That either says something about the energy of Munich and the restaurants there – or it says something about the lack of those things in Amsterdam!
But beware… getting a table in a Munich cafe (especially on the terrace outside) is like a sport. You have to be willing to hover, glare, raise your eyebrows in a slightly threatening-inquiring-innocent way, and pounce like lightning when they do finally get up. The beer garden culture of long tables and benches that people share, has also affected the restaurant culture. Expect that if you are sitting alone at a table, or sitting only two people at a table with four seats, that you WILL share your table. But no worries! You’ll make new friends and the wait-staff are totally used to it and don’t even ask who the bill goes to! They are adept at reading the body language and getting who goes where!
But check your bill! What you also see in Munich is unabashed take-advantage-of-the-tourists-who-don’t-bother-to-speak-German way of being. You may ask for a house white wine, and they will play ‘dumb’ and ask if you want the Riesling or the Chardonnay (twice the price.) In Germany, like England, you can also order different sizes of wine… and there’s a price difference! So make sure you know which you ordered and which you pay for!
So I caved… and went into a cave for lunch one afternoon when it was threatening rain. Traditional lunch it was – sort of! If you head down Residenzestrasse (passing the Residenz Palace coming from Max-Joseph-Plaz), you will find on your right a few passages… JUST as you get onto the Odeon Plaz, there is a passage to the right that goes into a courtyard and has a cafe inside (both in the courtyard) and in the old ground floor of the palace.
It’s a must! Old school, with locals hanging out over their newspapers or over a beer – with traditional menu and fantastic interior (especially if you have just done the tour of the Residenz Palace!) Lunch specials every week day, from 11am until 3pm, range in price from €3 to €8, and the food is GOOD. I tried their chicken bites that had been marinated in a spicy paprika and onion mix, then baked. And served with caramelized onions and paprika (red bell pepper) with golden baked potatoes.
That still left me with the need for something dessert-y in the traditional manner. Applestrudel.
After walking for an hour, a slice of appelstrudel and a coffee can hit the spot. So I wondered to a spot under an umbrella on the corner of Theatinerstrasse and Salvatorstasse. Turns out it’s a patisserie, really… And asked for a coffee and Applestrudel.
“Sorry, madam” no more frauleins for me! Eek! Getting old! “But we do not have anything apple. We do have apricot, rhubarb, raspberry and fig and….”
So… FIG tart and coffee. Moan.
My last evening in Munich I was craving a return to Chanterelles. I was doing some shopping in the Viktuelmarket area, and had seen a little cafe with a cute terrace advertising Pfefferling Risotto. I headed back that way only to discover that by the time I arrived, every single outside table was taken.
No damn way was I going to sit inside when it’s 76 degrees and sunny at 8pm in the evening!
So I figured I’d find another spot. Turn a corner, and I am on St. Jacobs-Platz, the location of the Munich Stadsmuseum (city museum.) There I see a totally non-descript set of tables, empty… with a sign Cafe-Bistro… and a chalkboard advertising Chanterelle Risotto.
My tired feet steered me.
THANK GOD! Because… YUM!
Cold melon-yellow bell pepper-onion soup in the consistency of a ceviche, with baked salmon.
And absolutely perfect risotto with chanterelles baked with onions and small pieces (5mm by 5mm small) of yellow squash mixed in.
I didn’t even notice that the weather changed to rain! Luckily my risotto was protected by an umbrella and I could enjoy my food and watching the surfer walk by. Yes. Surfer. Probably heading to the manmade English Gardens where you can practice surfing in the canals and river.
Gotta love Munich!