Most visits to Germany include Berlin or Munich in the itinerary while Hamburg is often overlooked. Hamburg, tucked away in northern Germany, is the country’s second largest city boasting a tremendous amount of history, beautiful architecture, water activities galore, and of course my favorite: delicious food and tasty beverages! So what’s the best of the best in Hamburg?
Best Coffee Spots
Forget about tea! It’s all about the “coffee party” in Hamburg. Check out one of these coffee spots for an espresso caffeine kick partnered with a freshly baked Franzbrötche, a local sweet pastry filled with cinnamon and a pinch of sugar.
1) Cafe Koppel: Somewhat hidden behind a courtyard, this vegetarian cafe offers a great ambiance with jazz music and a peaceful garden to enjoy your meal or a light bite with your coffee. The vegan almond-rhubarb cake and an el-rojito roast coffee are a must! [http://cafekoppel.de/]
2) Kaffeeklappe: During the 19th century, a “Kaffeeklappe” was used to serve coffee and soups to the dockworkers through a window hatch. Today, you can stop by Kaffeeklappe for an organic vegan breakfast of fried egg with goat cheese, a warm panini, or scrumptious waffle to pair with your coffee as you people watch amongst the diverse crowd; from chess-playing pensioner to the laptop engrossed student. [https://www.facebook.com/kaffeeklappe]
3) Biokonditorei Eichel: Awarded as one of the best cafes in Germany in 2014, this little organic bakery specializes in fresh, delicious cakes with no artificial flavors, food coloring, chemically altered fats, or additives. Don’t miss the chocolate cream truffle or the apple-spelt tart! [http://www.biokonditorei-eichel.de/]
Best Places to Eat Fish
Hamburg is a port city known for a delicious variety of fish and seafood. Whether it’s the freshly caught sole fried in butter or crunchy pike-perch filet, your cravings for fish and seafood will certainly be satisfied!
1) Fischereihafen Restaurant: Known as the fishing harbor restaurant, this restaurant is the fish temple boasting a beautiful view of the river Elbe. Fischereihafen offers a refined mixture of traditional and contemporary cuisines. So whether your taste buds are longing for a lobster with truffled potato mousse or a freshly fried sea sole, this is the must-go place for fish and seafood lovers when in Hamburg.[http://www.fischereihafenrestaurant.de/]
2) Caramba Especial: With no menu, live music and a counter flowing with the fresh catches of the day, Caramba Especial is indeed “especial”. Food changes daily with at least four to five varieties of fish and three to four varieties of meat (beef, pork, and poultry) along with dessert offerings and a full bar. The festive environment and tasty eats will surely tantalize your senses. [https://www.carambaespecial.com/]
3) Brücke 10: What the “Currywurst” is to Berlin, the “Fischbrötchen” (fish sandwich) is to Hamburg and there’s no better place to try it then at Brücke 10. Located at the landing bridges, Brücke 10 offers a vibrant setting right by the water. Grab a seat on the terrace, order a fresh Bismarck sandwich and watch the ships as they maneuver through the port. [http://www.bruecke-10.de/]
And For the Non-Fish Lovers…
If you’re not a fish-lover (or just want to try something different during your visit to Hamburg) fear not! Hamburg has plenty to offer whether you’re aching for a tasty burger and fries or succulent piece of roasted duck breast.
1) Philipps: Located inconspicuously on a small side street right next to Hamburg’s exhibition grounds, Philipps impresses with excellent upscale German cuisine in an intimate atmosphere. Whether you’re celebrating a special evening or just want to enjoy the finest of foods, Philipps will certainly satisfy. Ever tasted braised ox cheek? It’s a German specialty and highly recommended.
2) Dulf’s Burger: If a mind-blowing, juicy burger paired with a glorious milkshake is what you’re craving then look no further! This burger bar and restaurant serves up a messy plate that spills over with beefy goodness. Dulf’s Burger is popular so expect a wait, but rest assured that your time will be well spent for the house-baked buns stuffed with freshly in-house butchered beef. Be sure to try Dulf’s BBQ Burger with a side of sweet potato fries and truffle mayo. [http://www.dulfsburger.de/]
3) Opitz: Walking into this local gem, you’ll feel as if you’ve just walked into grandma’s country kitchen with old fashioned brass candle holders, antique furniture, and doilies adorning the tables. Here you’ll find a host of classic North German dishes that are freshly made in-house with seasonal ingredients. Give the tasty homemade beef roulade a go! It’s a classic German meat dish and is served with red cabbage and fried potatoes. [http://www.bruecke-10.de/]
The Best Beer in Hamburg
You can’t visit Hamburg and not try some infamous German beer! Hamburg is the proud home to a number of local and craft beers from Ratsherrn to Buddelship. Taste test a few at one of these local beer hot spots to find your favorite.
1) Altes Mädchen: This hidden gem is a nirvana for any beer drinker, especially if you’re into the world of Craft Beer. Serving more than 60 different beers including their very own brew, the Ratsherrn, you can opt to pair your plate with the suggested beer or be adventurous and choose among the extensive list of offerings. For those that are indecisive try the tasting tray, which comes with 5 different brews. Sit back and enjoy the lively, friendly atmosphere as you sip on that cold craft beer! [http://altes-maedchen.com/]
2) Hofbräu München: Though this isn’t Munich, a visit to Hofbräu München is a must to enjoy Bavarian culture, food and beer in Germany’s far north! This was the first Hofbräuhaus ever to open outside of Munich in 2005. Grub on a traditional pork knuckle as you sing along to the festive Bavarian songs! [http://www.hofbraeu-wirtshaus.de/esplanade/]
3) M&V: An unassuming bar from the outside, the interior offers great vibes and a crowd from all walks. Open since 1953, you’ll find many locals relishing in the variety of mixed drinks and refreshing happy hour beer (6 – 8pm). [http://www.mvbar.de/]
The Best Cocktails in Town
Though Hamburg is known for their beers, sometimes a refreshing Mojito or a Moscow Mule is what you’re actually thirsting for. Boasting international sophistication with cocktail offerings, Hamburg is certainly not lacking in this area.
Clouds: The Clouds bar on the 23rd floor will surely wow you with the captivating view of Hamburg. There’s also a Rooftop Terrace on the 24th floor. Enjoy a mixologist-prepared cocktail in the trendy atmosphere before heading off on an adventurous night along the Reeperbahn. [http://www.clouds-hamburg.de/]
20up: Located on the 20th floor of the Empire Riverside Hotel, this swanky bar offers a vibrant view of Hamburg’s skyline, the Elbe and its port. Watch the sun set into the horizon as you sip on a Gin Basil Smash to round off your day. [http://www.bar-20up.de/]
Le Lion Bar de Paris: Le Leon is a classy establishment that has been featured in World’s Best Bars as one of the standout cocktail bars in Germany. Enjoy a creatively prepared cocktail on one of the many comfortable couches. You have to ring the doorbell to be let in–that should give you a sense of the vibe here. [http://www.lelion.net/]