, plus a menu of crowd-pleasing kids’ favourites, this is a children’s paradise as well as a cool place for grown-ups to kick back and enjoy.
In summer, there are few places better than the terrace at Stork. Overlooking the River IJ, the views will keep your kids occupied and fascinated almost as much as a TV. The succession of extraordinary boats passing by is mesmerising - from the smallest rowing vessels to massive cruise ships and everything in between. While the adults enjoy the seafood menu, the little ones will delight in the fresh fish and chips and ice lolly.
Amsterdam’s four branches of De Pizzabakkers are hugely popular with families and deservedly so. From delicious pizzas baked in an authentic wood-fired oven to a ‘gelato bambino’ (ice cream served with raspberry or caramel sauce), the menu has got you covered. As a bonus, children get a ball of pizza dough to play with whilst waiting for their food (staff will even bake it for them if they’re not too busy).
Looking for somewhere to hang out in the Oud-West area? Dignita might be the answer. It’s a lovely, airy café with a dedicated kids’ corner packed full of toys. Clearly designed by someone who understands parents’ needs, Dignita has a large table and a couch positioned right by it so that you can keep an eye on your little ones. Food-wise there’s a dish called ‘Eggy’ which is a kids’ sized scrambled egg on home-made bread. As far as drinks go, no one can resist a Tony’s Chocolonely hot chocolate with whipped cream. For parents, it’s all about brunch, made from fresh and ethically sourced ingredients cooked onsite to produce ‘super lekker’ favourites and enticing cocktails.
This post was contributed by Amsterdam Wonderland. Check their blog for more family-friendly suggestions.