I’m just going to say it: Europe has way cooler stuff than America does. Take this seriously fantastic place to eat, the Hansel and Gretel Pancake House in the Netherlands. Yes, like the Hansel and Gretel. This place is based on that story, and eating there is like walking into a real-life fairytale…but it’s a restaurant.
Not only that, but it’s a pancake restaurant. And believe me when I tell you that I-HOP has nothing on this place. These sweet and savory pancakes are unlike anything you’ve ever had before (unless you’ve had Dutch-style pancakes, of course). But I’m getting ahead of myself…more about the food in a minute.
My kids could have stayed here all day if we let them, and we were perfectly content watching them play and walking around to see all the fun stuff the Hansel and Gretal Pancake House had to offer.
We were there for two hours and the time flew by.
If you’re ever in Amsterdam (and have a car; more on that later, too), or in the Netherlands and you have kids, I highly recommend making it a point to eat at the Hansel and Gretl Pancake House.
What is this Magical Place?
Let’s talk about this place, shall we? The Hansel and Gretal Pancake House (or Hans & Grietje as you’ll see it spelled in Dutch), is technically a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and a ginormous fairytale-like playground for all ages.
But it’s more than just a place to eat: it’s an interactive restaurant; it’s an experience!
Inside Hans & Grietje’s house is where the magic happens, because you’re essentially eating inside the witch’s house. The tables move around, rooms are flipped upside down, water falls from the ceiling, things are moving everywhere you look, and even on your way to the bathroom, you’ll even find an entire basement to play.
Just make sure you watch your step because there are kids running around everywhere you look. (But on that note, it was actually never too overwhelming for me; I think because it’s all spread out enough.)
If the inside sounds neat, then the outside is just as cool.
Dozens of large wooden picnic-style tables overlook the vast play area. Slides, swings, and “normal” outdoor playground equipment are upped to the next level at Hansel and Gretel’s Pancake House because they look like they’re straight out of a storybook.
There are multiple bouncy trampoline thingies (does anyone actually know their real name?), and my kids’ favorite thing to do there: a go-kart track with a car wash (that has real water) and a gas station.
So, Where Should we Eat?
First of all, try to reserve your table ahead of time, if possible.
I reserved our table a month in advance and they only had terrace seats available (to be fair: we were there during tulip season, during a Dutch school holiday, and over a weekend), but I’ve heard it’s busy pretty much all the time.
When you make your reservation you have to pick an inside or outside table. We’ve only eaten outside (it’s what was available), but thankfully it was a gorgeous day so we could watch the kids all play.
Because of that, we didn’t get to partake in the fun inside…but if we were inside we couldn’t see the kids play outside, which is where I have a feeling they’d want to be the entire time anyway.
So if you have young kids, I’d maybe eat inside so you can just go outside with them to keep track of them? My kids are older (5, 7, and 9 at the time), so we ate at our terrace table and let them roam free.
You also get to keep your table for two hours, which was just the right amount of time to be there. I liked that we didn’t feel rushed and knew we had a time limit. If you want more time than that, you can arrive early to play at the playground first.
Good to Know: when I was booking my table it said there is a non-refundable €30 fee to eat inside with a moveable table. Keep that in mind!
Okay, But How’s the Food?
This is a pancake house, so pancakes take up the majority of the menu. If you don’t like that, then tough liver. Just kidding. There’s a salad and some appetizers available, too…but do everyone a solid and just get a pancake.
Honestly, the pancakes were really, really good. They look massive when they come out, but they’re quite thin and very “crepe” like in thickness and taste.
There are savory and sweet options on the menu; our table got a mix of both and everything was fantastic.
We highly recommend the Dikke Heks and the Stinkende Heks pancakes. The kids ordered off the kid’s menu and devoured their pancakes. There’s also grilled cheese and meatballs on the kid’s menu.
Where is it, Exactly?
The Hansel and Gretal Pancake House is near Amsterdam in an area called Zeewolde, and I’m sorry to say this, but you’ll need a car to get out there. The good news is that there’s free (!!) parking.
3898 LJ Zeewolde
Open from 11 till 9pm every day.
Things to do Before/After the Hansel and Gretel Pancake House
Since the Hansel and Gretel Pancake House is kinda situated on its own, here are some things to do before/after your visit.
One hour to the east of the Hansel and Gretal Pancake House is Giethoorn, AKA Venice of the North. This little village is adorable and totally worthy of a weekend stay. Make it even more memorable and experience this area during tulip season. (More on Giethoorn coming soon.)
Tell me About Your Visit!
If you make it to the Hansel and Gretel Pancake House, tell me all about your experience. Hopefully, someday we’ll make our way back there sometime and can eat inside to share what that’s like. But if you’ve eaten inside, tell me all about it.