warm & hearty
From knipp to kükenragout – discover Bremen's traditional hearty fare in restaurants and on guided tours.
Kale and pinkel, labskaus, knipp – granted, Bremen specialities do sound like they might take a bit of getting used to. But that doesn’t make them any less delicious. Traditional Bremen fare is shaped by the city's proximity to the sea and its rural connections. These recommendations from locals give you a real flavour of Bremen. Why not discover them for yourself, perhaps as part of a guided tour?
Fancy a coffee? Then you've come to the right place. Bremen is a city of coffee. We have already blogged about some of our stylish new cafés. And let's not forget the old-established coffee houses like Knigge and Stecker, where you can enjoy your drink in elegant surroundings.
Bremen also has a long-standing tradition of tea-drinking. The locals like a storm in their tea cup, or at least a few clouds! According to the Teehandelskontor, rule number one for a tea ceremony is never stir the milk into the tea. Then there's the largely organic Teestübchen in the heart of the Schnoor quarter, where they serve not only tea but hearty Bremen meals like knipp, labskaus and kükenragout. The latter translates as 'chick ragu', but don't worry, it's actually a poussin dish.
Maike writes about local cuisine in her taste of Bremen blog post. She considers important questions, like who serves the best bratwurst – Kiefert or Stockhinger? Knurrhahn is a popular fish restaurant that does a sideline in takeaway fish 'n' chips for those in a hurry. There's also plenty of fish to try at the Fischereihafen in Bremerhaven. We are currently working on a fish-themed blog, as well as an update to the article exploring the city's vegetarian and vegan offerings, so watch this space!
Bremen is credited with inventing the rollo, a type of falafel wrap. Ingrid reports on her ultimate rollo. Burgers might not originate from Bremen, but they certainly are all the rage here. For the best burgers, try Rock & Wurst, the Burgermeister in the Radisson or Sail City Bremerhaven, where you can try water buffalo burgers made from locally sourced meat.
In the winter months, it's all about glühwein and the kohlfahrt, or 'kale tour'. At the Christmas market and the Schlachte-Zauber, glühwein, what we Germans call mulled wine, is a must. For the best vineyard-sourced glühwein, try the Ratskeller stalls near the Bremen Town Musicians and on Teerhofbrücke bridge. Alternatively, try the vintner barrels in Ostertor, which can be found outside Theatro and Litfass until January. Kohlfahrten ('kale tours') are a north German tradition involving a handcart full of schnapps, silly games and, of course, kale! Many of the parties end up at Paulaner's im Wehrschloss. Not strictly a Bremen original, but fantastic nonetheless.
Another not-strictly-Bremen experience is the Almhütte alpine hut at the Grand Hotel. It's open from November to January, serving delicious dishes such as marillenknödel (apricot dumplings). When the hut opens its doors for each new season, it delights tourists and locals alike – including the Bremen Alpine Society, which has more members than you might think!
Anyway, back to the kale tours … Here's a popular game the locals play on their rounds. Why not try it at home?
"Every player is given a wet teabag. Holding the teabag between their teeth by its tag, the player gets a swinging motion going and, when given the order to release, sends the teabag flying as far as they can. All the results from the night are added up."
Throughout the year
Every Thursday, the covered market stays open until 10pm for an evening of street food and music.
Every year, this music festival at Osterdeich draws crowds to the banks of the Weser for live entertainment, great food and good times. There's plenty to eat and drink, with a whole area showcasing local organic producers.
National BBQ Championships at HanseLife
Professional barbecuers will be showing off their skills at the HanseLife lifestyle show, giving barbecue enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to pick up tips and recipe ideas.
October is funfair season in Bremen, and the Bürgerweide is the place to go for family-friendly thrills and delicious treats.
Fisch und Feines fair
If you appreciate high-quality food, this is the fair for you. A wide range of regional exhibitors makes for a great day out at Bremen Exhibition Centre.
Christmas market and Schlachte-Zauber
Bremen's Christmas market is one of Germany's finest. Embrace the festive cheer of our historical city with a steaming mug of glühwein and some original Bremen schmalzkuchen doughnuts.
Coffee, tea and glühwein:
Tour and tasting at Lloyd Coffee (also available for groups)
Travel around the world of coffee, following the coffee bean's journey from plant to mug.
Guided tour of Münchhausen coffee roasting house – for groups
Find out about the history of coffee roasting in Bremen and sample a variety of coffee specialities in the authentic surroundings of Bremen's last surviving traditional coffee roasters.
The wonder of coffee – group tour
Find out what connects Café HAG with Böttcherstrasse, and see the famous carillon made from 30 Meissen porcelain bells.
Tea ceremony tour at Berthold Vollers GmbH (also available for groups)
Tea is part of everyday life all over the world. After water, it's the most consumed drink on the planet. No other beverage is as versatile, and few others play such a fascinating role in cultural history.
Christmas fairytale (also available for groups)
A guided walking tour of the city centre and Christmas markets. Glühwein is of course on the itinerary.
Schlemmerteller restaurant voucher
Pick your favourite from the list of participating restaurants and get one small drink on the house.
Bremen baked fish platter – for groups
The Bremen baked fish platter comprises fillets of three different fish with freshly prepared potato salad or boiled potatoes.
Finest fish fillets at Fisherman's – for groups
Fisherman's seafood restaurant serves up the very finest fillets of pollock and cod with mixed vegetables and roast potatoes.
Seasonal gourmet menu – for groups
A three-course menu of seasonal dishes served in stylish surroundings. A choice of regionally inspired meat, fish or vegetarian main courses.
Rustic Bremen menu – for groups
Embrace Bremen's beer heritage and local delicacies in this friendly restaurant close to Bremen's market square.
Schnoor platter – for groups
Beck's in'n Snoor is nestled among the charming little lanes of the Schnoor quarter. Enjoy a platter of pork medallions in pepper sauce with mixed vegetables and mini rösti.
Captain's dinner – for groups
A Nordic-inspired four-course menu served in nautical surroundings: tomato soup, pickled herring on rye bread, salmon pasta and side salad, and red berry compote for dessert.
Ebb & Flow dinner – for groups
Spend a relaxing and enjoyable evening in a traditional north-German setting. The Friesenhof, on Bremen's market square, serves grilled chicken breast and tender pollock fillet with boiled potatoes and vegetables.
'Buten und Binnen' platter in the Bremen Ratskeller – for groups
Tuck into grilled rump steak and marinated prawn skewer, bean and bacon salad, grilled tomato, fried potatoes and béarnaise sauce in the incomparable setting of Bremen's Ratskeller restaurant.
Traditional Bremen menu in Bremen's Ratskeller – for groups
A six-course menu served in Bremen's 'vintage' cellar beneath the UNESCO World Heritage town hall. Not only is the Ratskeller Germany's oldest wine cellar, dating back over 600 years, it also boasts the most exquisite collection of German wines.
Brewer's party with dinner – for groups
Let your hair down at the 'brewer's party' – an evening of music, dance, and a feast of hearty brewer's fare set within Bremen's oldest brewery tavern!
Walking dinner – for groups
An evening guided tour of the city centre that will tickle your taste buds.
On the trail of the Bremen Town Musicians – for groups
Follow the trail of the Bremen Town Musicians on this entertaining, culinary-themed guided tour of Bremen's historical old quarter.