A growing number of traditional taverns in Munich are proving that Bavarian cuisine can also be modern, serving up offbeat creations in a laid-back atmosphere.
If you’ve always wanted to sample the full gamut of Bavarian cuisine, Bapas in Schwabing is the place to go. They have Schweinebraten (roast pork), Kasspressknödel (cheese dumplings) and Obatzda (Bavarian cheese spread) – all served in miniature. Bavarian tapas is not just the perfect way to discover your favourite dish, but is also ideal for sharing with friends and family. It is also notable how well the Spanish tapas concept goes together with that wonderful Bavarian gregariousness! Another popular offering at this stylish pub is its breakfast tapas – guests can enjoy mini veal sausage or pancakes served from a miniature traditional Reindl pan until 2 pm. Bapas is also wonderful for championing smaller local brands such as Isar Bier on its drinks menu, eschewing the bigger breweries.
Bapas, Leopoldstrasse 56A
Xaver’s is owned by three siblings whose family also runs the Alter Wirt in Grünwald – so you could say that hospitality is in their blood. With their exquisite pub in Glockenbachviertel, the trio are proving that taverns can be modern without forgoing all things traditional. Inside, heavy wooden tables are paired with green velvet stools, and antlers are mounted on bold green walls – and the combinations somehow go really well together. This blending of the young with traditional is continued in the menu: alongside classic Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schnitzel and Wurstsalat (sausage salad), there is always a selection of vegetarian dishes – and you can wash it all down with a freshly drawn Augustiner beer. If you prefer the grape to the grain, you can order one of their excellent certified organic wines.
Xaver's, Rumfordstrasse 35
The decor at Servus Heidi has a slightly younger style. Wood-panelled walls are hung with all manner of framed illustrations, and chandeliers dangle over felt chairs in a design inspired by traditional costume. The pub is owned by hotel chain Roomers, which has a branch located directly opposite. Guests at Servus Heidi somehow quickly end up in the Oktoberfest mood – perhaps because of its fantastic location between the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and the Theresienwiese (Oktoberfest fairground); or maybe it is thanks to the spacious restaurant terrace and the traditionally dressed wait staff. The Alpine cuisine served here encompasses Wammerl (pork belly) and Schnitzel, as well as more unusual recipes such as smoked salmon salad or Bavarian risotto with pumpkin and chicory.
Servus Heidi, Landsberger Strasse 73
The Spezlwirtschaft has two locations in Munich – one in Haidhausen and the other in Sendling – and each has been successfully transformed into a cosy tavern which is popular with young and old guests alike. There is often hip hop playing in the background, and the menu is no less cool: boiled veal rump salad, beef tartare with quail egg, Mangalica pork with sweet potato puree. Clearly then, there are plenty of options to please meat lovers, but vegetarians can also look forward to celery schnitzel, spinach dumplings and more. And fans of vegan cuisine will also find a number of mouthwatering creations on the menu and among the growing number of weekly specials. Good to know: Spezlwirtschaft Sendling sells take-away sandwiches, chicken or chips on the street every afternoon.
Bodhi is a true Munich success story. When the vegan tavern opened its doors a few years ago, the city’s vegan scene was still relatively small. Since then, Bodhi has not only become an established Munich food venue, but has also opened restaurants in Augsburg and Ulm. Operator Klaus Kuttner wanted people to see that you can also enjoy great Bavarian food without using animal products. And once you start browsing the menu, you immediately want to taste everything on it: there’s crisp soya steak with a dark beer sauce, “Keesspatzn” (cheese noodles) made with vegan cheese, and lupin schnitzel with dumplings and wild mushroom ragout. Bodhi also serves a very popular vegan brunch every Sunday in winter – be sure to reserve a table if you don’t want to miss out!
Bodhi, Ligsalzstrasse 23
Though Trumpf oder Kritisch in Maxvorstadt is principally a bar, it also serves fantastic Bavarian food. But the first thing you notice about the place is its unique furnishings: light bulbs dangle from antlers, and patrons order their drinks at a rustic bar made from wooden blocks. If hunger strikes after your fresh-from-the-cask Augustiner or Alpine-inspired cocktail such as the “Schorsch am Lago”, the Fleischpflanzerl (meatballs), Wurstsalat (sausage salad) or Krustenschweinebraten (roast pork with crackling) are bound to hit the spot. Vegetarians can choose from spinach and ricotta pasta, roast potatoes or Käsespätzle (cheese noodles). Of course, you must follow your meal with an Obstler (fruit brandy) or Marillenschnapps (apricot schnapps) – and play a game of Schafkopfen, too. They even have their own customised playing cards, available from the bar!
Trumpf oder Kritisch, Feilitzschstrasse 14
Indulge in some Schweinebraten (roast pork) or salmon with a clear conscience at Klinglwirt in Haidhausen, the city’s first organic tavern. The team sources its organic meat from the Herrmannsdorfer organic farm, while its fish comes from Starnberger See (lake). And what’s more, half of its many organic dishes are always vegetarian. Proprietor Sonja previously worked as a corporate consultant in the area of climate protection, before opening Klinglwirt over ten years ago. Since then she has been working hard on making the tavern more and more environmentally friendly, considering every detail. It’s no surprise that she only uses local suppliers from Munich and the surrounding region, but the restaurant also runs on green electricity and uses exclusively compostable packaging.
Klinglwirt, Balanstrasse 16
When it comes to cool taverns in Munich, Obacht in Maxvorstadt is up there with the best of them. The inn is striking not only for its beautiful yet simple decor and the Munich artwork on its walls, but also its exciting menu. In addition to classic Bavarian cuisine, the kitchen here also serves up dishes you won’t find everywhere – for example, Böckinger Feldgschrei, a Swabian stew, or Gebackener Weißlacker, a baked cheese dish originally from the Allgäu region in the south of Bavaria. Every Saturday and Sunday, guests can also enjoy the classic dish of Schweinebraten (roast pork) with dark beer sauce. The two restaurateurs behind Obacht are well known in the district, as they also operate the popular “Stadion an der Schleißheimerstrasse” football pub just a few streets away.
Wirtshaus Obacht, Schwindstrasse 20
Bahnhofsviertel is so renowned as the place to find an enormous selection of dishes from all over the world, you can sometimes forget that it’s also a great place for outstanding Bavarian cuisine. It’s where Restaurant Irmi is located, a cosy and cool eatery which proudly describes itself as a “Modern Munich Kitchen”. The menu includes delights such as Giesinger Braumeister Gulasch mit Kartoffelknödel (Giesing brewmaster goulash with potato dumplings) – or how about some char from Königssee (lake)? And you can wash it all down with a Giesinger Bräu draught beer or perhaps one of the local craft beers Irmi loves to support. As the inn belongs to the Le Méridien hotel chain, you can even fall into bed full and tipsy at the end of your visit. Or if the weather is fine, you can sit in the cosy inner courtyard beer garden – a real hidden gem in the Bahnhofsviertel district!
Restaurant Irmi, Goethestrasse 4