All across Germany, the one thing that remains resolutely clear whether you’re in the beachy plains of the north, or the mountainous landscapes of the south is that innovation is rife.
Across the length and breadth of the country, with trends, tastes and produce differing widely from state to state, you’ll find the flavours of the Levant, Middle East, Korea, Mediterranean and more all brought to new life in a German culinary context. Within the scope of what’s going on in Central European dining right now, it presents some of the most exciting eating and drinking possibilities to be found anywhere on the continent. So if you’re travelling to Germany in 2020, here’s where you should be booking.
Photo Ben Fuchs
European fine dining meets levantine inspiration in Berlin as Prism’s head chef, Gal Ben Moshe, delivers some of the city’s most exciting flavours in dishes such as the sensational Dry-aged mutton with aubergine, pomegranate and harissa or Carrots with maftool, verjus and argan oil.
Gal is passionate about uniting the tastes of the Levant with that of his adopted Berlin home and for the coming year intends to explore this passion further. “I already have some Lebanese wild plants such as Akoub and wild Gundelia” he tells us, “so the idea is to explore their terroir further and discover what makes it unique.”
An already impressive wine program will also soon feature some serious gems from Jordan, Lebanon and Israel as well, all imported directly by the restaurant.
Fritschestraße 48, 10627 Berlin
The core of MUN’s menu is Korean-Japanese fusion cuisine, a concept delivered by Korean-born head chef, Mun Kim, who, as well as being a trained sushi master himself, also brought three young Korean chefs with him to the restaurant to ensure guests were greeted with some of the best kitchen talent available. These are evident in exhilarating dishes such as Truffle Bibimbap and Miso Duck & Kimchi.
With Korean cuisine still relatively unknown in Bavaria, Kim is setting new standards for it throughout not just Munich but also Germany as a whole. Asked on his plans for 2020, Kim will continue experimenting and infusing with Asian flavours, particularly those from his Korean homeland. “I will also be introducing authentic Korean BBQ into my menus” he told us, “with my Mom’s delicious kimchi recipes, of course!”
Innere Wiener Straße 18, 81667 Munich
In the heart of Hamburg’s hip new Hafencity development you’ll find many new gourmet concepts including Bianc - a place where modern Mediterranean cooking is delivered using the plentiful supply of seafood coming directly into Hamburg’s harbours and ports, as well as other regional products.
In charge of the kitchen is Italian-born Matteo Ferrantino who you might previously recognise as the long-time head chef of the double Michelin starred Vila Joya in Portugal. At his new home in a slightly chillier northern Germany, he’s bringing all-year southern sun into Hamburg's former industrial heart, all with sensational views of the city’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall and more.
Am Sandtorkai 50, 20457 Hamburg
As the champions of German regional cooking long before current trends existed, Essigbratlein said goodbye to classic high-end ingredients such as foie gras in 2008 in order to make vegetables the focus of their kitchen. Over time, signature dishes, such as the Beetroot with caraway & caramel have revolutionised German haute cuisine in a way that reverberates beyond national borders.
Headed up by Andree Köthe and Yves Ollech, the kitchen team are in the restaurant’s fields every single day discovering new tastes and directions for the menu. Experiments such as these once led to the discovery that kohlrabi, when frozen in the field, tastes like truffles.
Having published its first, vegetable-only cookbook during 2019, Essigbratlein is a restaurant which promises to keep surprising modern diners, time and time again.
Weinmarkt 3, 90403 Nürnberg
Uniting a restaurant, guest house, art space, farm-floristry project and pottery studio, Iko is not a conventional restaurant by any means.
Tom Elstermeyer is the man behind the kitchen and the plates (they’ve all been personally handmade by him) where all he cooks biological produce sourced from nearby farms (including some amazing local Wagyu beef) using only a wooden stove. In 2020, Tom plans to pass his hunter exam in order to better understand his local environment and he’ll also be launching a single tasting menu where you’ll currently find the aforementioned Wagyu beef as a tartare served with with beetroot, peas, Frankfurt sauce and a 62° egg, alongside a sensational creamy green carrot ice cream served with apple and buckwheat for dessert.
Stadtweg 38a, 49086 Osnabrück