Germany boasts delicious comfort foods perfect for anyone looking to fill his or her belly without emptying the ol’ wallet. Traditional German food includes sausages, called wurst, breaded and fried schnitzel, lots of dishes made from potatoes, and delectable pastries such as black forest cake and apple streusel. All of that delicious food is washed down with a variety of beers in a social setting. D.C.’s best German food ranges from beer to comfort food to pastries in this top-five list.
1355 H St. Northeast
Washington, DC 20002
This authentic beer garden offers dozens of German beers on tap. The draft beer list includes all of the German favorites including the hefeweizen, kolsch, pilsner, lagers and weiss. If you want to learn your German beers, try the all drafts sampler. All 13 beers are poured into glasses for sampling and, at $45, it’s a steal. During the more temperate months, enjoy the patio in the back with tables stacked on top of cask barrels for an authentic feel of Bavaria. The beer is complimented by delicious foods that highlight the German heritage with Bavarian pretzels, spatzle, sausage, schnitzel and all the trimmings. Desserts include classic dishes such as the apple strudel or black forest cake.
1331 H St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20005
This unassuming small restaurant with a deli in front is the place to go when you want to get all of the German food you crave, especially a variety of sausage. Germans take their sausage, or wurst, seriously and Café Mozart gives you all of the best sausage on one plate with its wurstproben teller, which samples its finest sausage, including the bratwurst, weisswurst, knackwurst, Polish and Hungarian keilbassy, debreciner and even venison bratwurst all served with a side of German potato salad, red cabbage and, of course, sauerkraut. Enjoy an excellent selection of schnitzel and classic German favorites including sauerbraten or roulade (beef stuffed with bacon, pickle and onion served in a mustard gravy).
1137 14th St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20005
Although the menu may seem American, many of the dishes hold roots in German food that is reinvented with an upscale twist. One such dish, the brat burger is made with bratwurst sausage served with beer-braised sauerkraut, emmenthaler cheese, arugula and a side of Churchkey’s hand-cut fries. On the brunch menu, it offers a pretzel breakfast sandwich, with fresh pretzels made in house. For a real, greasy, off-the-beaten-path treat, try the new luther. It’s not on the menu and Churchkey only makes 30 each Sunday, but it’s delicious. It consists of fried chicken topped with bacon served on a pecan-crusted glazed donut made fresh in house. Also enjoy the charcuterie and pate boards served with mustard and cornichons. To wash everything down, try dozens of beers on tap, as well as an extensive bottle selection. The beers are usually local microbrews, but don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want, any server will be able to steer you in the right direction. You may also order sample sizes of the beers if you don’t want to choose.
322 Massachusetts Ave. Northeast
Washington, DC 20002
Café Berlin is the Capitol Hill destination for German food and beer. A cozy ambiance and a delicious German menu filled with all the favorites like sausages, schnitzel, potato pancakes and turkey roulade sit next to lighter seasonal fare on a rotating menu. With something for everyone, Café Berlin tops off a great evening with half liters of draft German beer perfect for any comfort-food seeker.
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2150 N. Culpeper St.
Arlington, VA 22207
The one thing Germans miss the most about home is the bread. German bread tends to be more dense and packed full of delicious grains and nuts, unlike the fluffy white bread common on American supermarket shelves. Heidelberg Bakery makes bread that will take any German home. It also offers German cakes and pastries, such as the Bienestich, which is is a yeast dough with Bavarian cream filling and almonds and honey on top. The bakery caters, so order pastries, cakes, cheese, sausage and deli sandwiches for a german-themed dinner everyone will love.
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