Italian food is easy to find in Munich. Really good Italian food however, requires some research. Known to locals as “Italy’s most northern city”, Monaco di Baviera’s proximity to the border is certainly clear. Visit your local coffee shop or bar for example and it’s not uncommon to be greeted and then served in Italian. Yet once you get past the authenticity of the “prego signori”, the over-done pasta can leave you confused.
Luckily, before you download Eros Ramazzotti’s greatest hits and head for the Brenner Pass, you’ll stumble across a real gem, a place where the joy of cooking bubbles over like the cheese on a freshly baked lasagne. We bring you our top Italian bites in Munich.
Trinacria Feinkost, Haidhausen
A little piece of Sicily. Open weekdays and for breakfast and lunch only, this place is always full to the brim. The hum of the guests is accompanied by the sound of grinding coffee beans, the popping of wine corks and the frequent ringing of the kitchen bell. Behind the bar, you can see the open kitchen, where Sicilian chef and owner Roberto Careri has been working his magic since 2008. Every day he offers three main courses, one of which is always homemade pasta. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. Add a smooth panna cotta and a gutsy espresso and you will leave happy.
Bar Centrale, city centre
You haven’t really experienced Munich until you’ve experienced Bar Centrale. This place is an institution, a place where it is fine to drink (if not encouraged) a Campari Spritz at any time of the day. Loud, busy and oh so fun, this place is always worth a visit. Make your way past the chatting crowd in the bar area and you’ll discover a small casual dining space at the back. The menu changes daily, but is consistently good. Note – this is one of the places mentioned in the introduction where Italian is very much the lingua franca.
Casa Sarda, Schwabing
Located in one of the small buildings that make up Elisabethmarkt, it is amazing just how much (good) food is produced in the limited working space. Serving Sardinian cuisine, guests can normally choose between 3 – 4 pasta dishes, but owner Mario Tola is also open to requests and suggestions! The antipasti is a must and includes octopus salad, stuffed pepperoncini and delicious vegetables. It is hard to leave without a satisfied belly and a bag of mozzarella or some meats from the food counter.
Grano, city centre
Slap bang in the middle of the city, just metres away from Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz, this pizza joint is surprisingly still off the beaten track. Once you find it, Grano will quickly become a regular haunt. The stylish retro interior and the fantastic (and very affordable) thin-crust pizzas are hard to resist. Grab a seat and a glass of vino rosso, and watch the world go by.
Ristorante Acetaia, Neuhausen
This is place was recommended by two Italians met in one of the other places in this list. Although not cheap, the menu is incredible. Dishes include sheep’s cheese ravioli with butter, marjoram and balsamic vinegar or sea bass served with artichoke hearts. The name of the restaurant comes from their partner of almost two decades, a balsamic vinegar producer from Modena, Italy – Acetaia Pedroni. Both the head chef and the restaurant owner regularly return to Emilia-Romagna to develop new recipes based on the flavours of the product that is highly important to the region and to Italy.
Smart but not fancy, Seerose offers beautifully presented food and flavours that don’t disappoint. The starters are the most experimental and definitely worth trying – highlights include octopus, bergamot, grilled melon and chili, or beetroot carpaccio with pistachio pesto and pecorino. They can be followed by fresh pasta and / or a meat course. While slightly more pricy, the secondi options such as lamb and rabbit are the kind of dishes that are so good, you are left thinking about them the next day.
Quattro Tavoli, Dreimühlenviertel
Dinner in Quattro Tavoli is a bit like being at your Italian aunt’s place for dinner. Maurizio greets you with a “ciao ragazzi” and hands you an Americano (the best aperitivo in the house). Next up, order some cold cuts to eat over your aperitivo, before getting down to business with the lasagne. The menu changes with the seasons, but lasagne is a permanent fixture and it’s a comforting, homely dish that hits the spot.
Inspired by the cuisine of Piedmont, the clue is in the large image of the Langhe vineyards and Italian Alps hanging on the wall. The chef, originally from Barberesco, whips up great pasta dishes and hearty salads, all served with plenty of bread, olive oil and grissini. For those wanting to sample more delights from Italy’s north western region, the coffee bar at the back of the restaurant is surrounded by local produce and wines – from chocolate hazelnut spreads to bottles of Roero Arneis and Nebbiolo.
The small entrance of L’Assaggino is easy to miss, sandwiched between other bars, shops and bistros on the busy Frauenhoferstraße. Tip: keep an eye out for the red and white sign reading “pizza, pasta, vino” and the windows steamed up by boiling pans. Owner Salvatore Cavallo will talk you through the wines and food on offer, and tell you tales from the hood. No frills, no website, no social media – just good honest Italian cooking.