- Craig Claiborne born (1920)
A Vegetarian’s Guide to Dining Out in Germany
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With its astonishing history, beautiful buildings, and abundant beer gardens, Germany has always drawn me in: Oktoberfest — I can’t get enough. Berlin — there’s never enough time to see everything. But if there’s one negative thing to say about this land I love, it’s that finding tasty, vegetarian cuisine can be a hassle, especially in Bavarian-indulgent Munich.
As such, I set a challenge for myself on a recent trip to Berlin and Munich: to find restaurants that serve awesome vegetarian fare that would make any self-respecting herbivore proud. While most cafés and coffee shops in both Berlin and Munich serve a plethora of vegetarian sandwich options for lunch, my real goal was finding a memorable dinner.
Within walking distance from the Checkpoint Charlie U-Bahn stop, Valmontone Ristorante is centrally located and offers seating both outdoors and in a large, expansive dining room. Order the focaccia and bruschetta for appetizers, and the veggie pizza for dinner for a touch of Italy in meat-centric Germany.
Yes, it is another pizza place, but the atmosphere of this outdoor restaurant is enough to justify a second pizza dinner. The beer garden outside along the River Spree is called Gaffel Haus, while the restaurant serving pizza is Ständige Vertretung. Order a couple of beers and a spinach pizza while you soak in the local culture at this gem — it’s bound to make both carnivores and herbivores happy.
If you’re looking for the true Bavarian experience, you can’t go wrong hitting up Augustiner-Keller, an amazing beer garden that really keeps the tradition of Munich alive. While the menu is chock-full of dishes for a meat lover’s fantasy, I found my own little slice of heaven in a decadent cheese plate, followed by my first of many plates of cheese spaetzle (a traditional Bavarian delight of egg noodles smothered in cheese and fried onions).
Café AM Marienplatz
There’s no better place to be to capture the hustle, bustle, and beauty of Munich than in Marienplatz square, in the heart of Munich. Café AM Marienplatz, directly across from the new city hall, provides a picturesque alfresco dining experience where even a vegetarian such as myself can order a hearty salad or, if it’s so desired, another round of spaetzle.
Beer gardens are the norm in Munich, but the Chinese Tower in the middle of the English Gardens really is a sight to see. Now one of Munich’s most popular beer gardens, the restaurant can hold up to 7,000 people in its impressive outdoor seating area, where food is served cafeteria-style. Vegetarians can rejoice — this beer garden serves the largest pretzels and the most delicious cheese dip you’ll feast on in Munich, plus all the traditional German sides like sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. I got a small Greek salad to go with my pretzel and cheese, just so I felt like I was at least trying to do something healthy.
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