Forming the heart of Thalkirchner Strasse, the former slaughterhouse and the Grossmarkthalle wholesale market hall are surrounded by a host of fantastic restaurants, cafés and bars. A visit to one of the tastiest streets in Munich.
Spanning some three kilometres, Thalkirchner Strasse connects three city districts: Glockenbachviertel, Schlachthofviertel and Sendling. So if you plan to discover this lively and varied street, you should not only have time to spare but also be in the mood for a walk. We start at Sendlinger Tor gate, where the street begins and also where you can see its most buzzing face, thanks to rows of cafés and restaurants, outdoor Schanigarten terraces and flower shops. Every centimetre of the street has something happening, until you reach the Alte Südfriedhof graveyard and get a brief respite.
But first, more on the “Fressmeile” (food boulevard) on Thalkirchner Strasse. For many streets as long as this one it is difficult to identify a single theme, especially if they also lead to multiple city districts – not so on Thalkirchner Strasse: it’s simply all about the food. Forming the heart of the street, the former slaughterhouse and the Grossmarkthalle wholesale market hall are surrounded by a host of fantastic restaurants, cafés and bars.
Qualität bekommt man im Viertel beinahe nachgeworfen: Jeden Morgen am Großmarkt, an jeder Ecke im nächsten Gemüseladen. Rund um Münchens Bauch schlechte Lebensmittel einzukaufen, das ist fast unmöglich.
The focus is not so much on the internationality of the cuisine here – though you can find Asian, Italian and Spanish food according to your mood – but instead on using fresh, local produce and delivering quality. All of which is available in abundance here, every morning at the Grossmarkt as well as in the greengrocer shops on every corner. Buying bad food in and around Munich’s belly is almost impossible.
Given how highly developed the district is in culinary terms, it is probably no coincidence that Munich’s fledging craft beer scene is primarily found here too. Frisches Bier, which opened on Thalkirchner Strasse in 2018, was the first craft beer bar to open in the city. It is owned by master brewer Tilmann Ludwig, and his bar policy is to only serve beer from small breweries – including his own, of course.
It’s a success story that people like to tell, even beyond Schlachthofviertel. And more craft beer outlets soon followed, such as BROY, which has its own late-night convenience store at number 16 on the same street.
We are currently savouring the quality on offer in Usagi, an izakaya-style restaurant located in Glockenbachviertel. Restaurant owner Philipp explains that a rough translation of izakaya is “sake sitting down”. An izakaya is a mix of restaurant and bar, and is more likely to offer a pub-like atmosphere than snow-white tablecloths. This relaxed bar table atmosphere and loud music is valued by a number of Munich’s award-winning chefs, who dine regularly at Usagi, Philipp tells us. He himself trained under television chef Holger Stromberg.
„Es ist eigentlich die einzige Straße in München, die einen echten Kiez-Charakter hat. Heute reiht sich ein Laden an den anderen – und doch gehören alle irgendwie zusammen.“
Before opening Usagi, he owned the Palau just next door – a tiny establishment consisting almost exclusively of a single large counter, where guests ordered tapas and Spanish sparkling wine. At Usagi though, the focus is on Bavarian-Japanese fare such as spare ribs with coleslaw and wasabi mayo or grilled aubergine with miso. The menu also includes organic beef from Tegernsee, both wagyu and Simmental beef. Philipp likes to know where his meat comes from. He also believes it is important to use the entire animal, so his menu sometimes features offal.
He enjoys the liveliness of Thalkirchner Strasse: “It’s actually the only street in Munich that has a really local neighbourhood feel to it. When we opened the Palau in 2012, there wasn’t much here in terms of gastronomy. But today, there’s one restaurant after another – and yet they all belong together somehow.” When Philipp isn’t at his restaurant Usagi, you’ll find him next door at the Schnelle Liebe burger joint – another gastronomic landmark on the street.
We continue down Thalkirchner Straße, crossing the tranquil Alter Südfriedhof cemetery. Even here gastronomic excellence is evident, as many former brewers have their family plots here – among them Johann Conrad Develey, the inventor of sweet mustard. One look at the brick graveyard walls and you know you’re in Schlachthofviertel. There is a huge number of clinker brink buildings in the area around the Grossmarkthalle, making the area distinct within Munich. The new Volkstheater was also built in this style so that it would tie in well with the overall appearance of the area, as some of the nearby heritage-listed brick houses are 150 years old. The opening of the Volkstheater in autumn 2021 might well also dramatically change the street and attract more people to it.
That’s what happened with the Bahnwärter Thiel cultural project, when Daniel Hahn and his team opened their creative venue in the grounds of the former Viehhof slaughterhouse in 2015; it has since moved to a new location no more than 400 metres away. Dozens of creatives work there in discarded shipping containers, while old U-Bahn carriages act as venues for various celebrations, concerts, readings and workshops. The unique site with its graffitied walls, campfire areas and outdoor dance floors has, of course, provided Schlachthofviertel with plenty of publicity – more and more young people are coming here, making the neighbourhood a more popular area to live.
Carmen from the Moss design store confirms that things have changed, particularly since the Alte Utting (a disused pleasure boat repurposed as a bar and restaurant) arrived: “Since it opened, a lot more tourists and people from other districts have been coming here to visit.” It has been good for her business: Carmen and her husband had been offering advice from their interior design studio for many years. The small store in which visitors can browse beautifully selected furniture and living accessories – some of them from small labels which can only be brought here – is a new addition.
Die Thalkirchner Straße ist für sie wie ein Horizont, der sich in zwei Seiten teilt: rechts das lebendige Glockenbachviertel, links das ruhigere Sendling.
The pair have had their office on Thalkirchner Strasse for 20 years now. What has changed? “The street is becoming more international. I moved here from London; I used to feel like a foreigner here, but today is different, fortunately.” Carmen and her husband live in the neighbouring district of Giesing, which is not quite as developed as the Schlachthof area: “The neighbourhood is getting younger; you see fewer and fewer old people on the street – and the ones you do see are wearing very trendy clothes,” Carmen says, laughing.
For her, Thalkirchner Strasse is like a horizon dividing two sides: on the right is the lively Glockenbachviertel district, on the left, the quieter area of Sendling. When Carmen and her husband take lunch, you’ll often find them at Gotzinger Platz. This square offers a huge variety of excellent foods, from Italian and Mexican to Turkish. The Bäckerei Neulinger bakery is ideal if you want something quick to go. They both enjoy trying new things, and are currently enthusing about the fish soup at Frischeparadies. The delicatessen is also home to a small bistro.
Beginning so vibrantly at Sendlinger Tor, our tour of Thalkirchner Strasse ends surprisingly quietly in a residential area. We even see an allotment garden at the end of Brudermühlstrasse, as we dive into the cosy district of Sendling. The popular DAV climbing and bouldering centre is located in the grounds of the Thalkirchen sports centre, along with a tennis club – for anyone who wants to shed the pounds they may have gained from overindulging. Though all you really need is a walk down Thalkirchner Strasse!