Despite the name, Hamburg is about far more than Hamburgers. A former important port city, it has been one of Germany’s major hubs for centuries, and the gastronomy on offer is proof of its international flair. The Old Town Quarter, the historic district of the city, is home to a huge assortment of restaurants, from classic German to Thai or even American, there’s something to satisfy every palette.
Located right on the corner in Hamburg’s Old Town, Das Kontor offers simple food that seems to be fresh out of Oma’s kitchen. They are dedicated to seasonal produce, with different specialties for every month or time of the year. Think game in November and December, mushrooms in August and Asparagus in Spring. The interiors won’t win any design awards, but they are clean, service is friendly and the food is great.
Though small in size, Manee Thai is a restaurant that packs a strong taste punch. The friendly and knowledgeable staff guide diners through a menu of all of your Thai favourites, with a few specials thrown in to boot. Customers are particularly vocal about how much they enjoy the som tam malakor goong yang, or green papaya salad with grilled prawn. Dishes are spicy, so meals here are not for the faint of heart.
Zum Brandanfang serves up delicious German cuisine from local ingredients. Think delicately pan-fried fish, tender steaks or Matjes (herring). Service always receives rave reviews and the atmosphere is genial and relaxed. On sunny days, take a seat outside, although you have to pop your head around the door to see the interesting interiors, renovated after a fire in 1942.
Located in the Hanseatic City, Restaurant Brodersen serves Hamburg specialties in a Jugendstil villa decorated with nautical antiques. Their focus is very much on creating a local experience, from the sea-themed décor, to the produce used in the cooking; there are potatoes from the Lüneburger Heath, meats from the Altes Land across the Elbe, and shrimp dishes from the North Sea coast. In the summer, feel free to enjoy your spaetzel outside on the pretty, greenery covered outdoor terrace.
If you cannot get enough of German culture, then check out Old Commercial Room for large portions and great characters. It’s a hotspot for celebrity sightings (and the menu even lists who has sat where), but the main draw has to be the food. The menu offers a huge selection of local specialties, including trout, eel, mushrooms, beef and Hamburger pork.
If you’re looking for an authentic bar experience, Frau Möller is your answer. They offer a selection of local beers, best enjoyed alongside some classic pub fare. There are burgers, steak, and a huge variety of potato-based dishes. It’s very German, but very fun. There is also outside seating for those visiting in the summertime.
Though Hamburg may be far from the USA, Old Mac Donald is a quintessential American sports bar tucked in Old Town. Decorated with memorabilia imported from the States, this bar is perfect for Americans looking for a taste of home while visiting Germany. The menu is simple but effective – good beer and a selection of burgers, ranging from small to an all-American king-sized.
Simple, but delicious is the best way to describe Edelcurry. They serve a selection of curryworst and bratwurst accompanied by what locals (and several German newspapers) claim to be the best French fries in Germany. The location is a bit unassuming, but the interiors are contemporary and colourful, a fitting setting for the casual vibe and charming staff.
Steaklovers flock to (m)eatery GmbH. It’s not cheap, but the quality of the cuts are worth the prices. The location is a little of the beaten track, but worth the track for a mouthwatering selection of meat from Argentina, the US and Europe, accompanied by all the trimmings. The wine list has a good selection, ranging from well priced to wallet emptying, and there are menu choices for fish eaters and vegetarians as well.
Immerse yourself in Hamburg’s maritime past with dinner at Das Feuerschiff LV 13, a lightship that has become a pub-restaurant. True to the setting, the seafood platter is the must try here, made to share and using local ingredients. Not a fan of fish, or simply had too much herring? Opt for the lobscouse, made from corn beef hash.