A Munich Guide to Eating Like a Local – Part 2: Hidden Gems

Having recently moved to a new apartment in a part of town we had not frequented earlier, and having had to wait for the kitchen to be delivered, we were forced to eat out for about three weeks. It is amazing how many new places you discover, being deprived of an opportunity to snack at home!

Lazy to stray too far from home after a full working day, we were positively surprised at the sheer amount of hidden gems we discovered. Some were tucked safely away in dark hidden alleys, others were hiding out there in plain sight – there were relatively few disappointments, and quite a few serious gems among our new findings.

Never one to hide my discoveries, I am here to share them with the whole wide world. Enjoy!

Tempel (Vietnamese Haute Cuisine)

Tempel

http://tempel.asia/
Bruderstrasse , 80538 Munich, Tel +49
89 12 19 11 92
Monday through Friday 11:30 till 14:30 and 18:00 till 23:00; Saturday 18:00 till 24:00; Sundays & holidays 12:00 till 14:30 and 18:00 till 23:00

If you never happened to be lost at one of the back streets in Lehel – far away from any U-bahn or tram stop, you would never find “Tempel”. Safely tucked away from plain sight, this is a true gem to cherish and enjoy. A haute cuisine Vietnamese restaurant, decorated with impeccable taste, and boasting high-class service and top-notch dining experience, “Tempel” is definitely the place for those in the know. Come in to sample delicious food during lunch hours, when an extensive lunch menu gives you a taste and a tease of what awaits you later in the day. Everything is super-fresh, exquisitely presented, and unbelievably tasty, in this temple of fantastic Vietnamese dishes. The make-your-own spring rolls for 2 is to die for, and so are the spicy scallops. Come, enjoy, and keep the name to yourself, for we don’t want this secret place to be run over by hordes of tourists, do we?…

LeDu (Happy Dumplings)

LeDu

www.ledu-dumpling.de
Teresienstrasse 18, 80333 Munich, Tel.+49 89 9589 8460
Open daily from 11:00 till 21:30

While dim-sum and Chinese dumpling places are no novelty in places like London or New York, “LeDu” is Munich’s first, and so far one and only restaurant of its kind. Well hidden in the middle of the University area, this 6-table 1-window establishment is easy to miss. Yet, it offers a surprisingly small high-quality menu of authentic Chinese dumplings, cooked with love and consumed with happy smiles on everyone’s faces. In the evenings, the queues for a table may easily take a couple of hours – yet people are stubbornly waiting for a seat. Those lucky to live in the area, happily order take out.

The place looks like the proverbial hole in the wall, easy to stroll by without giving it a second glance (that is, unless you notice a horde of hungry people queueing outside), but is definitely worth a stop and a more intimate encounter.

Start with a small yet impeccably tasty salad to wet your taste buds (the peanut salad comes highly recommended). Don’t miss the “black & white” steamed dumplings – a mixture of meat and shiitake mushrooms will make your mouth water the moment you see them. Order several sets to try everything the place has to offer, savour them, and move on to free up the table for the hungry people queueing at the door.

Sitar (Authentic Indian Cuisine)

Sitar

www.sitar-indisches-restaurant.de
Robert-Koch-Str. 4, 80538 Munich, Tel. +49 89 2111 2361
Open daily from 11:30 till 14:30 and from 17:30 till 01:00

Those living in the neighborhood are well familiar with “Sitar” (and equally love and hate the place) due to the hearty aromas of spices enveloping the building and sipping through the whole area during lunch time. Walk around Lehel at about 12:00, and your nose will invariably lead you to the corner of Robert-Koch-Strasse and Tattenbachstrasse. If you venture inside, you will find yourself immediately charmed by the classic atmosphere of Indian hospitality and your taste buds will be screaming to sample the food that led your nose into this aromatic paradise.

Forget the first pages of the menu, and order anything on the “chef’s specialties” list – you will not regret this. The classic chicken tikka masala is to die for, and not only will it keep you sated, you will have plenty to take back home with you for a hearty breakfast.

Overall, an excellent experience. If you are used to proper English-style or Indian-style spices, tell your waiter – Germans are not big on spicy food, and you risk being disappointed with the blandness of some of your favorite dishes if you are not from here. The staff will be happy and delighted to add an extra tang note for you, if they know you would appreciate it.

KoKuMi (Designer Fusion Sushi)

Kokumi

www.heykokumi.com
Christophstr. 3, 80538 Munich, Tel. +49 176 8482 5751
Tuesday through Friday 12:00 till 15:00 and 18:00 till 23:00; Saturday & Sunday 18:00 till 23:00

Tucked into a little side street away from the main drags or public transport routes, “Kokumi” is definitely a place for those in the know. Offering the most beautiful and visually pleasing dishes in Munich (as well as delightfully tasty), it is the place to pamper your senses. The picture above is not a filter-enhanced exaggeration – this is their signature Kokumi fusion tuna roll in all its glory.

The place boasts a fantastic ambiance, exquisite food, and a delicate interior that will be a perfect setting for a special night out. It is not going to be the cheapest meal you will have in Munich, but is bound to be one of the most memorable ones.

Tattenbach Wirtshaus & Stueberl (Fantastic Schnitzels)

Tattenbach

www.tattenbach.de
Tattenbachstr. 6, 80538 Munich, Tel. +49 89 225 268
Monday through Friday 11.00 till 01:00, Saturday, Sunday & holidays 17:00 till 01:00

One can’t possibly surprise anyone with an Augustiner restaurant in the quarter full of Augustiner places – there are at least three within a 3-min walk from one another in this part of Lehel alone. Yet, they all have their own character, ambiance and clientele. “Tattenbach” will probably stand out as the least pretentious one of all, catering mostly to easy locals and a more student clientele than the others.

Don’t miss the house schnitzel with a hearty portion of potatoes and a salad for just under €11.00. What you get for the price that in other places won’t even buy you a starter, is a lovely piece of veal that would hang from both sides of your plate, beautifully done with no grease at all, paired with mouthwatering potatoes and a nice-size salad with a tasty dressing. You can’t possibly ask for more than that!…

The service is fast and friendly, the atmosphere is nice and relaxed – all that paired with the best beer in the world and fantastic food, definitely make it worth a second visit!

Vino Café (The Unforgettable Spagghetti Parmigiana)

Cafe Vino2

www.vino-caffe.de
Hochbrueckenstrasse 14, 80331 Munich, Tel. +49 89 210 288 380
Mondays through Saturdays from 09:00 till 01:00; Sundays 14:00 till 01:00

Sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. Situated right opposite “Mandarin Oriental” in the heart of Munich, “Vino Café”s location can hardly be considered inconspicuous. Which is exactly why a lot of people will shy away from it, writing it off as just another tourist trap. Much do they know!… Despite its nonchalant name, “Vino Café” can boast one of the most exquisite wine collections in Munich, and a hearty menu of classic and elegant Italian dishes made with love. It is the only place in Munich you can get spaghetti parmigiana – pasta tossed in the whole head of Parmigiano cheese. Add truffles for the true connoisseurs.

The place offers a democratic mix of a white table cloth restaurant on the left, and an easy-going high-table trattoria on the right, separated by a beautiful floor to ceiling wine rack. The service is always impeccable, the prices are surprisingly palatable, and the spaghetti parmigiana is to die for – I would not miss it for the world!

Lehel Bar Food Club (Steaks & Cocktails)

www.lehel-bar.de
Karl-Scharnagl-Ring 6-8, 80539 Munich, Tel. +49 89 2111 1760
Mondays through Saturdays 11.00 till 03:00

A bar and party location to the left, an intimate and cozy restaurant to the right – in this compact setting in the heart of Lehel you can find it all. Don’t miss the “Meet the beef” Tuesdays, when you can try their fantastic steaks at half the price – they are definitely worth crossing the city for!

Nice ambiance, elegant setting, DJ mixes from the speakers paired with hearty drinks, attentive service and beautifully presented food – all this definitely calls for repeat visits. It’s a popular party location, so be sure to call in advance to make sure the place is not rented out for the night. It is also recommended to reserve on Tuesdays and weekends.

Gandl Feinkost Speisen Bar (Great Dining Experience)

Gandl1

www.gandl.de
St. Anna Platz 1, 80538 Munich, Tel. +49 89 29162525
Mondays through Saturdays 09.00 till 01:00

The place looks more like a delicatessen shop than a restaurant from outside, but the tables with white table-cloths up front give it away. If you come inside, you realize it is a full-blown restaurant of a decent size – something hard to guess while looking at it from the street.

Belonging to the same owner as the “Lehel Bar” (the messy magazine-looking website sort of gives the connection away), “Gandl” is way more than a delicatessen shop, or a bar (as both the outlook and the name would suggest). You can land here for just a glass of wine in the sun, or stop for a full-course meal in the evening – you are bound to enjoy both, as the service will be impeccable, the food outstanding, and the atmosphere relaxed and easy.

A Munich Guide to Eating Like a Local

I was sitting at an airport, waiting for the flight home and browsing through some readily-available press, when a US Today’s special on Germany caught my eye. Having scanned through the restaurant part of the article I was disgusted. The places on the list were predictable tourist traps, wearily travelling from one guide to another, all those dodgy venues the locals avoid like the plague.

Even though I am not technically a local, I love my new home. During the 5 years I’ve lived in Munich, I have definitely explored the local food scene, and have a couple of discoveries to my name that many of my German friends knew nothing about. There is so much more to Munich than pork knuckle, schnitzel and sauer kraut, and somebody has to tell the visitors about all that, so why not me?!

As any restaurant guide mine will be completely biased, and will include places I personally like and frequent. Some of them I found myself by pure chance, others I was dragged into by friends, or heard about eavesdropping to people on the underground and in beergartens.

So, here’s my guide to Munich’s local eating haunts – love it or leave it, but don’t do so without trying at least some of them out first.


BAVARIAN (if you have to)

DON’T MISS:

Weinbauer
Weinbauer12

www.weinbauer-muenchen.de
Fendstraße 5, 80802 Munich, Tel +49 89 38887102
Monday through Friday 11:30 till 24:00; Saturday and holidays 17:00 till 24:00

I am not a big fan of German food, but if I have to eat Bavarian – it will definitely be Weinbauer!  Hidden in one of the back alleys off Leopoldstrasse in Schwabing, this place is a real gem for those in the know.  The first time I was dragged in there for a friend’s birthday, and filled with culinary prejudice I gloomily anticipated an evening lost.  Surprisingly to myself I loved the place and still fondly remember that tender and beautiful veal schnitzel, served with cranberries and home-made roasted potatoes…  The beer is not the best for Munich (Hacker Pschorr), but still several levels over anything that is considered fantastic anywhere else.

The staff are friendly and quick, the prices are more than reasonable, and the atmosphere is cosy and loud at the same time.  Good feelings and a full stomach are guaranteed! The place is very popular, so better book in advance.

Augustiner Bräustuben
Augustiner1

www.braeustuben.de
Landsberger Str. 19, 80339 Munich, Tel.+49 089 507047
Open daily from 10:00 till 24:00

Turn right when you enter (on the left is a restaurant with a rather stiff atmosphere), and you will find yourself in the traditional atmosphere or a proper Bavarian beerhall, sharing long tables with strangers (who quickly become friends), drinking excellent beer, eating good food, and maybe singing a song or two.  If you love a good hearty Schweinehaxen (pork knuckle), or a Schnitzel the size you have never seen before, and want enjoy them with a Mass (1 liter) or two of the best beer on this planet, Augustiner Bräustuben is for you.

The restaurant is located right at the brewery, so the beer is fresh and plentiful – where else to get it better than at the source?..  The place has 2 floors, and as an additional bonus on the way to the toilets on the ground floor you can take a peek inside Augustiner brewery stables, where their prize horses are kept.  Don’t worry, the stables are separated from the restaurant, so there’s no smell, but you can admire the beautiful animals that are otherwise can only be seen during Oktoberfest parade through a glass wall.

If you come with a group, it is always good to book in advance.  The staff speak English, and have menus in all languages, so you don’t need to worry about being fluent in Bavarian.  If you are a group of 10 or more, and are thirsty, you can order a barrel (!) of beer, which you can either try tapping yourself, or ask the waiter for assistance.  Generally, you come here more for the beer and the ambiance than for the culinary delights.  Although the food is good, the portions are hearty, reasonably priced and compliment the beer well, there is nothing extraordinary about the menu.  This said, you won’t leave hungry or disappointed and are guaranteed to enjoy your visit.

Wirtzhaus Zur Brezn
Zur Brezn

www.zurbrezn.de
Leopoldstraße 72, 80802 Munich, Tel. +49 89 390092
Sunday through Wednesday from 10.00 till 1.00; Thursday till Saturday from 10.00 till 3.00, Sundays – closed

This 3-story labyrinth of a restaurant right off Leopoldstrasse may easily be mistaken for a tourist trap because of its location, but don’t be fooled: Zur Brezn is a proper Bavarian where the locals come to eat and drink. Cozy and warm atmosphere, excellent food, attentive service and very reasonable prices make the place one of the ever-lasting local favourites.

The beer is good and the menu even has decent wines (German whites and Austrian reds).

DON’T BOTHER:

Hofbräuhaus

www.hofbraeuhaus.de

For God’s sake DON’T go to Hofbräuhaus!!!! It is known as the 51st State of America for a reason, and no local will be seen dead in there. The food is overpriced, the atmosphere is chaos, the service is shit, and the waiters are snappy (can’t really blame them – anybody would be, should they be forced to look at drunk tourists in plastic lederhosen dancing on the tables all day). Enough said…


ITALIAN

DON’T MISS:

Dal Cavaliere
Dal Cavaliere2

www.dalcavaliere.de
Weißenburger Str., 81667 Munich, Tel. +49 89 488388
Open daily from 11:30 till 24:30

THE best Italian food in town, if a bit pricey. Pizzas are to die for (and are not expensive at all), the menu changes frequently, and there are always dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients on it. The ever-lasting favourites and classics stay, though. Dal Cavaliere proudly makes the best vitello tonato in Munich – this is no joke! The restaurant has a separate grill menu, with excellent meats prepared on a wooden grill.

The owner, manager and staff are all Italian, and the place is worth visiting just for the banter with and among staff!… The menu is a strange mix of Italian and German languages, but if you find yourself at a loss, the staff will gladly explain the dish to you using a lot of gestures, hearty laughter, and a variety of words borrowed from about a dozen languages.

Unlike many Munich restaurants that close for Sundays (what the hell?…) and public holidays, Dal Cavaliere is open every day of the week from 11:30 till half past midnight, and can be relied upon to feed you with hearty dishes made with love.

As any proper Italian family joint it’s cash only, but there are 3 different banks on the square nearby, so if you find yourself low on Euros, there are plenty of options to replenish your supplies.

Bar Centrale
Bar Centrale2

www.bar-centrale.com
Ledererstraße 23, 80331 Munich, Tel. +49 89 223762
Monday through Saturday, 07.30 till 13:00, Sunday 09:00 till 24:00

At first glance it’s just a bar serving coffee and drinks: always packed, always noisy with good laughter and banter. However, if you elbow your way through the front room, and walk past the smallest kitchen you have ever seen, you will find yourself in the restaurant. It is also tiny, with kiddie-size mis-matched furniture, and menu scribbled on a chalk board in Italian.  If you manage to secure one of the kiddies tables – stay there, for the place fills up very quickly.

The menu changes daily and offers several starters and some of the most fantastic Italian pasta in Munich – all prepared with rocket speed by a guy slaving in a galley kitchen with one gas burner and a wild assortment of old pans. The selection and quality of wines is very respectable, and Bar Centrale‘s aperitifs will put you in a great mood in no time.

Pepenero
Peppenero

www.pepe-nero.de
Schwabing: Feilitzschstraße 23, 80802 Munich, Tel. +49 89 38 99 88 83
Lehel: Thierschplatz 6, 80538 Munich, Tel. +49 89 62 24 77 13
Glockenbach: Hans-Sachs-Straße 12, 80469 Munich, Tel.
+49 89 24 23 16 13
Open daily from 11:30 till 24:00

If you are on a budget, but still want good quality food, Pepenero with its three locations in Schwabing, Lehel and Glockenbach is for you.  Their simple menu with amazingly delicious authentic Italian dishes will fill your stomach and warm your heart. The service is quick, the wine is good, and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed – what more can you wish for?

DON’T BOTHER:

Bella Italia

www.ristorante-bella-italia.net

A name-sake of a chain of Italian restaurants (not the best either) peppered all over Munich, the Bella Italia Ristorante is located on the same square as Dal Cavaliere. It is interesting to see, how all tourists in the area flock to Bella Italia, while all the locals only eat at Dal Cavaliere. Make your conclusions and act appropriately. I was there a couple of times (I am a firm believer in giving everybody the benefit of the doubt, which is normally limited to 2-3 visits), and the service was lukewarm, as were the dishes. Not my cup of tea (or shall I say a bowl of noodles?…)

La Stanza

www.la-stanza.de

An old Jewish proverb says “Don’t open a shop if you don’t know how to smile“. I am sure the Italians have something similar about restaurants. Well, the guys running La Stanza must have missed out on that memo. While the place looks nice and inviting, the service is not. The restaurant is small and cozy, but you will wait for hours for the waitress to pay any attention to you, and the barman who clearly saw you coming in and has been lazily observing your fidgeting at an empty table for the past half hour would not help either. When the food does arrive, your order is very likely to be mixed up with somebody else’s and if you are hungry you’ll simply have to eat it, for another 1.5 hour wait will be simply too much. A visit to La Stanza can be an interesting anthropological exercise, just make sure you eat before you go.


MEAT

DON’T MISS:

Rustikana
Rusticana

www.steaks-spareribs-rusticana-muenchen.de
Grillparzerstraße 5, 81675 Munich, Tel. +49 89 4703887
Daily from 17.00 till 23:00; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 16.00 till 23:00

Famous for their spare ribs with the secret sauce (no joke!), they also grill phenomenal steaks. When Bayern Munich win a game – they celebrate here. And these are some picky mother**kers!… The place is tiny, and styled as an old Alpine hut with the bar in the middle and an open wooden grill behind it in clear view of the salivating customers. You can watch your steak grilling, while you drink your first Weissbier or wine (the bar is well stocked on both). If you want a table – book well in advance. If you come alone or as a couple, especially around the opening time, they will always find place for you at the bar. But eat quickly – by 7 or 8 even the bar is booked, and all customers are given a 2-hour slot to enjoy their meat.

I am a big fan of steak, and try to find a good meat place everywhere I go. I spent substantial time in the US, and lived for a while in Argentina (THE steak capital of the world), and I have to admit that the ribeye I get every time at Rustikana surpasses everything I have had at the priciest restaurants of North America and seriously competes with the best steakhouses of Buenos Aires.

Brenner
Brenner

www.brennergrill.de
Maximilianstraße 15, 80539 Munich, Tel. +49 89 4522880
Monday through Thursday, 08:30 till 01:00; Fridays and Saturday 8:30 till 02:00; Sundays and holidays 9:30till 01:00

Strictly speaking, it’s not a steakhouse. It’s a meat market of another sort – a place to see and be seen. Located in the back of Maximilianstrasse with the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental in the vicinity, no wonder it is considered by many to be a high-society hangout. The hostesses are all malnourished aspiring models, but will be friendly to you even if you show up in dirty Chuck Tailors and a ripped T-shirt (Munich people do dress down, but understand the power of brands – your outfit may look like garbage, but can easily have a thousand Euro price tag, which is all that matters in certain circles).

However, if you can phase out the posh clientele, Brenner‘s food is perfect and the prices are surprisingly palatable. The restaurant has 3 open kitchens, where meats are grilled, Italian dishes are prepared and Asian noodles are stirred by skilled cooks for all to admire. In summer you can enjoy your beautifully prepared food on an open terrace in the back, and if you only stop for coffee and a drink before theatre (Munich opera house is just next door), an open bar area and the outside seating in the front (heated by gas burners) are there for you.

DON’T BOTHER:

Nero Pizza & Grill

www.nero-muenchen.de

Even in the name the mean comes second, and it shows. While Nero may wll be worth a visit for a pizza or a salad, thir steaks are nothing to write home about. The restaurant with its 2-storey interior does look cool, though, and always seems to be full, so probably the regulars know something I don’t…


ASIAN

DON’T MISS:

Manam (Thai)
Manam

www.manamthaifood.com
Rosenheimer Str. 46, 81669 Munich, Tel. +49 89 1893 4748
Monday through Saturday 11:00 – 23:00, Sundays closed

Their website sucks. Their food rocks. The best Thai in Munich, although now sharing their premices with TimeSquare – a dodgy pick-up bar with plush furniture (the photo above is of their old digs). The food is to die for, and is well worth suffering through the ambiance. All dishes are available to take away, so if you have somewhere else to eat them, do this.

The symbiosis with a pick-up bar is a recent development, though. Manam moved in there some time in 2015, before that they held the fort in a tiny venue around the corner, regularly besieged by hordes of hungry customers. Three tiny girls were always sweating in the open kitchen that emanated the smells of real Bangkok throughout the street, those lucky enough to have already ordered and received their food were happily slurping away on kiddies plastic stools, and a couple dozen of hungry customers were queuing at the door, completely blocking the street to the anger and amazement of passers by. This was the Manam before the move, though. Their name-sake and sister venue still occupies the same place, but has a smaller, predominantly soup-oriented menu, that tends to lean towards Vietnamese cuisine. The food is still an honest decent Asian, just not as good.

If you want proper fragrant, spicy and beautiful Thai – you have to turn around the corner and descent down the stairs into the pick-up bar (don’t worry, it’s not that scary, just a bid dodgy). The move in with the bar got Manam the liquor license and a bigger seating area, so I guess they are still doing ok. I stick strictly to the take-out option. My favorite #6 with chicken (lemongrass and coconut soup) is still as good as ever.

Pitahaya (Vietnamese)
Pitahaya

no website
Franziskanerstraße 15, 81669 Munich, Tel. +49
89 67971178

Monday through Friday 11:30 till 15:00 and 17:30 till 22:30; Saturday 14:00 till 22:30; Sundays and holidays – closed

Don’t let the low overheads interior scare you away (the photo above is very flattering) – the dishes that the cooks in this canteen-like place throw on the table is well worth the visit. If you like freshly made spring rolls and proper Pho soup – don’t think twice. Their noodles and rice dishes are also tasty and the portions are big. Lunch menu is only slightly smaller than the evening one, but is conveniently half the price. Very busy with workers from nearby offices during lunchtime, but quite relaxed in the evenings. Pitahaya may not be your #1 choice for a romantics candlelit dinner, but if you want good Vitnamese food in a no-frills atmosphere, this is the place to go to.

Cam Yi (Chinese)
Kam Yi

www.kamyi.com
Rosenheimer Str. 32, 81669 Munich, Tel. +49 89 4481366
Open daily from 11:30 till 24:00

Not the cheapest option when it comes to Asian food, but it is one of the very few Chinese restaurants in Munich (and oxymoron everywhere else in the world, but somehow Bavarian capital seems to be short on Chinese places…) With predominantly Chinese staff and cooks, Kam Yi is also a popular place with all visiting Chinese tourists, who get bussed in here during summers, and enjoy their meals in a big common room in the back with proper turntables.

The menu is extensive and covers a variety of dishes, all freshly made and exceptionally tasty. If you are lucky to live in the area, you can also order all dishes to take out and have a proper feast at home. The size of portions will guarantee “a take with you to the office” lunch the following day.

Mangostin Asia
MANGOSTIN

www.mangostin.de
Maria-Einsiedel-Straße 2, 81379 Munich, Tel. +49 89 7232031
Monday through Saturday 11:30 till 14:30 and 18:00 till 24:00; Sunday 11:00 – 24:00

A little off the beaten path in a quiet residential area of Talkirchen, the place is well worth a visit. Mangostin is more of an upscale restaurant, but still affordable. They have a very extensive and varied menu, covering Thai, Japanese, Vetnamese and Chinese dishes. Usually, when the food is that diverse, you start having suspicious about quality and authenticity. Not with Mangostin, though – everything her is to the highest standard. A good evening is guaranteed and your palate will be more than satisfied.

The place is popular, so it’s recommended to book in advance. If the place is full – there are no nearby alternatives.

DON’T BOTHER:

Far East Bar & Lounge

www.fareast-muenchen.de

While some dishes may be ok (a couple of friends swear by their duck), I have not been lucky there, although tried several different dishes over time. The food lacked fragrance and spice, and was more of a western-style Asian, catering to the German tastes. The atmosphere is also quite non-descript: despite the name, it’s neither a bar, nor a lounge.


GREEK

DON’T MISS:

Lucullus
Lucullus

no website
Birkenau 31, 81543 Munich, Tel. +49
89 662951

Monday through Saturday 17:00 till last visitor, Sunday 12:00 till last visitor

Be careful: if the owner likes you, he will keep bringing the ouzo from neighboring tables who are struggling with theirs, or simply are not having enough fun. The food is plentiful, freshly made and fragrant and not expensive at all. You can easily feast on mouthwatering starters alone, so think about ordering the main course. It will be fantastic, but big enough for a family of five.

The best time to visit is in summer, when you can enjoy the outdoor seating, laugh and banter with others sitting next to you, and for the evening get transferred to a taverna somewhere on the streets of Athens.

Kalami
Kalami

no website
Kellerstr. 45, 81667 Munich, Tel. +49
89 487282

The restaurant’s big common room is always full and noisy, and the place has been around for ages. The owner and his son (who doubles up as a bartender and waiter) can always be spotted smoking outside the door, greeting all passers by with a friendly nod and a smile. Their food is always freshly prepared, the menu is big and varied, and the drinks are flowing freely.

The atmosphere in Kalami is always friendly and relaxed, with both, the guests and the staff enjoying themselves. Very reasonable prices, authentic Greek dishes for every taste.

DON’T BOTHER:

I am sure there must be some shitty Greek restaurants in Munich, but somehow none come to my mind just yet, so I won’t waste your time, and just leave this part empty here.


COCKTAIL BARS

DON’T MISS:

Mauro’s Negroni Club
Mauro's

www.negroni-club.de
Kellerstraße 32, 81667 Munich, Tel. +49
89 44488770

Monday through Thursday 18:00 till 01:00; Friday and Saturday 18:00 till 03:00; Sunday – closed

Simply THE best cocktail bar in the world. At least for me. The cocktails are fantastic, the bar staff are friendly, attentive, and definitely know their shit. If you secure a seat  at the bar, you can see them in action – every cocktail is a work of art, made specially for you with love and undivided attention. The freshest berries and herbs are there to artfully decorate your drink and make sure you will remember and enjoy not only the taste, but also the look.

Don’t know what you want, and can’t choose from the extensive multiple-page menu? No worries, the bartenders will attentively listen to even the lamest explanations as to what your tastes are: “not too fruity, not too alcoholic, not too sweet, but not too sour” – I am ashamed to admit that these were my first steps at Mauro’s!… – they will listen patiently, and will come up with the drink you will absolutely LOVE. If you happen by Mauro’s in late summer, make sure to try their Bellini, that they refuse to make with anything but supremely fresh white Italian peaches. During the extremely short period of time when the peaches are in season – this is the drink that everybody has to have!

Mauro’s preserves the atmosphere of a traditional classy cocktail bar, and the owner (who is often seen working behind the bar) also trains bartenders, who are later hired by the most renowned drinking establishments around the world. Cocktails come with free home-made bar snacks (roasted spicy bread bits, olives, etc.), but Mauro’s also has a small menu of excellent food, inspired by Italian and Arabic cuisines, and cooked to perfection to complement the cocktails.

Book in advance on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, especially if you are a group of more than two. Cash and cards are both welcome.

BarRoom
Barroom

www.barroom-muenchen.de
Milchstraße 17, 81667 Munich, Tel. +49
89 44142762

Tuesday through Saturday from 20:00 till last visitor; Mondays and Sundays – closed.

The tiniest cocktail bar in Munich, the size of a very small living room, where not more than 20 people can fit in (there are 2 tables, and a bit of space in front of the bar). The owner and main bartender, Emanuele, mostly greets the customers personally, dressed in an impeccably white shirt.

BarRoom‘s cocktails definitely match Mauro’s in quality and elegance, and the place has a sweet and relaxed (if only a bit packed) atmosphere. They don’t serve wine or straight drinks – only cocktails, so be ready for one.

Barista
Barista

www.barista-muenchen.de
FÜNF HÖFE, Kardinal-Faulhaber-Straße 11, 80333 Munich, Tel: +49 89 20802180
Monday through thursday 11.00 till 01.00; Friday and Sunday 11.00 till 02.00; Sunday – closed.

A nice and honest bar with character. Excellent cocktails, attentive staff, relaxed atmosphere. If you want a chat, you can park yourself at the bar, and enjoy the conversation with the bartender. If you prefer solitude, or  a more intimate setting – there are plenty of tables in quiet corners to cater to every client.

Barista is very centrally located, in the back of a shopping passage on Maximilianstrasse – THE most expensive and posh street in Munich. Luckily, the bar is a welcoming refuge from all this.

DON’T BOTHER:

Schumann’s

www.schumanns.de/en

Considered THE place to be by the Munich’s in-crowd, the place is usually packed to the brim, and if you manage to get in, you will have to shout your orders to the bartender. The cocktails are impeccable, but somehow I never managed to warm up to the place. I always felt underdressed, un-glamorous, and had a permanent feeling of being the only woman not working there in this or that capacity…


MEXICAN

DON’T MISS:

Condesa
Condesa2

www.condesa-gourmet-tacos.de
Schwabing: Münchner Freiheit 6, 80802 Munich, Tel +49 176 20227136 Monday through Friday 11:00 till 22:00; Saturday 12:00 till 22:00; Sunday 12:00 till 21:00
Hauptbahnhof: Bayerstr. 16a, 80335 Munich Monday through Friday 07:00 till 21:00; Saturday 11:00 till 15:00; Sunday – closed

An authentic Mexicam burrito bar with two locations, at Hauptbahnhof and in Münchner Freiheit, Condesa caters to both, take-away and eat in. It’s not just burritos, though – they have also tacos and quesadillas, but the burritos are seriously to die for: freshly made while you wait to nice music and laughter with colourful and fragrant ingredients. Don’t overlook the spice meter over the counter – it clearly shows exactly how spicy your burrito is going to be on a scale from 0 (not spicy at all) to 4 (full Mexican blow-your-brains-away).

Both their venues are simply but stylishly decorated, with nice seating areas, so well worth to eat in. Specially for students they do discount (yet, as big and freshly made as full price) burrito/quesadilla + drink combo every day before 6, so if you are still studying – have your student or ISIC card ready!

Pequeno con Carlos
Pequeno

No website, but they are on FB: www.facebook.com/Pequeño-Con-Carlos-Cantina-y-Bar-Mexicano-743343112422498
Lucille-Grahn str. 25, Munich, Tel. +49 89 47084966
Open daily from 17:00 till 01:00

A stray (and most likely prodigal) son of the equally good and successful Pequeno in Lehel, this venue near Ostbahnhof in Haidhausen, Pequeno con Carlos has one big advantage over the mothership, namely Carlos. The owner/manager/bartender, Carlos runs the place with an iron fist, ready jokes, hearty smiles, fantastic food, thrown together in the kitchen by his son, and sizeable cocktails. If happen to stop by right after/before the happy hour, and loudly express your sorrow of not being able to benefit from it, Carlos will extend the happy time in each direction by sheer managerial will. Several sorts of Mexican beer are also available, and you are sure to leave the place full, tipsy and well entertained.

Prices are very reasonable, the atmosphere is fantastic, and the food is great. An excellent evening guaranteed!

DON’T BOTHER:

Sausalitos

www.sausalitos.de/mein-sausalitos/muenchen-im-tal

The worst Margaritas in Germany (and possibly on this continent) with the food to match. A tourist trap with nothing but location to its name.


IRISH PUBS

DON’T MISS:

Irish Folk Pub (aka “The Old Irish”)
Old Irish

http://www.irish-folk-pub.de/
Giselastraße 11, 80802 Munich, Tel. +49 89 342446
Wednesday through Sunday from 18:00 till last customer, Monday & Tuesday closed.

The first Irish pub in Munich, and the oldest one in Germany, The Old Irish was founded by Ede and Heidi, who after a trip to Ireland fell in love with the country and decided to take a bit of it back home. The Old Irish can boast the best pint of Guinness in Munich and one of the most extensive whiskey collections in the country (to the job of the visiting public the collection is open for tasting).

The Old Irish is also the smallest Irish pub in Munich, where you have to elbow your way in. It is well worth the visit, though, for in addition to some of the best drinks you can wish for, here you will find the most genuine and cozy pub atmosphere away from the Green Island. Do not leave without visiting the bathrooms: the signs (especially in the gent’s) are hilarious and definitely bring the great Irish humor to the masses.

Kennedy’s
Kennedy's

www.kennedysmunich.com
Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 11, 80336 Munich, Tel. +49 89 599 88 460
Monday through Thursday 11:00 till 02:00; Friday and Saturday 11:00 till 03:00; Sunday 11:00 till 01:00

No matter what day of the week, or time of the day you happen to drop by, the place is always hopping. Very centrally located, big and noisy, it welcomes you with open arms, and sucks into its depths. Good Guinness, excellent Augustiner beer (plus a Kilkenny or two) with extensive menu of great pub food (in 2015 Kennedy’s won “The best Irish pub food of the year” award in Germany), and you can watch a football or rugby match if you have to. If you just want a quiet pint and a friendly banter with bar stuff or a strange sitting next to you – sit at the bar, and the TVs won’t bother you.

With live bands playing almost every night, and with Karaoke evenings every week, Kennedy’s is always a good crack with excellent entertainment value. A huge open terrace in the summer provides a relaxed and cool refuge from the heat, and the service is as quick upstairs as it is downstairs in the bar.

Killian’s + Ned Kelly’s
Kilian's

www.kiliansirishpub.com
Frauenplatz 11, 80331 Munich, Tel. +49 89 24219899
Monday through Thursday 16:00 till 01:00; Friday and Saturday 11:00 till 03:00; Sunday 11:00 till 01:00

A surprising symbiosis of an Irish pub and an Australian bar, operating at the back of Marienplatz. Killian’s is much smaller and a bit cozier than Kennedy’s, but just as packed. Probably even more crowded, due to a slightly more central location. By about 11 pm at the weekends the place may get too full, and the security won’t let you in, so come earlier.

The owners are the same as Kennedy’s, so the same quality beer and food are guaranteed. Ned Kelly’s Australian flavour is noted by good (if pricey) wines in additional to all the usual beer and cider suspects. Live bands and karaoke evenings ensure the steady levels of mayhem and madness.

Weekend lunchtimes may be a bit depressing, as many stag night parties that thoroughly enjoyed themselves the night before tend to flock to Killan’s for late breakfast. Many of them look (and smell), like they partied through the night (which in 99% of cases was the case).

DON’T BOTHER:

Dubliner

www.dubliner-irishpub.de

The only thing Irish about it is the name. It’s a sports bar, and not even a good one. Packed by the drinks from the Hofbrauhaus, it’s definitely a place to avoid.


FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

DON’T MISS:

Gesellschaftsraum
Gesellschaftsraum

www.der-gesellschaftsraum.de
Bräuhausstraße 8, 80331 Munich, Tel. +49 89 55077793

Monday through Friday 11:30 till 15:00 and 18:00 till 24:00; Saturday 18:00 till 24:00; Sunday – closed.

Don’t get scared by the long and unpronounceable German name (it simply means “Common Room”), or it’s closeness to Mandarin Oriental (this is a recent change – previously the place was located in the dodgy area near Munich Central Station, and was literally the only good thing in there).  If you want to take that special someone for a dinner they will remember for months and maybe years, or just want to spoil yourself with an evening of designer food of superb quality – Gesellschaftsraum is your place!  Hard rock music blasting from the open kitchen and heavily tattooed cooks and staff should appeal to the rebel in you, and the dishes that come out of that loud kitchen will be works of art.

The restaurant does fixed menu, and you can choose a 3-, 4-, 5-, or an astounding 6-course one.  Even though the portions are quite small, and there are breaks and digestives in-between, think twice before committing to anything more than 4 courses.  The waiters will help with wine paring (you can try different ones from their tasting menu, or make it easy and order one for the whole evening), and will advise on replacing any ingredients in case of allergies or dietary restrictions. Needless to say in a place of this caliber they all speak perfect English.

If you don’t feel up to the full dinner, stop by the restaurant for lunch – they now have a small tapas menu that will allow you to try out the cooks’ culinary skills in a smaller and more budget setting, and will convince you to splurge on a dinner later.