Built along the banks of the Weser River, the North German city of Bremen is an architectural landmark, with a gorgeous town square and many iconic statues scattered around the city. Bremen has also been dubbed the ‘food capital’ of Northern Germany by the Michelin Guide, where fine dining establishments cross paths with laid-back haunts. From traditional Italian or French fare to local delicacies such as Labskaus, we profile ten of the best restaurants in Bremen.
This Kultkneipe was founded in Berlin in response to the fall of the Wall and the relocation of the German capital from Bonn. 50,000 people from the Rhineland flooded into Berlin and Ständige Vertretung, affectionately known as StäV, became their home away from home. Evidence of its political heritage is in its title, which in German refers to an institution that functions as an embassy in circumstances where an established embassy is not possible. StäV is testament to the political fractures of post-war Germany and is frequented by politicians to this day, offering the opportunity to journey through the country’s political past over a pint. Today, StäV has become as much a political institution as the Bundestag; books have been written about it, and its 10th anniversary was celebrated by Deutsche Welle in a short film. In Bremen, StäV continues to serve the ‘Rheinisch’ specialities that were designed to cater to its original customers including Kolsch beer and Himmel und Äd, a plate of black pudding with mashed potato, fried onions and apple sauce.
Ständige Vertretung, Böttcherstraße 3-5, Bremen, Germany, +49 421 320995
Dating back as far as the 1400s, this building is the oldest and last of its kind in Bremen. Originally a townhouse, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style around the turn of the 16th century, and it derives its name, ‘Spitzen Gebel‘, from a type of late Gothic gabling. This building stands just behind the main square in Bremen and is now home to a public house famous for serving Sluk ut de Lamp, translated as ‘swig from the lamp.’ This tradition can be traced to the time when the house served as the headquarters for the music group, Vereinigten Klavierträger. To conceal the fact that they were drinking at work, the piano men used to drink from a copper lamp. Distilled from a Swedish recipe that dates back hundreds of years and is served in Spitzen Gebel to this day, this unique brand of Schnapps is perhaps more novel than nice.
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On the East bank of the Weser River is the Scharfrichter Lounge, which serves over 100 varieties of the famed German Currywurst. Graded according to spice, there are ten different levels of heat and the sausages have names such as ‘Burning Baboon,’ ‘Die Hard,’ and ‘Six Feet Under.’ Currywurst has become a German specialty, referred to as ‘Das Steak des kleinen Mannes,’ ‘the little man’s steak,’ and is sold all over the county but nowhere in quite such variety as here. ‘Scharfrichter,’ from which the restaurant’s name derives, refers to a tradition of German executioners. Some of the sausages here are designed to be deathly spicy.
Scharfrichter Lounge, Martinistraße 70, Bremen, Germany, +49 421 27639878
Situated in the heart of the old town, Schröters is set up as a network of smaller rooms rather than a large dining area. Whether one dines in the wine cellar or next to the open air kitchen, Schröters offers an intimate and personal feel for a private dinner. Upstairs there is also a Toulouse-Lautrec room decorated with reproductions of the artist’s work. The menu features delicacies from various European cultures, from Italian risotto to the classic Wiener Schnitzel and can be enjoyed in the summer garden under the lights.
Schröters, Schnoor 13, Bremen, Germany, +49 421 326677
The Grashoff Bistro
This Parisian-style bistro is something of a gem in the city. Although the menu is a little pricey, it is well worth a visit for the fantastic locally sourced food and friendly staff. Grashoff’s also organizes a number of evening events from live bands to themed menus to wine tastings. For those who are especially enamored Northern German cuisine, there is a delicatessen and gourmet shop offering treats for takeaway.
Grashoff’s Bistro, Contrescarpe 80, Bremen, Germany, +49 421 14749
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