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Ever spent a long weekend in Hamburg? In Europe, it’s incredibly easy to spend a weekend away in different locations in order to get a taste test of that location. Recently we popped over to Hamburg Germany to check out the food scene and to discover what’s going on with craft beer in Hamburg.
Our main purpose in spending a weekend in Hamburg was to do some research for our upcoming podcast episode about The History Of The Hamburger. So as you can imagine we consumed our fair share of burgers and beer during our weekend away – it was awesome!!! But we decided to see what else Hamburg was doing differently when it came to hamburgers and to food in general. And we were pleasantly surprised with what we found.
Weekend In Hamburg – Places to Eat Hamburg
During our research to discover the true history of the hamburger we came across a potential meal that could have been a predecessor to the dish we all love today. It’s called frikadeller. Frikadeller are flat, pan-fried meatballs of minced meat and one of the best places to have it in Hamburg is Oberhafen Kantinein.
This tiny little restaurant is located under Oberhafenbrücke bridge and has been in this very place since 1925. It’s obvious too as the building itself is completely made out of wood and is very noticeably leaning to one side. Here every dish is handmade and freshly made to order. We were super lucky to turn up just at the right time to grab a table as we saw many people get turned away. So if you’re wanting to secure a spot here during your weekend in Hamburg – make sure you make a reservation!
We decided to share a Frikadeller, and good thing we did too, as it’s no tiny meatball. It’s also served with a side of mustard, home cut potatoes and a fresh salad that had one of the best tasting dressings I’ve had in quite some time!
Is it an ancestor to the hamburger? You’ll have to listen to our podcast (coming soon) to find out. But either way, it certainly was a nice introduction to the traditional food of Hamburg.
Our next stop on our Hamburg eating extravaganza was to experience a style of burger that is completely new and unique – an Asian fusion hamburger. If you’re like us and you love trying new and exciting fusion flavours, then I highly recommend visiting Shiso Burger.
Their combination of East meets West in the form of a burger is unlike anything we’ve tried. With burgers to choose from like the Bulgogi Burger with delicate Korean flavours to the Ebi Burger with black tiger shrimp with a ginger honey mustard sauce. We honestly wanted to eat our way through their entire menu. In the end, we settled for a Chili Lemon burger and their house speciality Shisho burger with a side of edamame beans….and we certainly weren’t disappointed with our decision.
If you are looking for a traditional beef burger they serve those too! And they are all totally Instagram worthy, served in the cutest little dumpling baskets.
Everywhere you go in Hamburg you’ll see evidence of their strong connections to the port of Hamburg. This port has been an important part of society for many years and it also means that Hamburg is a great place to try the locally caught seafood. On the hunt for tasty places to eat in Hamburg we came across the very funky restaurant Underdocks, a place that sells ‘Urban Fish Food”
We weren’t messing around when it came to ordering at Underdocks, we went with The Container, which had an amazing selection of seafood options including crunchy codfish, marinated Argentinian wild catch red shrimps, fresh sardines in corn shawarma, served with double fried potato crisps loaded with jalapenos and cheddar, mozzarella and then baked. It also included 2 sauces of your choice. This epic feast for two was a great way to try a little bit of everything…but we have to admit there were loads of things on the menu that’d we’d happily go back again to try.
The whole restaurant has a great nautical/ shipping container design to it and is a really funky place to hang out. Plus that staff are super nice too!
Another great restaurant to add to your places to eat in Hamburg is a great little restaurant where you can find another interesting variation of the burger – Ban Canteen. Ban means friends in Vietnamese and is the project of two sisters and a school friend who wanted to give their mothers recipes a revival with some modern fusions.
Here the burgers have a Vietnamese twist and include all the ingredient and flavours that you would expect from exceptional Vietnamese cuisine. The burgers also have another interesting addition – they are served on steamed buns to give the full Asian burger experience.
We ordered the Surf & Turf which had beautifully lemongrass marinated beef strips and perfectly cooked prawns along with pickled carrot, coriander and a side of sweet potato fries. We love sweet potato fries, but these ones were unlike any we had tried before. Rather than just frying them they had been battered like tempura and then fried. This added another level of crunch that was absolutely incredible. Served with a lychee cocktail it was like I was back in Asia, surrounded by all of its incredible tastes and smells.
In addition to the burgers, you can also choose from other Vietnamese specialties like fresh spring rolls, pork belly and everyone’s favourite Vietnamese dish – Pho.
If you only have one meal in Hamburg make sure it’s at Hobenköök. This restaurant has an all fresh, farm to table concept, which means they only use the products from the market that’s part of the restaurant. As they don’t know what the local farmers will bring in from day to day, they don’t know what food they will make until it arrives. It’s an ever changing menu.
Chef Thomas and his crew are recreating Northern German classics and giving them a modern and fresh twist. This is also the first time that a project like this has been set up in Hamburg where a restaurant is exclusively using regional and seasonal food in their kitchen. They also pride themselves on personally knowing all 200 producers. So they know where the product comes from, how it was made and who was involved. If they do not know it, they will not put it on the shelf or on your plate!
I won’t go into detail about the food we ate here as it’s probably unlikely that you would be able to turn up and order the same thing. What I will tell you is that every mouthful was sensational. Ok, I lied, I have to mention this one dish. If you can get the pickled char (local fish) fresh cheese and cucumber tartar with spicy chili paste and roasted onion. GET IT! It made my mouth sing!
Our night at Hobenköök was truly a great insight into the food of Northern Germany and Hamburg, which I can assure you is more than just hamburgers.
That said, we weren’t done with our hamburger tasting mission just yet…..
We’ve tried a lot of burgers in our lives but none have been as epic as Dulf’s Creature Burger. Imagine this…..
3x homemade beef patties, Fresh Lollo Bionda Salad, Mozzarella cheese and Double Cheddar cheese, Fried Egg, Marinated Bacon, Homemade Guacamole, Caramelized Onions and your choice of Dulf’s BBQ Sauce, Dulf’s Truffle Mayo or Dulf’s Honey Mustard
Ok, there’s no need to imagine it – of course, we took a picture of this monster burger!
This is it the biggest burger we’ve ever eaten, and I can tell you it is a messy meal to eat, but in the best possible way. There are of course much more manageable burgers to choose on the menu but we thought that seeming we were in Hamburg it was time to go BIG or go home. And I can tell you we devoured every last bit of it, and it was goooood!
Weekend In Hamburg – Craft Beer Hamburg
Being in Germany there are two things that will always go hand in hand, food and beer. For the longest time, it seemed like Germany was holding out on joining in on the craft beer and instead sticking to their traditional ways, which in Hamburg span over 1000 years of beer making. But Hamburg has always been a forerunner of beer brewing and today there are some crisp and tasty craft beers in Hamburg that you simply must try!
Ratsherrn is probably one of the most well known breweries in Hamburg and they have a great selection of beers to try. They’re most well known for their Pilsner which they say is a modernization of the traditional Pilsner. They didn’t want to reinvent the Pilsner, just bring it some flavours of the modern day to “experiment with exciting hop varieties, ride the rollercoaster with the alcohol content.”
If you’re not a fan of pilsner that’s fine they have a selection of other styles of beer like pale ales and IPA’s and quite a few guest beers on tap as well.
Wildwuchs Brauwerk is a small company of brothers that work closely with the Hobenköök project mentioned above.
Their beers are unique and interesting in both flavour and story. For example, we ordered the Old Chancellor which is a smoked beer. This beer was created in remembrance of a German chancellor who was always seen smoking wherever he went. Even in places where he was not allowed to smoke he would get a special permit so he could smoke. We were a bit hesitant as we’ve had smoked beers before that just weren’t very appealing – luckily Wildwuchs Brauwerk pulled it off with just a hint of smokiness adding a unique element to this craft beer. We also tried the Orange Bock which was a pleasant and fruity beer.
Buddleship is a Hamburg craft beer brewery that is interested in preserving the history and passion of brewing beer with the addition of modern and exciting ingredients. As Hamburg is a port city many seamen travelled and brought back influences from foreign countries, this is evident in the beers that Buddleship brew today. A mix of traditional local and fascinating international flavours to try. Buddleship says they “want to bring the soul of beer, namely passion and artisan brewing art back to life and fill it with all the natural, historical and geographic diversity that Hamburg and the world have to offer.”
A Weekend In Hamburg Germany – Where to stay
Probably one of the coolest hotels we’ve ever stayed in – 25 Hours is a hotel where design is at the forefront. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, Hamburg is proud of its port and its seafaring heritage and this is showcased in modern nautical style at this hotel. The rooms are called cabins and all have a vibe of a funky ‘old skool’ tattooed sailor.
In the public areas, you’ll find a harbour sauna housed in a shipping container, with amazing views of the port, a vinyl room with a selection of records that you can play, sit back with a cocktail and listen to some smooth tunes. There’s also a games room where you can nerd out playing an original Atari. Anyone up for a game of Pitfall? ME!
There is also an onsite restaurant that was full of people every night we were there…..very popular. And if you have breakfast included you can indulge in their buffet with some local Hamburg favourites available like Franzbrötchen which is a small, sweet pastry, baked with butter and cinnamon. YUMMY!
25 Hours Hafencity is a great option if you are wanting to be located closer to the Docklands or the cruise terminals
If you prefer accommodation in the heart of the city then Scandic Emporio Hamburg is a great centrally located option. We actually had no troubles getting around Hamburg at all thanks to our handy Hamburg Card which meant we could easily ride public transport during our weekend in Hamburg.
Scandic is all about Scandinavian style and hospitality and this is evident in every aspect of the hotel. With the theme of water throughout the hotel, you found yourself returning from a day of sightseeing to a tranquil and comforting atmosphere. For something extra special book yourself into one of the 29 specially designed ‘art rooms’. These rooms have been individually designed by both German and international artists, all with their own interpretation of the theme of water. You can book a weekend in Hamburg again and again and stay in the same hotel but have a different design experience every time.
Spending a Weekend In Hamburg gave us a great taste test of this fascinating city. This article is all about our favourite places to eat in Hamburg and of course, wash it all down with some craft beer, but there are loads of attractions that you can visit as well. Check out what discounts are available with purchase of the Hamburg Card and save yourself some money on entrance fees. We had our eye on Miniatur Wunderland, The world’s largest model railway exhibition and the Spice museum but we will have to leave them for the next time we spend a weekend in Hamburg.