Fuoco Vivo, the best pizza in Amsterdam

Oh, just thinking about this pizzeria makes my mouth water. At Fuoco Vivo, pizzas are made the Italian way: from organic sour dough, baked in a wood oven that is made of volcanic earth. Toppings are simply the best, often organic and imported directly from Italy. No wonder this place is crowded with Italians! It feels as if you’re in Naples instead of in Amsterdam, which brings me to the child-friendliness of this place: I have yet to meet an Italian who doesn’t love kids.


MarqtThe Hollandsche Manege

Le Pain Quotidien

One of my favourite international chains in the world must be Le Pain Quotidien (PQ). Even after, I don’t know, 10 years or so, I still am not tired of the deliciousness of the PQ tartines, cakes, salads and, well, everything. So the fact that the PQ finally came to Amsterdam has made me very, very happy! If you’re looking for a cute place to meet a friend for a cappuccino, or bring your kids for a scrumptious weekend breakfast, then this is the place for you. There are highchairs available and my kids absolutely love the fact that they can indulge in the many jams, honey and different Belgian chocolate spreads on the table (and so do I)!



bazar-300x225albert cuijptaart
BazarDe Pijp and the Albert CuypmarketDe Taart van m’n Tante

@7, lovely for lunch

The Scheldestraat is a fun street to go to — you’ll find the Miffy Store there and a few other nice children’s shops. It is also fairly close to the Amstel Park, where there’s a big playground and cute little city farm. A good place for an informal lunch or coffee is at @7. In the back is a little play area for the kids, there are plenty of high chairs, and on the menu are great treats for kids like warm cheese toasts and bread with chocolate sprinkles. One of my favourite places to have coffee or lunch with a friend with the kids in tow!



meys&conijntke winkel2amstelpark
Kid’s shoes from Meys & CoMIFFY SHOPAmstelpark

House and Park Frankendael

In the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, it was the fashion for Amsterdam’s wealthiest merchants to buy a plot of land outside the city and build themselves a stately country house. The beautiful old House Frankendael, located about a mile east from the city centre in Watergraafsmeer, is one of those country estates and in fact the only one remaining in Amsterdam.
It is located in the historical Park Frankendael, which is a lovely place to visit for a relaxing stroll with the family. There’s a playground to be discovered and also a little ruin on a (tiny) island. The restaurant in the old coach house of Frankendael House is open 7 days a week and is a good place for breakfast or lunch combined with a visit to the park — especially in summer when the terrace at the back of the house is open.
The famous restaurant The Kas is also located in Park Frankendael, in a huge greenhouse dating from 1926, and is a great place for dinner, with or without children.


Restaurant As — pure food

One of my favourite restaurants in Amsterdam is Restaurant As. Located in a modern chapel on the edge of the Beatrix Park, this is slow food at its best! The cooks use organic, seasonal food from local sources and are big on treating the food the way it should be treated, so that it tastes exactly like what it should taste like. They smoke their own salmon, cure their own ham and bake their own bread. A pig and some chickens roam around at the back of the restaurant and remind us respectfully of where it all comes from.
Children are welcome and have enough room to play and even run around. And in summer there’s a lovely, big terrace.


Delle 4 Stagioni

Delle 4 Stagioni is the neighbourhood Italian restaurant that every Old-South family knows about. It is located in a beautiful old butcher’s shop with all the original antique wall tiles still present (and depicting the four seasons). The restaurant serves a good Roman style pizza, tasty fresh pastas and has a decent wine list. The manager, the very kind Giulia Consonni, has a friendly word for each child and takes them to the kitchen in the back of the restaurant for an ice-cream cone as dessert — provided the little ones eat their dinner, obviously! (more…)


IssaImps & ElfsRestaurant As — pure food


Even though they don’t serve French Fries at Burgermeester (Dutch for mayor), they do serve the most delicious burgers! Think burgers with Blonde d’Aquitaine beef and truffle, lamb with red onion compote, wild duck with Chinese cabbage, salmon with grilled asparagus and lemon mayonnaise… Or the vegetarian burger with falafel and grilled vegetables — all of them super tasty, and accompanied by potatoes, corn on the cob or salad, fresh fruit juices or milkshakes.
Even though the food is upscale, the setting is definitely super relaxed, like a fast food joint ought to be. Meaning food is served quickly, and kids crawling over benches won’t be a bother!
Best of all? All the deli burgers come in mini varieties — perfect for little tummies (or big tummies that like to try them all)!



Pancakes!Jewish Historical MuseumRijksmuseum


bazarIn one of Amsterdam’s hottest neighbourhoods, de Pijp, you can find Bazar, a restaurant serving Arabic dishes in a middle Eastern atmosphere.  I really like Bazar, mostly for it’s relaxed atmosphere.  No dressing up, no big prices, nothing fancy but on the other hand super relaxed and kid-friendly.  Mini picnic tables are put next to the grown-up’s table so the little ones can eat in style.  Highchairs are available, colouring plates and crayons free to use and a little corner with television is present.  A kid’s menu is available and the ice-cream is a favourite!  Great to meet up with friends with kids, the staff really doesn’t mind the little ones running around.  They even like to play ball!

xxx Esther (more…)


breadtaartalbert cuijp
Le Pain QuotidienDe Taart van m’n TanteDe Pijp and the Albert Cuypmarket



If you happen to be in Amsterdam and have a few hours to spare for some coffee and shopping, Utrechtsestraat is a good place to go.
The Koffiesalon, a lovely coffee-shop (in the true meaning of the word), has good seating, great espresso, yummy cakes and sandwiches and you can help yourself to as much water as you like. I brought my daughter here for some mummy and daughter time before and we both greatly enjoyed it. It’s also a good place to meet friends or even have an informal meeting.
Not far up the road, at number 74, you’ll find one of my favourite shops in Amsterdam, Jan. The shop owner, Janna, who obviously has great taste, has gathered a fantastic selection of products. Lamps, cushions, dinnerware and cutlery are amongst the stock, but the shop also features fashion accessories such as bags, belts, jewelery and watches, and some lovely toys and kiddie books. If you need a present or want to treat your own family (= yourself), don’t miss it.
Next door you’ll find Bellerose (they have good kids’ clothes). Funky ladies fashion can be found at Jan Lensen, beautiful French and Italian ceramics at Kom, great interior pieces at Mobilia, and there are many, many more great shops and restaurants. Maybe you’ll need more than a few hours!



Pancakes!Jewish Historical MuseumHEMA



I’m sure I’m telling the food-concious Amsterdam inhabitant nothing new when I say the word ‘Marqt‘. Because Marqt came and conquered, and we didn’t look back!
The concept behind Marqt (not a supermarket but a ‘fresh market’) is fresh food, mostly organic, coming from local farms in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam and of very high quality. Everything is presented in a sublime and spacious interior (think wood, brick and stainless steel).
For people living in NY or London, where fancy food experiences (we don’t call them supermarkets any more) such as Whole Foods are around your corner, this concept might be nothing new. But to us here in provincial Amsterdam, organic shopping used to be limited to a couple of over-prized, sexless bio-shops where the shop assistants were as slow and un-enthusiastic as the food they were selling. But with Marqt in town, Amsterdam is back on the organic map!

P.S. When you go shopping at Marqt (BTW the bread is divine), you can leave your cash at home, because they only accept cards.


The Hollandsche ManegeFuoco Vivo, the best pizza in Amsterdam

Cumin cheese


The Dutch are pretty famous for their cheeses. The ‘normal’ Gouda cheese is well known internationally, and also the plain Edam cheese is pretty much available in better cheese shops all over the world.
A cheese I have never found abroad though is ‘komijnekaas’ (‘cumin cheese’) — basically a Gouda or Edam cheese with cumin seeds in it, and a cheese we love in the Netherlands (at least I do)!
The cumin seeds give the cheese a mild, nutty flavour and it is very good on a slice of fresh bread or just as is on a cheese platter.
If in Amsterdam, make sure to step in to one of the many cheese shops (don’t worry — although they are certainly ‘cheesy’, they are not at all ‘just for tourists’)! They will gladly let you taste cumin cheese – and any other cheese you would like to try (and there are many)!

De Bakkerswinkel


These days we just love meeting friends for breakfast or brunch on a weekend morning. Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day to start with, but besides that, early in the day my kids are still well rested and thus more enjoyable (as opposed to overall crankiness at dinner time)! Also, like every other parent with little children, we’re awake early anyways, so we might as well start our social schedule before noon! (Of course the friends we are meeting have kids too – the friends without kids would be crazy to leave their beds before noon on a weekend morning! In fact, it should be forbidden – what a waste!)

My favourite breakfast place is ‘De Bakkerswinkel’ (The Bakers’ Shop). Not only can you buy yummy breads, cakes and scones at the counter of ‘The Bakkerswinkel’, they also serve a wonderful (Dutch style) breakfast, lunch or tea in the restaurant area, which always has a very cozy and homey feel to it! Think jars of honey and home-made jams on the table, big cups of cappuccinos (small cups of babyccinos for the little ones of course), baskets filled with delicious breads, scones, etc. The menu is big enough to have something yummy for everyone’s taste! (more…)


Artis, an old and beautiful ZooNot a fish!HEMA

Le Fournil

le fournil

Le Fournil is the first original French bakery in the Netherlands, and it is immensely popular. Getting fresh bread on a weekend morning means standing in line here, but it is worth it! The most delicious baguettes, croissants, brioches, madeleines… Yum!
Sébastien, the owner, comes from a family of many generations of bakers located in the Vendée (France). Together with his Dutch wife he owned a bakery in France for over 10 years, but when they were visiting family in the Netherlands the idea of starting a French bakery in Amsterdam slowly took form. An excellent idea, if you ask me! One of our neighbourhood treasures…


4 stagioniokonomiyakiknutsel frutsel
Delle 4 StagioniIssaKnutsel Frutsel, for your creative needs

Strand Zuid

Last week we finally had a nice and warm, summery day in the Netherlands, so a girlfriend and I took our children to one of the hip & cool city beaches here in Amsterdam: Strand Zuid (South Beach).
Behind the (big & ugly) congress centre, ‘Amsterdam Rai’, and on the border of the Beatrix Park pond, a lovely treasure is hidden: a beach in the middle of Amsterdam!
There are 2,000 square meters of sand, chill-out areas, bars & terraces with good food, sun-loungers, a beach volleyball field and showers. It’s great to bring your children here on a warm summer day; they can enjoy themselves in the sand and play with all the other kids, while you can relax a bit with a rosé and pretend to be in the Mediterranean…

It’s also not a bad place to come without children – for a stylish dinner on a nice summer evening… It’s open until midnight on weekends.



@7amstelparknijntke winkel2
@7, lovely for lunchAmstelparkMIFFY SHOP

Tony Chocolonely

Tony’s ChocolonelySince we moved back to the Netherlands (now about a year ago), I’ve noticed these brightly-coloured ‘Tony’s Chocolonely’ chocolate bars around. The wrapping is very garish and in-your-face (cool though), and not at all like the packaging I usually go for in Chocolate Land (meaning matte dark-brown paper, golden accents and names like ‘La Maison du Chocolat’ or ‘Marcolini’ – I’m posh like that :-)). But the fact that my hairdresser, who uses Aveda and makes an effort to be very earth-friendly and chic in general, had Tony’s Chocolonely’s bars on the counter made me decide to try one.

I must say, I was certainly not disappointed! I tried the blue 72% cacao variety and it was beautifully brittle and tasty. By now I was getting curious – what’s the story behind these different-looking chocolate bars with their weird name?
A visit to Tony Chocolonely’s website explained it all, and made me laugh and cry at the same time… (more…)

Older Posts »