When people think of German cuisine, they usually envision plates of bratwurst, sauerkraut and chocolate cake. What most people don’t know is that many traditional American dishes, such as meatloaf and hamburgers, were originally German inspired. Even the hot dog, America’s favorite snack at baseball games, was once better known as a wiener würstchen or a frankfuter. In fact, you might be surprised at how many German-inspired dishes you’ve actually had. But as everyone knows, there’s nothing better than the real thing, and these five LA restaurants serve authentic German cuisine. So grab your brieftaschen and check them out. Genießen!
3827 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The currywurst stands in Berlin are like taco trucks in Los Angeles: street food for bar-hopping hipsters. With rustic flavors and a range for heat, Berlin Currywurst has captured the spirit and the zesty palate of the city with its menu and industrial chic decor. Located in the center of Silver Lake at Sunset Junction, Berlin Currywurst lists flavors of bratwurst that will make your tongue dance (including a vegetarian option) and force you to say words you’ll probably never pronounce correctly like Scharfe Käsewürst and Grünzeug. The heat level ranges from level one (Berlin Calling) for the timid all the way to level four (Break the Wall) for the tougher taste buds. However, if you dare, there’s an off-menu, unnamed level five that will surely melt your lederhosen. *Bonus: Berlin Currywurst has recently applied for a liquor license.
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800 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Wurstküche, which translates into “sausage kitchen,” is in fact just that. It is home to delicious classic sausages like Bratwurst (pork, coriander & nutmeg) and Bockwurst (veal, pork & spices), gourmet sausages like Austin Blues (hot and spicy, tri-pepper & hardwood-smoked pork) and Mango Jalapeño (chicken & turkey) and exotic sausages such as Rattlesnake & Rabbit (with jalapeño peppers) and Alligator & Pork (Andouille style). Wurstküche’s unique flavors and dipping sauces will turn you into a sausage fan. To not order the Belgian double-dipped fries with white truffle oil glaze is a culinary tragedy. Also, make sure to save room for the toasted apple pie ice cream sandwich.
9669 Little Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Man cannot live on bratwurst alone and fortunately BierBeisl offers considerably more. Formerly of the Patina Group and amidst the trending gastropubs and fusion cuisine, chef Bernhard Mairinger is establishing his own culinary path with the recently open BeirBeisl in Beverly Hills. Choosing to work with a seasonal menu, you can expect the freshest ingredients and few surprises each time you return. From chilled cucumber-yogurt soup with home-cured white fish tartar to beef filet medallions with homemade spaetzle, you’ll be saying “unglaublich” (incredible) the whole meal through.
Swiss Chef Restaurant
13727 Victory Blvd.
Valley Glen, CA 91401
While the German cuisine has quite a few highlights, as listed earlier, it still ranks pretty low on the “dining out” list. For those who would like to try German food but are hesitant to commit to an entire menu dedicated to this cuisine, Swiss Chef Restaurant is perfect for you. Offering delectables from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France and Hungary, you are certain to find an appealing array of international foods to choose from. You can start with French escargot and Italian scampi, then ease into Germany with rahmschnitzel or eisbein, finishing it all off with a chocolate soufflé made from Swiss chocolate. Mix and match your continental cuisine to suit your mood and comfort level. The epicurean chef Ueli likes to make table visits and offer suggestions.
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1521 N. Vine St.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
The Wolfslair Biergarten isn’t exactly authentic German in any capacity (except for the brands of beer) but it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss. Communal tables, waitresses wearing a cross between a dirndl and trachten hot pants, steins and bottles of beer you’ve never heard, food unlike anything you’ve ever tasted; this will be one unforgettable culinary experience. If beer is your thing, Wolfslair Biergarten’s “Mugg Mondays” is for you. Bring in your favorite mug and Wolfslair will fill it with PBR for just $5. The place is a bit pricey ($7 for a homemade soft pretzel), but there’s always happy hour and the live BBQ specials on Saturdays and Sundays. Oh, there’s also beer pong events.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.