Here is a look at some of my favorite places to eat in Freiburg. All of them are right in the center of the city where most of the tourists come anyway. The university is right here too, so they can’t get away with outrageous prices even for the center.
Although I love my adopted home city, I realize that I don’t write a lot about it specifically. Freiburg is a great university town in the south west of Germany on the edge of the Black Forest. As it is a town full of students as well as passing tourists (we get a lot of french and italian) the food choices are pretty good here.
Restaurant website links are mostly in German.
The influence from nearby Alsace is clear in Freiburg. This comes in the form of Flammkuchen. Similar to pizza in that it is a flat piece of dough with stuff on top, a normal one will be anywhere between the size of a large plate to double that width. The dough is crispy and the sauce is a creme instead of tomato based. Classic Alsatian has cheese, onions and bacon, although places here will often offer all different toppings including sweet.
Flammkuchen of one form or another can be seen at a lot of different places in town. Art Cafe & Cafe Legere however are my favorite places. They are next to each other on a square near the university. Both places have outdoor tables and the square makes wonderful people watching. Cafe Legere also has great breakfast offerings.
Cafe Legere : Niemenstraße 6
Beer is synonymous with Germany for quite good reason. Each town has its own local breweries and Freiburg is no different. Feierling is my favorite local brewery. It is near the center of town and across the walkway from its own biergarten. Summer is definitely the time for the biergarten, but the warmth of the brewery-restaraunt is great in the winter with its two large copper brewing vats.
The reason to come is the unfiltered Inselhopf bier. It comes in both light and dark versions. The beer is sweeter than normal pils. The food is local fare if you feel the need to eat something while enjoying the brew. The biergarten has a reduced menu, but you can always order across the street and bring it over.
Hausbrauerei Feierling : Gerberau 46
Schnitzel means cutlet in German. So a slab of meat usually breaded and pan fried. This is definitely one of the national dishes of Germany. SchniPo is a very common in pubs here. It means Schnitzel Pommes or Cutlet and Fries. Meat and potatoes in the most classic fashion.
Tacheles bills itself as Schnitzel Paradise. This is not far from truth. The entire back side of the menu is schnitzels with different sauces and toppings. All come with salads and a side of potatoes in you favorite form. The place is underground, so meat served in atmosphere.
Tacheles : Grünwälderstr.17
Schlappen is a whiskey pub. Inside are enormous tables for 10 people (if just you and your friend sit there, expect company) and tables out on the square. The food is student fare, so cheap but decent. Pasta, meat and potatoes as well as an extensive list of pizzas center the menu. The place is however more of a watering hole. A wall of whiskey behind the bar, a absinth menu and a full separate drinks menu featuring imported beers shows this. It can get busy in the evenings quickly, but it a nice place to sit outside in the summer.
For the guys take a quick trip to the bathroom (around the end of the bar through the door and down the stairs). A pit underneath the sink has a skeleton at the bottom. Just another part of the quirky styling of the place.
Schlappen : Löwenstraße 2
Right in the center of Freiburg steps from the bustling streets in the old newspaper print house is Markthalle. This means market hall and is an indoor food court. All different types of food are served here. Each stall offers a different nationality of food. Italian, Persian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, German and more are represented here. The pasta place here is one of our favorites we have ever found.
Buy your food and look for a spot at the common standing tables. Afterwards take your plates to the common return spot. I go here quite often and love the bustling atmosphere. On the weekend evenings it becomes more a night spot with music and the stands offering cocktails.
Markthalle : Grünwälderstrasse 4
Every town around the world has an Irish pub or two. Freiburg is no different. O’Kellys is my pub of choice, my local as it were. The owner is from Ireland and a great friendly lass who has been running this place for 10 years. If you are looking for a place to hang out and watch the game (soccer, football, rugby as the day dictates), this is the place.
Weekly pub quiz and drink specials as well as weekend music means that there is almost always something going on. Especially as an English speaking expat, this is a nice place to hang out.
O’Kellys : Milchstraße 1
One of the great places to eat in town is the market itself. The market fills cathedral square every morning except Sunday until usually 1pm. Options here are any number of fruit stalls for fresh produce as well as a whole line of stands selling sausage. They are run by butchers that make their own (‘aus eigene Herstellung’). This is definitely stand up food territory, but it is great street food and one of the cheapest eats in town. 2Euro 20 for a sausage in a roll.
In Cathedral Square
Although currywurst is most strongly claimed by Berlin, the dish exists all over Germany. Imagine a sausage cut into slices and covered with ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder. I heard at the German bloggers meetup that “true currywurst” has curry powder in the meat itself.
Mensa drei is my favorite place for currywurst in Freiburg. This is pretty much their main (almost only) dish. The best thing about this place in my mind is that you can get the sauce in a bunch of different spicy-ness levels. Levels go from 1 to 10, where 1 is nothing and 9 and above are apparently not served without previous recommendation. I order 5 and 6 regularly. 7 will clear out my sinuses and I can’t taste much more than spice for a while. They serve the naked veal sausages usually with fries. Since they have mainly just curry wurst orders go like Number 6 with ketchup. The place is across from the university and although small is a neat little local place.
Mensa Drei : Niemensstraße 7
Germans are not known for their ice-cream. But the Italians are famous for gelato. Thankfully this Italian influence is well received in Germany and in the long summer nights geleterias are nearly as popular as biergartens. Several places do close in the winter, but there are a few that stay open year round. Most places do have tables, but note that if you want to sit there you need to order off the menu. Cones are only for take-away. Don’t worry everyone walks around licking ice cream, even into the winter.
My favorite place is right around the corner from Martinstor in the center of town and called Incontro. There is usually a long line out of the small shop on warm days. They have some of the standard flavors, but my favorite are the ones inspired by candies. So rum, chocolate and cherry is named after Mon Cheri candies.
Incontro however is one of the places that closes during the winter. If in the midst of the cold winter, I still need an ice cream fix go to Portofino by the city theater. This is the same tram stop as O’Kellys and I remember many a Friday night of drinking with friends being finished by an ice cream cone.
Incontro : Niemensstraße 3
Portofino : Bertoldstraße 44
There are plenty of other great cafe’s and bakeries in the center of the city. Plenty of Asian, Italian and Turkish Döner places sprinkled about. If you are ready to explore beyond just the old town, there are lots more to see and eat as well. This is merely a small sampling of the places that I like.