Munich’s best restaurants

Eat your way around the German city’s stellar restaurant scene


BY PAUL WHEATLY
Paul Wheatley is a Munich-based, British travel writer whose writing on Germany has appeared in titles including The TelegraphThe Guardian and Fodor’s travel guides.

 

 

Consistently chosen as one of the best cities in the world in which to live, Munich is known for Oktoberfest, its successful economy, its love of traditions – and for its fabulous restaurant landscape. This is the city that invented the ‘beer garden’: it’s packed with superb traditional Wirtshäuser (pub-restaurants) and it’s also home to some of Germany’s best dining experiences. This balance of traditional cuisine and high-end dining destinations works perfectly for a city that enjoys looking to the future as much as it does to age-old favourites.

The global icon: Nobu

Open at Mandarin Oriental, Munich since 2015, Munich’s outpost of Nobu was the renowned Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s first restaurant in Germany. Matsuhisa Munich has an elegant wooden interior in which the world-famous Japanese-Peruvian cuisine is served to expectant diners who have made the pilgrimage here. The menu is, naturally, a seafood lover’s dream: most famously the divine black cod on butter lettuce, but you might also order seared salmon karashi su miso or tuna tataki ponzu, both from the sashimi menu. Yes, there are also superb meat dishes and salads, but with its own ten-guest, semi-private dining section and eight-seat live cooking counter, the fish here is just too good to miss.

The world-class vegetarian: Tian

With just two restaurants in its stable, one in Vienna and one in Munich, Tian is focused on taking the time and effort to be creative. Founded by Christian Helper, this is a high-class restaurant that happens to just serve vegetarian food. It’s not afraid to experiment with lesser-known ingredients at the same time as using everyday seasonal vegetables to inspire culinary devotion. Tian, the Chinese word for heaven, is predominantly organic, and head chef, Mario Mößlacher, creates wonderful dinners that can range from four to eight courses. While more modest in scope, lunches are still impressive, exemplified by pumpkin risotto with chestnuts and sprouts, followed by saffron rice pudding with marinated apricots and almond.  

The established heavyweight: Tantris

Few restaurants can claim to have retained a Michelin star every year since the 1970s, but Tantris, situated in a specially commissioned and now very much 1970s city centre Munich building, seems to do it effortlessly. Chef Hans Haas has been responsible for its accolades for the past 25 years, and with its distinctive almost out of kilter retro interior and superb dishes, it doesn’t seem as though its position at the centre of gourmet foodie hearts in Munich will change any time soon. Serving five or eight courses, the dishes are an absolute delight. Depending on the season you may find medallions of venison saddle with red cabbage, wild mushrooms and sweet chestnut purée; or confit Dover sole with cream spinach, egg ravioli and mignonette sauce; and a dessert of chocolate tarte with plums, hazelnut and caramel ice cream.

The updated traditional venue: Wirtshaus in der Au

The once seemingly humble Bavarian Wirtshaus is nowadays sold as an authentic German food experience in cities and beer festivals across the planet. Originating in Munich, the city still has the best. Wirtshaus in der Au, a 20-minute walk across the river from central Marienplatz, is one of them. Arched floor-to-ceiling windows accompanied by rustic wooden tables and chairs, and staff in traditional clothes provide a comforting olde-worlde-like feel. Most importantly, it serves the best Bavarian dumplings in the city. As is usual in a Wirtshaus or beer garden, suited business people sit next to manual workers, eager for a great beer, roast pork, and a selection of bread or potato dumplings, embellished with spinach, organic cheese or nutmeg, made with brezn.

The multi-tasker: Dallmayr

Dallmayr has long been a renowned feature at the apex of the Munich culinary landscape, with its dazzling grocery store, café and restaurant in one delightful city centre location. Everything about all three has a refined, traditional and attention-to-detail appeal. The two-Michelin star Restaurant Dallmayr, situated on the first floor and led by Diethard Urbansky, sets the standard. It seats only 40 diners whether for lunch or dinner, and Urbansky remains wedded to his ‘less is more’ mantra: a fabulous dinner of monkfish, green mango and vadouvan Indian spices, followed by barberry chocolate and oriental spices, will leave guests in no doubt that it works.

Immerse yourself in Munich…

A five-star hotel in the heart of the Old Town, Mandarin Oriental, Munich is a luxury retreat with timeless appeal that offers an enticing blend of luxury, comfort and style.