Dining in Germany – Just as fine as Germans do

dining in Germany

It is challenging enough to settle into a new lifestyle in a new country and to do so without cultural appropriation might sound next level. The one thing we’d be doing much more frequently after moving to Germany would be dining out with friends, family, colleagues, or even by oneself. Not just because it is easier on some days, but because it is an integral part of the German culture. And to do so might seem a little perplexing without being familiar with the atmosphere. So, here is a brief guide to some key points to familiarise yourself with the meals and manners of dining in Germany.

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Frühstück – Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the most crucial meals of the day and very popular among Germans. The breakfast staples mostly include – warm beverages such as coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or a simple glass of juice (Saft). Slices of fresh, crusty, or toasted bread (Brot) or bread rolls (Brötchen) with various spreads and toppings such as Butter & Marmalade. Some might prefer Quark mit Schnittlauch (a type of curd cheese), Wurst (sausage), and Käse (cheese) on top of the bread and boiled egg (Ei). Cereals such as oat flakes or Müsli (Muesli) are also quite popular when mixed with Joghurt (yogurt) or Milch (milk) and topped with fresh fruits.

Zweites Frühstück / Pausenbrot – The mid meal snack

Eating a snack between meals is quite a tradition in Germany and is actually encouraged to prevent overeating at lunch and dinner. Pausenbrot (recess sandwich) and Zweites Frühstück (second breakfast) mostly consist of small sandwiches, fruits, some yogurt, or a müsli bar.

Mittagessen – Lunch

Conventional lunch meals in Germany will always have some accompaniment of potato such as Salzkartoffeln (boiled), Knödel (dumplings), Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes), Krokette (croquettes), Kartoffelpüree (mashed potatoes) and, of course, Pommes Frites (french fries) in dishes like Kartoffelsalat mit Würstchen or Frikadellen (potato salad with sausage or meatballs), Spätzle mit Geschnetzeltem (Spätzle noodles with stir-fried pork strips), Schnitzel mit Buttergemüse (Schnitzel with buttered vegetables) or Fischstäbchen mit Kartoffelpüree (Fish sticks with mashed potato). Meat is quite popular in Germany and a list of most popular meat dishes can be found here.

Kaffee und Kuchen – Coffee and Cake

This is a late afternoon to evening break of a rich German coffee or tea accompanied with bakery items such as a Mohnstückchen (poppy seed pastry) or Apfeltasche (an apple-filled pastry pocket) or a slice of favorite cakes. You can find the most delectable german delicacies listed here.

Abendbrot – Dinner

Dinner consists of a selection of whole-grain bread, cheeses, deli meats, and sausages, with mustard and pickles. This is accompanied by a salad and/or soup, depending on the season. Mostly a glass of juice (Saft) or water is usually the beverage of choice for young people. For adults, it would be a pint of beer or a glass of wine instead.

Restaurant Dining in Germany


In contrast to the west, German restaurants generally do not offer a host to seat you until you are going in with a reservation or it is a particularly high-end restaurant. It is completely natural to simply find an unoccupied table and seat yourself.

At bars, cafes, or in crowded restaurants, it is perfectly acceptable to share a table with strangers. You just have to ask, “Ist hier noch frei?” (Is this seat vacant?), and go ahead if they approve.


Once you’re seated comfortably, you will need to ask for water, as it is NOT complimentary. On asking, you will be explicitly asked if you want the water “mit oder ohne Kohlensäure” meaning still or sparkling, you can say “stilles wasser” for still water and “Sprudelwasser” for sparkling. The German term for bottled water without fizz is “Wasser ohne Kohlensäure“.

In case you want tap water you will have to specify that you would rather have “Leitungswasser”. Please keep in mind, it is not customary to serve tap water in Germany as asking for tap water is considered impolite.

While ordering your drinks you will also need to ask for ice cubes separately.

But since you’re in Germany, you will observe most people ordering their beers instead of water. A polite and right way to order is somewhat along the lines of – “Ich hätt’ gern einen halben Liter Hefeweizen, bitte” that translates to I’d like a half litre of Hefeweizen, please. It is important to mention the kind of beer and the size you want because beer has its own variety in all parts of Germany – from local to global and what you find in one place might not be available in other places. Most of the time, small beer is about a third of a litre and a large is half a litre.


If you’re in for a formal lunch/dinner party or eating and drinking in a group, wait until someone says “Guten Appetit” or wants to “anstossen“(say “cheers”). When you do ‘cheers’ around the table, it is essential to look at each person in the eye as you clink glasses as otherwise is deemed rude in European culture. During festive dinners with friends, it is quite common that the host or guest holds a small speech, congratulating or toasting.

You would notice that German restaurants are a great deal quieter in comparison to other countries, no matter, if you’re in casual or fine dining restaurants as loud conversations and noises during the meal, are frowned upon.

You have to be mindful to keep your hands on the table while eating, to do otherwise is considered rude. Crossing your knife and fork on your plate, means you are merely pausing. Laying your knife and fork side by side at the edge of a plate will indicate you are done with your meal, and the waiter may come and take your plate away.

Takeaway of leftovers is not that usual in Germany so your waiter or waitress might be surprised if you ask for it.

Payment and Tipping

With the exception of larger cities, cash is still a popular mode of payment for German restaurants. Credit cards will be accepted in the majority of restaurants and waiters will come to the table with a card machine to swipe your credit card, but it is always recommended to bring cash with you unless you’re aware of their payment services.

Tipping is around 10% of your bill and a general rule for small meals is to round up the bill, say if your bill is 12.50 Euros, you might want to pay 15.00 Euros.

You may find that your waiter/waitress will remain at the table while you pay because you need to make sure to let them know how much tip you want to leave.

These are some general and typical observations about how food is served and eaten in Germany. But of course, there are always fast food joints where you can enjoy most comfort foods like burgers, pizza, and fries from well-known chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut without much ado about traditional approaches.


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Top 10 Popular German Meat Dishes

German meat dishes

Germans enjoy rich and heavy home-cooked meals keeping meat at the center of most meals, however, each area of Germany has its own definition of their traditional food. The cuisine is tasty, unique, and when you think meat you think Germany. They serve meat at every midday meal including evening meals and often at breakfast. 

Let’s have a look at popular German meat dishes in Germany

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Sauerbraten (Roast Beef Stew):

Germans love for meat dishes made Sauerbraten one of the country’s national dishes. This German pot roast is a delicious stew of tender beef marinated in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs for days, or even weeks. This also involves the pickling of the meat in a sweet and sour gravy, finally cooked into a dish. It usually comes with red cabbage and potato dumplings. 

Sauerbraten (Roast Beef Stew)

Schweinshaxe (Pork Knuckle):

This German cuisine is made from the end of the pig’s leg, just above the ankle. This peasant food includes inexpensive cuts of meat which usually take a long time to cook. The meat is marinated for days or weeks and roasted at low temperatures for long hours. Traditionally, these pork knuckles are served with mashed potatoes or red cabbage. 

Schweinshaxe (Pork Knuckle) 


This German stew is made in a pot using a large number of ingredients. Remember the old school saying: don’t waste food, this cuisine exactly comprehends. There is no particular recipe or restriction of ingredients. The German love for meat is undeniable and they include different varieties like beef, pork, or chicken. 


Rouladen (Beef Roll):

To make this roll thin strips of meat are rolled around bacon, onion, pickle, and mustard. Originally pork was used to make this roll although now beef is widely in use, also chicken makes it taste great. These are also filled with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, cheese, and other meat browned and slow simmered in a rich gravy with red wine to get a dark rich flavor. It is served with bread dumplings and pickled red cabbage. 

Rouladen (Beef Roll)

Schnitzel (Breaded Cutlet):

Traditional German schnitzel is made with pork, the technique of breading and frying thin cuts of meat. This is a popular Austrian dish. The cutlet is coated in bread crumbs with cheese and ham sandwich. It is served with spatzel and gravy, pommel, or potato salad. When served plain, it is garnished with parsley and slice of lemon. 

Schnitzel (Breaded Cutlet)


Traditionally Kassler is made with cured and smoked pork, so easy and quick to make. The challenge is identifying the right piece of cut. Pork neck and lions are often used, however ribs, shoulders and bellies can also be used. It is pan-fried, grilled, added to soups and stews. It is a delicious combination with cabbage dishes and with cold German beer. 


Laberkase (Meat Loaf):

This is a type of meatloaf made from pork. This is the most popular cuisine in South Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This German-style meatloaf is made by grinding beef, pork, bacon with a rich flavor containing onion powder and coriander. You can eat it warm or cold, also you and slice it and fry. This appetizing meatloaf is widely served as a snack with bread and mustard.

Laberkase (Meat Loaf)


This German stew is conventionally marinated for days or weeks with rabbit or hare in wine, vinegar, and lots of spices. Bite sized parts of the rabbit are roasted and braised with onions. It is then highly seasoned with herbs, juniper, black pepper, and cloves. It goes well with potato dumplings, noodles, and vegetables. 



Soaked beef is boiled in water then combined with beetroot, gherkins, and onions. This mixture is steamed and mixed with mashed potatoes. Its bright red comes from beetroot juice, stew seasoned with pepper and salt, and serves best with rollmops and fried eggs.



Spatzle is basically condensed egg noodles dumpling made from flour, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Eggs were added to the mixture and made into dough. Spaetzle can be made ahead and stored for a couple of days and reheated. Toss them in some melted butter and its delicious. It is served with creamy sauce, mushrooms, onions, cheese, and potatoes. 


Let us know if you have tried these German meat dishes in the comments. Make sure to follow our facebook page to keep up to date with the latest information

Top 5 delicious desserts you must try in Germany

delicious desserts

Wondering which desserts to try in Germany? Here is the list of German delicious desserts that you should definitely try.

Germans have great love and respect for sweet treats combined with a passion for local and seasonal ingredients. Enjoying various kitchen with afternoon coffee or tea is a deeply ingrained cultural practice and the overall daily lives of the people include many traditional specialties catering to one’s sweet tooth.

When it comes to delicious desserts, Germany has a vast and rich culinary heritage. From simple fruit tarts to decadent bundt cakes our selection of authentic German delicious desserts will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.

Delicious Desserts:

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Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Cookies)

A true German Christmas favorite. If there is one thing you will find at pretty much every German market, its Lebkuchen. These are a version of gingerbread cookies with dark chocolate coating, nuts, or powdered sugar. The German gingerbread is often found in the shape of a heart and decorated with cute pet names or words of encouragement.

Marmorkuchen (Marble Cake)

The marble cake is the super moist easy cake recipe baked in a bundt pan marbling two different colored batters into a cake. Wondering making two different batters Surprisingly you don’t need two completely different batters to make a marble cake. You simply take one-third of vanilla batter and mix with melted chocolate and cocoa powder and bingo that’s your chocolate batter. It also tastes luscious when paired with pineapple, guava, coconut cream, Bavarian cream, or vanilla buttercream fillings.

Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake)

A kind of apple cake that everyone loves. It is great for people who are new to baking and has a high apple to cake ratio. The apples are soaked in sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and then baked into buttery pastry mixture. It is a great companion with coffee or sweetened whipped cream and usually served as an afternoon dessert.

Schwarzwalder kirschtorte ( Black Forest Cake)

The hugely popular dessert around that made German’s culinary skills known to the world. It is full of cherries, chocolate, liquor, and whipped cream. Traditionally, kirschwasser, a clear spirit made from sour cherries are added to the cake. Sometimes rum is used commonly in Austrian recipes.

Zimtsterne (cinnamon star)

Christmas simply isn’t Christmas without these German ‘cinnamon star’ cookies. You can find them in any grocery store and Christmas market around Germany, also in Austria and Switzerland. These cookies are made from a combination of almost entirely groundnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, topped with icing.

Let us know if you have tried these tempting delicious desserts in the comments. Make sure to follow our facebook page to keep up to date with latest information.