The best restaurants in Munich
Booking comes highly recommended at this cozy joint in Haidhausen, serving up hearty Mediterranean dishes and a perennially homey atmosphere. In a 19th-century building on a quiet, largely residential street, it’s a simply-clad interior with fresh flowers, candlelight and specials on the blackboard. It wins extra points for its great vegan and veggie options (a rarity in Munich) and exceptionally friendly service; visitors young and old, local and new to town, are all welcomed like regulars. (The venue is super kid-friendly, with a playground out back.) In warm weather, the courtyard is lovely, particularly for a long, lazy Sunday brunch.
When you think of Wirtshaus you think of lederhosen, Oktoberfest and the height of Bavarian kitsch. But Maximilian manages to promote tradition without being too cheesy. Sure, there's a certain amount of pine about the place and schnitzel is on offer, but everything else has been given a modern makeover. The atmosphere is light and airy, there are an impressive 35 German beers on tap and bottle, plus German and Austrian wines, and the menu boasts twists on traditional sausages, potato pancakes, currywurst and pretzels.
You’ve got two options with Theresa: the relaxed and trendy Grill, serving hunky waiters and succulent cutlets, rib-eye and chops, or the more glamorous, softly-lit and softly-furnished Bar Restaurant. The latter is great for romance with its pastoral murals, plush velvet seating, and a mouth-watering sharing menu. Whether you want to roll your sleeves up for the red meat, or dress up for smoked salmon tartar with beet mayo, both Theresa venues are the kind of places you want to savor flavors late into the night (though the Grill is also a great choice for lunch, particularly after a visit to the nearby Brandhorst Museum). Happily, the bar stays open until at least 1am.
From housing hay bales to high-class cuisine, this colonnaded hall was once the stables of Munich’s royal residence. Now packed full of pretty, young things, Brenner boasts a luxurious location off Maximilanstraße and an impressive vaulted and pillared interior. With inside capacity for 450 people as well as a scenic terrace looking toward the Bavarian state opera, it’s a big, bustling, brasserie-style place, where the terrazzo flooring and wrought iron elements do little to soften the noise. The triad offering of bar, pasta and grill promises Mediterranean flair and not a mention of sauerkraut, with homemade linguine and spaghetti and an array of meat and fish served hot from the open fire. Service is attentive and good, the guests are glamorous and the whole experience can be a welcome reprieve from the carb-laden jostle of the traditional Bavarian locale. We highly recommend booking in advance.
On one of one of Munich’s most beautiful city center streets, chef Ali Güngörmüs moved south from his Hamburg tenure at the renowned Le Canard Nouveau to set up his own restaurant, Pageou. Behind an impressive historical façade, the interior is bright, light and elegant, with white walls, generous leather chairs and rich red details. Pageou was the name of Güngörmüs’ childhood village and it’s the East Anatolian touch that makes his set and à la carte menus such winners, combining aromatic interest with rustic charm—think warm Saint Maure cheese on an eggplant-kadaifi nest. There’s a private dining room for parties and, in summer, a balmy back courtyard, as well as a slightly less expensive business lunch menu. Be sure to leave room for the signature chocolate cake.
For the classic Wirtshaus experience, you can’t go wrong with Bratwurst-Glöckl, centrally located near Marienplatz, where the olde-worlde interior includes wood panelling, stained glass windows and heavy tick-tocking clocks. Don’t expect a tucked-away treasure—the menu is available in English, German, French, Italian and Russian—but there’s still an authentic charm, not least in the famous pork sausages, which are roasted on an open beech wood fire. The Kaiserschmarrn takes a good 20 minutes to prepare, but is a dessert indeed fit for an Empress or Emperor: a fluffy mountain of warm shredded pancake, topped with icing sugar and apple compote.
For no frills, student vibes and panorama views, this simple café on the roof of Munich’s architecture faculty is a winner. Though no longer the Geheimtipp (inside secret) it once was, it’s still off the super beaten tourist track, not least because it requires a little navigation through the university campus. There’s a bright minimalist interior and a big terrace, with great sun and even better views over the Maxvorstadt district and, on a clear day, right across to the snow-tipped Alps. Impress your companions by pointing out the two domes of the Frauenkirche, a Bavarian landmark and Munich’s cathedral. True to the best student cafes, the coffee is great, and there’s a decent list of teas, beers and long drinks too. The food selection is small and simple (pizza, Weiswurßt) but generously portioned and priced, particularly given the views. There’s also a hearty Sunday brunch buffet. Finding a seat can be difficult, so arrive early if you want the best breakfast spot.
This vibrant new restaurant adds a turbo-watt of color and energy to the Deutsches Museum of science and technology with which it shares its premises. Styled by punk-funk designer and musician Trevor Jackson, Blitz features brightly colored chairs, a mural of grinning Day of the Dead skeletons and, for Munich, a whole new level of Mexican cuisine. The vegetarian menu has all the fajita and quesadilla classics, with such surprising flourishes as hibiscus blossom and banana ketchup. It’s more expensive than in your typical Mexican joint, but more substantial too. If you’re looking for some nightlife post-meal, the affiliated Blitz techno club is one of the most hotly anticipated additions to Munich nightlife, boasting a custom-built VOID sound system and phenomenal acoustics.
Considering it's situated across the road from Munich’s Opera House and National Theatre, it's unsurprising to learn that Spatenhaus an der Oper boasts a stately vibe. The exterior is a brilliant white townhouse, while inside is very regal in the formal upstairs dining room and slightly more rustic downstairs. Multiple lamps provide a warm glow and set a romantic mood in this wood-clad restaurant. If you're planning to stop by pre-theatre, do be sure to book, and know that if you're seated upstairs, you can order a range of Austrian, Bavarian and international dishes, while below the menu is strictly traditional Bavarian.
If all that schnitzel gets to be too much, book a table at Tian, a high quality vegetarian restaurant right off the Viktualienmarkt. The interior, heavy on grey fabrics and ornate nouveau chandeliers, smacks a little of the business hotel lounge, but things get much fresher in the kitchen where it’s all about local, organic and seasonal produce. The à la carte and four to eight course menus eschew elaborate description to focus only on the ingredients and their exquisite and original combinations, from the quince, thyme and chervil appetizer to the beet, almond, malt and white chocolate dessert. It’s all beautifully presented, and many will say this is the very best vegetarian food in town. Can’t make it for dinner? Tuesday through Friday, there’s a reduced light lunch menu, including the savory and speedy Tarte Flambée.
How about a drink?
No Bavarian visit is complete without a sizeable serving of beer, though there are plenty of other options in the home of Oktoberfest. Sip your way through the best watering holes in Munich, from beer gardens to gastropubs and cocktail bars.