From well-designed play corners to children’s meals made to order – kid-friendliness is always on the menu at these Bern eateries tested by real families.
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Zehendermätteli: Good fun, good food
“Good + good equals super good” is what the founding team of the “Wagen zum Glück” must have said to themselves when they took over Restaurant Zehendermätteli and created a little paradise snuggled between apple trees, circus tents and the Aare river. A pub, enriching culture and a garden – you’ll find it all here if you want to escape urban Bern on foot (or by ferry). It goes without saying that children can let off steam in this natural oasis. You can also explore the Zehendi garden, where many of the fresh and seasonal ingredients in the delicious dishes come from, and don’t forget to check out the circus tent! Ice cream and drinks are always available, while at lunchtime there is a choice of two set menus, and in the evening you can enjoy a three-course meal featuring Asian cuisine. And be sure to make a reservation so you don’t miss the delicious brunch on Sundays!
Off to the apple trees
Children always love to romp around, so what better place for a café than a former gymnasium? There’s not only enough room to play and climb, but also a toybox, so the chances of parents getting a break as well are not bad. When the weather is nice, the courtyard is ideal for hide-and-seek and running around – and thanks to the varied menu available, no one goes hungry either! Our tip: With a little practice, the falafel from the Pittaria in the courtyard can also be eaten one-handed should you need your other hand to help a small child. In the winter months, there’s a family concert with kid-friendly drinks held once a month on Sunday afternoon, organised by bee-flat. Family-friendly outing, olé!
The café-bar for energetic youngsters
A favourite among more than just vegetarians! The children’s corner with picture books, markers and paper is almost never empty here. The newer of the two Tibits restaurants in Bern is a real magnet for parents. It’s especially practical for parents with babies since the large armchairs are perfect for a feeding break. A whole range of highchairs and a changing table on the ground floor are part of the inventory. The central location and the flexible portion sizes of the many different dishes are additional points in favour of this restaurant (keyword: picky eaters!). It can get extremely crowded here at noon, however, so it’s better to visit in the morning – when you can sip a chai latte, freshly squeezed juice or a babyccino (milk foam in espresso cups) without having to queue and fight for a seat.
The oasis in the city centre
A coffee bar with co-working spaces on Effingerstrasse makes our list thanks to its cosy interior and well-furnished play corner. You can sip on delectable coffee while the little ones draw, play with duplo blocks or listen to a story on an iPod provided by the café. The staff are incredibly friendly and quickly get to know frequent visitors by name. Soups and quiches are offered at lunchtime, and the chocolate cake is to die for. Unfortunately, the Effinger is no longer an insider’s tip, so there is often limited seating only. However, you can check out the nearby Kocherpark or stop off at the A&O children’s shop while you’re waiting for a seat at this gem of a café.
Cosiness here we come
Cafébar at the Generationenhaus
This paradise for families is hidden behind thick sandstone walls just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of the train station. In fine weather, the inner courtyard of Bern’s Generationenhaus is a quiet and green oasis; in rainy and cold weather, the cafébar inside offers a laidback place to meet with friends and family. The small cafeteria is located diagonally across from the equally recommendable Toi et Moi (go through the main gate, then turn left behind the reception). Visitors can purchase their coffee from the vending machine and bring something along for a picnic. A small branch of the Kornhaus library is waiting next door with reading material for young and old alike, and the Parents’ Counselling Centre, which is also housed here, has what is probably one of the most beautiful changing tables in Bern.
Uncomplicated, cheap and central
With its white tablecloths, wine glasses everywhere and suit-clad business people, the Lorenzini is admittedly not really the place to go with (several) active toddlers. With slightly older children, however, it can be a wonderful experience. Where else can children (up to 12 years) choose whatever dishes they want from the “adult” menu? And at a very fair price to boot (15 francs for three courses!). The classic Italian cuisine served here is of premium quality and appeals to all age groups, making the restaurant with its many “salotti” ideal for stylish family celebrations as well. As in all Bindella Group establishments, children are very welcome. For those who prefer something a little simpler, the Spaghetti Factory on Kornhausplatz is also highly recommended.
Mangia, mangia, piccola!
What place could be more child-friendly than a former fire brigade barracks? At Löscher (German for “extinguisher”) on Viktoriaplatz, kids can take a look at the pole that the firefighters used to slide down when the siren sounded. There are also picture books and toys, it’s easy to order, and babies can crawl around without attracting any disapproving glares. It’s also a great place to eat! The ever-changing menu features seasonal and regional products. There is no children’s menu, but smaller portions of each dish can be ordered. The big plus in summer is the courtyard where kids can run around. There are two other family-friendly facilities in the same building, the Repaircafé and the Leihbar.
Quench your thirst
Watch TV during dinner? What might be strictly forbidden at home is part of the concept here. The Sportbar Bärn calls itself an “extended living room for sports fanatics, their friends and family”. No matter where you sit, you can watch one of the football, ice hockey, tennis or other matches being broadcast on the many screens here. In summer, the secluded terrace beckons, and right next to it, children can entertain themselves with the in-house playground or watch the tennis players. The menu is simple, but with a variety of fries, burgers and salads, it offers all the energy you need for your next adventure, e.g. at the Ka-We-De swimming pool or the Bern Animal Park, Dählhölzli – both of which are conveniently located right next door.
On your mark, get set, go!
This coffee bar in the west end of Bern offers a luxury that is almost impossible to find anywhere else in the city centre: enough space! Becanto may be rather small, but the interior still feels spacious and inviting. You can enjoy a delicious breakfast (daily until 4:00 pm!) or a varied brunch on Sundays. The small play corner, a children’s brunch package and the friendly service are all proof that kids are welcome here. In summer, the spacious outdoor area – partly bordered by a fence – offers a nice place for snacks and drinks “en famille”. And for those who want to combine a visit to the pub with physical activity, the Weyermannshaus sports facility is just a ten-minute walk away.
A restaurant that has been in business for 50 years probably does a lot of things right. Casa d’Italia at Bühlstrasse 57 is a small Italian enclave in Bern. The waiting staff speak Italian, the pizza oven is in the middle of the restaurant, and the noise level is high enough that even small children are not a disturbance here. The menu tempts your taste buds with Italian classics – antipasti, risotti, saltimbocca, and pasta, of course, in all its many variations. Rumour has it that they have the best homemade basil pesto in town, but the Mamma Leone tagliatelle are also heavenly! Our tip: The portions here are big, so it’s worth bringing plastic containers from home to save yourself having to cook the next day.
Italianità à Berna
Santa Lucia by Bindella
Incredibly crispy wood-fired pizza and a mix of guests that you can only find in Bern is what Santa Lucia has to offer. Centrally located on Bärenplatz, it attracts everyone from politicians and office workers to tourists and families with its easygoing style. There’s a cosy terrace outside and lots of art on the walls inside. Regardless of where you choose to sit, the menu includes the aforementioned pizzas as well as pasta, fish, meat and salad classics. As is customary in Italy, Santa Lucia also places great emphasis on the well-being of its younger patrons. For the all-inclusive price of nine francs, your bambini (12 years of age and younger, accompanied by an adult) can choose whatever they want from the varied menu, drinks not included. Andiamo!
Cucina italiana for young gourmands
The Bimano no longer needs an introduction in Bern. In no time at all, this terrific indoor playground has become a fixed favourite for family activities. However, the adjoining Zent restaurant is also a great tip for an enjoyable family meal. For parents, the menu is seasonal and sophisticated, while for children, it’s simple and quick (potato wedges and pasta are always available). While waiting for their food, the little ones can jump around in the ball pit or watch the skaters. In short, Zent is the perfect place for a relaxed family night out! The route to its location behind the Guisanplatz is the only part that can be a bit tedious when using public transport or in bad weather. However, fine food, a pleasant atmosphere and kids that are so exhausted they’ll definitely fall asleep on the way home are worth it.
It doesn’t get kid-friendlier than this