Wondering what and where to eat in Hamburg Germany? We ate and drank our way through Germany’s second largest city and returned three months later to do it again. Check out our Hamburg Food Guide with the best Hamburg restaurants, cafes, markets and bars.
After two visits to Hamburg, we’ve fallen head over heels for the port city and its progressive food scene.
Hamburg has an open, modern atmosphere that reminds us more of Scandinavian cities like Helsinki and Stockholm than German cities we’ve visited in Bavaria. Though we’ve enjoyed spending time in Munich and Nuremberg, we felt an immediate connection to Hamburg and its sophisticated, culturally-open vibe.
The more we explored the city’s nooks and crannies in our quest to find the best places to eat in Hamburg, the more we felt at home in Germany’s second city.
We were well aware of Hamburg’s robust music scene and the city’s Beatles history. It’s no secret that Hamburg is where John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best honed their musical chops while partaking in more than a few questionable evening activities on the Reeperbahn. (Ringo was in Hamburg too, though he was playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes during the Beatles initial stint.)
Yes – Hamburg’s red light district in St. Pauli has been a seedy fixture in the city’s culture for decades as a sailors’ outpost for vice as well as for more legitimate forms of entertainment.
On a busy night, you can walk down the Reeperbahn, St. Pauli’s main thoroughfare, and ogle at the neon lights as you pass by a series of adult-oriented bars with names like The Titty Twister. Make a turn onto the Grosse Freiheit and drift among the mobs of sin seekers as you stroll along an energy-filled throng reminiscent of Bourbon St. in New Orleans.
Though we generally don’t hang out on places like the Grosse Freiheit, we couldn’t resist taking a vibrant walk through history along the street which features famous clubs like the Kaiserkeller. As we strolled through the nocturnal horde, we imagined ourselves back in 1960 when, according to Beatles biographer Bob Spitz, “prostitution was hawked in roughly the same manner as schnitzel…” with raw rock n’ roll blaring out of bars like the Star Club.
We preferred exploring Hamburg during the day. Even with limited sunlight in the winter, we could better appreciate the city’s spectacular architecture before the sun went down.
While touring the city, we often gazed at the Rathaus, Hamburg’s city hall, an epic neo-classical building dating back to the late 19th century. This centrally located building comes alive during the holiday season when surrounded by the best Hamburg Christmas markets.
→ Read our Hamburg Christmas market guide.
Architecture buffs and music fans will want to visit the uniquely constructed Elbphilharmonie concert hall on the city’s waterfront. Built in 2017, this Hafen City building, featuring a warehouse topped by a modern sail-like structure, has already become a fixture of the city’s harborscape.
However, the sprawling Expressionist Chilehaus may be our favorite Hamburg structure. Designed by Fritz Höger in the early 20th century, this 10-story horizontal brick monolith got its name due to the original owner’s connection to the Chilean Saltpeter (otherwise known as Sodium Nitrate) trade.
Saltpeter is a pink curing salt that’s a key component in producing cured meats, hence the building’s significance and importance in Germany’s wurst-based food culture.
But what about the food in Hamburg?
We didn’t know too much about the Hamburg food scene before our first trip. Based on our research, we were optimistic but skeptical. After all, German food isn’t exactly haute cuisine.
We originally thought we’d eat all the hamburgers in Hamburg for the irony aspect alone. We ate amazing burgers on our first night but quickly decided to expand our horizons and experience the city in its totality, from schnitzel to salmon.
Over the next several days, we scoured the city and uncovered exciting restaurants and a thriving coffee culture. But a long weekend in Hamburg wasn’t enough to taste it all.
We’ve since returned to eat and drink in Hamburg. The second visit gave us a chance to dive deeper and go farther. From cheap eats to a Michelin starred meal, we ate and drank a lot and share our favorite Hamburg restaurants and bars here.
Table of Contents
- Hamburg Food Guide
- Top Hamburg Restaurants
- Additional Hamburg Restaurants
- Global Cuisine in Hamburg
- Hamburg Cheap Eats
- Hamburg Desserts
- Hamburg Drinks
- Hamburg Markets
- Things To Do in Hamburg
- Plan Your Hamburg Stay
- Hamburg Logistics
- Planning Checklist
- Thirsty for More in Hamburg?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
Hamburg Food Guide
As we quickly learned, the Hamburg food scene is both dynamic and alive. Locals and tourists cram into casual eateries from dawn to dawn since many joints stay open until the wee hours of the night, with some open 24 hours.
Numerous Hamburg restaurants serve German food favorites like Currywurst as well as Hamburg food specialties like Labskaus and Franzbrotchen. However, we found it just as easy to eat global cuisine from the likes of Austria, Asia and the Middle East.
Fans of fine dining will find plenty to sink their teeth into when they visit Hamburg. Impressively, the top Hamburg restaurants have earned a total of 18 Michelin stars spread over 13 restaurants.
Top Hamburg Restaurants
Beyond Michelin starred restaurants, Hamburg has a range of upscale dining options for food travelers with a budget to splurge on a special meal or two. During our culinary exploration, we discovered young chefs combining local products with modern gastronomic techniques, adding to Hamburg’s culinary landscape.
If you can swing it, we recommend booking dinner at an upscale restaurant (or two) to get the full Hamburg food experience. When you do, we recommend the following Hamburg restaurants:
Jellyfish isn’t a typical Michelin starred restaurant in Hamburg.
The restaurant’s minimalistic dining room has just 42 seats with servers dressed more for a picnic than a fancy dinner. Even the menu is casually presented on a handheld chalkboard. However, there’s nothing understated about the beautifully plated food that practically swims from the kitchen
Considering that Hamburg has Europe’s third busiest port after Rotterdam and Antwerp, this is a city where you will want to eat as much fish and seafood as humanly possible. At Jellyfish, Chef Stefan Barnhusen creates stunning plates using sustainable fish and seafood, much of it locally sourced.
Diners at Jellyfish choose between five, six and seven-course meals. During our dinner, the meals ranged in price from €115 to €149 with the extra courses featuring Pike Perch and Breton Lobster. The base, five-course menu featured Oysters, Sardines, Jellyfish, Monkfish, Plaice, Mussels and Salmon.
We adored all five of our courses, though our favorite was the bowl of rich, flavorful Jellyfish Soup loaded with Monkfish, Plaice, Mussels and Blackthorn berries. Given the name of the restaurant, we would expect nothing less.
In addition to curated wine pairings, Jellyfish offers reasonably priced wines that complement its fish forward menu.
Jellyfish is located at Weidenallee 12, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
We discovered tiny Vienna the way that we’ve discovered many of our favorite restaurants – while chatting with locals at a third wave coffee shop. In this case, it was Sebastian Kohrs, roaster at Elbgod Röstkaffee, who made what turned out to be a great recommendation.
Luckily for us, the intimate bistro does not take reservations. Since we arrived before 6 pm, we were able to nab the very last table. Otherwise, we would have had to kill time by drinking sparkling wine at the restaurant’s compact wine bar. We would have won either way.
The menu at Vienna features hearty European dishes including several Austrian classics. During our meal, we embraced the Austrian theme and shared Lamb Bratwurst with Cassoulet and Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad.
We gobbled down the Bratwurst flavored with ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom and garlic, but Vienna’s Wiener Schnitzel may have been the best we’ve ever tasted with its light, crusty breading surrounding a juicy, pounded center.
All good meals eventually come to an end, and we finished our Vienna dinner with Topfenknödel, fried sweet dumpling-like fritters, served with roasted plums. Though we were pleasantly full, we scraped every last bite of the cloud-like balls before floating back to our hotel room.
Skip beer when you dine at Vienna. Instead, order from the restaurant’s extensive wine list.
Vienna is located at Fettstraße 2, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
We dined at Heldenplatz based on an enthusiastic recommendation from a trusted source in the Hamburg food scene. As inquisitive food travelers, we always ask locals to share their favorite spots.
Heldenplatz, which literally translates to Place of Heroes, is a chef-driven restaurant popular within the restaurant industry due to its late hours. Yes, this is a Hamburg restaurant where servers, bartenders and other diners can order upscale Hamburg cuisine as late as midnight.
Heldenplatz’s menu offers eclectic food combinations which can be ordered individually or as multi-course tasting meals. Since we had eaten a big lunch, we opted to share a few plates during our meal.
Meal highlights were Hamachi flavored with sesame mayo dollops and a plate featuring decadently rich Bresse Pigeon. Cooked rare, the juicy, plump game paired nicely with a combination of elderberry fruit and pistachio purée.
Though we were pleased with the quality of the food at Heldenplatz, we were less satisfied with the surly server who seemed annoyed by questions about the food and our inability to speak German. We were also disturbed that the English menu specified “TIP is not included” whereas the German menu stated that “all prices in Euro incl. 19% VAT and service”.
Consider ordering wine instead of water at Heldenplatz. We were charged €14 (or €7 each) for one generic bottle of sparkling water during our meal. Ouch!
Restaurant Heldenplatz is located at Brandstwiete 46, 20457 Hamburg, Germany.
Additional Hamburg Restaurants
Despite the impressive number of fine dining restaurants in Hamburg, the city has a range of casual eateries serving a variety of food. Food travelers will have no problem finding casual spots to eat in Hamburg other than narrowing down the many choices.
After dealing with this first world problem, we recommend the following restaurants:
Let’s be clear. The Bird is an American burger bar that happens to be located in Germany. But how did it get here?
Some historians trace the history of cooked ground beef back to Hamburg, so it’s only fitting that Hamburgers, i.e. the people of Hamburg, have embraced what many see as an American sandwich as their own. This history goes back to the 19th century when Hamburgers ate ground beef patties called frikadellen after a long day working at the docks.
But the ground beef patty, originally referred to as a “Hamburg Steak” evolved into today’s world favorite by way of the United States. Where the modern version of the hamburger originated is still debatable, with no definitive history.
That being said, it’s still fun to enjoy hamburgers in their namesake city. That’s why our first Hamburg meal had us eating gourmet burgers that came close to those we’ve eaten back home in Philadelphia.
We devoured gargantuan burgers at The Bird, an American style burger restaurant in Hamburg that also serves fried chicken and steak. We opted for griddle burgers during our first visit, specifically Da Birdhouse and The Big Crack. On visit number two, we repeated eating The Big Crack but also tried The Filthy Harry, an enormous grilled burger topped with cheddar and bacon.
Burgers at The Bird typically include German beef, English muffins, fries, lettuce tomato, onion and pickles. Exceptions are the veggie burgers and patty melt.
For those of us without German grandmothers to cook for us, Frau Möller (i.e. Mrs. Möller) is an authentic Hamburg pub that serves local dishes like Labskaus and Currywurst plus a long list of hamburgers. It’s also a great spot for a post-bar crawl nightcap. The pub stays open until 4 am on weeknights and until 6 am on weekends.
We felt at home as soon as we walked into this casual restaurant and grabbed a table next to a window. Our first order of business was to request glasses of Jever pilsener and decide what to eat for lunch. Unlike other Hamburg restaurants, this wasn’t a difficult decision and we quickly ordered Labskaus and Pork Steak.
Historically eaten by hungry sailors, Labskaus is reddish, comforting North German mash of ground beef, beets, potato and onions reminiscent of corn beef hash but fluffy like a mash. Frau Möller serves their version of Labskaus with fried eggs on top and rollmops (pickled herring rolled around pickles) on the side.
Though we don’t need to explain the nicely done Pork Steak, we can share that this substantial dish came smothered in a rich, creamy Jäger mushroom sauce with a side of fried potatoes.
Bring cash when you eat or drink at Frau Möller. This restaurant did not accept credit cards at the time of our visit.
Frau Möller is located at Lange Reihe 96, 20099 Hamburg, Germany.
Balz und Balz
Balz und Balz is a modern yet cozy Hamburg cafe that combines great food with great coffee. Though the concept seems simple, executing both feats simultaneously can be a challenge. At Balz und Balz, siblings Christoph and Kathrin Balz nail it.
Located in non-touristic Hoheluft, the Balz und Balz cafe has a friendly neighborhood vibe that enchanted us right away. Of equal importance, the cafe’s food, sourced from local producers and bakers, is excellent.
After seeing us wolf down a generous smorgasbord of cured meats, cheese, pickles and yogurt, co-owner Kathrin Balz insisted that we also try the cafe’s signature cinnamon buns. Who were we to disagree with a like-minded soul whose love for coffee and food rivals our own?
Don’t fret if you have to wait for a table at Balz and Balz for your weekend brunch. Instead, relax outside while you enjoy a flat white.
Balz und Balz is located at Lehmweg 6, 20251 Hamburg, Germany.
Francophiles who visit Hamburg will want to high tail it to Café Paris for a meal. At least that’s what we did.
Café Paris is a typical French bistro located in a glorious 19th-century building near the Rathaus. The restaurant’s art nouveau design and excellent food make this French café special.
Locals and tourists alike flock to Café Paris from breakfast to dinner to eat classic Parisian food. We chose to sit at the bar, a perfect spot for an excellent night of dining and relaxation.
When choosing among the menu’s French classics, we had to try the restaurant’s Tartare. This is a dish we typically eat at restaurants in Paris.
Had it not been so crowded, we may have ordered the a la minute version prepared at the table (or in our case the bar) for a couple extra euros. Instead, we let the chef prepare our meaty meal in the kitchen and deliver it to us ready to eat.
Drink like you’re French at Café Paris. We drank Cider from Normandy and Pastis from Marseilles. We also recommend wine, of course.
Café Paris is located at Rathausstraße 4, 20095 Hamburg, Germany.
Global Cuisine in Hamburg
Hamburg may be under the radar for many travelers, but the north German port city is a leader in foreign trade. With this in mind, it only makes sense that the city has restaurants representing global cuisine from around the world.
To get you started, we recommend Hamburg restaurants serving food from Lebanon, Austria, Israel and Vietnam.
Germany’s obsession with Middle Eastern food is no secret. Home to thousands of Doner Kebab shops, this European country rivals Turkey in its love for the carnivorous street food.
With a Lebanese menu that transcends kebabs, L’Orient prepares a fabulous range of classic Middle Eastern dishes for both dinner and lunch. On Sundays, the restaurant hosts a popular brunch starting at 10 am as well.
We started our lunch with L’Orient’s Mazza, a melange of six tasty bites that whetted our appetites for more. We then shared Falafel and housemade Lamb Wurst, both beautifully plated and served with fresh salad.
Call ahead and make a reservation since L’Orient tends to book up in advance especially for dinner and Sunday brunch.
L’Orient has two Hamburg restaurants. We ate at the location at Osterstraße 146, 20255 Hamburg, Germany.
Eating at Marend transported us to the Austrian mountains without the necessity of booking a train. Sure, Austria isn’t that far from Hamburg in miles, but Tyrolean cuisine is just as unique as other global food in Hamburg.
Isidro Alarcon and Lisa Dialer, the married owners of Marend, bring an international perspective to the Hamburg restaurant they originally opened in 2014. Alarcon hails from Argentina and Dialer comes from Tyrol, Marend’s culinary inspiration.
In Tyrol, marend refers to snack foods. Don’t let the restaurant name confuse you since the hearty plates at Marend are quite filling when paired with farmhouse bread and salad.
During our meal, we shared a plate of Rindsgulasch mit Käsknöde which translates to Beef Goulash with Cheese Dumplings. The luxuriously soft, cheesy dumplings filled us up and whisked us to the Alps.
Europeans are masters of slow cooking and the goulash was no exception with melt in your mouth chunks of meat in a sauce possibly flavored with allspice and cloves. However, since the ingredients of the stew remain a closely guarded secret, these spices are an educated best guess.
Take advantage of Marend’s happy hour if it’s in effect during your visit. We saved €2 off our meal.
Marend has two Hamburg restaurants. We ate at the original restaurant located at Feldstraße 29, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
We didn’t expect to eat Israeli food in Germany, nor did we intend to eat a Vegan meal. However, we accomplished both when we dined at Simbiosa in Hamburg.
Open since January 2019 and inspired by the colorful flavors of Israel, Simibiosa serves a modern Israeli menu featuring main dishes like Shakshuka, Moussaka and Sabich. However, the stars of the menu are snacks that can be ordered in groups of three, six or nine.
During our meal, we shared six snacks and especially enjoyed the Falafel seasoned with green herbs and the surprisingly creamy (dairy-free) Labneh.
True confession: We didn’t realize that Simbiosa was full on Vegan until our Shakshuka arrived topped with lima beans cooked in turmeric instead of an egg on top.
Though we recommend this innovative restaurant for Vegans and lovers of Israeli food, our one complaint is that our mezze starters were served with sliced bread as opposed to traditional flatbread like laffa. This issue aside, Simbiosa is a solid Vegan option in a city filled with meat.
Don’t hesitate to order coffee at Simbiosa. This restaurant sources quality beans.
Simbiosa is located at Hein-Hoyer-Straße 60, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
We rarely say no at the chance to eat Vietnamese food – we lived in Vietnam for five months in 2018 after all. With this in mind, we jumped at the chance to eat lunch at Ban Canteen during our first Hamburg trip.
Owned by sisters of Vietnamese descent and inspired by friends (bạn translates to friend), Ban Canteen serves noodle bowls, bao burgers and soup in a stylish space on a graffiti-filled block. The fusion restaurant also features an extensive drink menu with Vietnamese coffee, herbal iced teas and cocktails.
Hamburg Cheap Eats
Despite Hamburg’s cosmopolitan culture, the city’s food scene includes a healthy selection of cheap eats that go beyond Doner kebabs.
Based on our on-the-ground research, we recommend the following affordable spots:
Most cities have a signature sandwich and Hamburg is no exception. Fischbrötchen, served at stands all along the Elbe, is as simple as fish on a bun. However, since the sandwich’s flavors can be complex with a variety of fresh fish and tasty toppings, we consider the Fischbrötchen to be one of the best sandwiches in the world.
We headed to Brücke 10 on the edge of the Elbe to try our first Fischbrötchen in Hamburg. The local eatery’s name translates to Bridge 10 and that’s exactly where we found it.
Diners at Brücke 10 can eat inside or outside depending on their mood and the weather. Options at Brücke 10, include Hot-Smoked Salmon (our choice), Rollmops, Mackerel, Fried Herring and Crab.
For those keeping count, sandwich prices ranged from €3 to €6 at the time of our meal at Brücke 10. Considering the freshness of the fish, we consider the pricing to be a true bargain.
Expect a relatively quick-moving queue at this popular spot.
Brücke 10 is located at St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken 10, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
Have you ever craved Wiener Schnitzel at 4 am after a few too many beers? If so, Erika’s Eck is the answer to your late-night needs in Hamburg.
Erika’s Eck dates back 40 years when it fed butchers who worked at a nearby slaughterhouse. It now serves a variety of hungry diners at all hours of the day and night.
This cheap eats favorite literally stays open 21 hours a day, from 5 pm to 2 pm on weekdays and 16 hours a day on weekends and public holidays from 5 pm to 9 am.
Don’t expect to find fancy food at Erika’s Eck. What you will find is a friendly, bare-bones atmosphere as well as fairly priced traditional German food.
During our late-night visit, we shared a massive Viennese style Schnitzel served with veggies and fried potatoes. The cost was €11.90 which worked out to €5.80 each. Adventurous eaters can ramp up their meal with ‘gourmet’ Schnitzels including a Hawaiian version with pineapple and a Gypsy version with paprika sauce.
Erika Eck’s menu includes dishes like Goulash, Currywurst and Argentinian Steak. Hardcore bargain hunters will be happy to find sandwiches for just €1 after midnight.
You can order food to be delivered if you have late night hunger pangs but don’t want to get dressed.
Erika’s Eck is located at Sternstraße 98, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
Imbiss bei Schorsch
Any visit to Hamburg without eating at least one Currywurst would be incomplete. Since Imbis bei Schorsh serves the best Currywurst in the city, a quick stop at this well-positioned stall is a must.
The folks at Imbis bei Schorsh specialize in Currywurst and pour a generous amount of spicy homemade curry tomato sauce over each fried sausage. Just ask if you want yours prepared extra spicy.
Expect to spend under €10 even with beer. At the time of our visits, we spent €2.90 for Currywurst and €2.50 for a generous portion of potato salad.
For those on the fence about the cost, we definitely recommend adding a side of homemade potato salad to your Currywurst. The combination of Schorsch’s tongue-tingling red sauce and creamy white potato salad is nothing short of magical.
Imbis be Schorsch is a great choice for a late night snack. You can eat here until 12:30 am on weeknights and 1:30 am on weekends.
Imbiss bei Schorsch is located at Beim Grünen Jäger 14, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
Hamburg has plenty of options for dessert lovers. Those craving something standard can choose from ice cream, cupcakes and macarons but those looking for something different won’t want to miss the following spots:
Die Kleine Konditorei
Don’t be fooled by Die Kleine Konditorei’s name which translates to the little pastry shop. There’s nothing little about the pastries sold at this local Hamburg bakery chain.
Die Kleine Konditorei bakes a variety of breads and pastries, but crowds queue to buy one or more Franzbrötchen, Hamburg’s iconic pastry.
→ Discover 100 more of the best desserts around the world.
For those who have yet to visit Hamburg, the famed Franzbrötchen is a flat, sweet cinnamon bun that’s almost a mashup of a French Croissant and a Finnish Korvapuusti. The team at Die Kleine Konditorei bakes the popular pastries daily, ensuring fresh Franzbrötchen for every customer.
Stop by Die Kleine Konditorei after you eat lunch at L’Orient. The walk will just take you a few minutes.
Die Kleine Konditorei has multiple Hamburg bakeries. We ate our Franzbrötchen at the bakery located at Osterstraße 176, 20255 Hamburg, Germany.
Good things wait behind large picture windows that separate Herr Max from a busy sidewalk. This is a cafe where friends meet to share conversations while eating tasty treats and drinking hot coffee. What could be wrong with that?
Upon entering, customers are bound to be struck by Herr Max’s shabby chic design and wafts of sweet smells drifting from the kitchen in the back. But the real excitement begins at the glass counter filled with a colorful assortment of cakes and other goodies.
During our first visit, Herr Max was bustling with Christmas shoppers in need of a rejuvenating break. Our visit a few months later was more relaxed, allowing us to chat with two gregarious gentlemen intrigued by our food photography antics.
All conversation temporarily halted as we dug into a slice of naked cake layered with raspberries inside and topped with decorative marzipan. Moments like these require silence and attention.
Devoted cake lovers can take classes at Herr Max. Be sure to register in advance.
Herr Max is located at Schulterblatt 12, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
Food travelers with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss Bonscheladen in Hamburg’s Altona neighborhood. This candy shop makes and sells a wide selection of Bonsche or sweets that will tempt shoppers to buy enough to enjoy both now and later.
Adding a fun twist, shoppers can watch the Bonscheladen team make Bonsche from scratch. Visit in the afternoon for a front-row view but check the shop’s website first for exact times.
Buy extra candy to enjoy later or to give as edible gifts.
Bonscheladen is located at Friedensallee 12, 22765 Hamburg, Germany.
Located in the gorgeous Levantehaus building, Flané sells a dizzying array of sweet treats including chocolate bonbons, cakes and waffles. The shop creates most of its products from scratch, ensuring high quality as well as freshness.
Cafe guests can enjoy cake and coffee in the building’s atrium. However, many choose to order a waffle instead.
Follow your nose to Flané. The sweet aromas will lead the way.
Flané is located at Mönckebergstraße 7, 20095 Hamburg, Germany.
Party people will find no lack of drinking establishments in Hamburg from seedy bars on the Reeperbahn to beer halls serving cheaps brews by the keg. For better or worse, we don’t recommend any of these spots.
Whether we’re at home or traveling, we perfer to frequent bars and third wave coffee shops where we can actually hear each other. These are our favorite spots to drink in Hamburg:
Hamburg Coffee Shops
Hamburg’s relationship with coffee goes long and deep. The most active port city in Germany has been a leader in the coffee bean trade for centuries and opened its first coffee shop in the 1600s.
→ Read our Hamburg cafe guide.
Not to exaggerate, but we were blown away by Hamburg’s specialty coffee scene and have too many coffee shops to recommend in this guide. That’s why we published a cafe guide with our ten favorite coffee shops in Hamburg.
Skip drinking coffee at your Hamburg hotel and drink your morning joe at one of the city’s excellent coffee shops instead. Life is too short for mediocre coffee!
Excellent coffee shops are located all over Hamburg.
Hamburg Cocktail Bars
As one of Germany’s wealthiest and most sophisticated cities, Hamburg has a classy cocktail scene that permeates the city from one end to the other. Though some of the city’s best cocktail bars are hidden in plain sight, it’s worth the extra effort to find them.
Tucked in the former storage unit of a converted marzipan factory, Drilling is a cocktail bar that warrants a special trip on the U-Bahn. Once we found this cocktail gem, we didn’t want to leave.
Part of our infatuation revolved around Gunnar Kaack, Drilling’s talented bar manager. Not only did Kaack create some of the tastiest cocktails we’ve ever experienced, but he also shared his mutual love for travel while we chatted at the bar.
We tried four cocktails, all of them winners, but the best was Saturday Morning. Inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, Kaack topped Drilling’s take on the whiskey sour with cornflake cereal milk and added an emulsion with juices, white chocolate, olive oil and white vermouth.
Patrons at Drilling can order off the menu or roll the die to select their cocktails. They can also check out the gin distillery located behind the bar which features a beautiful new brass still and spacious event space.
Try Clockers Gin when you’re at Drilling. Better yet, book a two-hour gin tasting for the full experience.
Drilling is located at Friesenweg 4, 22763 Hamburg, Germany.
Walking into Clockers is like walking into a fairyland adorned with sparkling lights and moss-covered walls. However, the true wizardry at Clockers exists inside its glasses.
Although affiliated with Drilling, Clockers has a distinctly different personality. While Drilling is in a factory space outside of the center of town, centrally located Clockers has a darker, speakeasy-like atmosphere. Both are friendly yet sophisticated bars – ideal for enjoying an excellent cocktail or two.
Based on barkeep Lena Hūhnl’s expert advice, we ordered the Sweet & Spicy – a cocktail with morning dew infused Clockers Gin, Ginger Liqueur and Chili-Tincture. Not cheap at €10.50, this cocktail was worth every penny.
Stop by Drilling early in the evening if you want to enjoy cocktails before the crowds arrive – especially on weekend nights.
Clockers is located at Paul-Roosen-Straße 27, 22767 Hamburg, Germany.
Craft Beer in Hamburg
The Hamburg craft beer scene is hopping… pun intended.
Hamburg has a beer history that dates back to the middle ages, so it makes perfect sense that beer is readily available throughout the city. Non-discerning beer drinkers can easily find cheap beer made by large producers at bars, restaurants and cafes pretty much everywhere.
However, beer drinkers looking for quality craft beer will have no problem finding the ‘good stuff’ in Hamburg. The modern beer movement has invaded Northern Germany and cannot be stopped.
The brewers at ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten produce craft beer at its taproom in Hamburg. Top beers include their Original, Imperial Stock, Pale Ale, IPA and White IPA brews.
Beyond the five ‘hero’ beers listed above, ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten brews a range of seasonal and experimental beers. During our visit, we particularly enjoyed the seasonal Honey Brown Ale and the experimental Quasimono.
Beyond brewing beer, ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten makes excellent Neapolitan pies with ovens procured in Italy. After spending a month eating pizza in Naples, we know good pizza when we eat it, and we ate it at ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten.
Weather permitting, enjoy your beer and pizza on ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten’s outdoor terrace.
ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten is located at St. Pauli Fischmarkt 28-32, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
Located next to Elbgold’s coffee roastery in the Schanzenhöfen, Ratsherrn Brauerei is a Hamburg brewery known for its Pilsner brews. In addition to Pilsner, the Hamburg brewery produces a range of craft beers including Zwickels, Pale Ales and IPAs.
We enjoyed Rathserrn Brauerei’s beers at varied spots including Erika’s Eck and ÜberQuell Brauwerkstätten as well as at Altes Mädchen right next to the brewery. Our favorites were Imperial Pilsner and black-as-night Imperial Stout.
English speakers should visit Rathserrn Brauerei on Fridays when the brewery conducts English tours.
Ratsherrn Brauerei is located at Lagerstraße 30A, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
The port city of Hamburg has numerous markets where locals buy food and household items on a daily basis. None are better known than the Fischmarkt and Rindermarkthalle.
The Fischmarkt comes alive every Sunday morning when locals crowd the stalls to buy fresh fish, eat Fischbrötchen and enjoy a festive atmosphere. The Rindermarkthalle is busy six days a week when shoppers come to the former cattle market to buy meat, pastries and other Hamburg food staples.
Food travelers will want to hit both of these famous markets as they traverse the city. We also recommend the following smaller markets:
Off the beaten path in gentrifying Oberhafenquartier, Hobenköök operates as an artisan food market and farm-to-table restaurant in a repurposed warehouse building. Hundreds of local producers sell their wares here.
Products like meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables and cider fill the aisles and glass cases. The markets sources all of these items from producers within 150 kilometers of Hamburg.
Helmed by Chef Thomas Sampl, Hobenköök’s restaurant specializes in Northern German food, all prepared with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Guests get a front-row view of the action since the open kitchen is right in the middle of the restaurant’s space.
We enjoyed our rustic meal as well as unfiltered beer and specialty coffee brewed with beans from Public Coffee Roasters, a top local roaster. Hobenköök provides an ideal lunch spot if you happen to be wandering along the Hafen (port) city.
Don’t plan your meal in advance. Hobenköök’s changes its food menu on a daily basis and rotates its coffee program on a monthly basis.
Hobenköök is located at Stockmeyerstraße 43, 20457 Hamburg, Germany.
Open since 2007, Mutterland sells an impressive selection of local products that will seduce shoppers at every corner of the market. More than a one trick pony, this Hamburg delicatessen chain sells food and drinks to enjoy both on the spot and later.
Mutterland translates to Motherland. Accordingly, Mutterland specializes in selling products made in Germany. The market sources most of these products from smaller producers, guaranteeing a certain level of quality.
During our visits to Mutterland, we were tempted to buy bottles of gin, bars of chocolate and adorable coffee cups – all local German products. The coffee section was the most tempting though since Mutterland sells beans from top local roasters including Elbgold, Playground and Nord Coast.
Hamburg Christmas Markets
Visitors who travel to Hamburg in December will likely spend much of their time eating, drinking and shopping at Christmas markets throughout the city. As in the rest of Germany, the Hamburg Christmas market spectacles are not to be missed.
These markets sell the best local street food as well as all kinds of drinks and desserts. We especially enjoyed eating freshly fried Kartoffelpuffer with apple sauce and drinking mugs of mulled Glühwein. Yum!
Book a Hamburg hotel early if you plan to visit in December. The city fills with festive tourists at this time of the year.
Christmas markets are located all over Hamburg during the holiday season.
Things To Do in Hamburg
When you visit Hamburg, you’ll want to explore the city’s waterfront during the day and walk along the electric Grosse Freiheit at night. Check out the following tours if you want to dig deeper:
Plan Your Hamburg Stay
If you’re looking at mid-range Hamburg hotels, we recommend the Heikotel am Stadtpark. Located a few blocks from a U-Bahn station, this pleasant Hamburg hotel is situated halfway between the Rathaus and the Hamburg airport.
We recommend the Superbude Hotel & Hostel St. Pauli for a funky accommodation experience in the heart of the city.
Staying in an apartment is a great option for longer stays and for people who want access to a kitchen.
Hamburg is well-positioned to welcome international visitors. Its airport offers connections throughout Europe and is a short distance from the center of town.
Purchase a Hamburg Card for 1 to 5 days to get unlimited transportation and museum discounts. This card will get you to/from the airport as well as to all recommended restaurants.
Getting to Hamburg
Most major European airlines offer direct flights to Hamburg. As a bonus, travelers can also fly discount airlines like Ryan Air and Easy Jet to Hamburg. Train connections are also easy by high-speed rail from cities like Frankfurt (approximately 4 hours), Köln/Düsseldorf Area (approximately 4 hours) and Berlin (approximately 2 hours).
Though flying is the quickest way to get to Hamburg, non-fliers can arrive by train, bus, car or boat.
Getting around Hamburg
Hamburg is a great walking city with pedestrian sidewalks throughout the city. The city also offers a comprehensive public transportation system with buses and metro trains that run during the day and night.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
We thank Come to Hamburg and their partners for their assistance during our first visit to Hamburg. We also thank Traverse, Hamburg Tourism and FOOD BOOM for the warm welcome during our second visit.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.