Hamburg, “my pearl”, as the locals affectionately say. In the northern parts of Germany lies this beauty by the sea. Majestic, wild and captivating, and at the same time quiet, versatile and highly understated. As a city of the Hanseatic League, the 12th-century association that protected the merchants on their dangerous crossings to foreign countries, Hamburg has always been the silent gateway to a world beyond. The city of the “pepper-sacks” and big landowners, songwriters and bar owners, the Portuguese and the Dutch. And the city of the Hamburgers — a title you only get if you live in the tenth generation in Hamburg, they say.
At first glance, Hamburg likes to appear somewhat homogeneous. But if you take a closer look at this wide range between elegant Wilhelminian style villas and functional brick buildings, the city's diversity is truly captivating. On the one hand, the city is prosperous, culturally excellent and absolutely worth living in. With its Binnenalster, a picturesque lake in the center of the city, the elegant shopping street Neuer Wall and the gigantic overseas port, with ships as big as skyscrapers, the city has already convinced many of its uniqueness. At the same time, Hamburg is colourful, wild, rebellious. Often there are rumbles around the alternative Schanzenviertel, at the famous fish market one can hardly hear themselves speak and St. Pauli is still a haven for those looking for nightly adventures. Hamburg has something to offer for everyone and year by year people come to experience this special flair.
The fact that over the years an outstanding gastronomic scene with culinary identities from all over the world has developed here, seems almost indispensable. But also, small corner pubs and special eatery experiences are no rarity. You just have to know where to find them. The Hamburgers value what they have, and they especially quietly enjoy knowing what their city is lovable for. To get a little insight we searched for the culinary Hamburg that displays the versatility of the city – and happily found it. Read through this intimate guide from exclusive Guide MICHELIN recommended restaurants to wild Scandinavian grills.
What would Hamburg be without its fish! In the classic restaurant Fischereihafen, you can enjoy your seafood either in the popular oyster bar or on the sunny outdoor terrace with a view over the mystical waters. While breathtaking ships arrive and depart, sushi, oysters, fish and seafood dishes are served in style. Seafood lovers from all over the world come to this captivating eatery, which has always been in family hands.
Although no longer an insider tip, it is still worth a mention, because you don't get such quality fish every day. Highly popular is the lunch table, offering dishes like prawns in a crispy coating on glass noodle salad with red wine-chilli dip. Accompanied by a refreshing Riesling and a Panna Cotta with Amaretto cherries and mocha foam.
As the starting point of a new restaurant scene in Eimsbüttel in the 1980s, the former Künstlercafé Vienna began its triumphal story. Famous German painters such as Markus Oehlen and Werner Büttner waited tables here, exhibited their works and even helped with the reconstruction. Thanks to the unique ambience of the bistro and the excellent menu with fusions of French, German, Austrian and Italian cuisine Vienna today amazes connoisseurs from all walks of life.
There are dishes such as baked parasol-mushrooms with remoulade sauce, a Provençal fish soup with rouille sauce and Panzerotti with home-pickled salmon, fennel and oranges. The lemon sorbet with vodka afterwards is unquestionably worth a try. On warm nights, don’t miss the little hut at the back of the garden.
With The Table, renowned chef Kevin Fehling has created an oasis of peace and elegance in the modern Hamburg Hafen City. Long curved wooden tables in a noble 70s design almost float through the stylishly designed space. The colour harmony and lightness of the high-quality interior radiate luxury and extravagance. Yet, all remains delicately aligned with the discreet Hamburg soul. The kitchen is characterized by true craftsmanship and the highest quality.
Fine delicacies are served with love for detail and the guest is the center of attention. A restaurant so balanced, inviting and elegant; an absolute must for those with high demands and a lust for good food. Pay special attention to the cucumber salad with white chocolate, buttermilk, apple and dill and, of course, the lobster – where, if not here?
When Hamburger reluctance meets Mexican hot-bloodedness, something very special can be created, as we already learned in our interview with chef Miguel Zaldívar, a passionate cook and the owner of a small enclave of pleasure and Mexican delicacies. Everything in Mexico Strasse Taqueria sparkles with joie de vivre: the interior, the tiles, the colourfully sprayed wall, the plates and the way you eat. Guests are encouraged to eat with their fingers and share the dishes. The music is loud and at the next table you often hear Spanish.
There are combinations of cereal-based chorizo, oyster mushrooms, Chilean ancho crumble, onions and coriander. Vegans will find just as much as flexitarians do. A new side of Mexico just waiting to be discovered.
Recommended by the Guide MICHELIN, the Japanese Kaiseki-restaurant Yoshi is certainly one of the first addresses in Hamburg for excellent sushi. Kaiseki stands for “shared enjoyment” and YO SHI for “high goal”. Both have undoubtedly been accomplished here. The restaurant is located high up in the Alsterhaus, a department store with history. Its interior is a modern Japanese adaption elegantly underlined by the countless orchids placed all over the restaurant. The airy outdoor terrace invites you to spend balmy evenings in great company and with an open view. And with a selection of countless variations of sushi and sashimi, as well as warm dishes, enjoyment is no longer a question of the palate, but of whether or not to go to Yoshi.
Try one of the skillfully coordinated four to nine-course experience menus.
In Brian's Steak and Lobster Hamburg, one might forget for a brief moment where they are. The beach house-style restaurant beams guests into a wild Scandinavian dream. Natural materials, colours of the northern seas, and – as he calls himself – a crazy Danish chef who thinks of the wildest culinary combinations. The former surfer and photographer created his home away from home. He makes sure that all his guests feel the famous Danish hygge.
Special attention must be paid for Brian's favourite, the Surf & Turf Burger. Everything comes directly from the specially imported Spanish Josper oven; a fusion of grill and oven. And when the days get darker and the winds blow stronger, how about ordering out? Have more than a few guests? Brian’s offers its wild Scandinavian-style catering. We can’t think of a reason not to give Brian's a try.
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Words: Esther Seibt