This is the ninth post in the London & Munich series. Other posts in this series include The Square, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Exploring London by Foot, Alain Ducasse, Marcus Wareing, Classic Munich Beer Houses: Hofbrauhaus & Wirtshaus, Viktualienmarkt and De Pschorr, and Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden
Munich is a beautiful, old-world, and very walkable city. You can see many of the sights without ever leaving the bustling area around the Marienplatz or the city center.
In fact, Bryan went out of his way (even "cheating" on his beloved Starwood where he's Platinum) to find a hotel within walking distance of the city center. Our Hilton hotel sat right on top of the subway (or the U-Bahn), thus giving us the freedom to go pretty much anywhere without a car.
But we didn't even use the U-Bahn during our entire trip (except to the airport).
We walked everywhere.
We walked to the gourmet outdoor market Viktualienmarkt, the festive city center Marienplatz with its wide pedestrian only street and famous beer halls, the huge recreational park English Garden with the famous Chinese Tower beer garden, and last but not least, the Residenz, the former royal palace for the monarchy of Bavaria.
The Residenz consists of three parts: the main palace, the theater, and the museum.You have to buy tickets to enter the various buildings. The main palace is by far the largest and is definitely the "must-see" part. It's beautiful and breathtaking in its grandeur.
It's true, World War II cause a sizable amount of damage. They have restored a lot of it, though many of the larger ceiling paintings and other valuable artwork are lost forever.
Despite that reality, the palace is still very, very impressive.
It's HUGE (so many rooms) and takes quite a bit of time to explore.
The museum is not too big and took us less than an hour to visit. You can listen to an English language headset, and most signs are in English as well. The most interesting items to me were some of the religious relics, like a preserved head that supposedly belonged to John the Baptist (!).
The theater is charming and only takes around 10 minutes to see. We wandered around the palace grounds for awhile before finding the entrance. It was oddly hard for us to find!
If you want to eat while visiting the Residenz, definitely consider Spatenhaus an der Oper, a German restaurant with lovely views of the Residenz.
The place is open for both lunch and dinner.
The downstairs dining room serves a more casual menu of traditional Bavarian dishes. The upstairs dining room is a bit more upscale. It includes some of the Bavarian classics but also includes more creative, gourmet dishes.
We had originally made a reservation for the upstairs dining room, which we heard had lovely window side seats with views of the palace.
However, our schedule changed and we found ourselves visiting the Residenz first thing in the morning.
We changed our reservation and instead a lovely window-side view of the palace, we sat in the outdoor patio area and enjoyed a pretty similar view!
Of course we had to try their Spaten beer, as well as get a lovely basket of pretzels (did I tell you how tasty freshly baked pretzels from Germany are?).
We started with a lovely Rocket Salad ("rocket" is arugula in British English), which came with endive, bacon, cherry tomatoes, and shaved Parmesan cheese (€14,50). It was delicious. The fresh vegetables were a nice, refreshing break from all the meat I'd been eating up to this point.
We ordered a traditional Bavarian Plate (€28), which included half a crispy duck, a pork knuckle, suckling pig, grilled sausages, apple red cabbage, sauerkraut, and potato and bread dumplings.
Our server was very honest with us and told us the portion size was huge.
"You can definitely share it."
I'm so glad he suggested that, because it was HUGE!
It was fun to try a variety of things, but the meat was unfortunately a bit dry. I enjoyed the quality of the meat better at Der Pschorr a couple days earlier. I still did love the fun potato dumpling (left) and thought the bread dumpling (right) was interesting but not my favorite. Too doughy.
All in all, our lunch at the Spatenhaus was fun and relaxing. We liked its proximity to the Residenz, making it a no-brainer place for our meal. We actually used lunchtime as a break: we saw the museum and the theater in the morning, had a relaxing lunch, and then spent the afternoon exploring the Palace.
It was nice to appreciate and learn more about a chunk of German history and culture through the visit to the Residenz. As much as I enjoy exploring food markets, eating food, and photographing the architecture of beer halls, I really appreciated our visit to the Residenz, which offered a very different, historically rich perspective on Germany.
Spatenhaus Munich Restaurant
Residenzstraße 12 80333 München