Don’t be fooled by the onslaught of pretzels, sauerkraut and meat – Munich’s foodie scene is a varied and thriving one that goes far beyond its traditional fare. Of course on a first visit it’s absolutely essential that you eat enough Bavarian comfort cuisine to put yourself into a small food coma. However, if you can, make sure to leave time and stomach space to explore a few other eateries in the city. As an avid foodie, trimming down my favourite places to grab a bite to eat was torturous (I didn’t even include brunch spots), but these Top 5 are my must-trys to get the best first taste of the extensive, and high-quality, dining experiences Munich has to offer. Oh, and although dining solo isn’t quite as popular here as in cities such as Berlin, these places are guaranteed to put any lone diner staring qualms you may have, perfectly at ease.
Highlight: fresh market delights
A delicious medley of sights, sounds and smells – Viktualienmarkt is sure to please even the most discerning of foodies. This market, open every day except Sunday, is the place to go to nibble on a selection of different delights. It’s also a place to try as well as buy – the market has an array of places with ready-to-eat options, such as juice bars which use the fruit and veggies straight from the stalls and a little soup kitchen with fresh options daily. Dive in, roam and explore. While doing so, make sure to swing by the stall with lots of different pestos and spices (delicious!) and the Honighäusel, which sells everything from wine to soaps which are all made from bee products. The biggest draw of this lovely market though is the sunny beer garden at its centre, which demands even the most hurried of sightseers to stop, sup and watch the world go by
Highlight: Bavarian dishes at their best
For the best Bavarian dishes in town, head straight to Löwenbräukeller – a traditional brewery and beer hall, complete with its own turreted tower worthy of Rapunzel herself. Despite its seemingly showy exterior, inside it exudes a homely and warm atmosphere and the meals served taste just like Grandma made them (if your Grandma was Bavarian, that is, which she probably wasn’t…but still). The spattering of tourists has increased over the years as travel journalists have started to share just how good the food is here. However, visit during the week and you’re more likely to find locals tucking into the lunchtime special than swathes of internationals two litres of beer down. There are English menus, but make sure not to miss the specials (which are usually written on a separate German menu). The meals are a little pricier than some of the traditional tourist joints right in the centre of town, but they are worth every extra cent – the food is fresh, delicious and the portions are big enough to kill a woman. Whatever you order you won’t go wrong. Unless, however, you order a Wurstsalat, really thinking it has salad leaves – it’s just heaps of sausage and onions. My favourite dish though, is most definitely the meat medallions in mushroom sauce, with Käsespätzle (which is hard to describe, but the best way is to think of it is as the long lost German cousin of Mac n’ Cheese). If you feel like cozying up in a corner and watching the world go by, then try to get a table in the pleasant little conservatory. If however, you fancy a chat, then slide on to one of the long benches and make friends with your neighbour.
Highlight: Seasonal dishes and cocktails
Chic, hole-in-the-wall Corso shows off Munich at the best of its foodie game. A bar-restaurant hybrid, Corso’s menu is small but mighty. The dishes on offer change every week because they depend on which fresh, seasonal and local ingredients can be acquired at the time. Expect delectable offerings such as steak filet with bloody mary jus, handmade pumpkin ravioli, and salted caramel moose with strawberry and lychee drizzle. Salivating yet? You should be. But it’s not just the food menu that impresses – Corso also boasts some of Munich’s best mixologists who create concoctions such as herby Rosmary Gin Fizz, Earl Grey Old Fashioneds and Smokey Negronis. The cocktails, too, change with the seasons, so you’re sure to get the perfect alcoholic accompaniment come wind, rain, snow or shine.
Highlight: Aubergine salad like you’ve never had before
Asking a Munich local which their favourite Greek restaurant is in the city, will result in the same passionate fervour as when asking them about their football team – everyone’s got a strong opinion on the matter. My feet are firmly in camp Molos – a delightful (and dangerously fun) Greek restaurant close to Goetheplatz. Normally Greek restaurants fall into one of two categories in Munich: a lot of fun but with mediocre food, or fantastic food and not as much fun. Molos, however, has both in droves. If arriving early evening don’t be fooled by the somewhat empty restaurant – it fills up fast (which means you should definitely book a table in advance, even when dining solo). I prefer to arrive in these quieter moments because you can watch the restaurant transform before your very eyes from somewhat tranquil, to bustling and full of life (and I definitely mean that last part, as the evening wears on, on comes the cheesy music and napkin throwing). Whether alone or with company, Molos waiters will do their best to make your night one to remember or, rather, to forget – your Ouzo glass will be eagerly refilled before you have even finished it. The close proximity of the tables makes Molos a great place for dining alone because, well, you almost feel like you are sharing a table with others. Also, if visiting in summer, it has a pleasant courtyard strung with fairy lights which almost makes you feel as though you are on a Greek isle. Oh and the food? Delicious. Make sure to order the aubergine salad and some pittas to start – it’s so good that you’ll feel like ordering 6 more before your main even arrives.
Highlight: vibrant Middle Eastern vegetarian dishes
There’s no doubt that bar-cum- vegetarian restaurant-cum-club Kismet in the Old Town is currently on-trend with Munich’s cool local crowd, and it looks set to stay that way. In fact, it’s been in such demand since opening that the owners have just opened a sister locale called Kiss. But, back to the original. Kismet offers a mouthwatering menu of Middle Eastern dishes from Mezze to Tajin, and bakes the flatbread right there on the premises (keeping alive the building’s bakery heritage). The Thali is to die for – three different curries will delight the tastebuds. The interiors are über minimalist cool, with dark greens and blues only being punctuated by the floods of light rushing through from the skylight ceiling which makes the backroom feel more like a conservatory. In summer, a small number of tables are set out on the front, so the balmy nights can be enjoyed too. Always full and always buzzing, solo diners will have no trouble feeling ‘part of something’ here. Once done dining, head upstairs to the bar/club. Small and intimate, the space feels like more like the den of a pinterest-worthy private pad than a bar open to the public. Cosy windowsill sofas, an elegant bar and a small space which turns into an intimate dancefloor as the hours move on, will make solo drinkers feel at ease rather than under the spotlight. A tip: make sure to try some of their aged tequila (this is one to sip and savour, not shot).