With this 25-year-old institution on Dong Khoi, there is a distinct sense of walking into old-fashioned Germany. The wooden panels, long bar and the staff uniform draw in the local crowd on a weeknight.
There is no modernist take on German food here, it delivers exactly what you expect. The bratwurst with sauerkraut and fried potatoes (VND220,000) is tasty, with a little kick of spice in the wurst. To finish with a apfelstrudel with ice cream and whipped cream (VND190,000) was a real treat.
Gartenstadt Restaurant is at 34 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC and is open daily from 10.30am to midnight. For more info, go to facebook.com/GartenstadtRestaurant
BMV Beer Bar & Restaurant
Nestled in the heart of Thao Dien and popular with the German community, BMV (Berlin, Munich, Vietnam) is owned and run by Willi, who is hugely passionate about his native food. “All the meat is imported from Germany,” he says, “and the ketchup is made in-house.” Only he gets to try it before it is released to the public.
The result is a delicious curry wurst and french fries (VND105,000) with the in-house sauce, which manages to balance the flavours well. What makes this place stand out is the variety of sausages (and beer) on offer. The German sausage schenke with mustard (VND125,000) is yet another highlight.
BMV Beer Bar & Restaurant is at 38 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC and is open daily from 10am till late. For more info, go to facebook.com/bmv.pubgrill
Deutsches Eck (German Corner)
Situated on Nguyen Van Linh in District 7, this is a friendly German bar and restaurant with a regular crowd of both Vietnamese and expats. Michael is one half of the husband-and-wife team running the show, with their establishment approaching its fourth anniversary later this month, just two weeks before Oktoberfest.
The German meatballs (VND159,000) are more like small burgers, and are all the better for it. Packed full of flavour together with a smooth texture, they’re about as delicate as you can get for such a meaty dish. The cheese sausage (VND189,000) was another wonderful addition, served by staff in traditional Bavarian dirndl uniforms.
Deutsches Eck (German Corner) is at A001 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, HCMC and is open daily from 10am to midnight. For more info, go to facebook.com/Deutsches-Eck-German-Corner-restaurant-161348864072932
Confidant Restaurant & Bar
Also in District 7, this family-run restaurant and bar owned by German national Ludwig and his Vietnamese wife, Tiffany, has been open since 2015. Although the main focus here is on Malaysian and Singaporean food, a passion of Ludwig’s from his years of working around the world, he couldn’t resist including a bit of German cuisine on the menu.
It may be of Swiss origin, but the chicken cordon bleu and French fries (VND165,000) is a warm and filling dish that sends not just memories of Germany, but also suits expats from across northern Europe who may be feeling a little homesick. The curry wurst with French fries (VND145,000) is bathed in curry sauce with plenty of curry powder that provides a real kick.
Confidant Restaurant & Bar is at R1-72 Hung Gia 2, Q7, HCMC and is open Mondays from 4pm to 11.30pm, and Tuesday to Sunday 10.30am to 11.30pm. For more info, go to facebook.com/confidant.hcmc.vn
Heading back into District 1 on Le Lai Street opposite 23/9 Park, you will find La Habana, which is better known for its paella rather than its schnitzel, but it does German food as good as anywhere.
The jaeger schnitzel with homemade pasta (VND200,000) is very well done by owner Jane. The pasta adds a fresh touch to a usually heavy dish. The Nuremberg sausages with sauerkraut (VND95,000 to VND180,000) are equally well seasoned, bringing out some fantastic flavours.
La Habana is at 152 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC and is open daily from midday to 1am. For more info, go to facebook.com/LaHabana.Sg
The vibrant German scene in Ho Chi Minh City is gearing up for Oktoberfest, so these restaurants will be offering a number of special dishes and beers to celebrate the festival as well as holding a range of events and competitions.
Photos by Olga Rozenbajgier