DINING

Eat Like a Local: Munich

A vegan restaurant in a former butchery is one of the city's surprises. Beer gardens, sushi bars and modern diners round out the offerings.

By Gisela Williams, Tuesday, Sep 18, 2007, 12:00 AM

Fresh air, local brews, and hearty food at Muffathalle (Erol Gurian/Redux)

Muffathalle Beer Garden Artists, violinists from the nearby concert hall, and families (there's a giant sandbox for kids) all meet up at this open-air, organic restaurant. The traditional Bavarian menu is written out daily on a three-foot chalkboard: meatballs with coleslaw, super-size pretzels, and glasses of Hofbräu beer, of course. Zellstr. 4, 011-49/894-587-5073, entrées from $6.

Zerwirk With its white walls, acid-green benches, and plastic chairs, Zerwirk doesn't look like a former royal butchery--and it doesn't act like one, either. The vegan restaurant, which opened last year, already has a following. The seasonal menu includes a risotto made with radicchio, wine, and caramelized pears. Ledererstr. 3, 011-49/892-323-9195, entrées from $12.

Cosmogrill A diner may not be what comes to mind when you first walk into Cosmogrill--a huge Swarovski chandelier sparkles above shiny white tabletops--but the young chef, Christoph Kiening, makes the city's most delicious burgers. The late-night hangout (closing time is 3 A.M.) is known for its inventive toppings, such as a Tabasco ketchup and a horseradish sour cream. Maximilianstr. 10, 011-49/898-905-9696, burgers from $7.

NoMiYa Cross a sushi bar with a German beer hall and you get NoMiYa, which serves wheat microbrews, plump maki rolls, and tapas-size skewered meats in a tiny space decorated with antlers and Japanese cat sculptures. The owner, Ferdl, adds to the quirky ambience: He's the one in well-worn lederhosen sitting at the bar. Wörthstr. 7, 011-49/894-484-095, rolls from $5.

Nero Pizza The thin crusts at Nero could easily compete with the ones on Rome's best pizzas. Patrons sit at communal tables and share margherita and truffle-cream pies. Rumfordstr. 34, 011-49/892-101-9060, from $10.

Cube Restaurant & Vinolounge Despite the exclusive vibe in the wine lounge--schicki-micki (the "in crowd") sip bubbly at cappuccino-colored booths--the idea behind Cube is that there's something for every budget. You can order chicken satay, spring rolls, and buffalo wings, or splurge on the four-course menu. Bruderstr. 6, 011-49/891-219-1192, entrées from $13.