Chicago has a rich German heritage, which includes vibrant beer festivals, Oktoberfest celebrations and the ability to find a terrific bratwurst at Chicago hot dog stands all over the city. Want a beer garden? We've got those too. For traditional German food, here's where to eat.
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Best German food in Chicago
This bastion of oompah fun, baron-sized beers and heaping platters of carb-tastic classics brings together locals and tourists alike. The lederhosen-clad Brauhaus Trio performs nightly, packing the raucous dining hall with duos who dance zwiefacher-style (think polka with quick turns). Grab a stool at the bar, where the banter is better, the service is quicker and the time between you and your next hefeweizen much shorter.
Weiners, wursts and kielbasa as far as the eye can see. Gene’s is the ultimate European-style market in the former Meyer Delicatessen spot, plus it's a grocer, baker, beer, wine and liquor seller, deli, butcher and importer of Kinder chocolates topflaumenmus (plum butter). All of that takes a backseat to the sausage though—more than 40 housemade varieties from Alpine (a kielbasa with extra garlic and smoke) to Zywiecka (a smoked pork and beef Polish with a sharp, peppery kick). In warm weather, head for pitchers of Pils and grilled brats on the rooftop beer garden.
Wander in off the street and you might think this gem is little more than a charming German pub. It is—and has been since ’71—but since ’91 it’s also been one of the best spots in town for rouladen, thin beef rolled with bacon, onions and pickles. The German comfort food staple is served with rich brown gravy, sweet braised cabbage and perfect, fluffy spaetzle dumplings. Try other authentic offerings like hackepeter (rich, fresh steak tartare on rye with capers and onions) and Wiener schnitzel (pounded-thin veal breaded and fried crispy). The gratis fruit schnapps is a perfect ending to the meal.
From the shingled roof to the oompah music, this North Side fave is the place to get your Teutonic eat on. Many trundle in for the extensive collection of German beer, but the food is sehr gut, too. The butter-soft smoked Thuringer sausage has a great mellow taste, while the Sheboygan brat makes a delicious mess with mustard and a heaping pile of sauerkraut. Try the hearty rahmschnitzel, a breaded pork loin swimming in mushroom gravy.