Food and beverage on a budget
Those who prefer to look after their budget and don’t like to eat out that much can easily avoid the higher costs for dinners and lunches.
Most of the supermarkets in Germany (look for the signs of REWE, Tegut, and the discounters Aldi and Lidl) sell packed sandwiches and other to-go food and beverages.
Discounter Aldi: 2 sandwiches per pack cost 1,59 Euro. They come with various fillings, in my photo it is cheddar cheese and herb sour cream. Others have salami or ham or eggs.
Supermarket Tegut has also a fresh food counter for sausage, meat and cheese but also for salads. The salads are freshly made in the morning, weighed for the customer (prices given are usually by 100 g/0,2 lb). Recently I bought spicy couscous salad and a farmer’s salad with feta cheese and olives (both: 100 g 1,29 Euro). At Tegut I also found already packed couscous salad for 2,59 Euro.
To save the plastic garbage you might bring a Tupperware box with you.
As for beverages:
Aldi sells still water in 1,5 litre bottles, for 0,19 Euro (inkl. 0,25 Euro deposit). They also sell own brands of Coke and Fanta type, and also coffee-to-go from the fridge, for 0,55 Euro.
Check out Aldi’s bread roll machine. Ok, the rolls are not completely freshly baked, but are delivered as ready-to-bake piece into the discounter and then are freshly baked. Current price per bread roll is 0,13 Euro.
(All prices March 2015).
© Ingrid D., March 2015 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)
Icecream anyone ?
Of course you can go to an ice cream parlour, when you desperately want an ice cream. But here in Germany we are lucky to have ice cream “stations” on wheels. These are simply vans equipped with a mini parlour in the back. Flavours are of course limited to mostly 10, but nowadays they also offer different mixtures with chocolate syrup or nuts as well, like in the parlours. Prices per ball is the same as in any other ice cream parlour (1,00 - 1,20 Euro as of summer 2015).
Mostly these ice cream vans can be found near parks and recreation areas or just driving through neighbourhoods. You can hear them approaching when they ring a bell and shout “Eis” (= ice cream).
In the meantime I was in Ireland and Northern Ireland and realised that our ice cream vans are similar to the Mr. Whippy vans in UK/Ireland. With the small difference that they sell ice cream and not the soft ice cream with the chocolate chip.
© Ingrid D., April 2007 (text revamp June 2015)Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Restaurants in Germany (general)
If you are hungry, you will get something to eat – that’s for sure. But be aware of several things, which I think are special for Germany.
Restaurant opening hours can vary, but tend to have a few similarities:
Lunch: 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. (maybe already 11:30 a.m. and up to 2:30 p.m.)
Dinner: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (maybe already 5:30 p.m. up to 11 p.m.).
The restaurants themselves might be open longer, but the above is the time of kitchen opening = the time when you will be served with warm meals.
Usually, except in maybe very posh restaurants, there is no seating order or someone, who will bring you to a table – just pick out a table and seat yourself. If there is no free table available, just ask people at tables with available space and they usually agree. You could ask “Ist hier noch frei?” or simply “may I please” and point to the chairs.
You won’t get water until you ask for (as opposed to US and some other countries). BUT – if you are used to still water at home, make sure you ask for Leitungswasser = tap water, as this is for free. Don’t accept a no or a grumpy face from the waiter Restaurants in Germany are obliged to serve tap water if wanted. I myself hate sparkling mineral water, so I will always ask for tap water. If a waiter tries to tell me that this is not possible, I get up, smile gruesome and say goodbye. Usually, this works wonders. Note that any other mineral water will be charged! Often it comes in large bottles (0,7 or 1 litre), which is one of the reasons that restaurants want to sell these rather than serve tap water.
Favorite Dish: If you have a coffee, please be very aware that there are no further servings for free (as opposed to US and other countries). Each cup of coffee will be charged. Also be aware that the size of a cup in Germany can be very small - see my photo of a Tasse Kaffee = cup of coffee. You can, however, ask for a Kännchen Kaffee (= small can of coffee), this would be 2 cups. They are usually listed on the menu as well. My personal rule of thumb is: if a "Kännchen Kaffee is listed on the menu, the respective 1 cup/Tasse of coffee is this small size as in my photo. Or just look around to see if guests have ordered coffee to see the cup sizes. Oh, and as opposed to Italy, there is no glass of (free) water served with your espresso. Some restaurants, cafés or bars however, do this in the meantime.
There is no special cover charge (as opposed to Italy). Service is included, the tax too (taxes in restaurants are 19%, by the way).
We don’t have rules for tipping in Germany – but if you are satisfied with the service, feel free to tip. If you want to leave a tip, round up or give around 10%.
If you pay with credit card, be aware that the waiter/waitress might not benefit from the tip if you add it to your bill. I usually leave the amount on the credit card bill as it is and leave the the tip as cash separately to make sure that the waiter/waitress will get the tip.
© Ingrid D., April 2007 (text revamp June 2015).Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
REWE supermarkets with good salad bars
Among the large supermarkets in Germany REWE seems to be a very good choice for travellers because of a specific feature I didn’t see in other supermarket chains so far. Amidst the fresh produces section is a salad bar where you can pack salads to your liking. Plastic bowls with lids are being provided too. I don’t like that particularly, so I do recommend bringing plastic bowls from home, which are more stable anyhow. Prices are given in 100 g (0,22 lb) and as of now 100 g cost 0,99 Euro. You can fill the bowl with any of the salads as you like, not with one variety only. The larger the REWE supermarket is, the higher is the variety among the salads provided. My photos are from a so-called REWE Center (the larger versions, often out of town, like I know it from US) and they have approx. 30 different salads. The choices include raw salads like iceberg and other green salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, boiled eggs, ham, cheese and feta cheese, onions, mushrooms. They also have prepared salad mixtures with partly cooked ingredients for example various pasta salad, potato salad, meat balls in exotic sauce, cauliflower salad, green beans and red beans salad, cucumber salad and more. Next to the salads are various premixed dressings but also just olive oil and vinegar.
But the larger REWE supermarkets also have freshly cut and packed fruits in various mixtures, sandwiches and a smoothie bar where the cups sit on an ice bed and are kept cool. I have asked staff how often they prepare this all and they said that it is daily prepared and that everything would be fresh. From what I saw this is very likely true because I didn’t see any signs of “age” in either of the products, nor in the salads nor in the packed fruits and salads.
So yes, I find this is a good alternative for travellers who don’t like to eat out every day and who look at their budget. REWE City is the choice for the ones travelling by train. Most of the medium and larger cities seem to have one of these. For travellers with rental car the REWE Center ones are the best because they are also larger. The one nearby where I live for example has also a breakfast section with coffee (1,80 Euro for latte macchiato) and pastry or full meals.
Since I am running out of photos, I have added more photos of the possibilities in REWE supermarket in a separate album.
Check any map system and enter REWE. It should show you where the nearest one is located on your travels.
© Ingrid D., April 2015 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)
several see description: places to eat and do at Berlin
when in town I go Intercontinental hotel, and surrounding area, close to the best. Dont know the budget but these are tops
KaDeWe, biggest dept store in Europe.
hugo's resto in 14th floor is unique superb, food and views. you have,a spa (never use it but looks good). And you can come in even if not a guess to both.
away from there I have eaten local food at Lutter & Wegner, site here
for a more down to earth and big juicy beef NY style see the Bird, by NYorkers there who knows about steakhouses.
and I usually stops by there on business so mine are a bit up.
Favorite Dish: steakhouse and German big sausages and big jars of beersRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
Guantanamera: Best Cuban in Germany
This is steaks, and Cuban cuisine with music to boot. A blast passing by on business , wondered out into the town and bingo;so sad did not carry a camera for photos.
This is a restaurant and cocktail bar, with latin american specialties, like Argentinian steaks, and Spanish tapas, and Peruvian specialties, you have live music from salsa to merengue.
a lively place to be and the food is good.
Favorite Dish: had me the argentinian rumsteak and onions, and flan, and nice hefeweizen dunkel beer.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Alt Giessen Gasthaus Brewerei: Beer, Giessen and good food
This is the only restaurant in the town that makes its own beer so of course it was on my to do list when my wife and I visited the town on a nice Saturday afternoon in August of 2013. It is located close to pedestrian area and close to all the major attractions in the town.
The first thing to know is there is free parking at their location. The second thing is they have a nice beer garden nicely shaded that works well on a warm, sunny day. Finally, their menu is extensive but not in English, so if your German is as poor as mine, you may want to go to their website and review the menu before you go (got to love Google Translate).
I had their “ein paar Bauernbratwürste mit Sauerkraut and kartofflelstampf” which translates into a pair of sausages with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. It was delicious and well worth the wait since they messed up my order and tried to serve me white sausages instead. My wife also enjoyed her lunch which was a potato dish with veggies and cheese sauce.
Now for the reason for going: their beer. They have a beer probe (beer tasting) so you can try four of their beers without getting wasted. The four beers are their Hell, Dunkle, Weizen and Dunkle Weizen or in English, Pils, Dark, Wheat, and dark wheat. I enjoyed three of them but their dunkle tasted slightly burnt. They were also brewing a special beer, a Dunkle Mehrkorn Weizen. It was a wheat beer which also contained several other grains in the malt. It was really good and highly recommend it if they happen to be brewing it during your visit.
Service wasn’t great but the beer and food made up it. Recommend you give it a try if you in the area.
Favorite Dish: If you like Sauerkraut try the dish I mention above.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
Waldhaus Wilhelm: Ultimate culinary delights in Palatinate
In the hotel section I have already described our delightful stay at Waldhaus Wilhelm and how much I liked the restaurant. It is time now to describe our culinary experience, which definitely exceeded all my expectations, which will bring me back to this hotel many times in the future and which is why I have decided that it must be shown on my Germany page.
On our first evening we arrived rather late and decided to eat in Waldhaus Wilhelm’s restaurant. I had a look on their website before we came. The dishes sounded good but from the site I had expected it to be expensive. What a pleasant surprise that this was not the case! On the first evening our decision was very quick: Lucy liked the chantarelles as much as I do and so we had chantarelles in creamy sauce with bread dumplings (14,50 Euro). It was a very much light meal, although this is usually not the case. But later we learned that Waldhaus Wilhelm’s kitchen has found a way to make dishes taste light! On our next evening originally we had planned to have our dinner in one of the many wine taverns on our way back from Dahn Castlesand Castle Berwartstein. But it was raining very hard and Lucy suggested that we should go back to the hotel and eat there. Obviously she fell in love with the menu. So did I and we went back. This time we had more time to look through the menu. She liked the chantarelles so much that she decided to have a chantarelle risotto while I wanted to show her how the famous Palatinate dish Saumagen looks like and tastes. So I ordered their Saumagen in creamy sauerkraut and balsamico (10 Euro). Oh my ... what a culinary heaven! The sauerkraut tasted so light in the light creamy sauce, something I would never ever have expected. The same applied for the Saumagen pieces. I can easily say that this was the best Saumagen dish I ever had! We treated ourselves with desert this evening. Lucy had a parfait of rhubarb with minced strawberries in a light sweet-sour dressing (sugar and lime juice) and I had a sorbet of strawberries and lemons with fruit decorations (6 Euro). Oh my, what a perfect finish to an excellent meal. Since I didn’t have to drive, we could sample excellent Riesling wine, 5 Euro for half a litre.
I cannot repeat it enough: the dishes are heavenly! The staff is very nice and sweet too. All in all I am even convinced that Waldhaus Wilhelm’s cuisine is much better than the famous Deidesheimer Hof (the one where our ex chancellor brought all state visitors to).
I will be back! Definitely!
Location of Waldhaus Wilhelm on Google Maps.
© Ingrid D., July 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Luxury Travel
Bischofshof Braustuben: Beer, Regensburg and a UNESCO Site
Regensburg is a beautiful city and well worth a visit if you are in Germany. One of the neat things about the city was we never heard an American voice except for the friends we met up with on our visit. If you have some extra time you can walk to the Bischofshof Brewery for a nice lunch or dinner (or a mid-day snack). Located outside the old part of the city, it will take you about 15-20 minutes to walk there but that should just whet your appetite.
It was a very hot summer day when we visited the brewery but the shade trees in their beer garden did a nice job blocking the sun and making the day bearable. The day was made a little hotter since we had trouble finding the place despite having a map and pretty much knowing exactly where it was. Our excuse: the road we were looking for is now a footpath for the first block and not marked.
Service was a little slow at first but we found out it was only the servers third day working there and she wasn’t checking the beer garden very often. After she realized we were there it improved greatly. It was also interesting to have her look at our menus when we ordered since she wanted to make sure what we were actually ordering. Anyway, the food was good, the beer was okay and the place was nice. Worth a stop if you have the time and a good GPS.
Favorite Dish: You should try their “Zoigl” beer since it is the 1001 Beers to Taste before you Die book. It is a Kellerbier which I’m not that fond of and wasn’t that fond of this one. However I can now check it off my list.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
Weisses Brauhaus: Beer, Kelheim and the oldest Wheat Beer Brewery
Weisses Brauhaus is the oldest Weissbier (wheat beer) brewery in the world. According the ADAC Germany City Guide book, at the beginning of the 17th century it was one of the few breweries allowed to produce this type of beer, which is native to Bavaria. As a result, Kelheim became known well beyond the borders of Baveria. Since it was so famous we had to stop there for lunch after touring the town.
Since it was a very hot day (especially for Germany) we decided to eat in their beer garden under some nice shade trees. The atmosphere was nice, their menu was fairly extensive and the service was quick and friendly. I had their salad with stripes of ham and cheese (very tasty) while my wife had baked potato smothered in sour cream with a salad on the side. Since I was driving I could only try one of their beers so I picked their original wheat beer. It wasn’t bad especially since the day was so warm. My wife had a white wine mixed with soda water which came in a huge drinking glass.
Favorite Dish: Normally I would suggest the beer but this time I'm going to say try the salad with the ham and cheese. I'm not a salad type of guy but I really enjoyed this one.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
German Food: German Food
Since moving to Germany I've eaten more Italian food than ever before. That should tell you something about what I think of German food. Germans like to look down on other nations, particularly Britain, in regards to their food, but it is not much to write home about here either. It's your typical northern European fare: hefty dishes of meat and vegetables designed to combat the cold climate.
The main problem with German food is it lacks subtlety. German food is like Indian art: heavy handed and overdone. The meals have too much salt, the drinks too much acid, and the desserts too much sugar. On top of that everything seems to be pork based, and of course the Germans love their sausages.
The worst offender for pork fixation is Bavaria. Here non-pork dishes are almost unheard of, and everything gets infected by it. Even the Italian restaurants put it into their Bolognese sauce, to the great offence of their Italian patrons, because beef is so hard to get hold of in the state. To give you an idea of just how important pigs are to Bavarians, I shall tell you the two biggest news stories to hit the small Bavarian town of Coburg in the last year.
First of all the mother of all storms blew into Coburg in July of 2005. Not one, but two super cells collided over the city to produce hurricane like conditions never before seen in the town. Thankfully nobody was hurt during this brief but violent storm, except for one incident. On the outskirts of town a pig pen was struck by lightning and all 900 pigs burned to death, leaving a smell of bacon hovering over the town.
Secondly, one morning a small village on the outskirts of Coburg awoke to the most disgusting smell they had every experienced. It was the putrid rancid smell of pig manure. A huge great container of rotting pig manure had exploded and the village had filled up with green stinking sludge. There was so much that many houses were buried under a meter or more of it. They had to be evacuated.
Favorite Dish: The best thing to do then is try the best German restaurant you can find, and then after that you can rest easy, your travel conscience salved by trying the local fare. Instead you can try the many fantastic Italian restaurants run by Germany's huge expat community, and the equally fantastic Turkish takeaways. Mix in the occasional sausage stall, and you have yourself a varied and tasty diet.
Apart from Italian and Turkish, German cities don't tend to have a lot of other foreign food. You can usually find Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, American and Greek in most towns, along with a smattering of various Eastern European fare, from Croatia to Russia, but don't expect too much. The Germans are pretty conservative in their tastes, and so even the spicy Indian and Thai food can become watered down and salted.
The big cities are the best. Places like Frankfurt are so multicultural that there are restaurants of many kinds, from Ethiopian to Japanese, but even here don't expect the same kind of variety you'd get in London, New York or Melbourne.
Beer, Distelhäuser Brauerei and Kristall-Weizen: Kristall Weizen Beer
My “1001 Beers to Taste before You Die” book says this brewery has one of the best examples of the German wheat beer style and, since it is less than two hours drive from my house, I decided I needed to try this beer. Since we got a late start we arrived at the brewery restaurant just in time for lunch so we decided to try their food as well as their beer.
When we first walked I mentioned that their Kristall Weizen beer (a filtered wheat beer) was in the 1001 beers book so when we sat down at our table two samples of the beer were placed at our table to sample. Their menu was not that extensive but they do brew 19 different beers which you can sample by buying their beer probe (3 small glasses). Not all the beers are on tap. Some only come in a bottle. I decided to try their pils, Kellerbier, and Landbeir. All three were okay but nothing special. My wife had a salad with chicken strips and I ended up getting a schnitzel with potatoes. Again, nothing special.
After lunch, I was able to purchase several of their bottled beers to sample at home. A six-pack cost five Euros (about seven dollars).
Since I didn’t mention it earlier, the Kristall Weizen beer wasn’t that great.
Favorite Dish: I guess you need to try their Kristal-Weizen beer so you can let me know what you think of it.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Sophie's Brauhaus: Local Brewery in Stuttgart
We visited Sophie's Brauhaus for lunch on a cold and rainy Saturday before heading over to Stuttgart's Spring Festival (Fruhlingsfest). The brewery restaurant is located in a pedestrian area and was a little hard to find as was finding a place to park. The beer and the food made up for this inconveniencey but I don't plan on making a special trip back there because of the limited parking.
Anyway, the food was very tasty and the menu selection was extensive. The locally-brewed beer (I had the Helles) was pretty good.
Favorite Dish: Try one of their Maultashen dishes. These are large pasta squares that are a specialty of the Stuttgart area. At least that seems to be the only place I find them on the menu.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Hofgut Kronenhof: Beer, Bad Homburg and Zeppelins
If you are visiting the Frankfurt area I suggest plan to spend a couple of hours in Bad Homburg to walk the parks, visit the palace and take in the impressive churches. If you would like to try some locally brewed beer, give the Hofgut Kronenhof a try.
My wife and I stopped at the brewery restaurant early on a Sunday afternoon so we could grab some lunch and I could try their beer before we went into the town. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere with strands of hops (we think they were real) draped all over place and the servers were nice. I tried their Hell and their wheat beer and I found both lacking in taste. They were okay but nothing to write home about. The food was okay. My meal of Bamberger sausages with sauerkraut was pretty good but my wife’s thin crust pizza (flammkuchen) was slightly burnt on the bottom. There was one thing that really did stand out and that was the number of children in the place. Usually you don’t see German children in restaurants Dogs yes, children no. However this place was certainly the exception and it was strange enough that I asked our server about it. She said every Sunday was like this and she made a gesture that she wasn’t happy about it. So if you are in the Frankfurt area on a Sunday and have a gaggle of kids you need to feed, stop by the Hofgut Kronenhof.
As for the zeppelins, there is some connection between these giant airships and the restaurant since there were photos of them on their walls. My German is not good enough to decipher the relationship so let me know if you figure it out.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Drayß Back- & Brauhaus: Beer, Lorsch and an Abbey in Scaffolding
It took me a little over two years but I think I just found one of my favorite brewery restaurants in Germany and, to my surprise, it is only 11 miles from my house and next to an UNESCO World Heritage site. Drayß Back- & Brauhaus is located in the small town of Lorsch which is also home to the Abbey of Lorsch, one of the most renowned monasteries of the Caroligian Empire (according to Wikipedia) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
We have now been to the restaurant on two occasions and have thoroughly enjoyed both visits. The servers are nice, the food is delicious and the beer excellent. As for the beer: on our first visit, which was a Saturday lunch, I started off with their dark bock beer and thought it was pretty good even though I’m not a big fan of bock beers. Then I tried their wheat beer and fell in love with the place. It had a nice full flavor and went don’t smoothly. On our second trip, dinner on a Friday evening with friends, I tried their Helles beer which was good (again, I’m not a big Helles drinker) and then switched back to their wheat beer. My wife ordered wine which they purchase from the Bergstrasse wine region near our home.
Now for the food: they have a nice selection of traditional German dishes to include the thin-crust pizza – Flammkuchen. All the food we ordered was delicious and reasonably priced. The one dish I will mention was their apple strudel with ice cream. Two of our company who were visiting Germany for the first time ordered this dish and were extremely happy with their choice of dessert. The presentation was artfully done (I liked the ice cream scoop sitting on top of a slice of apple) and taste was fantastic (according to them).
So if you are interested in seeing some history and enjoying a great German meal (or just some great German beer) plan a trip to Lorsch and spend some time enjoying the town and Drayß. As for the comment about the scaffolding in my title, we have been to see the Lorsch Abbey on three different occasions and it is always covered in scaffolding. Hopefully we will actually get to see it before we leave in two and half years.
Favorite Dish: If you are hungry go for their Grilled Plate. It has three types of meat (not counting the bacon wrapped around the green beans) and roasted potatoes.
Kleines Rumpsteak, Schweinefilet und Hähnchenbrust, Kräuterbutter mit grünen Bohnen und RöstkartoffelnRelated to:
- Beer Tasting
Obermarkt 37, 82418
Good for: Families
Having previously stayed in the Central and Western Ku'Dam area I decided on my 3rd visit to stay in...more
This is a wonderful little hotel on a very quiet residential street very near the Oktoberfest site....more
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