Germans love meat and potatoes, and these ingredients are staples in almost every meal. While not world famous for its haute cuisine, German food is hearty and filling. Try a zwiebelrostbraten (rib roast with onions) or schweinshaxe (pork knuckle), typical local delicacies. A must-do is simply picking up a sausage at a stand or meat shop, with the most popular shops just having a small window where they serve cooked sausages.
Of course, each region in Germany has its own specialty sausage, so going around and trying the variations in each is a must for foodies. It is estimated that there are over 1,500 types of sausage in the country, which vary from pork, beef, and veal. Turkish cuisine has also melted into German everyday cuisine, with doner kebabs popular for lunch or as a midnight snack. In fact, some of the best Turkish food can be found in Germany.
Bars and Pubbing in Germany
When talking about beer in Germany, the scope for conversation is simply endless. But what many visitors do not know is that there are only a few national beer brands, one being Warsteiner, and the rest are basically local brews. Each city or area prides itself in its own flavor, which is what the locals drink. Head to a brewery in any German city or village for the best food and drinks. In Frankfurt, Binding-Brauerei (Darmstädter Landstrasse 185); in Berlin, Lindenbräu (Bellevuestrasse 3-5); and in Munich, the famous Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9) are must-sees. These major breweries are complemented by lots of micro-breweries scattered about. In the Frankfurt region, another must-try tradition is Apfelwein or apple wine.
The major cities, such as Frankfurt and Berlin, also have a large choice of international bars and pubs, most of which open until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.. Many cater to the ex-pat community, but are also popular with German locals and visitors. In Frankfurt, homesick Britons flock to the Fox and Hound (Niedenau 2, Frankfurt) or the Anglo Irish (Kleine Rittergasse 1, Frankfurt) for a British pub or pint. Americans in Frankfurt can grab a beer, burger, and fries at Sam’s Sportsbar (Kleine Rittergasse 28-30, Frankfurt).
In Frankfurt, most of the popular and hippest nightclubs are located in Sachsenhausen where visitors will find a range of nightlife options. Popular venues include the Clubkeller (Textorstrasse 26, Frankfurt), Voices Karaoke Bar & Dance Club (Kleine Rittergasse 14-20, Frankfurt), and Stereo Bar (Abtsgässchen 7, Frankfurt). Of course, not to be missed is Cocoon (Nordendsrasse 30b, Frankfurt), where international DJ Sven Väth got started.
In Berlin, visitors will find the widest range of nightlife venues in Germany. There is everything from traditional pubs and techno dances, to rock clubs and more. Many of the popular bar and clubs are located in the Mitte district, such as Kitkatclub (Köpenickerstrasse 76, Berlin) and Asphalt Club (Mohrenstrasse 30, Berlin). In Friedrichshain, visitors will find more hip venues, such as Spindler & Klatt (Köpenickerstrasse 16-17, Berlin) and Club Maria (Ostbahnhof, Berlin). Closer to the old East German border is the hip club Berghain (Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Berlin).
Dining and Cuisine in Germany
Sausages, sausages, and more sausages. There are many must-eat meats in Germany, ranging from the Frankfurter, the Thüringer, the Nüremberger and the Weisswurst, to the bockwurst and currywurst, to name but a few. In Frankfurt, head to the two most famous sausage shops for a taste, the Schlemmermeyer (Grosse Bockehnheimer Strasse 23, Frankfurt) – for the famed Thüringer and Gref-Völsings (Hanauer Landstrasse 132, Frankfurt) for the rindwurst. In Berlin, a must is the currywurst (curry powder-covered sausage) at Curry 36 (Mehringdamm 36, Berlin).
In Frankfurt, visitors should head to the Fressgass (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, Frankfurt) to find the best variety of restaurants. The street is a pedestrian walkway, so visitors can stroll and find an appealing dining option of their choice from international cuisines to regional plates. Local favorites include: Restaurant Opera (Opernplatz 1, Frankfurt), Zarges (Kalbächer Gasse 10, Frankfurt), Das Wirtshaus (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse 29, Frankfurt), and Stella (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse 52, Frankfurt).
Bavarian cuisine has its own flair and dishes which are different from those of other regions in Germany. It might be cliché, but Dirndl glad maidens serving fine beer and hearty Bavarian food is dining experience not to be missed. While there is nothing wrong with seeking out the Hofbräuhaus, Munich has much more to offer. At the top of the line is Schuhbecks in den Südtiroler Stuben (6-8 Platzl, Munich), a Michelin-star restaurant serving the best Bavarian anywhere, but booking ahead is a must. For more old-fashioned fare, go to the Haxbauer (6 Sparkassenstrasse, Munich), located in a beautiful 14th century building. For more homely charm, try the Geisel’s Vinothek (11 Schützenstrasse, Munich).
Berlin probably has the biggest choice of restaurants in Germany. At the luxury level, there is the famous Die Quadriga (14 Eislebener Strasse, Berlin). This sophisticated eatery requires advanced booking and boasts no less than 900 bottles of wine on its menu. The oldest inn in Berlin serves up great traditional food; Zur Letzten Instanz (14-16 Waisenstrasse, Berlin) is well worth a visit. There is nothing like eating Turkish food in Germany so head to Dada Falafel (132 Linienstrasse, Berlin) for a taste of the Middle East up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m..
Visitors should note that most restaurants in Germany close around or before midnight, which means last call is taken around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.. Tips are generally not included so visitors should look to pay an average of 10 percent on top of the check.