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!
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.
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.
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.
Prepare for a portion fit for a king! Oh, and order the sauerkraut balls while you’re at it. Image courtesy of Yelp.
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
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.
Order a Moer burger with a pint and ask your server about the history behind this long legacy! Image courtesy of Yelp.
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.
222 W 12th St | Cincinnati | thelubecker.com
Cincinnati is filled with rich German heritage, and The Lubecker is on a mission to bring that heritage to the forefront. They aim to bring great German food to the Greater Cincinnati area. At The Lubecker, you will find some of the most authentic German food in the region. Their restaurant is a food truck that is set up inside the Queen City Radio bar!
The Lubecker’s menu offers traditional German foods like jagerschnitzel, bratwurst, and giant soft pretzels. They also have a few really creative offerings like currywurst, schnitzel sandwiches, and pretzel sandwiches. All their food is also made from all the freshest ingredients!
“I wish I took more pictures of the food, but take my word for it - this place is incredible. I am a huge fan of German food and have tried many places in the area, but the Lubecker has something special going on. The schnitzel sandwich was huge and tasted fresh and delicious. The pretzel did not disappoint and I will be back to try everything else on the menu!”--Yelp Review
4811 Vine St | Cincinnati | wiedemannsfinebeer.com
Weideman’s began as a brewery all the way back in 1870. After 150 years, they have remained dedicated to continuing a great brewing tradition. Their brewers have long been creating innovative and refreshing beers without adhering to strict industry standard guidelines. Whatever your preference in beer, you can certainly find what you want at Weideman’s!
Weideman’s bohemian special brew has been voted Cincinnati’s Favorite Beer for the second year in a row! It is the first beer to win the title twice in that competition. And while this place is known for their beers, you can get amazing German comfort food from their kitchen.
“We decided to go to some breweries that we have never been to in Cincy! This place has Really cold beer and a cozy environment!. We split a burger and it was a real burger Patty-not frozen premade kind. The cheese curd appetizer was so big and could've fed 4 people. We will be back!”--Yelp Review
222 W 12th St | Cincinnati
Wienerwurst Mike Franctuary is a small restaurant that sells food and beer. They are known for making many types of hot dogs among other great foods. They have large pretzels, currywurst, and different flavors of hot melts.
They also serve an array of sauces that include sweet mustard, beer cheese, spicy dijon, and other German dipping sauces. This restaurant provides a friendly environment with great ownership. They also make sure to use fresh and local ingredients in their creations.
“Holy Cannoli! I had no idea this place existed! A welcome addition bringing fresh local ingredients and more importantly FOOD to this local watering hole. I met the charming owner and he informed me of all of the local love that goes into this humble biz.”--Yelp Reviews
7717 Laurel Ave | Cincinnati
This German restaurant functions as a small neighborhood bar that also serves good food. Most people who frequent this bar know each other and they have a fun and friendly vibe because of it. The beer they serve is amazingly priced and it goes well with their food.
The Madeira Inn’s food is made fresh from scratch and you can easily tell when you try it. The place is decorated with fun German decor and is owned by German people. Though they mainly serve German food on Tuesdays, and otherwise they serve the usual bar foods.
“It had been 45 years since I last visited this place - so when I visited Cincinnati this was on the list. New owners for the last 25 years have kept the local neighborhood bar feel alive and well. The lunch daily specials are truly cooked from scratch and believe me the taste reflects that.
Absolutely 5 stars in my book.”--Yelp Review
1020 Ohio Pike | Cincinnati | laszlosironskillet.com
Lazlo’s Iron Skillet has been in business for over 40 years. They strive to create unique and authentic foods for their customer base every day. It is a family business that serves the most authentic and fresh eastern European cuisine. The recipes they make have been passed down in the family through generations!
Their fare includes German food and Hungarian food as well as others. They have a bar menu and a regular menu and even a menu for kids. You can even ask the chef to make food that caters to your dietary preferences. Sometimes you can even find live music playing there.
“I really enjoy Laszlo's; I have never had a bad meal there. The food is so authentic and flavorful; the portions are huge. The staff is always warm, friendly, and attentive - it's just a great dining experience.”--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. Its 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.