best places if you have children

This guest post is from my friend Lori, who blogs at pisceschronicles about living in Germany and her travels further afield; over to you, Lori!

So, you have a baby.  Your life now, is beautiful in a different way.  Likely more chaos, likely more mess, more laughter and yes, also more tears. Definitely more ‘come to Jesus’ moments and still some quiet moments to yourself.  In this particular moment, you are at home and starting to feel hungry.  It’s 11am, you haven't showered yet and you really-really don't want to do dishes.  You think back on life before kids.  The old days, when you randomly popped in to a restaurant because you didn't feel like cooking, or washing dishes.  Or because sometimes, sushi called. I remember this moment.  Realising with sudden, simple, stupid clarity that I couldn't do things the same way anymore.  The spontaneity of that life is on sabbatical.  However, the eating out part doesn’t have to be.  You can still eat out with your baby/kids and be reasonably comfortable while doing it.  

It’s all about logistics.  Do a bit of research.  Go to places that have high chairs, or have play corners, or open spaces.  Go before or after the meal rush times (your crawler/runner is a lot less likely to trip someone, and if you’ve a screamer then there are fewer people to delight).

  1. Does the restaurant have high chairs? My toddler won’t sit on my lap calmly and let me eat, even for all the chocolate in the world.  And that’s okay.  I think my kid is like a lot of kids.  If I don’t know, then I call and ask.
  2. Is the restaurant near a public transportation stop?  If so, then perhaps I don’t take the pram and avoid having to think about question three entirely.
  3. If I take the pram: where will I park it?  Some restaurants are spacious enough that it is comfortable to park your pram at your table.  Better yet, some have alcoves or cleared corners that are good for pram parking.  But if it’s small inside, restaurant staff won’t like tripping over it.

For example:  There’s a tasty little Italian restaurant, A Tavola! in my neighbourhood.  The entrance boasts tall, steep steps (bad for pram).  And it is small inside (also bad for pram or kids who like to run around).  BUT it has high chairs.  So, it's one of those places I went regularly without the pram before she started walking.

Here’s a short list of places I’ve been that are family-friendly for one reason or another:

Alex
| Europa Allee, Skyline Plaza | Mon-Thurs: 0830-2400; Fri-Sat: 0830-0200; Sun: 0900-2400 | Gallusviertel |
Alex is located on the roof of Skyline Plaza. In addition to a large outdoor area, inside and around the corner in the back, is a children’s play corner.  Lots of parent baby/toddler groups do weekly meet ups here. They have high chairs, and space enough to park your pram near your table.  Skyline Plaza is accessible by ubahn, and tram.

Bareburger
| Schweizer Platz 56 | Mon: closed; Tues: 1730–2200; Wed-Fri: 1230–1500, 1730–2200; Sat: 1230–2300; Sun 1230–2200 | Sachsenhausen |
If you are hankering for a burger this is a place to go.  They have high chairs, and provide crayons and paper as entertainment.  Oh, and they have a kids’ menu.  The location is easily reached by Ubahns 1,2,3 and 8.

Cafe Metropol
| Weckmarkt 15 | Mon: closed; Tues-Sat: 0900-0100; Sun: 0900-2400 | Innenstadt |
This cafe is actually quite large inside and also has an outdoor courtyard area.  Great spot for brunch in the sun with your pram parked nearby. Located near the Dom Römer, this is a short walk from several public transportation stops (ubahn or bus).

Depot 1899
| Textorstraße 33 | Mon-Fri: 1130-0100; Sat-Sun: 1000-0100 | Sachsenhausen |
This restaurant is very large, has space for your pram, a diaper-changing table, and high chairs.  They boast a big brunch Sundays and on week days an ever-changing lunch menu (always with a vegetarian option).  Depot 1899 is also a popular spot for parent baby meetups because of its size, and its location as it is a short walk from Südbahnhof.

Gerbermühle
|Gerbermühlstraße 105 | Mon-Sun: 1130-2230 | Sachsenhausen |
This spot is a hotel and restaurant.  Located along the Main River, it has a large outdoor beer garden.  In the warmer months, this place is bustling with families.  It’s not close to any public transportation stops but a nice walk along the river will get you there easily.

Harvey’s
| Bornheimer Landstraße 64 | Mon-Fri: 0900-0100; Sat: 0900-0200; Sun: 0900-2400 | Bornheim |
This one has a lot of outdoor seating, but be warned the bathrooms are small and inconvenient for diaper changes.  No high chairs here either, but they use benches for seating instead of chairs, which is fun for kids who can sit up-right on their own.  It’s on the corner behind Friedberger Platz and easily accessible by trams 18 and 12.

Oosten
| Mayfarthstraße 4 | Sun-Thurs: 1000-2400; Fri-Sa:t 0900-0100 | Ostend |
Another one along the Main River, this restaurant is all windows.  No high chairs here but it has a lot of outdoor seating, and is walking distance to a playground to burn off energy before/after sitting the kids down to a meal. Not close to any public transportation stop but it is a nice walk along the river.

Below are a few more places, recommended by fellow mamas and papas in Frankfurt (the facebook group is ‘ExpatBabies Frankfurt’), as places they go to eat with their kids.

Blockhouse
| Wiesenau 1 | Mon-Sat: 1130-2400; Sun: 1130-2300 | Westend |
| Europa Allee 22 | Mon-Sat 1130-2400; Sun 1130-2300 | Gallusviertel |
| Börsenplatz | Mon-Sat: 1130-2400; Sun: 1130-2300 | Innenstadt |
When a big fat juicy steak is calling you, try one of the Blockhouse restaurants.  All three locations have high chairs and a kids’ menu ‘with variety’ (their words-not mine).

Karstadt Restaurant ‘Le Buffet’
| Zeil 90 | Mon-Sat: 1000-2000; Sun: closed |Innenstadt |
Karstadt is a big department store but their top floor is also a restaurant complete with a kids’ menu (typically nuggets and fries) and a play area.  Their location is directly on the Zeil shopping street so you can get there with bus, tram, or even sbahn and a short walk.

Laube Liebe Hoffnung (pictured above)
| Pariser Straße 11 | Mon-Sat: 1130-2400; Sun: 1000-0300 | Gallusviertel |
This restaurant is situated in a garden, and the building itself is unique.  They provide high chairs and have outdoor seating and a sandbox for kids to play in.  Easily accessed by the bus 46 which runs by every 20 minutes.

Schuchs in Praunheim
| Alt Praunheim 11 | Mon: 1700-2300; Tues, Thurs-Sun: 1200-2300; Wed: closed | Praunheim |
This restaurant has a tree growing up and through it.  Schuch’s boasts typical German food and a wide variety of apfel wein.  For your kids, it has a play area and rumour has it that sometimes kids get free ice-cream.  Buses 72 or 60 can drop you off within 150m.

Vapiano
| Bockenheimer Landstraße 24 | Mon-Thurs 1100-2300; Fri-Sat: 1100-2330; Sun: 1100-2300 | Westend |
| Goetheplatz 1-3 | Mon-Thurs: 1100-2300; Fri-Sat: 1100-2330; Sun: 1100-2300 | Innenstadt |
Vapiano is a sure thing when you are in the mood for pasta. Both these locations provide high chairs, and kids’ menu options of salad or pasta.

Zum Lahmen Esel
| Krautgartenweg 1 | Mon: closed; Tues-Sun: 1130-1400, 1700-2400 | Neiderussel |
This is another German alpfel wein restaurant.  In addition to high chairs, they reportedly have a play corner inside and a playground outdoors.  According to one mom, a short walk leads you to horses!  Ubahns 3,8 and 9 all drop you off near the door.

And if nothing mentioned covers your cravings, here is a list compiled by the ExpatBabies group.