Munich Beer Halls and roast pork
Here is a one short-time tourist's December 2008 perceptions of some of the leading beer halls and their dining options in Munich, with great thanks to all for the suggestions:
1. Weissebrau Haus - Talstrasse, near Marianplatz - absolutely the best traditional Bavarian dinner: roast pork breast, sauerkraut and potato pancakes (EU9.5) with their wheat beer. Nice, younger, professional looking, lively crowd, no music, just find a table and sit down and a friendly, competent waitress will take care of you, English menu on request. All beer delicious. Offer the delicious sweet hot mustard that they also sell at Dallmyrs - outstanding. This choice was in a class by itself for traditional Bavarian dining.
2. Spatenbrau Haus Opera - near Rezidenz and National Theater - more upscale crowd, more formally dressed, smaller, less intense but lively, particularly on opera nights. Food good but a notch down from number one. Again, very friendly accommodating waiters who will fill a table if there are empty seats and everyone accepts the new additions. All beer delicious. English menu upon request.
3. Augustiner on the main walking street off Karlsplatz - in the shell room for quirky decor, okay food, all beer delicious. Late at night it was easy to get a place to sit. Older crowd. English menu on request.
4. AugustinerKeller by side of main train station tracks off Number 17 tram at Hackerbrucke. Larger venue with very large outdoor garden for summer use, lively, noisy and looked like lots of local regulars. Food okay and plentiful, but not great. Beer all delicious. English menu on request.
5. Andecher am Dom - food not so great, small, felt like a much younger, professional group of customers coming in after work, lively, crowded bench tables that you had to squeeze into with your other diners and hoped they would let you out when it was time to go - in a back ally off Weinstrasse towards the Frauenkirche. All beer wonderful. English menu on request. Got a kick out of those sitting in outdoor tables under heat lamps in the middle of a Munich winter. Smokers often congregate at the entrances outdoors in shirtsleeves because now this is the only place they can still smoke.
6. Hofbrauhaus - all beer delicious, no small sizes available, had a oompah band but they only played a few tunes and then took a break, came back played a few, then took a break, no singing or real involvement with the music but it was a very nice addition to the scene. Lots more younger, noisy, kind of wild out of town tourists and some rather sodden looking older locals. Needs to be experienced because of its history and the addition of music. Did not try the food, saw a lot of it go by, but sensed this was definitely not a place for dining on anything. Best to drop in later when the crowd is happy. Very large venue. English menu on request.
7. Donisl on Weinmarkt - went in twice and it was always empty. One time too early and we left, and one time too late and got a surly response so we walked out again so no report and no recommendations. Not sure what was happening here during normal hours.
8. Airbrau at the Munich airport - actually brew onsite and wanted one last fresh brewed glass of Munich beer, delivered by gravity from barrels and funnels. Nice way to say goodby realizing nothing in a bottle or tap we get in America will ever come close to that frothy, light, imminently drinkable beverage that rightly puts Munich on the must see and experience travel map.
Yes, I ordered roast pork every night I was in Munich and I even had two dinners on my last night because I wanted to end with the best, not just an also ran so that meant going back to Weissebrau Haus after dinner at Andecher am Dom, for a second roast pork dinner to only dream about now that I am back home.
Well, not every night because the night we went to the Schwabing Christmas Market I had raclette cheese melted between two potato pancakes and a stuffed fried bread langos with basil, tomatoes and sour cream. And bratwurst on our day trip to Nurnberg.
Some of the roast pork dinners came with potato pancakes, most with the boiled dumplings, most with blaukraut- a sweet and sour dark red cabbage version of sauerkraut. Only WeissebrauHaus had the best of everything: the most sublime green cabbage sauerkraut ever tasted, crispy potato pancakes, a side of pork drippings sauce and the most tender, most flavorful, best marbled roast pork with the crispest skin possible. A true culinary art form.
And I never would have known about this place had it not been for the loyal Munich chowhounders. Forever, thankful. Danke vielmals.