Dining in Germany
In most restaurants, you can sit wherever there is an open table. You don’t need to wait for someone to seat you.
Tap water is never served automatically. If you ask for tap water (Leitungswasser), the waiter/waitress won’t be pleased. Instead, buy a bottle of water and specify whether you want “mit sprudel” (with gas) or “stilles wasser” (without gas).
German cuisine is meat-heavy and served in large proportions. The main dishes are usually accompanied by potatoes, salad, and/or sauerkraut. When deciding what to order, opt for seasonal ingredients. For example, in Fall, order something with pumpkin. In Spring, order something with white asparagus.
Frikadellen – pan-fried meatballs of minced meat. Eat with bread and mustard.
Zwiebelrostbraten – [Swabian cuisine] roast beef topped with roasted onions. It’s often served with a side of Spätzle (egg noodles).
Sauerbraten – [Rhineland cuisine] translates as “sour roast.” Sauerbraten is made by marinating a beef roast in a sour-sweet marinade for 2 to 3 days before browning it. Next, the meat simmers in the marinade for several hours, which makes it very tender.
Reibekuchen – [Rhineland cuisine] translates as “grated cakes.” It’s essentially a deeply fried potato pancake made with potatoes, onions, and eggs. It’s popular to eat these on the street at Christmas markets, fairs, and sports events. They’re delicious, but don’t overdo it. You’ll die.
Nürnberger Bratwurst [Franconian Cuisine] – small sausages made with garlic, pepper and marjoram. If you order it in a restaurant, you’ll typically get 6 small sausages with Sauerkraut.
Schorle – a nonalcoholic beverage made with mineral water and juice. You can order Apfelschorle (made with apple juice), Johannisbeer-Schorle (made with black currant juice), or any other juice that’s available.
Eiskaffee – vanilla ice cream served in a tall glass of coffee, topped off with whipped cream. In summer, you’ll see people drinking these at just about every Eiscafé (café that serves ice cream) and Gelateria.
Wine – Drink Riesling from the Moselle Valley and Middle Rhine. Drink Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) from the Ahr Valley. Drink Bacchus from Franconia.