Getting a Bite to Eat
If you're visiting Germany or another German-speaking country, you're eventually going to have to eat. First, you have to identify what's a restaurant and what isn't. There are many words that let you know that you've found an eatery. Listen to your CD for the German pronunciation.
Table 3-4. Places to Eat
You can tell from the words just what kind of place you can expect. A beer garden or country inn isn't going to serve the same kind of food as a full-service restaurant.
If you're looking for just a bite to eat, look for a name with Café or Gaststätte in it. For a full meal, you'll probably want a Restaurant or Ratskeller. Der Ratskeller is usually found in the cellar of the town hall, called das Rathaus. It serves full meals and a variety of wines.
Germany produces a wide range of white and red wines. Truth be told, though, even the Germans will admit that they excel at white wines more than reds. Whether in the wine country along the Mosel and Rhine Rivers or in a Weinstube in Berlin, be sure to try a glass of German white wine.
When you're out looking for a restaurant, you will see many ethnic restaurants in the big cities. Just as in the United States, ethnic food is popular in German-speaking countries. You'll find a myriad of Mediterranean places along with Chinese, Mexican, Russian, and, of course, French eateries. There are also many American-style fast food places, including some that are transplants from the United States: McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and so on.
If a German menu seems too complicated, there's always the index finger. Point at a plate of food that looks interesting and just ask, “Was ist das?” (What is that?) And when you're ready to order it, you say “Ich möchte das, bitte.” (I'd like that, please.)
Restaurant names vary as much in Germany as they do in the United States. The owner's name, a city, an animal, or some trendy phrase might identify the place. When you see a name like Café Madrid, it's not hard to figure out where the name came from. But it's common to begin the name of an inn or other eating establishment with zu. The preposition zu, if you look it up in a dictionary, basically means “to.” But when it's used with the name of an inn, you should think of it as meaning The Inn of … : Zum roten Löwen (The Inn of the Red Lion), Zur alten Mühle (The Old Mill Inn).
You can easily learn the German names of food, beverages, and utensils. Some of the primary ones are given in Table 3-5. Listen to your CD for the German pronunciation of the following foods and beverages.
Table 3-5. Food and Beverages