Wednesday, 21 February 2024
If you are familiar with Johann Sebastian Bach's Coffee Cantata from around 1735 you've heard about the Saxonian citoyens' love for coffee and a good piece of cake (if heading for a local speciality, try the Eierschecke cheese-cake). With a pinch of irony people will talk about the famous Saxonian "Bliemschenkaffee" ("(little) flower coffee") referring to the thin coffee or caffeine-free coffee substitute during World War II or in the households of the poor. The term refers to the fact that you could see the flowery ornaments on the ground of the (well, not in all cases) Dresden china coffee cup.
The Saxonian's love for coffee hasn't faded since, they still proudly refer to themselves as "Kaffeesachsen" (coffee Saxonians), and most organic supermarkets will serve you a latte or Italian style coffee, both to have on the spot, and to go (in this case don't forget your refillable cup).
There are however more pleasant places for a chat with friends, some reading or working time with a delicious cup of coffee.
My favourite day cafe for about seven years, with friendly service and a huge display of gorgeous cakes and pastries, Die Kuchenglocke in Wilheminian Neustadt unfortunately closed in summer 2022. Run by the son of
Dresden's first (and to my knowledge only) organic bakers and one of the first organic ice-cream makers in Germany it revived the
tradition of Viennese style coffeehouses in the city. In 2022 he took over the
Heller bakery, and the cafe had to close. In March, 2023 it re-opened as Café Glocke, and apart from the interior decoration, not much has changed: You can still/again have (and buy to take out) cakes and coffee, and have gorgeous fully organic breakfast(all day long) and lunch. When the weather is nice take the chance to sit outside at the beautiful, comparatively quiet square around Martin Luther church.
The price for a (vegetarian) breakfast, sweet with pancakes or a croissant, savoury e.g. with hummus, roasted veges, bulgur and other spreads, is around 20 EUR but since the servings (especially of the savoury types) are quite generous, you may decide to share as long as you're not on your own.
On weekends it is advisable to order a table in advance as the place usually is quite crowded at that time.
The bad news: Effective February 2024 the place stopped accepting cash. Since the Oswaldz cafes have never been accepting payments without data tracking, the number of non-discriminatory organic breakfast and lunch places with a sense for data privacy are alarmingly diminishing in town.
Not far away, on Bautzner Straße, you will find Phoenix Kaffeerösterei, a small-scale coffee roaster cum coffee bar furnished in coffee-coloured wood – ideal for the recreational sip of Italian style coffee. Their coffee is fairly traded, yet not organically certified, although they had organic coffee when they started up in 2006. The milk for a latte or New Zealand style Flat White however is organic. Mind you that their opening hours are quite restricted, usually to Fridays and Saturdays, but they often keep closed on Saturdays, too.
A ten minutes walk west, just before you reach Albert-Platz you can taste the Phoenix coffee all week long at the Oswaldz, a crowded coffee house cum gallery run by an ambitious young team. Before you sit down fetch a service number and put your order at the bar where you can choose from an impressive list of coffee drinks, among others a galao (coffee and milk frozzed together) or a gibraltar (double espresso macchiato). The milk they use is locally sourced and organic. You can also have a sandwich or cake partially made from organic ingredients – eggs and cottage cheese are organic, flour and fruit are not, and since the friendly staff happily answered my questions I'm sure they will equally friendly answer yours. During the warm season they open a pleasant backyard for their guests.
In 2023 Oswaldz rented a second shop next door and turned it into
serviced Oswaldz Breakfast Place.
All food for both, the cafe and the breakfast restaurant are prepared in its open kitchen while the coffee drinks are made by the baristas at the cafe. The menu is the same for both places as is the privacy-unfriendly decision to refuse payments in cash.
During the warm season there's a third Oswaldz place, the
Os2 – Café am Fluss.
Unfortunately there's no organic coffee place inside the Bahnhof Neustadt railway station, but if you have sufficient time you may leave the station building at the rear (Northern) entrance and head for the friendly self-service cafe cum bistro of the VG supermarket Friedensstraße for both, breakfast, lunch (try the hearty Soljanka soup if available), a snack, coffee or travel provisions.
Facing Kreuzkirche on Altmarkt with its white-washed interior one of the few places where the wounds of the Anglo-American bombing by the end of World War II still are visible you will find one of Dresden's first organically certified eating places, cafe cum restaurant Aha. Some years ago they quite controversely decided not to prolong their certification in support of uncertified local farmers following organic or near-organic principles. More than 75 percent of the ingredients they use are still organically certified but they stopped (probably enforced by law) to make this transparent, so you have to enquire on specific ingredients if you care.
The cafe itself is equally popular among students, families and NGO groups. Its walls frequently serve as a gallery for local artists, and the daily menu often reflects and extends the exhibitions. The list of coffee drinks is long, ranging from oriental and Indian inspired spiced coffee to the ubiquitous espresso. If you prefer a cold drink it's alleviating to know that sodas are served with paper instead of plastic drinking straws. The cakes are delivered by the Heller family, but you can also enjoy hearty home-made meals throughout the day (til late), or simply help yourself at the salad bar located under the stairs. Breakfast is being served from 9 am. In the basement there's a well assorted
which cannot follow the restaurant's liberal opening hours and is closed in the evenings and on Sundays.
If you have to spent time in the vicinity of Dresden's central train station, Hauptbahnhof, pay a visit to another fair-trade shop, the Contigo at the Southern end of Prager Straße. Inside the shop there's an organic coffee bar, perfectly suited for the quick espresso in between, or while you're shopping for gifts, fairly traded artisanal work like bags and jewellery, tea, chocolates or coffee. They do not serve food, so you shouldn't come hungry. If you prefer an unconventional coffee drink opt a coffee based lemonade dubbed "Selosoda".
When the Contigo store is closed ignore the Starbucks branch at Wiener Platz and turn
instead to the
Haferkater porridge cafe facing it. The Berlin-based franchise concept can be found in several German main train stations by now, and the one in Dresden is open on weekends and generally until 8pm. While all prepackaged Haferkater products are organic no promise is made when it comes to the fresh food and drinks, so you'd better ask. Also, ask for returnable cups and bowls if you don't bring your own.
Not far from Bahnhof Mitte train station and the College of Music the organic co-operative VG runs a self-service Bistro & Backladen – the bistro to the left, the cafe to the right of the entrance. While the lunch is prepared in the open kitchen of the bistro right at the spot, the bakery shop simply sells the cakes (and bread) from local organic bakeries both, to take away and to eat right here in the pleasantly decorated shop room prided with pictures of local artists. Unfortunately the coffee comes from a smale-scale automatic machine – no real enjoyment, but drinkable due to the good ingredients.
While the bistro closes at 7pm on weekdays the cafe operates until 8 pm, but choice will be limited the later you'll come.
Near the Blaues Wunder bridge
A visit to the finest bridge in town, the Blaues Wunder ("blue wonder") steel construction can easily be combined with a visit to the arguably finest Viennese-style coffee house in town, the Café Toscana. Observing the bridge and the river you can sit in the winter garden having an organic coffee drink or tea. Your organic latte will be poured together at your table. While a selection of soft drinks and wines, the milk and breakfast eggs are all organic none of the gorgeously looking cakes and confectionery to be ordered from the sales desk are, at least not fully (enquire about what's tempting you). The history of the coffee house named after a Saxon princess customer dates back to the end of the 19th century. Since its re-privatisation after Germany's re-unification it has been run by the Eisold family, a local baker's family now in its third generation.
Crossing the blue wonder bridge you'll reach Körnerplatz, and if you fancy a stroll along the river shore, turn left into historical Körnerweg which leads you towards the city centre along the embankment. A 15 minutes walk on the way you'll find Os2 – Café am Fluss, a summer cafe run by the Oswaldz owners serving coffee drinks with organic milk, organic soft drinks and cakes to passers-by on weekends during the nice season. Most seats are located outside providing a beautiful view over the river and the city's silhouette. As at Oswaldz order at the bar inside, find yourself a seat, wait to be served and pay before you leave. The bar room also serves as an art gallery.
If you ever happen to strand somewhere between the tower blocks of Prohlis and the Technical University, take the time to visit the city's only organic bakery and confectionery, the Bio-Bäckerei und -Konditorei Heller mentioned afore – if only to have a wonderful ice-cream on the go. When the weather is nice they also have a small outdoor terrace for you to have a coffee and cake or snack.
Although the bakery is open on Sunday mornings it's closed on public holidays.
Closed or no longer offering organic options
The following places ceased to exist, although you still may find references to them on the web:
[Dresden, Neustadt, organic, coffee, breakfast, lunch, snacks, fair, cafe, ice-cream, restaurant, confectioners]
Tuesday, 06 February 2024
To find a place for an organic lunch, snack or a coffee break, both served and self-served, requires not more than keeping your eyes open. But the cultured evening out or a sumptuous weekend brunch can be a challenge if you don't know where to head for.
If you opt for 100 percent organic food and drinks, without compromises, within the city boundaries the TL;DR is La Trattoria and Josef.
Given the French love for quality food one would expect all self-respecting French restaurants to use organic ingredients to a certain extent, but to actually find those which do proves to be harder than expected. In Munich head for brasserie La Bouche in Schwabing, a tastefully decorated place a few steps away from Münchner Freiheit. They promise to use organic ingredients throughout the menu, with three quite excusable exceptions: snails, seafood and Marsala wine.
In fact the exception list varies depending on daily supplies – when I went there the lamb and the duck liver had been added – but since it is all transparent and clearly stated on the menu you can adapt you order accordingly. The food itself is hearty French countryside fare, apart from the risottos (together with the Italian coffee the international touch to the menu) most dishes focus on meat or seafood. Since the main courses are very generous compared to other French restaurants, come hungry or skip the starter. In the meat-based stews we had – coq au vin and an ox liver ragout – the flavours of the ingredients were perfectly amalgamated and harmonic. The entrecote marinated in a pesto of fresh herbs – although perfectly cooked rare – however, did not live up to expectations, too perfumed, too imbalanced (and way too big) for my taste. Although the side dishes – salads, stewed root vegetables, fried potatoes, and similar – clearly play a supporting role they were well done and tasty. And the baguette served together with the starters was clearly one of the best I ever had.
Sadly the wines aren't organic, the soft drinks however are, and the bar offers organic pastis, gin and vodka. Note that the place is closed on Sundays.
With its rustic and cosy flair and garden tables under horse chestnut trees during the warm season Zum Kloster in the heart of the former village of Haidhausen a short walk from Wiener Platz makes the perfect surrounding for a laid-back chat with friends. They serve a selection of organic non-alcoholic beverages and up to three dishes on their meat-centric hand-written menu are marked with a star as made with organic meat, eggs and flour, one of them being Spaghetti Bolognese. The dishes are simple, but perfectly eatable home-made fare. Only the salad should better not have been as soaked in rapeseed oil as it was.
For take away come with your own container to avoid extra waste. (The covid-19 delivery service was discontinued.)
If heading for the classical Bavarian Wirtshaus – rustic, but perhaps missing the air of the students' and artists' pub present in "Zum Kloster" – the Klinglwirt at the opposite end of Haidhausen near Rosenheimer Platz is the place to go. They serve organic meat from the nearby farm in Herrmannsdorf, organic cheese, bread, coffee, tea as well as Del Fiore ice-cream. Even the side-dishes – mainly potatoes, dumplings, sauerkraut, red cabbage and rustic salads – are now often organic, and vegetarian and vegan dishes have become a permanent part of the menu in their own right. The drinks menu offers at minimum one organic option for most beverages. Little guests are welcomed warmly, among others with a decent menu of their own (most kids will accept happily that the dishes listed there are almost free of greens). The restaurant is a member of Green Chefs, a network of eco conscious and socially responsible chefs.
While the Munich population has strong, yet mixed
feelings about the Oktoberfest, the strong beer festival during lent
is probably meeting much less negative sentiment among locals.
In fact, the political cabaret ("Derblecken") at the opening of the festival,
is a major event in local politics.
Although the host brewery, Paulaner, does not brew organic beer, the very
place of the festival, the
Nockherberg restaurant in the Au, offers parts
of its menu in organic quality: All organic items are marked green, or (as for the beverages) with the organic label.
They use organic flour and milk, the tofu is both, Bavarian and organic, and a selection of traditional meat dishes like the "Böfflamot" (the Munich version of
"boeuf a la mode") are made with organic meat.
Mind you that there is a decent selection of organic wines and non-alcoholic beverages, but no organic beer.
For the 100% organic experience of Bavarian cuisine take the tram no. 25 from Rosenheimer Platz to its final destination in the suburb of Grünwald. A five-to-ten minutes walk from there you'll find the only organic hotel in reach, Alter Wirt, with its rustic, yet up-market restaurant. Children are welcome and often even allowed a visit to the kitchen, but the place is spacious enough that occasional little guests won't spoil your romantic candle-light dinner. There's a beergarden under horse chestnut trees, and the entire place is a real oasis in suburbia. The menu focuses on the meat- and fish-centric Bavarian Sunday kitchen completed with dishes of Italian origin. The food is extremely tasty, home-made, yet peppered with pleasant little twitches of ambitious chefs. Not the natural place for vegetarians, but if you happen to be the only vegetarian in a group of omnivores, there's a tasty meal for you as well. In addition they offer a range of assorted organic spirits.
Early risers may also step by for breakfast.
If you prefer a sandwich and coffee on the go turn to the co-located artisanal Brotzeit bakery.
Fancy a day out in the Bavarian countryside? So why not paying a visit to the Herrmannsdorfer farm about 30 kilometres from Munich? Their up-market 100 percent organic restaurant, the Wirtshaus zum Schweinsbräu, rewards with the finest of Bavarian food traditions.
At tube stop Poccistraße in Sendling, just across the street from the Vollcorner branch in Lindwurmstr. 80 the Goldmarie restaurant serves classical and modern versions of seasonal Bavarian, Austrian and North-Italian dishes – quite palatable, but also a little boring. It's very obvious that the quality of the ingredients makes the difference here rather than the skills or visions of a chef: Usually the meat is organic and – in this case – marked "bio" on the menu. The veges are often organic, too, though not marked. Not organically certified meat and greens come from small-scale conventional farms in the region. Unfortunately the drinks (except for the gin and the herb tonic water) aren't organic. The place itself is often quite crowded.
Located directly on Leopoldstraße, a little south of Münchner Freiheit, a rustic
all day gastro bar dubbed Bapas is the perfect location for aimless city dwellers: Whenever you come during daytime, you will be served a hearty Bavarian "Brotzeit", consisting of cheese or cold cuts served with organic bread, and other filling meals of Bavarian, German and Austrian origin, though usually in smaller, comprehensible "tapas" size, hence the name of the place — Bavarian Tapas. From 9 am to 2pm breakfast is being served, lunch between 11:30 am and 4 pm, and full-fledged evening meals from 5 pm.
Bread and rolls as well as eggs are always organic, and if you stick to Riedenburger and Isar your beer is, too. The organic ice-cream is made in walking distance, and there are organic teas, herbal teas, lemonades and soft drinks (by Vio and the local Aqua Monaco). If you order your gin & tonic with Duke gin and Aqua Monaco or Red Bull organics tonic you even get a fully organic cocktail. Given these efforts the kitchen surely uses more organic ingredients but you have to ask about it.
They advertised "Highclass organic food" in the 2015 print issue of Spy city guide, and you will find them listed as organic on the web, too, but when I rang them up the staff ensured me repeatedly: No, we do not use organic ingredients. Since they themselves do not mention the word "bio" neither on their German website nor on the menu it's likely that lack of command of the English language lead to this misconception. So even though Roecklplatz restaurant is a socially responsible enterprise employing young apprentices in difficult life situations and/or without formal education and thus deserves support, I can't recommend it in this guide.
Eight years ago this blog would also have featured the Ratskeller townhall restaurant at
Marienplatz: Back then they had a separate organic menu. What is left of it today are organic fried potato patties ("Reiberdatschi"), spaetzle, some organic juices and softdrinks. But since this meat-centric restaurant does no longer serve any organic meat, I do not feel like recommending the place anymore.
Not a single word on their menu suggests that Miss Lilly's kitchen in Giesing prefers organic ingredients. But when tasting their huge and extremely yummy home-made burgers or Wiener Schnitzel it's perfectly reasonable that not only the meat (as confirmed by the staff) but also a good deal of the side-dishes are at least partially organic. Although vegetarians are catered for it's very obvious that Miss Lilly's chef prefers meat and does it perfectly. If you come with kids and ask for fries they will be served huge portions – so don't order too many.
The place near tube stop Kolumbusplatz serves breakfast until 5 pm and is famous for their home-made American cheesecake – I had the peanut butter variety which was very palatable, but to my taste not as exceptional as I had heard, together with a proper Italian-style coffee.
Tuesday to Saturday evening it turns into Moritz bar and restaurant, with a likewise tempting menu specializing in the South-German and alpine cuisines. If you are after an organic alcoholic drink you have to stick to The Duke gins – the wine and gin menu unfortunately does not leave you with much choice.
A wooden witch cottage, with several hideaways, balconies, verandahs to almost get lost in, indoors and outdoors, an open cultural stage, magical sourroundings (almost) under a train bridge – no, the appearances of the bar
Gans Woanders near Kolumbusplatz are deceptive: This is not an
ancient building, but a brand-new construction opened in 2020. Although the quantity of organic ingredients used in the menu dominated by pizza and cake does not entirely live up to the sustainability promise of the place, you'll find at least organic
coffee, tea and lemonades, and I was assured that the potatoes always were organic. Note that the place is self-services and accepts
In the South-Eastern part of Giesing, near congested Tegernseer Landstraße yet tucked away in a pleasant neighbourhood at Alpenplatz you will find another rustic place, Das Edelweiß. Since it started as an organic restaurant about six years ago you will still find business cards and references describing it as organic, and you can still order organic softdrinks. Unfortunately the concept did not work out, and the focus has shifted from organic towards supporting local and small-scale businesses. Some of the ingredients such as the milk of the Sternenfair brand are produced according to near-organic principles, the tasty artisanal bread may sometimes be made from organic flour, if you come for breakfast on weekends you can have organic chocolate spread, maple syrup and hot chocolate, but you should rather expect artisanal conventional food. When I questioned the owner about it she assured me that she's trying to find a new chef with love for local and seasonal high-quality food, and hopefully a renewed focus on organic principles will follow.
A dedicated family restaurant in the queer and hip neighbourhood of Glockenbachviertel dubbed Kaiser Otto is the place in Munich closest to the cafe latte moms cliche. You may step by for a coffee break during the day, or have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner while your kids may disappear to a dedicated playground room next to the cafe. The latter is however closing at 7 pm. Weekend brunch with child care has been discontinued during covid-19. The food is not very elaborate, but often made from at least partially organic ingredients. Reliably organic items on the menu are coffee, eggs, bread, a selection of soft drinks as well as the meat served with one of the dishes to have for dinner. Greens, veges and pulses may or may not be organic, so you have to enquire, meat items served until 3 pm are definitely not.
The contrary of a family restaurant, i.e. a decent (American-style) bar cum burger restaurant is
The Potting Shed near Münchner Freiheit, a few steps from Brasserie La Bouce. Instead of french fries you're served yummy rosemary-flavoured potatoes, instead of prefab mayonnaise delicate home-made aioli, and the coleslaw was crisp, showing off the (organic) quality of the cabbage. The top of my burger bun was caramelised, adding an interesting twist to the taste, and the patty, announced as medium, still gorgeously pink. Unfortunately they do not do rare burgers which indicates that the meat is minced in advance. All meat products come from a organic-only local butchery, and the delicacy of the food indicates that most of the vegetarian ingredients are organic, too. For those not feeling like having a sumptuous high-calory burger plate (there's one veggie option) there was a tasty seasonal salad (with goat cheese) and a range of tapas, mezze and small starters, decidedly omnivore. Unfortunately the rich bar sports only a few organic drinks, namely an organic Cabernet Sauvignon, The Duke and Lyonel gins (the latter made a nicely balanced jasmin-tea flavoured gin and tonic) and fairly traded cachaça. Soft drinks including the tonic water however aren't organic at all. The bar itself values traditional bar etiquette: an observant yet not obstrusive waiter (who took care of our jackets when we came in), a skilful professional barman, pleasant background music at a volume allowing for effordless conversation (though I cannot say anything about the noise on a Friday or Saturday night), the walls adorned with interesting and tasteful art. Definitely recommended for a civilised evening out.
Mix the interior of a trattoria in Italy with a Bavarian Wirtshaus, and you'll end up with
Hostaria Rò e Buni, a certified organic Italian restaurant in the heart of Schwabing. The name alludes to the dialect words used in the area of Bologna to steer bullocks to the left and to the right, and the tasty food served here has its roots in the country kitchen of the Emilia Romagna - not too fancy, hearty, receiving its fulfilling taste from high quality organic ingredients, many of them (especially the meat) sourced from farms in the greater region.
Unlike in many other certified restaurants almost all ingredients are organic indeed, those coming from conventional agriculture are clearly marked with a star on the menu. Vegetarian and vegan drinks and dishes can be easily distinguished by a leaf or flower label, respectively. Although the owner has Italian roots don't order a four course menu (antipasti, pasta, primo e secondo) a la carte unless extremely hungry – the sizes of the dishes are adapted to the German habit of ordering a pasta or main course and perhaps a starter. If you feel Italian stick to the four course tasting menu suggested by the menu, or discuss with the affable publican. Don't leave without having tried their fresh home-made pasta, and an organic grappa to finish. If you fancy slow-cooked Italian meat classics like Osso Buco – here's the place to try.
The kitchen closes half an hour before closing time, and the place itself keeps open evenings only.
If you do not want to compromise at all when it comes to organic food and drinks find your way to Sendling: Former Bavarian-Italian restaurant "resihuber" went fully Italian and consequently changed its name to La Trattoria early in 2020. The place is run and backed by the founders of the local Vollcorner supermarket chain and can easily be reached by tube (stop Brudermühlstraße). Unfortunately they do no longer serve breakfast, instead you may order pizza home or (at a small discount) to take away.
The place is also a
convenient choice before or after a concert at (or other visit to) the Gasteig HP8 concert hall and cultural centre, with truly Italian food and predominantly regional ingredients catering for all: vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers. After a concert or stroll at the Isar shore you may also step by for a high quality, fully organic drink, both with or without alcohol.
The place survived the covid-19 pandemics as a pizzeria, and staff shortage in 2024 turned it into a half-serviced restaurant, a concept known from smaller cafes and eateries: Have a seat, memorise the number of your table and place your order at the bar. Food and drinks will be brought to your table.
In 2023 the Trattoria got a sister restaurant, the
Osteria Biologica Josef which, located in the
Glockenbachviertel, is much
better accessible from the inner city. During the summer everyone would sit outside in the so-called "Schanigarten", on white garden furniture in lieu of parking lots along the street. The Italian street feeling is matched by excellent food and drinks. An exciting selection of aperitivi and a relatively short menu offering pizza, salads, pasta, and few main courses ensure absolute freshness and tastiness. Most dishes are vegetarian or meat-based (all of them have full meal size), but there are also a few (fully qualified) vegan options – given the shortness of the menu these make up for a higher relative percentage than you may realise at first. As everything is organic, prices are rather up-market, but a delicious pizza with a gorgeous crust (at around 15 EUR) is sufficient for a very satisfying evening. The staff is cheery and helpful. During the colder season there will be brunch, too. Ring in to order a table during opening hours, especially on weekends I strongly recommend this as the online booking system seems to not cover all available tables.
A hidden gem in very upmarket locations, quietly located in a backyard of Maximilianstraße next to the Kammerspiele theater
is Max Trenta, a small Italian restaurant with an open kitchen where organic ingredients, often from small-scale farms, are frequently used, though neither promised nor advertised on the menu. Some of the courses are Italian dishes well-known outside Italy but since the friendly owner values the kitchen of his childhood his guests are so fortunate to taste Sardinian specialities like the fregula pasta type and the typical pane guttiau crisp bread which is served as an appetizer. Unfortunately these crackers tasted very bland, not comparable with the organic ones readily available in Munich's organic groceries. The extremely tasty and characterful natural open wines come from a Sardinian winery co-driven by one of the owner's relatives but aren't organically certified. In the summer you can sit outside where there's a little space for kids. Note that the kitchen closes already at 9pm.
No bosses and driven by consensus: Its unusual organization qualifies the Neuhausen based restaurant cooperative Ruffini for a recommendation on its own. Their Italian and Mediterranean food looks and tastes like mother's – it is prepared with love though without the ambitions of a trained restaurant chef. Although they cater for vegetarians and omnivores alike only meat and eggs are organic. Which is sad – the Imam Bayildi I had tasted bland as the eggplants did not have the concentrated flavour of organic ones. On the contrary their home-made croissants – organic or not – are without doubt worth a sin: You'll have to travel far to find equally full-flavoured ones, so take away (or come to shop at their bakery a few meters away). Have an organic ice-cream for dessert – during the warm season it's also offered to take away.
If you love the cooking books by Sam&Sam Clark of the London-based restaurant Moro (which I unfortunately have not had the opportunity to visit) or simply are in the mood for refined yet down-to-earth oriental mediterranean food head for The Spice Bazaar tucked away in a big void between the ticket office of the Bayrische Staatsoper opera house, the Spanish Instituto Cervantes and the Hofgarten garden. In the evening you often won't find a soul on the place before the restaurant, but when you enter a breathtakingly decorated space prided with gold and ornaments is welcoming you – not the bling-bling of an oriental bazaar, but its Bauhaus-inspired interpretation on two floors, the upper one an almost intimate but open gallery. All the meat is certified organic, and you can pick organic wines and soft drinks on the menu, but although many other ingredients most certainly are organic there's no promise to it. The menu and the staff encourage you to share your food with those you came along – in this case all dishes will be placed in the middle of the table and an empty plate will be put in front of each of you. Be warned: the servings here are generous and deliciously spiced so that it's easy to eat far too much. A main course – meat, seafood or vegetarian – with a side dish will satisfy a hungry eater, so rather order less and share, especially if you also opt for one of the tempting first courses. At my first visit we made the mistake of ordering too much (delicately spiced caramellised nuts and bread with gorgeous olive oil as starters for our hungry crowd) so that I cannot say anything about the desserts yet. Prices are upmarket, but if you take into consideration the quality and the quantity they are more than fair.
Opposite the "Osteria
Josef" in the Glockenbachviertel you'll
find Mary – or rather
Das Maria. In fact the restaurant should be called "Maryam" as it specialises in mezze and food (and coffee) from the Maghrib and the Levante. Moreover it has been a famed breakfast spot for many years, serving oriental and orientally inspired occidental breakfast varieties throughout the day, on oriental dishes. The majority of ingredients, staples and drinks are organic and marked as such on the menu, either with an asterisk or with the "bio" keyword.
The place is quite small, so despite its very reliable opening hours and especially during the cold season when outdoor seating isn't an option pre-booking is advisable. Families with babies and toddlers should find a different spot for a family meal as there are no changing facilities, and both, changing and prams are not welcome inside the restaurant.
With the explosion of sushi take-aways you may have to kiss many frogs on the quest for sushi worth its name. Arguably one of the best sushi restaurants in Munich is the Sushiya Sansaro in the Amalienpassage backyard passage in Maxvorstadt, a three minutes walk from the Northern exit of the Universität tube stop. As you might expect from a restaurant with love for – in this case – Japanese – food they use some organic ingredients (eggs, spinach and pork for example), the soy sauce is organic and you can order organic beer, juice and some wine with your meal. The menu does not stop with sushi, instead you can get a good impression of the Japanese kitchen, both in its vegetarian and its meat-based variety. The place itself is pleasant but often crowded. If you cannot get a reservation do not dispair: You can also order by phone or online and step by to take away, or even better: Bring your own (bento) box, and wait while your sushi is being prepared.
The latest enterprise of prominent Munich publican, club manager and cooking book author Sandra Forster, herself a vegan, is the Blitz ("lightning") club located within the entrance building to the Museumsinsel island housing Deutsches Museum, the congress hall finished in 1935, formerly used as a cinema. Attached to the club is a Mexican-vegetarian restaurant, with dancing skeletons in colourful costumes adorning the walls. During the warm season enjoy a sugar cane cocktail and yummy fajitas or quesadillas, on a peaceful terrace outside facing the river Isar. About 80 percent of all ingredients used in the kitchen are organic and – if possible – sourced from farms in the greater Munich area. Exotic ingredients difficult to find in organic quality usually make an exception. If you want to avoid eggs and dairy products (which come from animal-friendly farms) do not hesitate to request a vegan meal.
My favourite vegan place, the Gratitude in the humming University quarter of Maxvorstadt, once was fully organic except for alcoholic beverages. While in the beginning the food was simple – raw or inspired by ayurveda – and sometimes a little bland, the kitchen improved vastly over time, reaching the level of Munich's legendary first (though no longer existing) vegan restaurant Zerwirk. Around 2020 the place got into financial troubles, closed for refurbishment, and covid-19 did its job. Now it's back again, as The Gratitude Eatery, with international vegetable dishes, from Nigiri and Tempura to risotto and curries, using sometimes less, sometimes more organic ingredients. You can have organic beer, and there's also an organic white wine on the menu, but I love the place for its fairly priced and not too sweet cocktails (which unfortunately aren't organic).
Between Viktualienmarkt and Gärtnerplatz (i.e. no longer next to Isartor) you'll find
Siggis vegan and fresh food, a 100% vegan place that from the outside looks like a coffee bar. In fact you can step by for a (cup) cake, vegan latte, organic coffee (in a recup.com retour cup if you're in a hurry) or partially organic sandwich but you may also stay and have lunch or dinner served. The kitchen uses a good deal organic ingredients for the quite casual menu offering pasta, sandwiches, bowls, and a few international main dishes. Most drinks are organic, though if you have a latte and specify your favourite vegan milk alternative be aware that the lupin milk isn't. Ask if unsure whether any of the ingredients are organic – the stuff is helpful and willing to enquire in the kitchen if they don't know.
Note that the place is closed on Mondays.
An older vegan restaurant is the Max Pett near Sendlinger Tor, run by a former Zerwirk chef. Unfortunately it's only partially organic, which is probably why the kitchen does not live up to expectations. The place is 100 percent non-alcoholic.
My favourite vegetarian, vegan-friendly restaurant is the Blitz described above.
Crisp and delicately spiced instead of greasy and cooked to death, this is how the Fei Scho eatery serves Vietnamese food with a Bavarian touch ("Fei scho" is a Bavarian dialect phrase indicating that the counterpart in a conversation should have known/done/recognised something already). The menu of the small place in the Glockenbach neighbourhood consists of a handful of rice and noodle dishes, as well as Vietnamese veg parcels. A few ingredients (namely eggs, chickpeas, and, during the summer, carrots, red cabbage, coriander as well as celery) are organic (unfortunately neither the meat nor the tofu), along with all the wines, the iced tea, the apple juice and the gin and tonic. For a while there was a second restaurant in Haidhausen with slow and forgetful service, but that's past.
More to try
Of the following places I found testimonies and other evidence for use of organic ingredients, but I have not been able to verify them by a personal visit. If you get there let me know whether they should be listed here, and I'll do my best to eat there, too.
An increasing number of Munich street festivals demands an organic certification of their food stalls: The Tollwood festival has been serving organic food only for many years while stalls at funfairs like the Oktoberfest and or the Auer Dult are required to offer at minimum one certified organic serving. Unfortunately some of the contractors comply only as long as they are forced to and do not even use a minimum selection of organic ingredients in their restaurants – a behaviour that potential guests of the following places should be aware of:
Ceased to exist
The following places shut down or were replaced by restaurants not using organic ingredients. So don't be confused when you find references to them on the web:
- Arepas, Müllerstr. 44 (Venezuelan)
- Cafe King, Müllerstr. 3 (vegan)
- Daylesford Organic, Ledererstr. 3 (international)
- Das Kranz, Hans-Sachs-Str.12 (gourmet)
- Deli Dosa, Barer Str. 48
- Emiko w/in Hotel Louis, Viktualienmarkt 6 (Japanese)
- Fei Scho Haidhausen, Pariser Str. 17
- Kaede, Sommerstr. 41 (Japanese)
- L'Amar, Pestalozzistr. 28 (Italian)
- Moritz, Oefelestr. 12 (co-located restaurant Miss Lilly's is open during the day)
- Picnic, Barer Str. 48 (Indian)
- Refettorio, Marstallplatz 3 (Italian) – replaced by The Spice Bazaar
- Salon Rouge by Tohru, Speicherstr. 20, Werk 12, 4th floor (fine dining)
- Schneeweinchen & Rosenbrot, Breisacher Str. 23 (partially organic gastro bar)
- Shibuya Fried Chicken, Hohenzollernstr. 5 (Tohru Nakamura's covid-19 take away)
- Tian, Frauenstr. 4
- Werneckhof, Werneckstr. 11 (gourmet restaurant)
- Wood, Occamstr. 6 (clean eating)
- Zerwirk, Ledererstr. 3 (vegan, gourmet)
- 1912 Restaurant & Bar,
Schwanthalerstr. 36 (partially organic hotel restaurant)
[Munich, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Sendling, Schwabing, Werksviertel, organic, lunch, dinner, market, deli, coffee, hotel, accommodation, restaurant, Asian, Bavarian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Oriental, Sardinian, Vietnamese, vegan, vegetarian]
Sunday, 04 February 2024
The easiest way to reduce waste is to buy directly from artisanal producers. So far all (organic) bakeries
have been willing to fill my purchase into the (obviously clean)
cotton bags I present for years, and – the times are changing – most shop assistants seem to be
used to the concept by now. Providing a container for cakes and pastries (or meat and cheese) may occasionally be met with a raised eyebrow, but when explained, most shop assistants comply, sometimes clumsily, with this request.
Munich still has a traditional butchers row on Viktualienmarkt, but unfortunately none of these shops is certified organic. And unlike in Berlin, I am not aware of any artisanal organic butcher start-ups in town (yet).
Nevertheless meat lovers will be happy to learn that the city, home of Weißwurst sausages and Leberkäse, still has an independent organic butcher shop: The Biometzgerei Pichler in Haidhausen does not only offer these Munich specialities to buy home or to eat on the spot but will happily fill your boxes with all kinds of meat cuts, sausages, cured and processed meat (both, German and Italian style), including tongues, ox tails, offal and other low-graded parts of the animals, allowing you to follow the nose-to-tail principle. They also have a proper cheese counter and offer lunch (and warm snacks) on weekdays.
In the Maxvorstadt, the family-owned butcher runs the meat counter within the Landmann's supermarket. This one offers lunch items for take out, too, and often has pickled herrings and other traditional German fish preserves, from sustainable sources. Note that its opening hours are shorter than the supermarket's.
To my knowledge Pichler is the only dedicated organic butcher shop in town. Other organic butchers from the region either run their own farmer's supermarkets
(Herrmannsdorfer) or mobile boothes on farmers' markets (Tagwerk). Their products are readily available in organic supermarkets, too.
You may also buy meat and meat products directly from organic farmers: either from
a market booth or from their own farmshop.
And last but not least: Some organic butchers sell their fare through other market traders like the Hofbäckerei Steingraber.
For bakeries the picture is much more versatile: While older surviving organic bakeries in the city have been growing in size, built bigger workshops and centralised production, a new generation of artisanal bakers revived the traditional concept of a combined bakehouse and shop.
Here you can buy bread and rolls still warm from the oven, and often even catch a glimpse of the bakers at work.
Direct trade at farmers markets probably is the most social option: Market traders are ever so happy to strike up a brief conversation.
The easiest way to tasty organic German (sourdough) bread and rolls is to find one of the numerous branches
of Hofpfisterei ("Baker with appointment to the court"), with a history dating back almost 700 years and about 150 shops in Bavaria (plus a few in Baden-Württemberg and Berlin) likely to be
the biggest organic bakery (chain) in Germany. Much of the baking is done by contractors, and
the company is transparent about their production standards the question "Who made my bread?" remains unanswered. Given the sheer number of Hofpfisterei shops in Munich, I only
list the ones open on
Compared with this giant all other organic bakeries are dwarfs with no more than a handful of shops. Coffee-lovers better stay away from the coffee at Hofpfisterei branches, but the automatic coffee machine (run on organic milk and coffee beans) and one or more high tables for a quick lunch or snack are standard facilities in all bakery branches as are returnable coffee mugs if you insist on a coffee drink to take with you. Your own mug will be accepted widely by now, at least as long as it is clean.
The Augsburg-based family-run
Bäckerei Schubert is running two owned shops within Vitalia health food shops, one of them next to the Viktualienmarkt, the other in Laim.
The Munich branch of the Dachau-based family-run organic bakery Gürtner is located opposite the Lebascha grocery in Haidhausen. They mill the flour slowly using a Zentrofan wholefood mill resulting in wholemeal croissants tasting fresher and almost as light as those made from pastry flour. For lunch the bakery offers the standard that can be expected from Munich bakery shops: readily prepared sandwiches or "Butterbrezn" (buttered pretzls). There's a second Gürtner branch on the Pasinger Viktualienmarkt near the Pasing train station.
With roots in Munich, and since 2020 back baking in town, Fritz Mühlenbäckerei
will not only provide you with fresh
bread, cakes, and rolls on Sundays: The shop in Haidhausen where everything started does no longer act as a bakehouse, but it still sports well-assorted fridges and shelves with all organic food you may have forgotten for the Sunday breakfast. In spring 2021 the bakery took over a market booth in the Northern part of the Viktualienmarkt, next to Heilig Geist church which however is closed on Sundays.
To avoid food waste, if you are on a small budget and as long as you aren't out for a special type of bread or roll I recommend the Fritz bakery's yesterday's bread shop, Zweitbrotladen, in Haidhausen. However, this small shop has a disadvantage: by the end of its quite restricted opening hours you may find that everything you fancy has been sold out.
A short walk from Sendlinger Tor, within the hospital area, you'll find Bio Backs, an organic bakery store where you also can get organic coffee drinks, tea, hot chocolate and snacks. Unfortunately the Asian lunch served here is not organic. Only the butter, the flour used in savory quiches, sugar, milk, soy drink and vegetable broth are promised to be organic. Pro-actively insist on your own bags and containers when you buy to take with you. Mind you that the shop closes quite early in the afternoon.
All of the aforementioned bakeries (except the Hofpfisterei) sell good home-made cakes. But if you are out for the art of pastry and tarts there's one
bakery not to miss, a bakery not only founded within the city boundaries but still
a true native: The Brot- und Feinbäckerei Neulinger with its gorgeous Café Reichshof and four more shops.
While the Fritz bakery relocated its main factory to a new-built complex in the Bavarian municipality of Aying and only has a small artisanal bread bakery in town, the Neulingers are baking everything in a light and open, pleasantly humming workshop in Sendling, and all of their shops are open both, on Sundays and most public holidays (except January, 1).
The only traditional organic bakery with the backhouse in the rear of the baker's shop I am aware of is the
Vollwert-Bäckerei K.O. Back near the Ungererbad open-air swimming pool, formerly (of hear-say: back in the 70ies) a bakers' collective, now a one-man-plus-helpers shop. Try the delicious Danish rolls and croissants which also can be obtained from a few traditional organic groceries like Hollerbusch or Ökoesel im Lebascha. The shop offers other organic food, too, so you may shop all you need for breakfast or lunch in one place.
The Munich revival of the (German) bread bakery in its traditional
sense of bakehouse and shop sharing the same address started in the posh municipality of Grünwald with Lokalbäckerei Brotzeit. These guys also run a small sales counter inside the
zero waste shop Ohne in Maxvorstadt, and frankly: No other bread in town keeps the taste
of fresh sourdough bread as long as theirs.
Others followed: The luxurious artisanal organic bread of Julius Brantner is being served at the most upmarket fine-dining restaurants in town – and you can buy it from the bakery in Schwabing. Make sure to come in time – especially on a Saturday you may find the shop closed after the last bread was sold.
If you do not succeed, try the Brotraum bakery, conveniently located near Münchner Freiheit.
And last but not least there is an organic bakery chain with an integrated open bakehouse (run on sustainable energy) as part of the shop concept:
Cumpanum, based in the small town of Bobingen, south of Augsburg, combines a shiny bakery counter (with friendly service) with a delicatessen (and a cafe corner). If you are on your way to a Sunday brunch with friends and family and are looking for a little something you'll find hand-made organic preserves, herbs and condiments and other eatable luxury on their shelves.
"Neverending bread" may sound funny, but the master mind (and master baker) of Cumpanum and his team are also running two organic bread shops with this name,
Unendlich Brot: one in Munich's Maxvorstadt, and one in Landsberg am Lech. Also here all doughs are free from wheat.
[Munich, Trudering, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Schwabing, Landsberg_am_Lech, Bobingen, organic, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, lunch, bakeries, butcher]
The good news: As long as your organic supermarket is equipped with a freezer (which applies to all exceeding the size of a corner shop) you will be able to find some frozen pizza, and even if you feel the urge while most shops are closed, don't dispair! But come on, who really wants to feast on frozen pizza?
If a bar stool will do, head for Bartu in Schwabing, a short walk from Münchner Freiheit. It's actually an ice-cream parlour with a hole in the wall to a pizza kitchen. Gorgeous, 100% organic pizza, and if you are lucky enough to live no more than three kilometers away they also will deliver home.
Those living in the Neuhausen neighbourhood may do the same with Pizza Verde delivering by e-bike within a radius of two kilometers. The pizza of course tastes much better when eaten directly from the (Italian) pizza oven, either on a bar table or in the guest room cum wine shop next door which has a table for twelve. Book this table in advance if you plan to come in company, it's a pleasant place to chat away an evening. The impressive menu offers all the classics, in addition to seasonally changing specials and creations of the house. Among the latter is a delicate combination of gorgonzola cheese, pears and walnuts, a white pizza with lardo fat and olive oil and a delightingly hot pizza diavolo. Since all ingredients (and all drinks) are of high, purely organic quality, and the pizze made with great skill
(The pizza base is pleasantly thin and crispy made of dough that was allowed to rest for a minimum of 24 hours.)
it's hard to be seriously disappointed. Even the "Nutella" pizza for dessert (of course made with superior organic hazelnut spread) is palatable for those who are beyond thirty.
You may also have a classical tiramisu or panna cotta, or simply
step by for an Italian coffee shot.
If you prefer a livelier, more crowded place
there's now a second, bigger restaurant in Schwabing, with an organic wine shop next door and pleasant outdoor seating.
While there are almost no organic pizza restaurants in other parts of Munich, Schwabing, by 2021, has almost three of it: A few street corners from the Bartu pizza take away the small German chain of
NineOFive opened a restaurant during the covid-19 pandemic. Unlike Pizza Verde and Bartu it's not fully organic, but offers organic spritzers ("Schorle"), home-made organic pickles and uses organic eggs for the home-made egg liqueur, so there's hope though no guarantee for more organic ingredients elsewhere on the menu.
Early in 2020 the neighbourhood of Sendling got a fully organic pizza restaurant: La Trattoria, while its sister restaurant, the Osteria Josef in the Glockenbach neighbourhood has been serving pinsa romana since 2023.
For the Lebanese version of a pizza head for the neighbourhood of Sendling. A few steps from tube station Implerstraße you'll find a tiny restaurant named after this Levantine breakfast special, the Manouche, where it can be had all day around, alongside Lebanese soups, savoury pastries, mezze, Lebanese wine and sweets. All meat is local and certified organic, and most of the vegetables come from farms in the vicinity which, although not certified, embrace organic principles. Some of the beer ("Neumarkter"), juices and soft drinks are also organic. Unfortunately the flour is not organic which explains the tastelessness of the bread when eaten on its own but fortunately the mezze are full of flavour and cover up for it. Place your order at the desk, and help yourself with drinks from the fridge; your food, wine and coffee will be served. It's advisable to book in advance when coming as a group, to enjoy a glimpse of oriental atmosphere and friendliness in Bavaria. Note that the place is closed on Sundays, just like the falafel restaurant Beirut Berut a few street corners away, run by the same owners.
Bavarian Pretzel Pizza
Bavarian pretzels or "Bretzn", lye treated twisted crumpets, are arguably the favourite food in town, just watch out for prams, and you'll discover toddlers feastings on it everywhere! Every bakery will sell you a Bretzn smeared with butter (or margarine) for lunch, and as Munich citizens are mockingly considering their city the most Northern city of Italy, why not using this wonderfully salty dough as a pizza base and accompany it with the only organic beer brewed in town?
Haderner Bräu is a small, owner-run brewery. Wednesday through Saturday Marta, Thomas and their team open their pub where you along with the finest beer can feast on Bavarian antipasti, vegan "Brizza" ("Bretzn" + "pizza") and a sweet finish. As the place is located off tourist tracks and may be fully booked call in upfront.
Shut down or no longer organic
The following places can still be find on the web but forget about them: They do not exist any more or stopped serving organic food.
- Blizzeria, Berg-am-Laim-Str. 82a (Berg am Laim)
- Bozo & Loui, Pariser Str. 17 (Haidhausen, Alsatian Flammkuchen)
- Lo studente, Schellingstr. 30, daily 11–24 (does no longer offer pizza dough made with organic emmer wheat)
- Pasta e Basta Bio, Amalienstr. 87 (Maxvorstadt)
- Sicilia Naturkost, Altmühleck 1 (Altstadt)
- Sweekies, Wendl-Dietrich-Str. 4 (Neuhausen)
- Pizza Zodiac, Schulstr. 42 (Neuhausen)
[Munich, Schwabing, Maxvorstadt, organic, fastfood, lunch, delivery, coffee, pizza, wine, Italian, Lebanese, covid, corona]
Wednesday, 17 January 2024
The Bodenseeradweg bicyle route around Lake Constance is arguably one of the finest (and most frequented) bicycle routes in the German-speaking part of Europe. But despite being such a tourist hotspot the region is surprisingly
badly accessible by train as not even the major university town of Konstanz is serviced by frequent fast long distance connections. Bound to local and regional trains with almost no reasonable interconnections you'll easily end up with a nightmare of six or more train changes back to the origin of your journey if you happen to have a flat tyre or accident along the bike route or the weather is turning bad.
From Munich the only reasonable connection are
EC and regional trains to and from Lindau, and Constance can reasonably be reached from Karlsruhe or Zürich.
There are a handful daily long distance connections to and from Friedrichshafen like the
daily ICE service from Berlin, and there are more frequent options to and from Stuttgart.
While a trip on a Bodensee ferry boat should definitely be part of your stay
(the BSB boats even sport bicycle racks) you cannot rely on them as a fast
and high-frequent means of transport between railway stations.
Combined with the fact that bike tickets on long distance trains
are rare during the nice seasons, the sad fact is: A bicycle tour around
lake Constance requires much more careful planning well in advance than you might think at first.
Eat, drink and sleep
If you wish to wake up to a gorgeous organic breakfast in a pleasantly decorated sustainable hotel,
while your bike is safely locked to a roofed parking spot,
Hotel Maier is the place to stay.
The hotel is not located in the very city centre, but in the neighbourhood of Fischbach (between the industrial areas of MTU/Rolls Royce in Manzell and Airbus in Immenstaad). A nice side effect of the hotel's approach to avoid food waste: breakfast is served at your convenience. Order to your liking and have a chat with the friendly staff. The combination of a traditional farm house with a rough concrete building (housing a few bigger and more expensive suites) gives the place a very urban touch.
Unfortunately the hotel's organic restaurant, Die Speiserei, was closed during
our stay, but the menu suggested fine local dining on predominantly local produce, an extremely tempting way to spend holiday money.
100 percent organic restaurant in town: The V2O on the premises of the Zeppelin museum in the city centre. Located on the second floor of a former station building it sports a gorgeous view on the city port and is accessible to the general public. The place serves organic lunch, and, during
the tourist season, dinner.
While the kitchen is closed in the afternoon between 2 pm and 5 pm, you may spend the time waiting for a ferry boat here with coffee and cake or a little snack.
The restaurant is closed on Mondays, but there's a no-frills organic bistro a few steps away serving simple lunch on weekdays.
If you fancy a partially organic, artisanal ice-cream or feel for a coffee break, pay a visit to cosy
Mina Gelato, the ice-cream parlour cum cafe in the town's traditional West-German pedestrian shopping street. Despite the
name, the gorgeous ice-cream isn't trying to play Italian, but, very exotic, is made following a
Bulgarian recipe. Best ice-cream in town!
Food and necessities
The people behind V2O restaurant and bistro are also running an organic
Greenbox, which seems to offer lunch, too.
There are very likely more organic groceries in town and in its vicinity, but none of them are located along the very bike route.
An exception is the beautiful
Biohaus am See in Langenargen,
a neat small town building offering a
parking spot in the shadow for your bike while you refill provisions or replenish
some calories. With its wooden furniture the shop has the air of a traditional
organic neighbourhood grocery, but given the omnipresence of Lake Constance
fruits in organic shops throughout the country I was a little disappointed
to not find more local products here.
[Friedrichshafen, Lake_Constance, Bodensee, Bodenseeradweg, organic, coffee, lunch, dinner, cafe, restaurant, supermarkets, grocery, accommodation, hotel, ice-cream]