Passion Points: Food/Wine
You Asked: I will be traveling to Munich, Germany, and would like some suggestions for where to eat, shop and what not to miss in the city, as well as day trips for an active traveler.
Indagare editor Simone Girner, who grew up in Munich, reached out to several local insiders and compiled a list of things not to miss while in the capital of southern Bavaria, Germany’s largest state.
WHERE TO EAT:
There’s no shortage of great places to eat in Munich, the city with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and rising star chefs. The most well-known fine-dining establishments are Tantris, which has two Michelin stars; Mark’s at the Mandarin Oriental, which has one Michelin star; Schuhbecks in den Südtiroler Stuben (Platzl 6-8; 49-89-21-66-900), run by one of Germany’s most famous chefs; and the serene and understated Broeding (Schulstrasse 9; 49-89-16-42-38).
For traditional German food, the most famous venue is the Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9; 49-089-290-1360), which serves all the classics but is often packed, and you will run into plenty of other tourists here; also famous and with a more intimate, cozy ambience, is the Franziskanerkeller. For something more local, try Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom (Frauenplatz 9; 49-89-29-19-45-0), a sausage and beer place right by the Frauenkirche where you can sit on an outdoor patio during the warm months. Another typical Munich experience are the many different beer gardens (Biergärten); during the summer months, don’t miss the al fresco Seehaus and Chinesischer Turm, both in the beautiful English Garden. During colder weather, head to the Spatenhaus an der Oper (Residenzstrasse 12; 49-89-290-7060), where Bavarian dishes are served in a beautiful setting: in a historic building near the opera house.
For nouvelle German cuisine that’s a bit lighter on the waistline, book a table at Alpentraum (Karlstrasse 10; 49-89-2000-307-30); the dining room is stylish but cozy and the often-changing menu focuses on all-things seasonal and fresh. A favorite for a spacious dining room, modern design and central location on Maximilianstrasse, is Brenner (Maximilianstrasse 15; 49-089-452-2880) owned by the same people who head the ever-popular Cortiina Bar (Ledererstrasse 8; 49-089-242-2490). Chef Tobias Gietz heads up the whimsical Last Supper (Fürstenstrasse 9; 49-089-2880-8809), which has a décor of religious icons and an innovative menu (you order a prix-fixe that is paired with wine); service is oftentimes Bavarian brusque but it doesn’t bother the loyal locals who love this place. Young and fun is Der Gesellschaftsraum (Augustenstrasse 7; 49-89-5507-7793), a restaurant that would feel right at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: the waiters are bearded, tattooed and hip, the chef focuses on cutting-edge fusion cusine; since it opened a few years ago, it quickly established itself as one of the most popular spots for an innovative meals.
If you get tired of German food, make a reservation at Trattoria Seerose (Feilitzschstasse 32; 49-89-461-33-14-20), a nice Italian place in Schwabing, one of the ritziest neighborhoods in town. Another local favorite is Osteria Der Katzlmacher (Bräuhausstrasse 6; 49-89-33-33-60), a no-frills Italian place that serves excellent food. The best Thai restaurant in Munich is Ruen Thong (Thorwaldsen Strasse 19; 49-089-1271-5461) in the Neuhausen neighborhood.
For a quick break, light lunch or coffee break, Munich has a café scene to rival Vienna’s. Some favorites not to miss: Café Reitschule (Königsstrasse 34; 49-89-38-88-760); Café Mozart (Pettenkoferstrasse 2; 49-89-59-41-90), a cozy café where you have to order the massive Schnitzel; München 72 (Kohlstrasse 11; 49-089-973-43784), an insider spot with groovy 1970s décor and filled with hip locals; and Café Forum (Corneliusstrasse 2; 49-089-26-88-18), in the hip neighborhood Gärtnerplatzviertel, serves a fantastic breakfast.
WHERE TO PARTY:
Munich might not have Berlin’s nightlife but there are some fun bars and clubs. Negroni (Kellerstrasse 37; 49-89-444-88-770) has a long list of innovative cocktails and is located in the pretty Haishausen neighborhood. Freebird (Nordendstrasse 12; 49-89-2737-4520) is small and has couches, a fireplace and an intimate vibe. The most popular club at the moment is Paradiso (Rumfordstrasse 2; 49-89-263-469); for more of an Indie scene, head to Atomic Cafe (Neuturmstrasse 5; 49-089-228-3052) or the newish Pimpernel (Müllerstrasse 56; 49-089-232-371-56). Also popular with locals are 089 (Maximiliansplatz 5) and the adjacent Baby. P1 (Prinzregentenstrasse 1; 49-089-211-114-0) has been a classic for more than twenty years but getting in can be difficult. TOP MUSEUMS:
Don’t miss the Kunstareal München, which includes the fantastic contemporary space, Pinaktothek der Moderne. Architecture buffs should see the brand-new (opened in 2009) Museum Brandhorst (the private modern collection of Udo and Anette Brandhorst includes pieces by Beuys, Baselitz, Richter, Basquiat, Polke and Hirst), while techies will love the Deutsches Museum. It’s worth checking which temporary exhibitions are showing at the Haus der Kunst; the Villa Stuck should not be missed by Art Nouveau fans; and the Lenbach Museum features many works of the “Blaue Reiter” school. A real insider tip is visiting the Kunsthalle of the Hypovereinsbank, which hosts music concerts and puts on interesting contemporary exhibitions.
There are some nice independent boutiques in Türkenstrasse in the Schwabing and Maxvorstadt neighborhoods (don’t miss Boutique Projekt 3, at Türkenstrasse 79). For upscale brands as well as smaller boutiques, there’s the Hohenzollernstrasse in Schwabing. A trendy boutique for women’s clothes is Stierblut, which is located in the Sendlinger Strasse, a great place for cutting-edge fashion. In terms of department stores, Kaufhaus Ludwig Beck, right at the Marienplatz, and Kaufhaus Operpollinger are worth a visit. And of course, the Maximilianstrasse is the place for all the high-end designer boutiques. The shopping arcade that gets the most buzz is Fünf Höfe, a maze of five interconnected buildings with lots of high-end shops and some art galleries, that was designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
Design and cooking fans should not miss Manufactuum (Dienerstrasse 12; 49-089 2354-5900), one of the world’s best shops for kitchen and home decor, including a long line-up of objects created by young and up-and-coming designers. For travelers more interested in old-world German design, Munich is the home of Nymphenburg Porcelain and the large store on Odeonsplatz 1 carries most of the collections (don’t miss the sleek pieces designed by American Ted Muehling). If you are interested in the craftsmanship that goes into the delicate pieces, visit Schloss Nymphenburg where the lines are still made. There are special tours of the manufactory and the gardens and grounds surrounding the castle are stunning in the warm months. Fashionistas, meanwhile, should head to Theresa (3 Maffeistrasse; 49-89-224-845), which has been called the Barney’s of Germany: a small department store stuffed floor-to-ceiling with haute labels.
TOP DAY TRIPS:
The Bavarian Alps are close to Munich, so for outdoor enthusiasts, the region is a find. During the warm months, Munich locals flock to the Tegernsee, about an hour-drive from the city center. You can go swimming in the lake as well as hike the Wallberg; if you do the latter, don’t miss Bräustüberl Tegernsee, a great local restaurant serving German specialties. Another lake worth visiting is the Starnberger See, about a 45-minute drive from Munich. You can explore the scenic Bernried, a charming village as well as visit the Buchheim Museum, housed in a very cool building and showing the collections of painter, publisher and photographer Lothar-Günther Buchheim. Another incredibly scenic area near Munich is the region around towns Bad Tölz and Lenggries. Bad Tölz, especially, is very quaint and has some cute stores along the Marktstrasse; Lenggries, meanwhile, draws hikers thanks to an abundance of routes, most centered around Brauneck mountain.
Thanks to a clean, speedy and efficient train system, Munich is very well-connected to Switzerland and Austria. Some of the most popular cities for add-on trips are Zürich (four hours with the train), Salzburg (2 hours with the train) and Vienna (four hours with the train). Outdoors enthusiasts should take advantage of the gorgeous hiking around Salzburg, in the Salzkammergut area; wine aficionados will love the modern wineries in Austria’s Wachau region (close to Vienna art aficionados will love the cultural scenes of Zürich and Lucerne. The resort towns of Kitzbühl, Lech and Innsbruck are also popular additions to a trip to Munich.
If you are planning a trip to this region of Europe, contact Indagare for help with itineraries, hotels and great guides.
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