Nowhere in Germany can you find sweeter mustard or plumper dumplings than in Bavaria. The food identity of the southern state is strong and marinated in tradition. There are even rules about when to eat sausages that rival those of how to enjoy coffee in Italy. And yet visitors to the Bavarian capital of Munich will be pleasantly surprised to encounter a growing wave of burrito joints, burger shacks and trendy coffee shops that are modernising the city’s food scene. Read on to find the latest hot spots to drop into after you’ve enjoyed a few masskrüge…
Must-see sights and spuds
Many of Munich’s top sights are located close to Marienplatz in the heart of the city – from the magical town hall to the iconic two-towered Frauenkirche. The centre of town is also home to Viktualienmarkt, a large open-air food market. Here you can find a bounty of local beer, meats, cheeses, honeys, fruit, veg and even extra large gherkins. But there is one stand you really shouldn't miss. Caspar Plautz is run by two young chaps promoting rare varieties of potatoes – with an emphasis on sustainability, modern branding and hip marketing. They offer a daily menu of baked spuds and excellent toppings.
After snacking your way through the market, you can sample some of the best coffee in the city not too far away. Man versus Machine is an independent coffee shop that roasts Arabica beans on site. The buzzing store offers great espresso and intense filter coffee in a stylish interior. Guests can perch on stools or sit in the windowsills for a side of people watching with your superior brew.
Beer and burritos at Gärtnerplatz
From the centre of town it’s just a short walk to Gärtnerplatz – a square (actually more of a circle) where locals often gather for early evening beers. The streets radiating from the square are lined with boutique shops and many places to eat. A fail-safe option to accompany the aforementioned drinks is the Burrito Company. Serving hand-held burritos, stuffed with locally-sourced ingredients, the small shop is run by a Munich entrepreneur who first had the idea when living (and eating) in California.
If you’re in the area earlier in the day, there are also several great cafes where you can grab breakfast. A particularly well-loved location is Trachtenvogl with its vintage furniture, comfy sofas and relaxed atmosphere. Chow down on muesli, eggs and grilled sandwiches before hitting up the nearby shopping scene. They also do excellent coffee and cake for that afternoon sugar hit.
Hang with the student crowd
It comes as no surprise that several of the coolest eateries can be found close to Munich’s two universities. The district of Maxvorstadt is home to many a cheap drinking hole and, lately more and more, places to grab a quick bite, where you’re more likely to end up actually wanting to take your time!
Local favourites include Aloha Poke and Mary's Coffee Club. Choose your own super fresh and healthy bowl ingredients – including tofu, octopus and goji berries – at Aloha Poke to give your hangover the boot! Relaxed, yet beautifully-curated, hangout Mary’s Coffee Club is another spot putting Munich’s foodie scene on the map. Drool-inducing offerings include sourdough spelt breads with decadent, tumbling toppings and instagrammable seasonal specials, such as masala bowls, inspired by the owner’s top food cities around the world.
Go west – and not just for Oktoberfest
Every year, there is one part of town that is far busier than the rest. Oktoberfest attracts around six million thirsty guests – all descending on the huge open space known as Theresienwiese in the district of Westend.
Another reason to head west, however, is the excellent burgers you can find at King Loui. While it may look like an Instagram photo shoot, the owner is far more focused on food. The meat is sourced from local butchers or you can choose a vegetable patty, all served in a number of delicious combos, and all given pun-tastic titles along the lines of ‘cheesus loves you’.
Another must visit is hood-favourite Onofrio’s Appetizing Store. Run by charming half-Italian, half-German, Alessandro, the shop is his way of bringing a piece of Little Italy or even Brooklyn to Munich. He serves large pastrami sandwiches and excellent bagels, including a vegan option with avocado, artichokes and roasted peppers.
Englischer Garten and chill
Munich’s huge park means three things: a crystal clear river, seemingly never-ending greenery and beer gardens. No visit to Munich is complete without some time hanging out in the park. But if you’ve had your fill of sausages and beer (we’ve been told it can happen), there are a number of alternative food locations close by. One such example is Condesa in Schwabing. Run by a Mexican-German couple, this venue serves fresh, authentic favourites with a kick. It’s located just a stone’s throw from the large lake in the centre of the garden.
Some of the best swimming to be had in Englischer Garten is close to an area known as Flaucher, with deeper waters and numerous little islands. A great spot to refuel after a dip is the hugely popular and nearby Türkitch. Here you can get your hands on the kind of kebabs you normally only find in Berlin – perhaps explaining why some people refer to it as the ‘hipster döner place’. The köfte sandwiches are delicious, packed full of fresh parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Expect a queue.
Not all schnitzels are created equal…
Okay, so we said no pretzels, but Bapas deserves an exception. Serving Bavarian tapas – redefining the traditionally large portion sizes that the region is known for – this place offers all the local classics, just down-sized. Meaning, you can try a bit of everything! Dishes include all the classics: apple strudel, meatloaf with quail egg, schnitzel and potato salad. Located on one of Munich’s biggest boulevards in Maxvorstadt, it’s an ideal spot for people watching, while easing yourself into the local cuisine.
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