Cincinnati has deep German roots that date back to the 1830’s when the neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine began to see an influx of German migrants. These workers began to establish one of the largest beer brewing centers in the United States. Their legacy earned Cincinnati the nickname, “Beer capital of the world,” because they would brew up to 35 million barrels of beer at a time. This also led to the rise of many German food restaurants and the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany! Now Cincinnati has some of the best German restaurants in the midwest. Here are our top six!
If you’re in need of the perfect gift to give a special someone -- give them the gift of food! They won’t be disappointed with a delicious hearty German meal. If you need a practical, but still thoughtful way of sending your gift, consider purchasing a virtual GiftYa card. GiftYa cards can be used at a number of restaurants and eateries throughout Cincinnati, including the ones that made our favorites list. So, the next time they stop in Cincinnati on a work trip, they can enjoy a lasting cultural legacy beverage and dinner on you!
German restaurant known for their hearty meals and house-brewed beer
200 3rd St. | Newport | hofbrahausnewport.com
If you’ve ever wanted to try traditional German foods, this is your chance. Boasting a wide variety of classic items from sausages and schnitzel to whole roasted chicken and homemade soups, you are sure to leave feeling full and with a box of leftovers! When you go you have to try the famous giant pretzel and accompanying dips. You won’t regret this trip to Germany!
They have a beverage menu full of classic Bavarian brews and seasonal favorites! Their on-site microbreweries can brew up to 21 different varieties throughout the year, including Premium Lager, Dunkel, and Hefe Weizen. There is sure to be one on the menu that catches your eye.
“Stopped in on a whim before getting ready for a wedding. Had been in a bunch when I was younger and lived in Cincinnati. Had a craving for a huge lager and pretzels. It delivered as usual. Excellent staff and service.” - Yelp Review.
Neighborhood gastropub with craft beer and house made sausages
1132 Lee St. | Covington | wunderbarcovington/facebook.com
Wunderbar! Is one of the most highly recommended spots in Cincinnati for its funky atmosphere. They have a chalkboard front and center that includes their changing menu each day with accompanying specials. You can stop in for a hearty dinner or enjoy a savory German brunch served up until 4 pm. They offer ‘you pick’ options of your favorite sausages and sides.
When you visit Wunderbar! you become part of the family, they refer to staff by their names and frequently talk about them on their Facebook page. All friends are welcome to stop by and grab a bite. If you don’t mind an interesting deviation from traditional paper menus, you are sure to enjoy the amazing food and drink to go along.
“This was one of the first places I 'discovered' in the Cincinnati area. It quickly became a favorite. Everytime I go, I get the same happy feeling when I enter the bar. It is just the right blend of friendly, hole-in-the-wall, and hip.” - Yelp Review.
Historic beer garden with traditional German cuisine and beer on tap
302 E University Ave. | Cincinnati| mecklenburgs.com
Mecklenburg Restaurant and Bier Garden was established back in 1865 and served as a meeting place for local German residents to learn about the American way of life. To this day, Mecklenburg serves as a meeting place for German heritage groups. For 150 years they have served traditional German dishes complimented by American classics. The Food Network gave rave reviews of this restaurant and recommended their sauerkraut balls and schnitzel!
Deemed “America’s best beer garden” by travel and leisure, you will be guaranteed to find traditional German lagers, dunkels, hefeweizen, and pilsners on tap. You can enjoy a round of pints at their Black Forest bar or enjoy their large outdoor seating area, which is covered with grape vines in the summertime!
“Went here right after a bunch of meetings and was not disappointed. The food was fantastic, I had the German Combination plate with a chicken schnitzel and hunter sauce, the bratwurst, spaetzle and red cabbage. Loved every bit of it, highly recommend it.” - Yelp Review.
Family-owned eatery since 1982 with German and American cuisine
6052 OH-128 | Cleves | bierhauswest.net
Self-proclaimed as a truly unique German-American eating experience, you will find classics from both types of cuisine. They have an extensive menu featuring everything you would expect and more! From traditional sausages and chicken to pasta, seafood, and a variety of steaks you can bring the kids here too. If they’re a little afraid to try a hearty German classic, they can find American comfort food on this menu.
If you’re looking to try a restaurant with classic German flare, yet need the American comfort classics, this is the place for you. They offer the best of both worlds -- you can’t go wrong!
“We are moving to the Cleves area so we wanted to check out some restaurants in the area and we settled on Keimers! We are glad we did! Food was excellent! Beer tasty and service great!” - Yelp Review
Casual tavern featuring a beer garden, German-American eats, and live music
630 Main St. | Covington | strassehaus/facebook.com
Strasse Haus is a truly unique eating experience. They have a small but flavorful menu that includes traditional German favorites like sauerkraut balls and potato pancakes to interesting outliers like quesadillas and mini corn dogs. Their main menu includes a limited selection of 10 dishes that range from the classic Reuben to a club sandwich. However, they say that when the menu is small, the items on it will always be perfect!
What really draws the crowds to this location is the live music. They feature bands and musicians seven nights a week, that’s Sunday through Saturday! The lineup is always changing, so if you saw one band one night, you are certain to see a different band the next time you go. If you’re looking for a small but bold night out, Strasse Haus is the place to be.
“The food is surprisingly amazing. The ingredients are fresh and everything is perfectly cooked. Always get the special.” - Yelp Review.
Classic pub born in 1853 offering craft brews and food reminiscent of the 19th century beer garden
115 Joe Nuxhall Way | Cincinnati | moerleinlagerhouse.com
Moerlein Lager House is known for four things -- the food, the bar, the beer, and the history. Their story begins in 1853 when Bavarian immigrant Christian Moerlein began brewing his craft beers. The company continued to operate until his death, but Prohibition forced the brewery to close. However, the brewery was reintroduced to Cincinnati in 1981 and led the charge in the craft beer revolution. The company was purchased again in 2004, but the new owners commits to following the same guidelines and original quality and taste made by founder Christian Moerlein himself.
Today, with over 100 craft beers to choose from with core beers and seasonal favorites brewed in-house each month, there is most definitely a beer on the menu for you. Their menu is known for featuring rotisserie dishes inspired by the 19th century. When you eat here, you are enjoying a taste of Cincinnati’s brewing heritage.
“I love this place! They have such fun food and beer selection. Whether you are looking for a lovely date night out, a place to watch the game, or a starting point to lay a solid base before brewery hopping around this great city, the Lager House is a must-stop for any occasion.” - Yelp Review.
If you are looking to try a traditional German dinner and a pint to go with it, Cincinnati is the best place to be. It’s rich German culture built the foundations of the city we know today. That is why you can be guaranteed to eat and drink some of the best traditional dishes in the world