“Do you also know any great restaurants in Munich?” A question I’ve been asked a lot of times in the course of the last years and one I’ve never been able to give a good answer to – I simply haven’t spent enough time in Munich.
This question of great restaurants in Munich has been a reoccurring topic during my food writing years and therefore I’ve always had an itch to explore the culinary virtues of the Bavarian capital. So when I got invited by Arla® Protein to go to Munich for a weekend to lead one of their teams through the XLETIX Challenge, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Considering the belly-growing virtues of Bavarian food and beverages, I figured that some exercise wouldn’t hurt to keep me in shape.
“This question of great restaurants in Munich has been a reoccurring topic during my food writing years”
After a couple of weeks of intense preparation of mind and body for a weekend of pork knuckles, mud crawling and obstacle-climbing, I got on a flight down South. It turned out to be a spectacular summer weekend with lots of sun that allowed us to spend time in beer gardens and restaurant terraces while I ran the XLETIX Challenge on the Saturday with my sensational team.
“After a couple of weeks of intense preparation of mind and body for a weekend of pork knuckles, mud crawling and obstacle-climbing, I got on a flight down South.”
Munich is the third-largest city in Germany and famous for a lot of things, ranging from the world’s largest beer fest to men in leather shorts, but one thing Munich definitely is not known for its great, contemporary food. Not many Munich restaurants have carried their reputation across the borders of the city and even locals are quite skeptic when it comes to Munich’s culinary offering.
The type of food Munich is obviously famous for are the celebrated beer garden and Gaststuben classics: Weißwürste (the boiled, white veal sausage), Haxen (Braised pork knuckle), Leberkäse (a loaf-formed sausage) and Obazda (the intense cheese-mix-spread, best eaten with Brezeln) – the hearty dishes that are the the symbol of German food for many non-Germans. The Bavarians do them best, and few things compare to sitting at one of the countless beer gardens and downing a couple of pints of the local brew whilst feasting on these classics. For beer gardens you really shouldn’t miss the iconic Chinese Tower in the centre of the park Englischer Garten. The park itself is worth a longer excursion with an arm of the mountain river Isar floating right through it and city surfers riding an eternal wave in the beginning of the park.
“…and few things compare to sitting at one of the countless beer gardens and downing a couple of pints of the local brew whilst feasting on these classics.”
For classical, Bavarian cuisine there are an abundance of cosy, ancient Gaststuben to choose from across the city, but around the center I can warmly recommend Andechser behind the Dom or Beim Sedlmeyer behind Viktualienmarkt, two institutions that differ from their peers in the fact that the ingredients are of unusually high quality and thus also frequented by locals. The area around Viktualienmarkt is particularly interesting for food, apart from Sedlmeyer it’s also home to Fisch Witte, one of Munich’s best seafood restaurants, as well as Schlemmermeyer, a classical shop and Imbiss that serves the very best pork roast sandwich with crackling. Smother it with a generous amount of mustard and you’ll have one of the best street food snacks the city has to offer. Apart from these eateries the Viktualienmarkt square is also home to several beer gardens and therefore a formidable place to drink a couple of cold beers.
“Smother it with a generous amount of mustard and you’ll have one of the best street food snacks the city has to offer.”
Beyond the classical, Bavarian cuisine options definitely thin out in Munich. There are a couple of interesting modern classics that I enjoyed visiting, like Schuhmann’s in the Hofgarten, an institution where well groomed men in whites wait your tables in the timeless bar or the stunning terrace that floats into the Hofgarten. A great place for afternoon drinks and lunch, especially if you’re into old school drinks. Another place in this category of modern institutions is Die Goldene Bar. Located in the Haus Der Kunst, a stunning 1930s architectural monument, this place is an equally worthwhile drink and bar destination. On weekends they offer a great Weißwurst-breakfast along with modern classics like avocado toast.
“Beyond the classical, Bavarian cuisine options definitely thin out in Munich.”
Fine dining in Munich is focused around a couple of very classical institutions, the ones worth mentioning are Tantris (two Michelin stars) and Atelier Hotel Bayerischer Hof (two Michelin stars) and if you’re interested in investing some serious cash in your meal, these are the places to go. The bistrofication trend, where finer dining food is made available in casual settings, is really not a big thing in Munich yet. There are a couple of exceptions worth mentioning though, like the Gastrobar Kopper where an International mix of funky dishes are served alongside a serious cocktail menu. Add a stylish venue in the middle of the city and you get one of the more interesting places I visited. The newly opened bistro Mural close to the Altstadt is the hottest new project looking to pick up on serving simple and very tasty bites in a cool location. For taste of Bavaria in a modern context I’d recommend heading up to Schwabing and a meal at Trumpf oder Kritisch, one of the few restaurants that serve Bavarian classics in a contemporary and updated context. And although Munich is definitely not a city that boasts a large offering of health-focused eateries, Gratitude in Maxvorstadt features a smart and super casual menu that’s 100% vegan.
Thanks to Arla® Protein for making this weekend happen, I had a spectacular time eating my way through Munich and competing in the XLETX challenge with my team and I’m looking forward to returning. Check out the full product line of Arla® Protein products on their website!
Disclaimer: This post and the trip to Munich was sponsored by Arla®. The opinions on the restaurants are not sponsored.
(There are several Schlemmermeyer, find the window with the pile of pork crackling!)