Germany's second-biggest city, Hamburg saw some very notable visitors this year — from the POTUS to a prince. But, while Wills, Kate and the world leaders of the G20 were all likely busy with obligations, we hope they got the opportunity to get a taste of the city's hot food scene, too.
The Michelin Guide for Germany 2017 awarded 15 stars to 10 Hamburg restaurants. Kevin Fehling’s The Table, retained its three stars for the second year, while Haerlin, Jacobs, and Süllberg-Seven Seas each were awarded two stars and joined by seven single-starred restaurants. But it doesn't take a Michelin star to earn our seal of approval, which is why we love these lower-key spots as well.
Amsterdam's culinary hotspot Izakaya arrived in Hamburg earlier this year with the opening of the new design-savvy hotel Sir Nikolai on Nikolaifleet, one of Hamburg's oldest canals. On the ground floor of the new hotel, Izakaya serves up Japanese/Peruvian fare in chic surroundings looking across an open kitchen. Plates are meant to be shared, so come with a group and order a few bottles of sake.
Carls An Der Elbphilharmonie
When visiting Hamburg you can't miss a visit to one of this year's most talked-about pieces of architecture. The sparkling façade of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie concert hall, located in the flashy new Hafen City district in the harbor area, appears to soar over the city like the sails of a great ship. After a performance or just a tour of the interior plaza and taking in panoramic views of Hamburg's canals and soaring spires, walk two minutes from the entrance to Carls. Styled, with its leather armchairs and vintage poster-adorned walls, like a French brasserie, the restaurant offers an attractive space to view the goings on around the harbor while enjoying German cuisine with a French flavor. Try the pan-fried fish with fried potatoes and bacon.
It may be mostly about the people-watching at Café Paris but save some of your attention for the white-tiled walls and art nouveau ceiling of your surroundings at Café Paris, housed in a 19th-century butchers' hall. Then there's the Parisian-influenced food — croque monsieur breakfast, oysters, steak frites, with salad and tartare, prepared tableside — and pleasingly extensive wine list.
Bar Le Lion
Although it is marked by only a small, unobtrusive sign across the street from Café Paris, don't be afraid to ring the doorbell to unlock the door to Bar Le Lion. A truly sophisticated cocktail experience awaits, courtesy of some of the most knowledgeable and skillfull craftspeople in the business. "German precision engineering is not reserved for cars, it seems," as the World's 50 Best Bars website once noted.
The Fish Market
So far, so sophisticated. But Hamburg is, at heart, a working class city of industry. Get a taste of the city's less-polished side with a visit to the traditional Sunday morning fish market on the banks of the Elbe River. Inside the red-brick, century-old, market hall vendors call out their wares in the manner of carnival barkers while musicians entertain the crowds of early risers (it opens at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning) and late-night revelers. Pick up some fresh breakfast, perhaps the fischbrötchen (fish sandwich) to eat on-the-hoof, or sit down to enjoy the market's own brunch service.
Tune in to Top Chef Season 15, Thursday at 10p/9c.
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