You’ve tried currywurst and you’re sick of schnitzel. So what next? Though Munich is best known as the capital of traditional Bavaria, its food scene has been developing over the past few years and some interesting and unique restaurants have popped up. There’s everything from spicy Afghan curries to Japanese-Peruvian fusion cooked right in front of you — here are the places to go for some more authentic flavours.
Restaurant, Georgian, $$$
This restaurant in the south-west of the city will transport you to Georgia. A crossroads between western and eastern Europe, the country’s food has diverse influences from its surrounding neighbors: Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. This diversity comes through in Iveria’s menu with everything from chicken in walnut sauce to tender lamb ribs marinated in flavors like dill and coriander. You’ll find the Russian influence is particularly strong in the drinks menu, with a whole section dedicated to “strong beverages” and a range of vodkas to make sure you leave singing this restaurant’s praises.
If it’s a rainy Munich day, transport yourself to the heat of Ethiopia with Blue Nile’s spicy menu and warm atmosphere. The generous portions and wide range of sharing platters make it the perfect place to go with a group of friends, and it’s especially good if you have vegetarians in your group. There are no knives and forks, so tuck in and mop up the spicy sauces with Ethiopian bread from the basket-like plates. It’s no surprise that Blue Nile is popular, so make sure you reserve a table in advance.
Just slightly more relaxed than the typical diplomatic affair, this restaurant specializes in cultural exchange in the form of great, home-style Caribbean cuisine. The menu is a combination of spicy stews, seafood, and Caribbean classics such as chicken-stuffed banana leaves and rice with black beans. They didn’t stop at the food — the bar has over 100 different rums from 26 Caribbean islands! Not sure which to pick? They hold regular rum tastings to get you in the island mood.
Completely understated, you might walk past this tiny store and miss out on one of the best Chinese dishes in Munich. Though they specialize in making “happy dumplings” — both meat and veggie — the thing to order is a “jian bing.” Imagine a crêpe meets breakfast burrito, but then switch it to rich hoisin-style flavors and pancakes with a slight crunch. Though it was traditionally eaten for breakfast in China, it’s great for lunch on the go if you’re shopping or sightseeing in central Munich.
This Afghan restaurant nails the perfect curry — a tough thing to find in Munich. But there’s more to this place than just curry. You’ll also find perfect grilled meat alongside pea dahl with a ton of flavor. One of the best dishes is a hot starter called Borani Bandjan: it’s fried aubergine mushed with a herby yoghurt and served with flat bread to make an amazing dip. Just outside the Dietlindenstrasse U-Bahn and a five minute walk from the English Garden, it’s a great place for dinner.
For a touch of class, head to Matsuhisa at the Mandarin Oriental. After the original Nobu restaurant in Beverly Hills, this is one of only five other sites in the world serving up Nobu’s Japanese-Peruvian fusion food. You’ll find dishes such as grilled lamb but cooked over tea leaves and served with a garlic, coriander, lemon and beer-based sauce, or yellowfin tuna sashimi with a jalapeño kick. Want to know what goes into making dishes like these? Grab one of the eight seats at the live cooking counter to see the chefs in action.
This Argentinian kitchen sees itself as more than just a restaurant, it’s also a cultural space with artwork on the walls, and you’ll even find Munich’s German-Hispanic Society meeting there every second Monday. It’s a small menu but packed with interesting dishes; tuck into empanadas — pastry stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables — or baked cheese hot from the oven. True to its roots, it’s also a great place for steak, though it’ll set you back around €24 compared to the other mains which are between €9.50 and €14.