Counting down the days for the past weeks, David and Stephanie -dear friends from Colorado- have finally arrived with their friend and colleague Tyler. A little flashback for context is probably needed, so how did it all start, what is the connection? Coffee. I got to know David & Stephanie almost two years ago at an Italian deli store, where the two joined the table I was standing at, sipping away at a latte macchiato. Both had just arrived from the US and it was Stephanie’s first day in Munich. Over coffee we talked about all sorts of things, leaving me with a bad conscience, knowing the two were still jet lagged and I was chewing their ear off… ;) This coffee event developed into many joint culinary highlights, frequent themed dinner nights and a lively exchange of recipes, cookbooks and simply wonderful times spent together. Due to business reasons the two moved back to Colorado at the end of last year.
Owning a little space in their hearts, Munich had them back for a short while – combining business and leisure, we had plenty of time to revisit some of the places and restaurants they became fond of. So here is our culinary trail, part I:
Wirtshaus in der Au
A traditional Bavarian restaurant, serving outstandingly tasty Bavarian dishes. There is a high chance that with your first visit, you’ll come back on a regular basis – whenever your heart craves for savory Schweinsbraten or duck with dumplings, which would be one of our recommendations. And a “Knödlgröschdl mit Bratenresten” (mix of sauteed dumplings with leftovers from Schweinebraten, which is not always on the menu, but if you ask the waiters to in turn kindly ask the cook, if there is a tiny chance to probably get some *blink* *blink*… you might be lucky). Not to forget a yummy Königsschmarrn for dessert, a modified Kaiserschmarrn (cut-up and sugared pancake with raisins) if you will, served in an iron skillet with caramelized almonds and “Weichseln” (sour cherries).
You can both sit inside (nicely designed wooden interior) as well as outside under large chestnut trees – no matter where, you feel immediately at home. Probably because of a fantastic, very friendly and quick service – always dressed in Dirndl and Lederhosen (Bavarian liveries). On the weekend this place is always packed, so advance reservations are a wise precaution. Despite its central location, close to the Deutsche Museum, its nestled in a idyllic, quiet setting. Special events include Sunday jazz brunches and an unbeatable annual Lederhosen Fest, which is a fun event that helps to get in the proper mood and shape for the Wiesn (Munich beer feast).
Part of any walk through the Englischer Garten should be a visit to the Seehaus and adjoined beer garden. It is located right on the banks of a very nice lake (Kleinhesseloher See) inhabited by swans, geese and boats – if you’re up for it you can actually rent out a small rowing boat for an hour or two. Generally, the atmosphere is rather relaxed. It is also a perfect spot for dog lovers. Being one of the main green areas for people to walk their dogs, you can find dogs in all sizes from dachshund to Irish Wolfhound.
I was actually surprised to read that the Englischer Garten, covering approximately 4 sq.km, is the largest park of any city in the world. There are also stables nearby, so riders or even one-horse carriages (for tourists) can be spotted. And finally – on a side note – , if you happen to visit Munich in the late winter time and it is a sunny and rather warm day, you might find people sitting outside with a mug of beer and watching the kids skating on the ice.
Continuing with the Bavarian theme, St. Emmeramsmühle was the next logical choice for more traditional Bavarian cuisine. The sucking-pig in dark beer sauce is a must try. Succulent with a crisp crust, which is almost the best part of it, accompanied by a delicious dumpling (or alternatively: Spätzle). Their menu shows a broad variety, from very native to more extravagant and modern.
It is located next to St. Emmeram church in a wonderful and peaceful scenery. If you decide to go there by car make sure to arrive early, trying to find a parking spot can be anything but fun. The one-way that leads to the restaurant is usually fully occupied, so lots of people choose to go by bike or take a nice walk along the Isar.
This casual restaurant (Preysingstr. 69) which has redefined itself numerous times has been around almost forever and would be considered to be a fixture in Haidhausen. Being well established and providing cozy outside seating (as well as inside), its cuisine is more international with an emphasis on Italian dishes.
On a critical note we must say, that we have had some rather unpleasant experiences with the service in this place (one time we chose to leave without being served at all, as they couldn’t get two tomato-soups done within an hour…), but they have obviously implemented changes as our very recent experience made up for it easily. Very quick and forthcoming service now!