Food in Germany surprised me. I didn’t take to the things I purposely came to eat and I loved some really unexpected dishes. I chased salads and wine instead of my beloved beer and sausage. Here’s what clicked — and what didn’t.

Best Things I Ate In Germany

Stawberry-Mozarella-Chicken SaladMainz Germany 15 HeiligGeistMainz Germany 13 HeiligGeist

Hands down the best meal I had in Germany was at the restaurant called Heiliggeist, in Mainz. Here’s the deal: it was so friggin’ hot during my trip, that I was always craving something light and cool for my meals. Salads, mostly. Now, German idea of a salad is usually a few gigantic leaves of lettuce with a quartered tomato and a few chunks of cucumber on top. Not exactly refined or creative. Which is why I was so, so, so excited when I got my salad at Heiliggeist – complete with finely sliced strawberries, radishes,  blobs of mozzarella and the most tender grilled chicken breast ever, all mixed with the traditional garden fare. Add to it the chilled yogurt-dill soup and freezing-cold Apfelwein, and this was the best dining experience of my trip.

Melon PanMelon Pan IImori

IMG_7344One of the main reasons I read travel blogs before my trips is to find out the best food spots in any place. That’s how I learned about IIMORI, Frankfurt’s French-Japanese bakery and restaurant. The place is supposed to serve an amazing buffet lunch, but I was a bit early for that. Instead, I grabbed a sweet curry puff (curry pan) and a green melon cookie (Melon Pan, sticking out on the right side of the top photo ) to go. That cookie was one of the most amazing desserts I have ever had! Sweet but not too sweet, soft and moist dough on the inside under that glistening shell, and a flavor like I haven’t tasted in a dessert before. My only regret was that I was already many blocks away by the time I unwrapped and tried my find, otherwise I would have gone back for a whole bag of them.

Pork Schnitzel Schnitzel Wispertal

Schnitzel has never been my thing – I like my meat like it’s just been running around, be it beef burger or pork shashlik. All the schnitzels I have tried have been dry, hard, thin, low on meat and high on breadcrumbs. That is, until I ordered a salad with pork schnitzel at a restaurant hidden away in Wispertal (Whisper River Valley), near Rhine. It was soooo good! Hearty comfort food done right, with a salad (well, giant chunks of veggies) and TWO tangy, creamy sauces on the side to boot! Of all the traditional German specialties, this was the one I liked the most.

Plain PretzelPretzel

What is it with German things ending in a -tzel? I always thought that pretzels were one of the worst iterations of bread – at least in the US and Russia they are. I’d never even think to buy a pretzel unless dying of hunger. So there I was, in a Munich supermarket, loading up on #sanctioned soft cheeses and hard salamis, when I hit the check-out counter and realized that I have no bread to go with them. Which was basically  the equivalent of dying of hunger (ok, I was really hungry, and too lazy to go back and look for something better). Surprise — German pretzel is a total bready awesomeness that goes well with sausage, cheese, and by itself.

And in the interest of full disclosure: German Classics That Didn’t Quite Hit The SpotGerman food 2

Thank goodness for the schnitzel and the pretzel, otherwise I would be short on good things to say about my German food experience and might not be allowed back into that awesome country ever again. It’s not like the things I ate were bad, but that I didn’t like the local treatment of things I usually love: pork, sausages, potatoes and cabbage. Most of those dishes were pretty basic, bland and heavy (sorry! I ❤ you, Deutschland!).  I’m sorry, but a huge roast sausage with ketchup and some curry powder  does not impress me. Maybe it tastes better when sitting by the fire in the dead of winter?

You know what? That’s right, I’ll blame the damn heat. German restaurant 1German food 3 German food 5 German food 6

German food 1 German food 4 German restaurant 2What’s the best thing you’ve ever had in Germany or is there a German dish you want to try? 


  1. Should not have looked at this before breakfast… now I’m starving. Oooh, I so want a Butterbreze right now! (I’ve never been able to figure out why/how Breze/Brezel morphed in to “pretzel”).

  2. I am amused to see that you may not have liked the sausages, but you gave them a jolly good trying out before concluding that.

    • I really did try it all. And I want to reiterate – none of it was bad, or bad-tasting. But when I travel I kind of want my mind blown a little bit, you know? I dont want food to be just perfunctory. There’s always next time 🙂

  3. I read this post yesterday and I had to go on my lunch break earlier! That salad looks great, I love adding fruit, even though people always think I’m strange for doing that, haha.

        • The Brits went through a phase in the 70s of adding satsumas to salads of lettuce (iceburg, naturally, this being the 70s) and cucumbers, tomatoes and such like. It was horrible, I remember. Actually, I don’t have to remember as my Mum still does this at Christmas, unless I manage to stop her. I’ll be honest, I looked at the strawberries there and was worried.

          Mind you, apples in crunchy salads are great.

  4. TOO. MUCH. BREAD. Otherwise, yum! I do love sausage and beer too, but you know me and veggies. I am known to put odd things on salads…everything tastes better with lettuce 🙂

  5. So hilarious. I love this post Anna! I agree with you about the salad. Germany doesn’t really do healthy stuff quite that well.

    You need to go for the stodge and be done with it hence most of the things that you didnt like are actually the best things to have e.g. the pork knuckle and the dumplings, the mashed potatoes and the sauerkraut. NOT the white sausages. They’re disgusting! However, currywurst, bratwurst, pork stuffing in cabbage pockets, minced meat with a raw egg on top. yes & yes!

    • Minced meat – raw? Like steak tartar? I can go for that.
      And it’s not even so much about the health factor, but about lightness – like, when I travel, I need to NOT require a 4-hour nap to digest my lunch!

    • I did try Maultaschen but it was at a touristy place in Munich and they were really not very good. I dont think I had Kloesse… I did have some potato/bread ball thingy but it didnt have anything inside.

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