These pages are for sharing your favorite Restaurant - Gaststätte - Gasthof - Gasthaus -  Cafe - Konditorei or Imbiss with fellow travelers.  If you have a favorite place to eat in Germany and would like to share your find - this is the place to do it.  Just send a picture (or pictures) and background information.... 

Germany has a variety of eating places for most every budget.

Gaststätte (restaurant/tavern) - Gasthaus/Gasthof (inn) where local cuisines/home cooking and drinks are served.

Café - a place to get coffee and pastries, some snacks and other beverages.

Bierstube/Kneipe - a pub/tavern that serves drinks (lots of Bier) and a limited food menu.

Biergarten - inside/outside seating, limited food menu and a fun place to drink.

Konditorei - a pastry shop, often with a place to sit and drink coffee/tea/etc.

Ratskeller - a restaurant in the cellar of the town hall.

Schnellimbiss - small/quick stop (sometimes just a booth) for Bratwurst/Bier/etc.

Hot meals are served for lunch (Mittagessen) for about two hours (from about 12 to 2) - then again for dinner (Abendessen) (about 6 to 9).

By law, German restaurants post a menu outside near the front door. I love this rule - no surprises - prices listed.

Enter and select your own table (normally). If no empty table available - ask to share someone's table (if there are empty seats). Ask the occupants, "Ist dieser Platz noch frei?" and if they say Ja, you can sit down. And, while you are not expected to, you can strike up a conversation with your table mates. Don't be surprised if your new table mates politely ignore you.

Normally - a glass of water will not be placed on your table - unless you ask. If you just ask for water you will probably get mineral water and have to pay for it. Tap water is 'Leitungswasser'.

There's no need to stress over table manners in restaurants. If you can eat without others staring at you - you will be OK. However, if you want to eat as a German normally would - follow these simple do's and don't's -

When the waiter comes - he/she will normally bring a menu (if not - ask for one - "Speisekarte bitte") - order your drink, and then look over the menu while he/she is getting the drink. Many Germany restaurants (especially in high tourist areas) offer an English version of their menu.

A typical German menu

In Germany it is customary to wish others at your table "Guten Appetit" (good appetite - enjoy your meal) prior to them eating.

German table manners dictate that the hands stay on top of the table at all times - not in your lap. However, keep your elbows off the table. Hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right.

Don't cut potatoes/dumplings with a knife (to do so might suggest they are not tender).

If you are taking a pause during the meal, but plan to continue eating (to take a drink perhaps) simply put your utensils (facedown) on the table on opposite sides of the plate.

If you are taking a break and want more food - cross the fork and knife on your plate with the fork over the knife.

Occasionally a basket of rolls/bread will be placed on the table. Expect to pay for each piece of bread and butter you take. Rolls should be broken apart by hand.

Toasts are an important in German social life. If making a toast with a Bier you might normally say "Prost" or "Prosit". With a wine glass - "Zum Wohl" or "Zum Wohlsein".

When finished eating, place knife and fork side by side on the right side of the plate (on the plate). Napkin should be folded and placed to the left side of your plate - never on the plate.

The waiter will not normally come to your table with a check until you motion for him/her to do so. Just catch their eye and motion or say "Zahlen bitte". The waiter will then come to your table and calculate the cost of your meal (you pay at the table almost always). Separate checks are a common practice in Germany, and the waiter might ask - separate or together? (Getrennt oder Zusammen?). The tip, or service, is usually included in the price of a meal or beverage. However, it's customary to round up to the next Euro and give the change to the waiter. If the bill is 14.50 and you want to just round up - say "15 Euro bitte". Don't ever expect to be able to pay with a credit card (unless there are credit card logos on the door or prominately displayed). Don't leave a tip on the table, hand it to the waitperson.

When leaving - it is appropriate to say goodbye to anyone at your table and wait staff ("Auf Wiedersehen").

Many restaurants allow owners to bring in their dogs to sit at their feet. Germans love their pets and their dogs are normally very well behaved. You might not even know they are there until the owners depart the restaurant and their pet is by their side.

For the most part, if you practice good table manners at home, they will be OK in Germany. It is not necessary to worry about how to hold your fork or where to place your napkin. Just enjoy your meal and be polite...

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