Whether you’re in Amsterdam with your kids for a few days or a few weeks, you’ll need to find some family-friendly restaurants where you can feed your crew. I’m currently in Amsterdam with my 12 and 14-year-old kids, and even though we’ve rented an apartment, we’re still eating out a lot.
It’s easy enough to pack a lunch or grab snacks on the go, but every so often I like to sit down and let someone else do the cooking. Here are a few of the places we’ve tried and liked. Most of them are in or near the Jordaan, where we’re staying.
We stumbled on this diminutive eatery our second day in town, and haven’t had better pancakes anywhere else. A quick word on pancakes: they’re not just for breakfast here. You can choose to have them sweet or savory, and eat them three meals a day. The cheese, onion, and tomato pancake with guacamole was delicious, and the kids liked there citron pancakes too. Be prepared to wait for a table — it’s popular and seems to serve only lunch and very early dinner.
2. La Perla
I know, I know. You didn’t come all the way to Amsterdam to eat pizza, but seriously: don’t miss this place. Their authentic Napoli-style pizzas are fired in a wood oven and well worth waiting for. Ignore the online reviews that claim they don’t take reservations — they do. My kids loved the spicy salami (very similar to the pepperoni they’re used to) and my husband and I devoured the carciofo (artichokes, garlic, capers, and olives). The neighborhood is adorable too.
This is a good something-for-everyone spot, and really good for groups (they’ve got a big round table that seats up to 10). While they claim not to take reservations, try calling if you’ve got a big party — you never know. They’re known for their ribs, and my son says their steak frites is a good choice too. Vegetarians in our group had a nice ravioli dish, and there were great seafood choices too. The location is on a sleepy street in the shadow of the Westerkerk (which is a great middle of the street photo op, but watch out for bikes). Don’t order dessert, though. Instead, ask for the check and go to the next place on this list.
This is where people in the Jordaan come for apple pie. You know when something is built up to the point that it cannot possibly live up to the hype? This is not that place. The apple pie with cream is absolutely sublime. It’s more like an apple cake than an apple pie, but who am I to argue? I’ve read that the line can go around the block on Saturday mornings during the organic farmers’ market at adjacent Noordermarkt but both times we went, we were seated immediately. If you find you like apple pie, head over to Cafe Papeneiland around the corner and do a little comparison — it’s good too.
We have often found that we need a break from the charming, yet crowded and busy streets of Amsterdam. The Mokum Museum Cafeat the Amsterdam Museum is the perfect place to recharge and refuel. You can sit outside in their peaceful terrace courtyard or inside where it’s even quieter. They serve the usual pancakes, salads, and sandwiches. While prices aren’t cheap, the food is good and they have a children’s menu. Open 10-5 daily.
Visiting Vondelpark? This is a great waterfront place for your kids to try tostis for the first time — little cheese or cheese and sausage-filled pastries that are delicious and well-priced. My kids have developed a little bit of a habit. You can also get soup, sandwiches, snacks and all kinds of drinks from smoothies and sodas to Irish coffee or a nice glass of rosé (it hasn’t caught on in America, but it’s a quintessential summer drink in lots of Europe — trust me).
Okay, this place is basically an upscale cafeteria, but stay with me for a minute. It’s an upscale cafeteria with really fresh food and decent prices on the top floor of Amsterdam’s gorgeous public library — one of the few places in town high enough up to give you a view. Even though you don’t (probably) speak a word of Dutch, it’s worth wandering through the library after you eat — it’s the biggest in Europe and a feast for the eyes too.