After indulging ourselves in one final Christmas market last Friday, Lee and I decided to escape the cold for dinner. We stumbled across the Ratskeller as we were exploring the Christkindlmarkt. I opened the door and saw a grand staircase leading to a restaurant in the basement of the Rathaus, and instantly I was intrigued.
I’m convinced that German food is the best kind of food to eat when you’re cold. It’s rich, hearty, salty, and more comforting than the comfiest comfort food. Take traditional German recipes and serve them out of a cozy cellar restaurant dating back to the 1870s and you’ve got a winning combination (at least, in my book).
The interior of the Ratskeller is covered with hand-painted Bavarian murals and decorated with stained glass windows, traditional Bavarian furniture, and warm ambient lighting. It’s a huge restaurant–seating close to 1,200 people–but still feels casual, intimate, and cozy.
We sat down to eat around 4 p.m., so we unintentionally got an entire seating area to ourselves. The Ratskeller serves Löwenbräu beer, so we got two Kellerbiers: distinctly cloudy, unpasteurized, and steeped in Medieval history.
Lee ordered Pancake soup (salty broth with strips of pancakes) and I ordered German potato soup with bacon and croutons. For his entree, Lee got Schweinebraten (roasted pork with a potato dumpling in gravy) while I got a jumbo Knackbratwurst with Kartoffelsalat (potato salad). Everything tasted wonderful, the service was top-notch, and the atmosphere was one-of-a-kind. If you love traditional German recipes, you can’t pass this place up.
We opted to skip the black forest cake (gasp) and g0t a few pastries from a bakery called Maelu instead. It wasn’t a planned destination, but as we walked past dozens of bright-colored delectable desserts on display in the window, Lee’s sweet tooth started throbbing and he insisted that we stop.
We got a mousse cake, a strawberry tart, and a chocolate eclair. It’s hard to say which one was the best…but I’m always partial to strawberries on a shortbread crust.