Since I didn’t really have time on my Norwegian cruise to explore the local food scenes in each of the ports we visited, I was determined to make up for last year by doing my foodie research in advance for my visits to Munich and Prague.
As I had never been to Germany let alone Munich, I was absolutely fine with being more of a “tourist” in terms of the places I dined at in Germany’s third largest city. When you’re completely new to a destination, how can you not want to have all of the local, traditional favorites? I figured my meticulous “avoid the tourist eateries” is better reserved for destinations I’ve already been to or domestic sites where you don’t necessarily have any cultural barriers to contend with.
So here’s a recap of the places I ate at while in Munich, all located in the city’s Innenstadt Nord and Innestadt Süd neighborhoods (Innestadt is the German word for city center).
After checking into our hotel and taking a nap/freshening up, the first site we hit was the Viktualienmarkt, a famous outdoor market. Originally I was thinking it would be great to pick something up at one of the many great sounding food stalls we passed (I was dying to try the world famous curry wurst), but the market was absolutely mobbed. Walking was akin to trying to part the Red Sea in some areas and needless to say there was no space for seating; every square inch was taken. I just didn’t want my first meal in Germany to be me trying to eat something messy while standing up. So we kept walking and eventually came across Bratwurstherzl, a place I had read about in my research. While the outdoor seating area was packed (as was every cafe/restaurant in the city), the indoor space was deserted. So the decision was made.
Service was typically “European,” (not with a smile, frequent absences), but the food was good. It serves up traditional Bavarian-Franconian fare. D ordered the Nuremberg Grilled Sausages (this came with six, it was listed as “for beginners”) and came with your choice of either potato salad or sauerkraut. His only disappointment was that it wasn’t until he was finished that he discovered there was mustard on the table, in a condiment dish he hadn’t thought to look in.
I got the Sauerbraten which is a German-style pot roast. This came with a potato dumpling, something I had read about and was eager to try but didn’t know what to make of the spongy texture and taste.
Beers are from the Hacker-Pschorr Brewery. D went with the Munich Draught Lager.
Total cost: Less than 30 Euros
Address: Dreifaltigkeitspl 1
Paulaner im Tal
While neither of us was super hungry our first night, I still wanted us to get onto German time as quickly as possible and that included keeping up with eating at the normal schedule. This was only a short walk from our hotel and boasted serving traditional Bavarian fare complete with waiters and waitresses decked out in traditional German dress (dirndl and lederhosen).
We split an order of the cheese spätzle which came with a small side salad, we each ordered a pretzel (these are what waffles are to Belgium), and our first German dessert, Apfelstrudel, which was amazing. For his beer selection, D ordered the Hopf Dunkle.
Total cost: Less than 30 Euros.
Address: Tal 12
I would have been fine skipping the overly tourist-mobbed Hofbräuhaus, especially since I’d read countless reviews saying you could find much better fare for cheaper costs elsewhere, but D had his heart set on visiting, so visit we did. We went here for lunch after our Third Reich tour and surprisingly, it wasn’t too crowded.
As we had dinner reservations later that night at a spot I was most looking forward to and didn’t want to spoil my appetite for, I ended up ordering two appetizers, which equated to me ordering poorly. I selected the Potato Soup with Root Vegetables and the Cheese plate (this consisted of Bavaria Blu Cheese, Obazda Camembert spread, and Emmental Swiss Cheese) which came with a slice of house made bread and butter. The potato soup was delicious, but I didn’t really care for the cheeses (give me Spanish cheese any day). Then to make things worse, something I ate totally didn’t agree with me which led to an upset stomach for some of the afternoon.
D was sensible and went big and well with the Wiener Schnitzel along with a huge amount of the Hofbräuhaus Dark Beer.
Total cost: 56 Euros
Address: Platzl 9
Haxnbauer im Scholastikahaus
This was the one place I had my heart set on visiting while in Munich. I had read about it in numerous guidebooks as it’s most famous for its giant shanks of pork, known in German as schweinshax’n). Like many establishments in Munich, it’s been operating for hundreds of years and the cooks today are still doing what the cooks of yesterday did-turning giant shanks of pork over open beechwood fires. When you pass by it on the street I can personally say it smells divine.
I opted for the slices of pork knuckle (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) which came with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and D went for the Bavarian duo which consisted of slices of pork and veal knuckle with potato dumplings and a side salad. Of the two, he preferred the veal to the pork knuckle. I liked mine immensely as well. It was definitely one of those unique culinary experiences. I unfortunately didn’t write down the beer D had with dinner.
Total cost: 56 Euros
Address: Sparkassenstraße 6
Wirtshaus im Braunauer Hof
On our last night in Munich, we ended up getting back to the city rather late as this had been our all-day tour to Neuschwanstein Castle. Naturally it was the same night that the city was dealing with massive protests. Apparently in Germany protests are taken quite seriously and handled quite efficiently as well. Great for efficacy, not so great when you’re a tourist. Streets were being blocked off for cars and saw horses were also being put up all over, resulting in a lot of gymnastic-style bending to get through. After coming back to our hotel for a short bit, we were planning on walking a short distance to try to eat at whatever German restaurant we could going in the direction of the Marienplatz.
One of the hotel attendants asked us where we we headed, and we just said we were looking for some authentic German fare. He recommended a spot away from the protests which was about a five minute walk in the opposite direction and one he said that locals flocked to. Great. We get there and there’s not one empty table. Feeling discouraged since we’ve had one too many final night meals that were a total bust, the girl whom we spoke to said there was a beer garden in the back. I asked if we could order food out there, the answer was yes, and thankfully the night was saved.
Since it was so late (well after 8PM by the time we sat down), we ended up splitting Leberkäse which is similar to bologna sausage, D a pretzel, and Frittatensuppe, beef broth topped with strips of sliced pancake.
Total cost: Around 25 Euros. Note-credit cards are not accepted for orders under 30 Euros. Have cash just in case. Thankfully we had just enough.
Unfortunately after the long day we had and the rush to get somewhere before the protest started, I was remiss in bringing my camera.
Address: Frauenstraße 42
Note: As I’m not a beer drinker, I ordered bottled water with all my meals so the prices I listed include that. I had read that Munich water actually isn’t regarded too well and as I know from past experiences throughout Europe, asking for tap water will often result in a confused look. Just always be sure to denote if you want still, non-seltzer water (no gas).
I have no doubt that when I return to Munich, I’ll try for more local favorites, perhaps even a more upscale/Michelin style experience or two. But for my first trip to Munich, I was overall pleased with everything I ate. I just wish I had had more time to sample more traditional Bavarian favorites.