Guten Appetit at These Restaurants Offering up Traditional German Eat Around Pittsburgh

December 4, 2020
GiftYa
jason wolfe

It’s difficult to describe any one city as what many history books refer to as a “melting pot” of different cultures from all over the world. After all, with a few exceptions, we’ve seen over and over again that the mass migration of different cultures to the United States usually results in pop-ups of cultural neighborhoods based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. It’s why we see neighborhoods such as Polish Hill, aptly named for its largely Polish population, or even Squirrel Hill, which is home to a largely Jewish population.

Pittsburgh's Three Sisters Bridges

That being said, we’re not here to give you a history lesson, but merely that Pittsburgh in particular is very, very diverse - so it should come as no surprise that there is quite an array of cuisines to try around the city. While German cuisine probably isn’t the first you think of when it comes to fares from around the world you can find in Pittsburgh, it does exist, albeit minimally. Below, you’ll find a list of all of the German restaurants in Pittsburgh (all five of them!) and what makes them unique.

About GiftYa

We all know the struggle of really wanting to expand our horizons in the realm of trying new cuisines from around the world but not really being sure where to start - or even how much it’s going to cost us in the long-run. GiftYa also understands that struggle. The struggle of finding a place to try, trying it, and then having to decide if it was worth the price tag. Particularly when it comes to seeking out a new favorite place to dine, eating out can become incredibly expensive.

That’s why GiftYa’s partnerships with local restaurants will save you in a way you never knew you needed. By working with local and national restaurant brands, GiftYa is able to help pair you up with restaurants near you, as well as to help take the stress out of paying for a meal there and wondering if it was worth the money through their e-gift cards. Order one today and send it to your favorite German in the ‘Burgh.

Biergarten

Whether it’s a simple bratwurst or a pretzel, these snacks will pair perfectly with your beer and view. Image courtesy of Biergarten Instagram

620 William Penn Pl | Downtown | monaco-pittsburgh.com

Pittsburgh isn’t particularly well-known for its rooftop bars. With expansion projects that tend to build upwards rather than outwards, much of this city’s rooftops are subject to far too much wind for any one person to enjoy a meal on one of them in total comfort - but that doesn’t mean Biergarten isn’t going to try their darndest to change the game.

Situated atop Pittsburgh’s Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Biergarten is one of the few amazing rooftop bars scattered around Pittsburgh. If you’re not familiar with the origins of a traditional German Biergarten, it actually began as a place where brewers were allowed to sell their beer but in turn prohibited from selling any food alongside it.

The name fits quite well for this rooftop bar, where they’ve altered the traditional function of a Beirgarten by offering up some small German bites to eat while you sip on delicious European beers. 

While you take in the breathtaking views of the city, you can also enjoy the slightly American twist they’ve added to this space with classic games like Jenga and Connect Four at your complete disposal.

“It's super modern vibe is enhanced by the crowd it attracts...The first thing I noticed is the table games. We had Bananagrams and Jenga on our table and had a full size Jenga nearby.” - Yelp Review

Axel’s Pretzels

Soft pretzels are a staple in German culture, and you won’t want to skip out on this bier mustard, either. Image courtesy of Axel’s Pretzels Instagram

5901 Bryant St | Highland Park | axelspretzels.com

Pittsburgh only has about five places in total that offer up delicious German fare, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that they aren’t all exactly full-service restaurants. Pittsburgh’s Axel’s Pretzels might be a one stop shop for all of your soft pretzel needs, but they are nothing short of absolutely phenomenal in every aspect of service.

Whether you’re ordering a large batch of pretzels to be catered for a specific event or you’ve just dropped by their little pretzel stand in Highland Park to grab one or two with a side of bier mustard to take with you, you’ll be treated to some of the friendliest smiles in all of Pittsburgh any time you encounter them.

Not only are these soft pretzels made in the same fashion you might find them throughout Germany, but they’re also formed entirely out of vegan ingredients - which means anyone can enjoy them! 

Available in both a traditionally flavored pretzel sprinkled with just enough salt to scratch that itch and flavored with rosemary and thyme, there’s a little bit of something here to satisfy both traditionalists and people who are a bit more adventurous when it comes to trying new food.

“Amazing pretzels!!! Super friendly and polite customer service with warm, comforting pretzels and the most amazing dips ever. In addition to being organic and vegan I also appreciate the fact that they aren't too salty like many other soft pretzels are.” - Yelp Review

Max’s Allegheny Tavern

The drinks are good...but don’t forget to try out their schnitzel and sausage platter while you’re here! Image courtesy of Max’s Allegheny Tavern Instagram

537 Suismon St | North Side | maxsalleghenytavern.com

With so few options for German fare in the area, we’re not sure we can truly determine what the best of the best is, but the reviews from regulars and people who’ve only had a chance to swing by once are in for Max’s Allegheny Tavern and they’re all good. Being located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Deutschtown Neighborhood does have its perks.

As a self-proclaimed tavern, much of Max’s is taken up by their bar. You’ll see stools spread out across the long bar where you can choose between several different ales and stouts while you wait for some traditional German food to munch on, but they also have several little booths scattered around the floor if you’d prefer something a little more private.

There’s always a game playing on the TV, so whether you’re just there to watch the Pens game or you’d like to enjoy a full meal, they can do it for you here. They also have two slightly smaller private rooms that can seat larger parties if you’re hoping to bring along some guests for a work dinner or even just to get the family together.

“We shared a Schnitzel and a Sausage Plate both of which came with two home-cooked sides, everything was delicious and although the food was hearty and the portions were generous it wasn't heavy.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Max’s Allegheny Tavern >

Hofbrauhaus

Yeah, Germany is cool, but have you ever had a fresh pint of locally crafted beer? Image courtesy of Hofbrauhaus Instagram

2705 S Water St | South Side | hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com

Whether you’re a born and bred German hoping to get back to your roots or you just so happen to have a particular affection for all things Germany - food, beer, dance - you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with Hofbrauhaus. 

Originally founded as a beer hall sponsored by the Bavarian government in Munich, Germany, today Hofbrauhaus has spread far and wide - even to Pittsburgh! They’ve brought along old and familiar recipes of Bavarian classics, but all of their beers are actually brewed right here in Pittsburgh!

Whether you’re relaxing out in the Biergarten or tucking in for some delicious grub in the dining room, you’re sure to be impressed by what Pittsburgh’s Hofbrauhaus has to offer. Order some schnitzel for the true German experience or maybe just some potato pancakes if you’re potato fiends like us.

“Moving to the bar was a great decision! Our bartender, Kate, went above and beyond our expectations to make sure we had a great experience! Not to mention the happy hour was great!” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Hofbrauhaus >

Penn Brewery

They’ve set the standards for brewing beer pretty high here at Penn brewery. Image courtesy of Penn Brewery Instagram

432 First Ave | Downtown | pennbrew.com

Going to a restaurant that follows set German standards when it comes to their food and beer is always a good sign - but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice all things American when you eat there.

Penn Brewery first opened its doors in 1986, which made it one of the pioneers of the craft beer movement still raging across the United States. And when they opened, they brought along with them many of the traditional German standards that come with brewing German beer per the instructions of “purity laws” brought about by the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot in the 16th century.

Here at Penn Brewery, you can find a combination of the best things in Germany and the best things in Pittsburgh. Choose between a classic German lager paired with a French fry salad or some traditional schnitzel paired with a more contemporary IPA. Even better: opt for both!

“They had live music and liters of beer in a milk jug! I've also eaten inside before and it's really good German food! Highly recommend checking it out!” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Penn Brewery >

Since the steel industry had a boom back in the 1800s, Pittsburgh has become a home to immigrants from all over the world - so much so that many of them have formed their own little neighborhoods. German immigrants are no exception to this, and they brought all of their food and culture along with them, which you can see in these restaurants, few though they may be. Let us know which you found the most authentic in the comments below!

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