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RESTAURANTS

German restaurants win record Michelin stars

A record 11 German restaurants have received three-star Michelin ratings this year, with the 2014 gourmets guide including 274 eateries across the country.

German restaurants win record Michelin stars
Germany's newest three-star food temple. Photo: DPA

"German cuisine is so unbelievably varied, one cannot put it into a pigeon hole. That's its great advantage," said editor of the guide, Ralf Flinkenflügel.

Christian Jürgens is new to the top ranks of those with three stars after seeing his restaurant Überfahrt in Rottach-Egern, Bavaria, given an extra one.

His menu includes beef from Pinzgauer cattle, an Austrian breed, and a "potato box" filled with cubed potatoes and a truffle salad. His is the first Bavarian restaurant to get three stars – now seven of Germany's 16 states have such decorated places for dinner.

The cliché of Michelin star restaurants being elite, expensive and not even filling no longer fits, said Flinkenflügel. "There are more, and more small restaurants which are decorated with a star and offer brilliant cuisine at brilliant value for money," he said.

You don't even have to dress to the nines to go, he said. "People simply want to eat well in a relaxed atmosphere."

The trend over the last few years for regional products continues, and has been joined by vegetarian food.

"Chefs do not need meat to get a star," said Finkenflügel, although he admitted Germany did not have a starred vegetarian restaurant. There is one in Milan, Italy.

Berlin is also continuing its transformation into a culinary hotspot within Europe, said Flinkenflügel. It now has five two-star restaurants and another nine with one star. "What Berlin has managed in the last 20 years is simply incredible," he said.

Other eastern regions have also done very well, with three new stars being awarded to restaurants on the Baltic coast, and another being handed out to a restaurant in Thuringia.

READ MORE: Gourmet guerrillas invade Berlin’s culinary scene

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RESTAURANTS

EXPLAINED: The rules in Germany on outdoor dining as bars and restaurants reopen

In many parts of Germany, outdoor dining has reopened for bars, restaurants and cafes. But what exactly are the rules on eating out?

EXPLAINED: The rules in Germany on outdoor dining as bars and restaurants reopen
A restaurant owner in Bad Nauheim, Hesse, as breakfast guests are served in the background. In parts of the state with low infection figures, no test or proof of vaccination are required. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The rules on outdoor dining are set by the individual states, meaning the rules are subtly different in the various parts of the country.

Keep in mind that national rules prescribe that fully vaccinated people, and those who’ve recovered from Covid (within a certain time frame), do not have to show a negative Covid-19 test when tests are mandatory. They can show proof of their immunity.

READ ALSO: How do you prove you’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19?

Here’s a look at the situation across a handful of German states.

Hamburg

In Hamburg, which currently has a 7-day incidence of around 43 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the city has allowed restaurants to open up their outdoor dining areas starting on the Pentecost weekend.

Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher said that the city would not impose a test requirement on restaurants as the incidence rate is below 50, and he said there was only a low risk of being infected with the coronavirus outdoors.

In the port city only a maximum of five people from two households can sit at a table together.

Much like last summer, guests will have to leave their details with the restaurant for contact tracing purposes.

READ ALSO: Hamburg to open restaurants earlier than planned as incidence drops below 50 mark

Schleswig-Holstein

The northern state has some of the most relaxed rules on outdoor dining. Up to 10 people can sit at a table and there is no limit based on households.

Children younger than 14 plus fully vaccinated people and those who’ve had the virus in the past half year can also sit at the table.

Guests sitting outside don’t need to provide a negative test result. 

READ MORE: Where in Europe are Covid curfews and early closures still in place?

Berlin and Brandenburg

In Berlin, where restaurants, cafes and bars can open up outdoors starting on Friday, diners will have to provide a negative test result from the last 24 hours, or must show that they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

In Brandenburg, where restaurants are also opening up for Pentecost, guests need to provide a negative test result if they are not fully vaccinated.

A restaurant in Brandenburg prepares on Friday morning to welcome guests again.

READ ALSO: How you can visit a bar in Berlin from Friday

Bavaria

Things are a bit complicated in Bavaria.

In districts with a 7-day incidence between 50 and 100 you don’t need to show a negative test result if you only sit with your own household. 

But meetings with a second household mean that a test result is required. For an antigen test the result needs to be no more than 24 hours old. For a PCR test it can be up to 48 hours old.

At an incidence lower than 50 guests don’t need to provide a negative test result. Between an incidence of 35 and 50 only two households and a maximum of five people can sit at one table. Below an incidence of 35, three households and a maximum of 10 people can sit at one table.

North Rhine-Westphalia

In North Rhine-Westphalia non-vaccinated guests at restaurants will have to provide a negative test that was conducted in the past 48 hours. This can be a PCR test or an antigen test, but the antigen test needs to have been done in a test centre or at a pharmacy – not a self administered test.

Hesse

In the central German state of Hesse restaurants that open for outdoor dining need to ask non-vaccinated and recovered guests to provide a negative test result. All guests have to give their details for contact tracing.

Guests already made a reservation for breakfast at a restaurant in Bad Nauheim, Hesse on Friday morning to mark the reopening of outdoor dining. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

READ MORE: Outdoor dining and swimming pools: How Berlin plans to reopen in May

Saxony

As of Wednesday, restaurants in the eastern state have been allowed to reopen outside, with guests requiring a negative test from the past 24 hours. The inside areas can also reopen once there is a 7-day incidence of under 50 for five days in a row.

Saarland

Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen indoors starting on May 31st to guests with a negative test. In districts of the French border state with a 7-day incidence under 100, outdoor dining is already open. The state became well known around the Easter holidays for the ‘Saarland model’, which allowed for mass openings when this figure was reached.

Bremen

On Tuesday, the harbour city-state senate decided that restaurants and bars would be allowed to reopen their outdoor seating areas on Friday.

Guests will be allowed until 11 pm, as long as they have a negative coronavirus test from the same day. But as soon as the 7-day incidence drops below 50, this is no longer required. Guests are – and will remain – required to register via an app, such as luca.

Saxony-Anhalt

Starting on Tuesday, indoor dining can open in cities or counties with a 7-day incidence of under 100 for five days in a row. As with elsewhere, strict hygiene rules will apply, such as mask wearing and showing a negative test.

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