Eat Like a Local: Munich

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

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.

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.

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