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Playground Coffee Flat White

Playground Coffee

This third wave coffee shop was mistakingly named Playground Coffee. No just kidding.  There isn’t any other possible name they could have taken.  If I would have to review this coffee shop in short, their name would explain it all.

Playground Coffee Logo

Here’s the long version:

Matze, a former cameraman,  together with Veljko, an experienced barista and coffee roaster, created this third wave coffee roastery in 2014. First, they served flat whites & co. in the front niche of their pals hip burger restaurant: Otto’s Burger.  Next, they added the kiosk downtown, by the Rathaus. Mixed in with some tourists, business peeps get their morning or post-lunch specialty here.

Since March 2017, Playground has finally found it’s own playground.  The small show-space in the heart of St. Pauli is the perfect spot to be entertained by ironic baristas, enjoy a yummy bite of cake, and chat with strangers – all whilst sipping great coffee.

Their Espresso and Filter Roasts:

Vejcko and Matze always have their two espresso roasts on hand. Their flagship espresso roast is Skywalker, which will "wake you up in the morning and shoot you into the sky”.  (Yes, they are Star Wars fans, but don’t look it). Their fruitier espresso roast is named Playground Love.  Also appealing to a sweet-sour palate, are most of their filter roasts.  These vary seasonally.  At the moment they sell King Kongo, balanced with notes of milk chocolate, blood orange and sugar cane, the African Sista, redolent of sweet rhubarb and peach, and the natural Yirgacheffe, named Rocko Mountain.  Your filter will be “poured-over” using the Japanese Kalita. Then, served in a glass beaker next to your colorful dishware: pastel-turquoise, -blue, -green and a deep yellow are mixed and matched to playfully complement the interior.

Playground Coffee

Pale turquoise tiles are the barista-corner's backdrop. A baby pink wall served as the show-space for their latest pop-up, PAS NORMAL cycling apparel (they are ardent cyclists). Viva Mexico chairs, also in magenta, fit right into their common room.  Otherwise, concrete pots on clean wooden tables, felt seat cushions on the window-sill bench, and greens hanging from above compose their stylish interior.


 Playfully Third Wave  

You’re not gonna visit the Playground without a joke.  But don’t be fooled by them unless you’re ready to play along. Though when the blondie (Friedrich) says “soy is pain in the ass”, he isn’t joking. However they have backed off from the “only cow milk” dogma and Friedrich actually prefers his Prana Chai with oat milk too.  That is if he drinks chai. It seems like these kids energize themselves by pure caffeine . . .

Playground Coffee St. Pauli

On Detlev-Bremer Straße, just a step away from the Reeperbahn or Luicella’s Ice Cream, is Playground Coffee.  One of Hamburg’s finest tea salons, that serves the local Bourgeoisie. With a large guarded parking lot, you won’t need to worry about anything happening to your Bentley or Land Rover while enjoying your Skywalker. Stay cool. So will Playground.

St. Pauli Showspace

Where? Detlev-Bremer Straße
When? Mo-Fr: 9-18:00, Sa-Su: 10-16:30
Other Info: bathroom, fast and free wifi, Flat White costs 3€

Kiosk at the Rathaus

Where? Rathaus-Passage, Unter dem Rathausmarkt
When? Mo-Fr: 7:30-14:00, Sa-Su: closed

Niche at Otto's Burger

Where? Grindelhof 33 (Grindelviertel/Rotherbaum) –
When? Mo-Fr: 10-18:00, Sa-Su: 10-16:30
Other Info: bathroom (from Otto's), no wifi, Flat White costs 3€

Hamburg's VEG(AN) hamburgers

Don't ask me if hamburgers are Hamburger's invention or cheap American fast food. . . Well if you want  to know my opinion – then HH for sure has reinvented their idea of "hamburgers" and turned it to a hip and trendy craft.  Five years ago you might have found a white bun with an organic ground beef patty at your favorite soccer bar, but today's concoctions are mad up of seitan-, chickpea-, portobello-, quinoa-, bean-patties, surrounded by spelt, gluten-free, sourdough or brioche buns.  Add a mandatory side of sweet potato fries with some competing mayos and cole slaws. You can definitely say that vegetarian and vegan burgers in Hamburg, are a well executed trend.

Writing this burger guide has been on my mind for more than a year now.  These up and coming burger joints are convenient spots to go out with friends – not too fast-foody or fancy.  Besides, eating burgers, you'll really get to know those friends: bare hands (maybe take off the rings) or fork and knife? Wiping their mouth after every bite, or feeling comfortable with freckles of mayonnaise? That said, I have slowly come to accept that burgers aren't what they used to be – meaning that the spacey pilings might have to be devoured with silverware in the one or other case (Grilly Idol's Teriyaki for example).  But I prefer the traditional way and have learned some skills for handling them:

Hold the burger horizontal (don't turn downwards), so the filling doesn't fall and drip out. To have even more control lift your elbows upwards. Then, don't bite too vigourosly, otherwise the back side will burst out.  Bite carefully and for extra support have your little fingers overlap in the back of the burger so that you keep the concoction together till the end.  Got it?  Then you're ready to decide where to go!

Now I'm not a strict anything, let's call me flexi-vegan (or vegan++ for the IT peeps) . . .  But my burgers haven't consisted of meat for ages, so this is my medley of vegetarian and vegan burgers in Hamburg. Here is a guideline for you to judge my judgements for your own judgement:

I like my burgers fresh and flavorful: not too dry, not too thick of a bun, slathered in sauces with creative additions that provide contrast. Burgers shouldn't be a sandwich in a bun, but a luscious "hand-food" assembly.

– colors refer to the map –

MY FAVS: Happen Pappen, Most Wanted Burger, Otto's Burger (vegetarian), Rice Ninja

ALL VEGAN: Happen PappenFroindlichst, Vincent Vegan (foodtruck)

MOST CREATIVE COMBOS: Most Wanted Burger, Grilly Idol

ONE OF A KIND: Happen Pappen


BIG GROUPS: Froindlichst, Grilly Idol

BEST SIDE: roasted potatoes at Happen Pappen, asian cole slaw at Grilly Idol

Happen Pappen – my post here
all vegan (gf option)

Extremely popular, but still as down-to-earth as can be.  This café/bistro serves my favorite vegan burgers in Hamburg; Monday through Sunday from 6pm.  Either as the piled concoction or served in a bowl omitting the bun for some extra salad and roasted oven potatoes – awesome!  These burgers are creative and taste earthy but fresh, whilst still slathered in those best ever homemade mayos. Meaning I could eat out here every evening, without getting sick of the often-case "too rich, too fatty" restaurant food.  Happen Pappen's vegan burgers taste like completely new inventions and I've gotten anti-vegan guys to love them as well, so don't hesitate!  If there's any space left (usually not for me), the cakes are just as juicy and delicious (my favourites being apple and chocolate).  Nothing is boring at HP and one visit will lure you back to this spot for any daytime meal. 

Happen Pappen: best vegan burger
I love the earthy, fresh and natural colors of their burgers

Patty: seitan, rice-chickpea-coconut, red lentil
Bun: yummy spelt, but a tick too thick, also gf available (or take the bowl for my favorite ratio)
Combos: INNOVATIVE, like the Asian (coconut-chickpea, wasabi mayo, radish, carrot), a Mexican, "Indiana Jones" (BBQ, roasted onions . . . ), one with cranberries, pickles, roasted onions and more
Ratio: too much bun in the burger for me, but the burger bowls are perfected and quite large
Sides: roasted oven potatoes with amazing homemade harissa mayo, fresh salad, nachos
Drinks: teas, smoothies, homemade lemonades, soft drinks, no alcoholics

If it were mine: thinner buns // if my mom would co-own it: craft beer

8,50€ or 10€ for b-bowls (they are large), order and pay (afterwards) at the counter
burgers served Mo-Sa: from 18:00
Feldstraße 36 (St. Pauli/Karoviertel)

all vegan (gf option)

A spacy vegan joint with a saloon-like, beach shack interior, a loungy back room and lots of open-air seating outdoors.  The burgers and pizzas are good, the fries and cakes amazing, and I've still got to try out the burritos, smoothies and Sunday brunches.  The service was very friendly and open to special wishes.

Froindlichst vegan burger

Patty: lentil, black bean, differently spiced seitan patties – had a bit of that succulent meat flavor
Bun: homemade spelt, gf also available
Combos: an Italian (sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts), a Mexican (black bean, tortilla chips, guace), a BBQ, a chilly cheeze
Ratio: the bun was tasty on it's own, but in the combo it was a bit too dense and dry
Sides: very good potato crisp-like fries, nicely salted sweet potato fries, fresh abundant salad –– there's no choice to omit your choice of side, they come along with the dish
Drinks: great craft beers, cocktails, warm drinks, homemade ice teas, smoothies

If it where mine: work on them mayos so you can add more and have perfect ratio, and let the sides be optional

11,90 € for burger with a side (they come together), order and pay (afterwards) at the counter
Mo-Sa: 12:00-22:00, Su: 10-22:00, reservation here (though there's plenty of seating space, especially outside)
Barmbeker Straße 169 (Winterhude)

Vincent Vegan (foodtruck) locations, see more below
all vegan (gf option)

I have heard lots of vegans say that this is their favorite burger.  The chatty and accommodating service makes for a fun atmosphere.  The "single" burger was missing some juiceiness, which makes a burger a burger (instead of a sandwich).  Maybe the ratio with their double patty burgers would be perfect, plus some extra turmeric-garlic mayo.  However they prep them combinations to be a very edible street food; these burgers can't be demolished by silverware.

vegan burger food truck

Patty: seitan-tofu mix
Bun:  fluffy and soft, but too large
Combos: with guacamole and jalapeõs (great!) and optional cheeze or veg-bacon
Ratio: a lot of bun, too little mayo, a tasty combo, but not very juicy burger-ish
Sides: sweet potato or normal fries with three different mayos (I vote for the garlicky turmeric one)
Drinks: soft drinks (lemonades, water . . . ) but this is a food truck, you'll have lots of neighbours to please your bud

If it where mine: make the bun a bit thinner and slather it in the great mayo.

at Spielbudenplatz (St.Pauli/Reeperbahn) almost every Thursday for the Street Food Session, 17:00-23:00
current and future locations here

Rice Ninja Foodtruck (on outdoor markets)
one veggie, possible to be made vegan (all GF)

I actually don't like to call things burgers that aren't really burgers . . .  but after advertising Happen Pappen's burger bowls so strongly, I guess Rice Ninja's burgers deserve a spot here too.  These "burgers" are an authentic, quick and cheap meal for in between.  Instead of a bun you'll have some fried rice, filled with simple, unique flavour and freshness, bringing a lightness to common heavy burgers.  Most importantly they taste great.

Rice Ninja Veggie Burger
the veggie, aka the SPLINTER

"Patty": teriyaki oyster mushrooms – they're great
"Bun": fried rice!
Combo: clearly different, staying simple but great, with coleslaw, salad, thai basil, a slightly spicy sauce and sesame
Ratio: perfect and light
Sides: asian cole slaw and cool manioc fries
Drinks: water and Fritz Kola
Meat Friends: pulled pork or tuna "burgers"

If it were mine: well it's not 100% my definition of a burger . . . but I think nobody really cares unless they try to have scientific discussions about this food science

Mo & Wed: 11:30-14:00 (City Nord farmers market), Tu & Fr: 7-14:00 (Isemarkt, Eppendorf)

three vegan, four veggie

This is a mix of cute and old-classic, nothing like: "Burgers are mainstream, vegan is too, let's open a restaurant!"  The cottage styled bistro is family run with really good homemade, not trendy, vegetarian and vegan food.  Their "Börgers" are super, so I haven't come around to try any other dishes.  The latter are long-established German standards, which are hard to explain in English: call it a simple veggie patty/dumpling with different sauces, quiches, salads or falafel . . .  Börgers we all know though, and this is a great spot to have a classic one, keeping it simple with conservative styled German twists (see combos).

vegan burger in St. Georg

Patty: homemade vegetable patty, very good
Bun: soft, springy white bun, like a traditional "burger bun" should be, but it tastes homemade and fresh – all burgers can be made bunless too
Combos: classic (ketchup, mustard, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes) with "classy German twists" like cranberries and camembert, mushrooms and creme fraiche, but also a great avocado, modest BBQ or chili-cheese Börger; on demand switch arugula for iceberg lettuce
Ratio: perfect but still edible by hand
Sides: always a little coleslaw, sesame sweet potato fries, poppy-oregano potato fries, side salad, tomato carpaccio
Drinks: alcohol free beer, homemade lemonades and ice teas, soft drinks, hot drinks

If it were mine: offer free tap water

7-8,90€ (table service)
Mo-Th: 12:00-21:00, Fr-Sa: 12:00-22:00, reservations here
Lange Reihe 98 (St. Georg)

Most Wanted Burger
one to two vegan, one to two veggie (varies seasonally), (gf option)

#MWB was a great surprise, because we had judged the joint by its cover – "the imbiss type".  Their burgers are outstanding, and you can watch them prepare'm freshly on the spot in their lively and small kitchen-bar.  This concept was opened by a chef and barkeeper who wanted to turn fast food into first-class, high-piled creations. Each combo I have tried) definitely is perfected and unique. Plus they've got truffle fries.

vegan tofu burger
MONKEY BURGER: Peanut-Banana-Tofu Patty with caramelised onions, banana chips and homemade vegan mayo (temporary menu)

Patty: (changes every 3 months), example: spinach-herbs (veggie), pumpkin, tofu-peanut-banana (vegan)
Bun: great brioche or sesame bun (veggie), super crunchy toasted Krossi (vegan)
Ratio: awesome
Combos: creative without faking any cheese or meats, special ingredients such as banana chips, pomegranate, pumpkin, dried berry, mango salsa, sprouts, radish . . .
Sides: lots of different fries (like sweet potato or truffle), great homemade mayos (1 vegan), potato chips, tempura veggies, potato salad, tiny corn on the cobs (latter two are only veggie)
Drinks: soft drinks, cocktails, wine, bad selection of beers, hot drinks
Meat Friends: get a pasture-raised patty, very good

If it were mine: all great, continue the good work! // If my mom would co-own it: craft beer

8,90-9,90€  menu, (table service)
Mo-Su: 12:00-22:00, reservations here
Osterstraße 31 (Eimsbüttel)

Grilly Idol
five vegan, ten to be made as a veggie, (gf option, but only for the meat variants)

A chill'n, maybe a bit gentrified, burger restaurant in the midst of St. Pauli.  Their generous sized burgers are 100% worth it: they're juicy, nicely charred (yes the vegan black bean patty tastes this way too) and perfected by some housemates who out of nowhere, opened this successful burger bar.  We got to chat with one of them.  He was really into his thing and whilst mixing and tasting the cocktails, he refilled my tap water every time it was empty – not something you'll see very often.

Grilly Idol vegan burger

Patty: charred black bean or crispy marinated soy
Bun: perfect brioche, white sesame, or a steamed asian bao bun
Combos: a large selection, many with an asian twist (like teriyaki, peanuts, red beet sprouts, wasabi-mayo in a steamed bao bun)
Ratio: altogether great, though some wouldn't suffer from less mayo
Sides: four different slaws (asian slaw is best), side salad, sweet pot. and normal fries, homemade sauces and mayos (11 vegan)
Drinks: great selection of craft beers, soft drinks, long drinks (there's quite a bar), shots, wine, champagne, coffee (but no tea! ;))
Meat Friends: organic patties are charred to perfection and taste as juicy as one could expect for a burger

If it were mine: a bit smaller portions, and a tad less mayo on some // My dad wants to add: "give the local Paulianers a discount"

8,50-11,50€ menu, table service, great for larger groups
Mo-Th: 12:00-23:00, Fr-Sa: 12:00-24:00, Su: 12:00-22:00, reservations here
Clemens-Schultz-Straße 40 (St. Pauli)

Otto's Burger my post here
one vegan, two veggie

This is a Hamburg favorite, and there is no wondering why.  It feels local and individual but still American styled (at least the Grindel one). Most importantly, the burgers are verily perfected.  I guess that was their goal, two cousins and a friend wanted to reinvent this American fast food and bring it back to the city where it originated.  The vegetarian burgers are tender and juicy.  This spot has become a delicious standard for groups with diverse tastes.

vegetarian quinoa burger

Patty: quinoa-bean-carrot (vegan) – great!, portobello mushroom (veggie)
Bun: great brioche bun, but the egg-less vegan variant is too dry
Combos: simple but awesome (succulent veggie patty, tomato relish and guacamole or squeaky portobello mushroom, coleslaw and pickled onions)
Ratio: the veggie: super perfect!,  the vegan: the dry bun brings it a bit out of balance, more mayo necessary
Sides: sweet potato fries, normal fries, coleslaw, onion rings, awesome mayos (only one vegan, the jerk-mayo, but it's awesome)
Drinks: great selection of craft beers, homemade smoothies, shakes and lemonades, soft drinks, wine, long drinks, specialty coffee at the entrance from Playground Coffee (at Grindel)
Meat Friends: get a pasture-raised patty, very satisfying

If it were mine: get that vegan bun as good as the others

8€ menu, table service
Ottensen: Mo-Su: 11:30-21:45, Grindel & Schanze: Mo-Th: 11:30-22:30, Fr-Sa: 11:30-23:00, Su: 11:30-22:00, no reservations and quite busy
Grindelhof 33 (Grindel), Schanzenstraße 58 (Sternschanze), Bahrenfelder Straße 175 (Ottensen)

one vegan, one veggie

"Edel" means fancy, "satt" means if you are (hunger wise) satisfied or full.  Now what do you expect?  Edelsatt appears like a kind of fancy bistro (on Mühlenkamp especially).  The owners used to be hunters, so they're passionate about local game. The animal in the patties will literally have run around forests eating what they wanted for their whole life – as organic as it can get.  The meat patties are made of three different types of wild deer and wild boar – partially sourced from two specific huntsmen.  But I care about the vegetarian and vegan type, even if the quinoa and tomatoes were fenced in dirt fields their whole life.  The vegan one is luscious, and very filling although I was missing something fresh and contrasting.  The vegetarian type has an oriental flair, with eggplant instead of a patty and some zangy orange-chili mayo.

vegan quinoa burger

Patty: large fried quinoa patty, crispy outside, hot and soft and savoury taste inside (vegan), veggie has no real patty, just eggplant
Bun: all organic, not special but very good
Combos: oriental, healthy and different than the others (quinoa patty, hummus, tomato-cashew cream or eggplant, hummus, mozzarella, orange-chile mayo)
Ratio: a bit too much patty (vegan), veggie one great
Sides: superb sweet potato fries with fennel salt, normal fries, side salad, homemade mayos (one vegan, the tomato-cashew – different and very tasty!)
Drinks: soft drinks, beer, gin, cocktails, wine, hot drinks
Meat Friends: tastes very special in a good way, it's wild meat, supposedly that's healthiest, tastiest and friendliest – seems like a win, win situation if you're gonna eat meat

If it were mine: make the vegan patty smaller, turn on different music

7,50€-8,00€, very friendly table service
Tu-Sa: 12:00-22:30 Su: 14:00-21:00 (Mühlenkamp) reservation here, Mo: 12-21:00, Tu-Sa: 12-22:30 (Karoviertel)
Mühlenkamp 8 (Winterhude), Karolinenstraße 32 (Karoviertel)

Peter Pane
four vegan, seven veggie

Former Hans in Glück got recreated to Peter Pane, at least in north Germany.  They are a very successful franchise, and an easy choice for large groups to meet up for lunch.  This time of day is busy but peaceful amongst birch trees – or is it maybe more fairy tail-ish wooden decor? In the evening the bar-feeling is present, intimate discussions are hard, because loud music is part of the concept.  Their burgers are hit and miss, some are great, some are too dry, hot or plain – but they have a large selection, so hope for a hit!

Peter Pane vegan burger

Patty: wheat or sweet potato-tahini (vegan) – great! , sweet potato, tomato-olive, walnut-celery, (veggie)
Bun: sourdough, multi-grain or brioche – all good; also bun-less on a few selected kinds
Combos: something for everyone – from potato chips and BBQ sauce, to spicy pepper sauce with grilled veggies, or mushroom, herbs and chive-mayo . . .
Ratio: depends on which one you get . . .  Weltreise was too plain, but Panflöte surprised me positively
Sides: fries, side salad, tasty mayos (five vegan)
Drinks: beer, homemade ice teas and lemonades, soft drinks, cocktails, wine, hot drinks
Meat Friends: only get locally sourced patties

If it were mine: offer sweet potato fries as small side portion (not just the pound portion), and make all burgers as good as the best one 

7,90-8,90€, menu, table service
Mo-Su: 11:00-open end (reservations on the website, there are 5 locations)
Schäferkampsallee 1 (Schlump, Eimsbüttel), Lange Reihe 107 (St. Georg), Goldbekplatz 1 (Winterhude), Hoheluftchausee 99 (Hoheluft), Witts Allee 1A (Blankenese)

Now I haven't tasted every vegan burger in Hamburg, but I've gone to every spot that seems worthwhile for me.  Below are some further burger spots that I either haven't tested yet or that I don't approve of (see the gray ones on the map, if you open the extra tab)

  • The Burger Lab (one vegan, one veggie) – 7,90€ – Eimsbüttel/Schanze, the meaty burgers are nice, but I'm not a fan of the veggie and vegan ones
  • BurgerKultour (all seven burgers possible vegan or veggie, also gf) 7,50€-11€ menu – Eimsbüttel/Schanze, modern urban feeling
  • Anchors & Hearts (three vegan) 10,50€-12,50€ menu  – St. Pauli, restaurant feeling, opens at 18:00
  • Hensel (one vegan, one veggie) 5,30-6,50€ menu – Winterhude, seems kind of fast foody
  • The Bird (two vegetarian) 10€ – St. Pauli, definitely for greasy meat burger lovers, and the black bean burger isn't bad, but it's a really "burger" place with loud music
  • Brooklyn Burger Bar (most normal burgers optional as a veggie) 9-14,50€ menu – downtown
  • Atelier F (one vegetarian) 7,80€ menu – downtown, main emphasis on meats (they're concept ist French-American kitchen)
  • Bürgerlich (one veggie), 6€ menu – downtown, seems very casual and simple
  • Dulf's Burger (no vegan) 7,40€ – emphasis definitely on huge piled (meat) burgers

Kropka lunch


Kropkå had been opened for four days. I was at this cafe twice in a row and already feel like it is my neighborhood favorite.  After pondering over doing so since high school, the owner Katrin quit her job to create her dream.  She now bakes cakes day and night, and prepares her childhood open-faced sandwiches for Hamburg locals – whilst personally serving the forming group of regulars and phoning up her traditional baker and coffee roaster for personalized orders.

Kropka exterior

Kropkå is a place to come with friends, family or just a laptop.  It serves breakfast platters, fresh yogurt-berry bowls, rustic but fancy “toasts”, a few cheese and meat appetizers, daily varying mains, homemade cakes, specialty coffee, and some wine & co. for the fancy guests from Eppendorf.  Katrin, and her loyal helpers curated and tested every dish to perfection.  The cheese comes from an organic cheese farm, Hafenkäserei Münster, the coffee beans are a special roast from Das Neue Schwarz in Dortmund and the various breads are delivered daily from a small and traditional wood-oven baker, Der Holzofenbäcker.

Some things you can take from the pictures – the cozy, somewhat minimalistic and dark interior. The dishes taste as perfected as they look: fluffy soft and crunchy farmers baked bread with hearty delicacy toppings.  But I asked Katrin for a few more details on how she came up with the name Kropkå, where the menu inspiration comes from and what the interior concept is.

The Name Kropkå:

It truly just is a made up name for this cafe.  Jumbled together out of nowhere from her and her friends.  After settling on this combination of letters, they looked it up.  Kropka actually is an existing Polish word, meaning the figurative “cherry on top”, so she added a literal “cherry on top” of the a – turning Kropk-a into Kropk-å.  

The Menu Inspiration:

Katrin grew up in the Ruhrgebiet, the old industrial city hotspot in the midwest of Germany.  Thither, it still is common to have sturdy breads with hearty toppings.  Two years ago, Hamburg had almost none of these to offer, so Kropkå was starting to form in her mind.

Today, Kropkå makes up for it with bread toppings partially from her mom’s recipes (like the tuna, shallot, caper mingle or the braised mushroom with parsley and garlic creme), and partially inspired by what trendy clientele is expecting – avocado toast (especially good with the crispy bacon).  All are a winner for me.  Then there’s the Käsezupfbrot, which literally means “cheese-pluck-bread”.  I thought it was a long-established comforting dish from the area, but no.  She completely made it up!  A little soft and crusty round loaf, cooked in cast-iron with cheese, garlic and fresh herbs, that gets dipped in sour cream.  I could have been on an idyllic alpine hut while eating this.  So the menu inspiration comes from her childhood and hometown, plucked up by pure creativity that hit todays standards of an excellent, and special cafe.


The Interior Concept:

Katrin and her friends observed how most special cafes in Hamburg are cute and girly  – antique plates, étagère breakfasts with macarons and dainty detailing.  Not the guys’ favorites when their girlfriends drag them out here (think Zuckermonarchie, Gretchens Villa, Herr Max).  Kropkå is an open space for all types.  It’s dim and rustic but beautifully cozy with an old bookshelf, lots of clean wood and a mix of little cacti and colourful flower bouquets.   You can expect an interior designer to have fine tuned this concept here, but Katrin did it all by herself, just choosing what she liked most.  Her friends say, to her surprise, that it looks just like her home.

To summarize: the dishes are traditionally German pepped up by the trending food culture.  Mostly young friends and couples were here on the first days. However I saw lots of seniors eye it out on their afternoon stroll too.  You are kindly served at your table, food is prepared freshly in the back and might take a while, but the atmosphere is wonderful to spend some time here.  I can’t think of anything I would want to change in any aspect or dish of Kropkå . . .  although, maybe yes: the currywurst whiff from next door when sitting outside 😉  Now some cafes I recommend to a specific type of person, and others to others… but Kropkå I could to everyone (except vegans might have to ask their way around).  It is all-embrasive, not by being basic and conservative, but by making simple, hearty food in delicious ways.  

Where? Eppendorfer Weg 174 (Eimsbüttel/Hoheluft)

When? Tu-Su: 9:30-19:00

How much?  Flat White 3,10€, breads 7,50-8,90€, breakfasts 6,50-11,50€

Other Info: great veggie, ask for vegan options, free wifi

Nord Coast Coffee Roastery

Finally my post comes, 1,5 years later than planned – which was the day they opened.  We had happened to walk by the specialty coffee shop in Hamburg and thought what an awesome place this would become, even though all we had tried was coffee then.  Now I can surely say that this café is worth every cent.

Nord Coast already made it into my Açai-Bowl and Flat White guides for Hamburg, but they deserve a whole entry, for example to swarm more about the beautifully presented breakfasts: lox-red beet toast, hummus-avocado quinoa fritters or the beloved waffles.

The interior is set over two stories, it’s spacious and what I imagine British vintage to look like: old books and typewriters on the decorative shelves, a few leather lounge chairs and couches with old suitcases as coffee side tables.  But there’s also a slight industrial feeling, given by the old roasting machine and the piles of coffee bean sacks.  Apart from some large common tables, you’ll find tables for small groups and idyllic window sill spots with views on the town canal.

Just recently they’ve added table service – from whom you get a full water jug with glasses to refill.  If the service were as knowledgable and genuine as the owning couple, I couldn’t give any critic at all.  But if you know what you want, it’s fine.  I recommend all the waffles: from fresh berries and maple syrup to the gf banana one with peanut butter or basil-apple compote.  I’ve never been a waffle fan, but these are perfect.

For a savory breakfast the bread with plentiful lox on red beet schmear with baby spinach and sprouts has always been my top choice.  The gluten-free quinoa fritters are a new hit as well.  A bit pricey, but unique to Hamburg.  Topped with lime-hummus, avocado and either a poached egg or more avocado – I actually prefer the latter version. For poached egg I would take the avo-toast with pesto and one, that’s my dad’s favorite.

Nord Coast Coffee Quinoa Fritters
vegan quinoa fritters


Nord Coast Red Beet Lox Toast
lox red beet toast

Paula, the owner, is Brazilian.  She grew up on a coffee farm there.  However this country is just as famous for their açai bowls, as for their coffee. That means she has the best experience with this trend. Açai bowls at Nord Coast are not as slushy as ice cream, but a healthier breakfast version.  They belong to one of my two favorites in HH. If you need to switch it up, try the more savory matcha-mango bowl.

Açai Bowl and Matcha Bowl at Nord Coast

Coming to their Specialty Coffee:

Nord Coast roasts five different coffee roasts right on site.  They offer the most filter methods, than any other specialty coffee shop in Hamburg.  But don't worry if you're an amateur.  The baristas can advise you if Karlsbader Kanne, Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex or Syphon is best for the roast you choose.  Each roast is treated like a chem lab experiment.  They are presented in thin cylinders.  Next to each is a legend referring to the heritage, roasting strength, variety, growth altitude, preparation, classification, notes and flavours.  For the espresso drinks there’s the choice of the lighter or darker roast.  And lucky me, they also succeed in latte art with non-dairy milks. However the cows milk is as local as can be. So that's not an awful choice either 😉

Flat White and Cheesecake at Nord Coast Coffee Roastery

If I would have said it short, everything at Nord Coast is dainty, delicious and has high quality.  Even the freshly squeezed orange juice striked us.  It’s a spot for leisurely or birthday breakfasts, intimate business meetings, coffee connoisseurs, girls on instagram-dates or to chill and get some laptop work done.

Where? Deichstraße 9

When? Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa-Su: 10-18

How much? flat white 3,30€, breakfast 5-9€, waffles 4-7€

bathroom, free wifi

food quality/diets: local milk, organic eggs, vegan and gluten-free options

My favorites: orange juice, lox-red beet toast, vegan quinoa fritter, lime-mascarpone waffle

Ti Breizh

Ti Breizh – House of Brittany

Ti Breizh means "House of Brittany" in the Breton language.  Hamburg's only such restaurant, it cooks traditional food, most famously buckwheat crepes, aka galettes.  In good weather they even offer a taste of the "coast", with seating along the Nikolaifleet.  Inside two stories overlook this town canal. White wooden furniture, maritime dressed servers with a French accent and artwork from Breton artists make you feel transmitted to the North East of France.  That is also where they still source specific ingredients from, if the regional quality doesn't satisfy.

Legends claim that Duchess Anne de Bretagne (1488-1514) throned galettes to be the national dish of Brittany.  The necessary buckwheat was brought by knights as they returned from the Crusades.

Ti Breizh is suited for any type, occasion and hunger, but is still to be savoured.  What else would one expect from cooks who learned their craft in Brittany?  Though many are meaty, like the French like it, there is a wide selection of delicious vegetarian variants and even two vegan options.  Galettes are  made of buckwheat, so that's gluten-free on top of it.

The creations range from simple to quite complex, sweet and savoury and can be complemented by apple cider (or craft beer) both from their country.   Mostly I have come to dine for special occasions  – my dads 50th and 51st birthday, farewell dinners and celebrations after exams.  However it's a place I always feel comfortable at, whatever the situation might be.  Their simplest galette (with French salted butter) costs 4,30€ and can just as well be a casual snack, after exploring the harbor city.

For entrées (= appetizer), like they are in Brittany, we have tried the little fishes (mackerels, sardines), soup and salad with artichokes – all of which pleased. However I would save your hunger for the galettes with diverse toppings (ratatouille, spinach, lamb sausage, artichokes, smoked salmon, fried egg . . .).  I especially like the two vegan options.  They don't suffer from an absence of the opulent ingredients that get chosen for the daily specials – such as duck, lamb sausage or blue cheese, which I adore as well.

Usually there's a bit of room for dessert.  That doesn't make the choices of the day any easier.  If you like salted caramel then definitely take caramel breton maison.  A great newbie for us was the chestnut cream – another traditional French ingredient. But this sweet menu is actually more overwhelming than I'm making it seem now: pure sugar; honey-lemon; maple syrup; fruit jams; roasted nuts with apple compote; dark chocolate-banana or -pear or -marzipan . . .  scroll down to the bottom and you can choose ones with vanilla ice cream, hot cherry sauces, stewed apples, chantilly (whipped cream) or some booze to make them glow in flames.

If you're new to Hamburg or have lived here for a lifetime, Ti Breizh is worth every visit.  I recommend reserving a table, especially in the evenings.  And if you're going on a warm day and lucky enough to miss the Hamburg rain, then grab a spot on the Nikolaifleet.

Please tell me what you think if you get a chance to try!

My favorite: the "vegan" one with artichokes but normal cheese (or ask for Morbier, that's a stronger mountain-blue cheese)

Where? Deichstraße 39, 3 min walk from U3 Rödingsmarkt and Baumwall – just a few minutes from the modern and old parts of the harbor (Hafencity and Speicherstadt)

When? food from 12-22, open till about midnight, Boutique: Mo-Sa: 11-20

How much? 7-10€ for the normal galettes, (4-6€ for the simple ones), 4-7€ dessert crêpes

Other Info: no wifi, bathroom, reservation recommended, vegan, gf, website

Alpine Cuisine in the Hansestadt

Spring, 2013 – We watched Alpenkantine being conceived, just around the corner from home on the busy and (then) still ugly Osterstraße. The storefront let us judge the book by its cover and it was clear that this would become a local favorite.  Luckily, because otherwise I never would have been dragged into the concept of this mountain hut style cuisine with comfort food for yodellers.  

What I now will refer to as our alpine cuisine, from the Allgäu in Swabia extending through the German speaking Alps, will consist of Knödel and Spätzle.

Knödel: round dumplings; made of potatoes, flour or bread – pepped up into various flavour combinations

Spätzle: short and chewy, soft egg noodles; most commonly known as Käsespätzle which have cheese (Käse) baked on top; (The word "Spätzle" is derived from the diminutive form of Spatz (like chic-ito in Spanish), now meaning "little sparrow")

Of course much more than just the aforementioned belong to alpine cuisine, so these eateries might also make delicious Kaisserschmarrn (ripped apart pancakes bits with applesauce and powdered sugar), tender warming Rindergulasch or Seelen (the swabian version of open-faced sandwiches).  But Knödel and Spätzle are the classics, so that's what I'll focus on.

Alpenkantine • Zum Spätzle • Marend • Harbor Cake


Alpenkantine (Eimsbüttel)

KNÖDEL: varying flavors (potato, chili-peanut, potato, pear-nut, red beet, cheese, spinach-walnut, carrot-goat cheese) either warmed in brown butter with baby spinach, parmesan and seeds or as the weekly created dish with experimental toppings (cabbage-horseradish-hazelnut, curry, chard-gorgonzola, brussel sprouts-goat cheese. . .)
SPÄTZLE: weekly varying Käs'spätzle with additions like Sauerkraut, chard, red beet, roasted onions and bacon
MORE ALPINE: Maultaschen, Gulasch, Schnitzel, Leberkäs, Kaiserschmarren, Strudel
BREAKFAST: Bircher Müsli, savory cheese and meat platters with bread
☁︎ ☁️ lively, full of locals, modern-alpine flair, eclectic mix of chairs, bistro service (pay before)
👎🏼 staff doesn't always quite live up to the rest of the place
main dish: 8,90-10,90€
• bathroom, no wifi, German menu here, Mo: 10-20, Tu-Fr: 10-22, Sa: 10-20, Su: 10-18


Zum Spätzle (Neustadt – b/w downtown and harbor)

KNÖDEL: none
SPÄTZLE: the largest selection of all: with sauerkraut, smoked-tofu, saitan, bacon, parmesan and pesto, lentils, meat-loaf, monthly specials (like red beet, gorgonzola-mushroom, pumpkin…) also VEGAN
MORE ALPINE: Seelen, Flädlesuppe, desserts
☁︎ ☁️ feels and smells like a cozy miniature home-restaurant, vintage-alpine flair with rustic tables, stools, cozy cushions and table service
👎🏼 no Knödel (but you can't accuse them of false advertising)
main dish: 8,90-14,40€, ~2€ lunch discount, and larger portions upon request at no extra charge
• bathroom, no wifi, German menu here, daily 12-22


Marend – Tiroler Küche (St. Pauli & Eimsbüttel)

KNÖDEL: spinach, red beet-goat cheese or cheese-sage Knödel in browned butter, with parmesan and salad
MORE ALPINE: Rindergulasch, savoury cheese and cold cut platters, fruit dumplings for dessert
☁︎ ☁️ alpine flair, with rustic tables, wooden bar chair and cozy windowsill seating, (table service)
👎🏼 too much Knödel or too little zingy topping/salad to make up for it
main dish: 9,70-9,90€, 2€ lunch discount
• bathroom, German menu here, Mo-Fr: 12-22, Sa: 18-22 (St. Pauli), Mo-Sat: 18-22 (Eimsbüttel)


Harbor Cake (Karo-Viertel)

KNÖDEL: super doughy, juicy soft and filling – red beet, spinach, cheese, mushroom, bacon (might change) with a load of fresh salad
SPÄTZLE: optional with cheese and or bacon – gooey, creamy and comforting as can be, think 5-star mac'n'cheese (thought I hate this comparison)
MORE ALPINE: Rindergulasch, Schlutzkrapfen (alpine raviolis with spinach and mountain cheese), Kaiserschmarrn, Flammkuchen, Leberkäs, fruit dessert dumplings
☁︎ ☁️ like a crowded social living room, inviting you in by the smell and a low-key and quite varied customer group
👎🏼 hard to get a spot, restrictive warm kitchen times and the owner could make this spot the hit of the city if she'd put a smile on her face and recommend me her favorite dish
main dish: 6,90€-7,90€ (large portions)
• bathroom Mo, Th-Sa: 11-18, Su: 13-18 (warm kitchen 12-16:00)



We went to Milch for my Flat White Guide Hamburg.  Luckily we did, because we would have missed out otherwise.  Milch is especial down there by Landungsbrücken, in between Portuguese cafés by the harbor.  Thus they have fresh salmon sandwich rolls and there isn't any competition for a great coffee, let alone options to satisfy my chocolate devotion.  With the look of an open-spaced retro kitchen, Milch is unpretentious, relaxed and has a better mix of customers than many specialty coffee shops.  Their backgrounds are also granted a great sense of humour 🙃.  You might be sued for this painted canvas in some other spots of the world, don't you think?

Where did the right girl's arm go?

Before my existence began it had been a mom-and-pop shop (or in German, a Tante Emma Laden).  But the blue tiles originate from the milk store it was back in the 50ies. So they only have happy cows' milk delivered directly from the Reitbrook farm just outside of Hamburg (or soy milk). That, incorporated with their self roasted coffee, creates highly approved flat whites.  In comparison to many other third wave's flat whites:

"Very good, but not quite as good Milch!"  – My coffee tæster says.

Their home-roasts are light, medium or dark with corresponding recommendations in what way to use them (like for an Espresso or automatic machines).  There's varying guest coffees as well, but if you're not up for that bean then go for the cocoa!  Either as a one-of-a-kind hot chocolate or the chocolate tart. Usually those are two completely different things, only akin by the Theobroma.  But the full-bodied Italian hot chocolate and Milch's tart were like brother and sister. The latter is a bit denser, to be eaten with a fork, and the drink more in the direction of a too liquid pudding, to sip or spoon out of the cup.  It reminded me of Mexican Champurrado, but even creamier.  Luckily the portion is cappuccino size, so that's not overwhelming. Alas! I want them now, they were too awesome!  And I was so hyped up that I forgot to take a picture of the tarte . . .  I'll have to come again soon!

But what else makes Milch so cool, other than their kindred chocolates?  Well they have gray tables instead of wooden ones (finally adding variety to the picture background 😉).  No seriously, Nico Ueckermann made them himself.  He's a modest expert of his craft and whilst watching him swirling the milk and making latte arts, I learned a lot of new things about this coffee culture.  For example, the

"original cappuccino is much smaller"

than what most people (even coffee experts) expect.  That's why he makes his cappuccino in two sizes, the Italian "small" size or the nowadays "normal" size. Ueckermann's full-time job is this café: as a barista, owner and dog photographer.  He's a dog’s best friend, which you might notice by the dog-pictures on the counter-top iPad (or here at #milchdogs).  "It's hard to have dogs in a big town like Hamburg, but other people's dogs suffice – for photo shootings against the light blue tiles of this old milk store."

We also savoured the freshly prepared lox sandwich. The mustard dressing was delicious on this nicely chewy but delicate German bread roll.  And then we got around to our work-work.  The atmosphere was really pleasant and you didn't feel watched by anyone – so I did the observing: a french group of friends, Asian and German girl friends, an older couple and unassuming Hamburgers in their 20-30s.  In the tourist season it's a bit more vibrant with different accents, throughout the week the working crowd need their Monday through Friday coffee, but the weekend's clientele is more varied.

So if you're not in the area then you should make an excuse to get down there. Count the stairs to the top of the Michel (and decide if you like the Elbphilharmonic or not) shop in some individual shops around Großneumarkt (those you can all find on the Findeling app), check out the harbor, see what the Portuguese took up in this district – and make a specialty coffee stop at Milch!

Where? Ditmar-Koel-Straße 22 (Portugiesenviertel, near station Landungsbrücken: U3, S1, S2, S3) (MAP BELOW)

When? Tu-Fr: 8:30-18:00, Sa-Su: 10-18:00 (closed on Mondays)

How much? flat white 3,30€, single espresso 2€, Italian hot chocolate 3,20€

sometimes functioning wi-fi, a cute B&W tiled bathroom

the Germans sure do like to air out!



Flat Whites in Hamburg

When I’m in foreign places my best approach to finding a worthy café is to look at locals’ blogs’ “third wave coffee shops”.  Though of course more importantly I want to find my parents an excellent coffee so they don’t get grumpy (anecdote in Mexico City below).  But even if no-one is craving a coffee, I still enjoy laying back in these specialty coffee lounges for an artisan hot chocolate or dainty snack that appeals to the eye.  Every specialty coffee shop in Hamburg makes flat whites, while most other Hamburg cafés don't yet.  So I decided to call this post "flat whites in Hamburg".  It's the cup of coffee that I always choose, so also the one that I am judging these twelve spots on. However, I could have just as well used the title specialty or third wave coffee shop.

Why is it actually called THIRD WAVE coffee shop? 

Short History:
1st Wave: exponential growth and mass production for coffee consumption at home (e.g. Folgers around 1800)
2nd Wave: importance of the bean's origin and roasting style, global introduction to espresso drinks (cappuccino, latte...) (started by e.g. Peet's and Starbucks around 1960)
3rd Wave: artisan coffee directly traded from specific farmers, gently roasted and treated like a jewel: depicting every flavour and made by professional baristas
The 4th wave is on it's way as well: the concept of having artisan, high-quality roasts delivered to your home. (like

Hamburg is not famous for their third wave, but soon they might be.  Here are 12 great places spread around mostly the west of the Alster that are all worth visiting for their own flair.

What to expect of a Hamburg specialty coffee shop:

Apart from specialty coffee I think you can be sure to find rich CHEESECAKE at every of these shops.  (FYI Less Political did win an award for Hamburg's best cheesecake, though my favorite was from Public Coffee Roasters).  Same thing goes for a self-serve, probably herb-infused, jug of FREE WATER with tiny glasses.  This truly still is uncommon in Hamburg's ordinary cafés.

I've had a very hard time pondering about how to clearly differentiate all these third waves, so that you know which one best suits your needs.  But I came to the conclusion that since they are all third wave coffee shops in the same town, they have a grade of similarity that you can't take away.  Thus, you don't necessarily have to read through every description in detail, the map might be enough for you because they all serve top-notch flat whites.  But if you want to know which place is more neighbourhoody, trendy or international (☁︎), where to splurge on açai bowls, or devour NY cheesecake (🍰), taste a savoury meal (🍴) or have free wifi, then this will help.  And to give you a price feeling for this Hanseatic town, the flat whites range from 2,80€ to 3,60€.  However this weirdly has no correlation with the location and customer group.

Choose your specialty coffee shop by more than their flat whites:

BEST BREAKFASTS? Nord Coast (açai bowls, avo-toasts and waffles – near downtown), Balz und Balz (German open-faced sandwiches or scrambled eggs, waffles and fruit from Friday to Sunday – Eppendorf/Hoheluft), Public Coffee Roasters (Winterhude)

BEST LUNCHES? Balz und Balz (daily soups and meals (get inspired by their Instagram here)) and Elbgold both with bagels

VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE PASTRIES? CODOS Brewbar (Schanze), Elbgold (Schanze, Eppendorf & Winterhude), Black Delight (Eimsbüttel)

LONGEST COFFEE MENU? Elbgold (Schanze, Eppendorf & Winterhude), Less Political (Schanze/Karo-Viertel)

COOLEST BARISTA? Linus from Tørnqvist (VW Coffee Truck)

COFFEE TABLE MAGS? Public Coffee Roasters (Neustadt and Winterhude), Stockholm Espresso Club (Uhlenhorst), Tørnqvist (VW Coffee Truck), Balz und Balz (Eppendorf/Hoheluft)

BEST PRICES?  Balz und Balz (Eppendorf/Hoheluft) – flat white 2,80€


CODOS Brewbar:

 espresso based drinks and brew coffee, hot chocolate, mocca, turmeric- matcha- & chai-latte, "High Fly" (mix of cacao, espresso, matcha)
☞ from a family roaster, whom they work together with in Hannover
🍰 American flair (but not too sweet!) pastries: home-baked cakes (pumpkin pound, almond lemon, cheesecake. . . ), brownies, energy balls, croissants
🍴 granola with soy or greek yogurt for breakfast
☁︎  tiny stand-up brewbar with knowledgable and friendly staff
🍼 organic cow, lactose free, soy, rice and oat milk
✤ barista sisters Katharina and Daniela lead this shop with passion and expertise and their choice as well as quality of pastries is definitely my favorite
• no bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 2,90€
👎🏼 Cons: not much space to sit, and you might stay up the whole night from "High Fly"
 my posttheir website, Bartelsstraße 26 (Sternschanze), Bahrenfelder Str. 156 (Ottensen)

Black Delight: 

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, Prana Chai, hot chocolate, fresh squeezed juices, fresh teas, soft drinks
☞ Black Delight Roaster from HH (not their own, but a cooperation), as well as onetake, HuntBrothers and more
🍰 different home-baked cakes (incl. cheesecake) and muffins, macaroons
🍴 a few sandwiches
☁︎ small, artistic, neighbourhoody Eimsbüttel-ish, unpretentious, mainly visited by regulars
🍼 local cow, lactose free and soy (soon oat) milk
✤ This third wave coffee shop lacks the hip, minimalistic and clean design inside.  But it's one of our favourites due to the casualness and neighbourhood flair – it feels very true to itself.  And they mark off their stamp cards with a smeared C of espresso ink
• bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 3,30€
👎🏼 Cons: there is no written menu anywhere 😂
 my posttheir website, Eppendorfer Weg 67 (Eimsbüttel)

Less Political:

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, signature espresso drinks (✤), cereal coffee, hot chocolate, homemade (hot and cold) lemonades, soft drinks
☞ own roast (called Hermetic) and a few guest roasts
🍰 home-baked cakes, brownies, banana bread, muffins, cookies and croissants
🍴 muesli, organic fruit, whole grain veg. sandwiches (tomato-mozzarella or brie-honey-apple)
☁︎ industrial chic, bustling and vibrant, a very popular spot to meet and sip coffee
🍼 local cow and oat milk
✤ Their thick and silky cheesecake got chosen as the best in Hamburg! Less Political is hidden in a side street between the Schanze and the Karo-Viertel, once you enter, your amongst a crowd of people, calmly chatting, laughing and exchanging life thoughts (half of the time in English).  And they have a spectacular selection of creative espresso drinks: almond-/coconut-/ginger- . . . coffees with organic almond butter, coconut shreds, or infused ginger; also cereal based coffee (one of my favorite decaffeinated mylky drinks), homemade hot lemonade, or a cappuccino brûlée 😜
• bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 2,90€
👎🏼 Cons: very busy, the almond from the almond coffee settled too much to the bottom
 their website, Sternstraße 68 (Sternschanze)


espresso based drinks and brew coffee, fresh teas, different hot chocolates, chai latte (David Rio), hot milk'n'honey, fresh squeezed o-juice, soft drinks
☞ three of their own roasts and a guest roast
🍰 cakes, tarts, croissants, pain au chocolate
🍴 freshly made sandwiches (with chewy tasty german bread rolls)
☁︎ old milk store from the 50ies turned into a bright, vintage styled kitchen café
🍼 organic and local cow, lactose-free and soy milk
✤ owned by Nico Ueckermann, a dog lover – but since owning a dog in big cities is iffy, he photoshoots all dogs accompanying a guest in his shop which is located in beautiful area to stroll around (in the Portugiesenviertel, by Michel church, Neustadt, Landungsbrücken)
• bathroom, wifi only sometimes works, Flat White 3,30€ (cash only)
 my posttheir website, Ditmar-Koel-Straße 22 (Landungsbrücken)


ONLY: flat white, hand brew, latte, espresso; tea, local hot chocolate, soft drinks
☞ changing regularly from some of the finest roasteries in Scandinavia
🍰 cheesecake, croissant, home-baked Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon roll) by a friend, organic chocolate sandwich
🍴 organic cheese sandwich
☁︎ small, puristic, highest quality, all organic, laid back
🍼 organic cow and oat milk
✤ owned by coffee connoisseur Linus who dedicated this to his grandmother after she passed away;  he is now living a life he loves in this laid back coffee shop where customers turn into friends
• no bathroom, no wifi, Flat White 3,50€
👎🏼 Cons: they're only gonna make you what they want, no special wishes and not for the rushed civils
 my post, VW Coffee Truck with locations here, soon their own shop in Sternschanze and a second smaller shop name Sixteen Squares in St. Pauli

Public Coffee Roasters (Neustadt):

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks
☞ own coffee roasts (four espresso, four filter)
🍰 cheesecake with raspberry sauce (my favorite), croissant, maybe brownies
🍴 müsli with fruit and yogurt, sandwiches
☁︎ small, puristic, languorous or relaxed and private flair, neighbourhoody, coffee table mags
🍼 local cow and soy milk
✤ stands out from the others for some reason; instead of everything puristically white, Public's walls are painted complete black decorated with string art and nice cacti from Winkel van Sinkel next-door
• bathroom, NO wifi, Flat White 3,20€
👎🏼 Cons: the rich part of my hot chocolate all settled to the bottom of the cup so it was quite plain except for a delicious rich last sip 😉
 their website, Wexstraße 28 (Neustadt)

Public Coffee Roasters (Winterhude):

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, smoothies and fresh juices
☞ own coffee roasts (four espresso, four filter)
🍰 large selection of homemade cakes with samples at the bar, brownies, croissant
🍴 overnight oats, avocado toast and other tartines, delicate healthy tapas plates (avocado with lime, radish and parmesan and daily specials like watermelon, feta, coconut foam)
☁︎ spacious and light, calm, brick walled interior, warehouse-shic, reminds me of Berlin, great for laptop working
🍼 local cow and soy milk
✤ you might not come, because you think it's in "posh Winterhude" but that's not the vibe at all – this coffee shop feels a step closer to the Melbourne/Berlin style
• bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 3,30€ 
👎🏼 they stand out for Hamburg, but the breakfast menu would have to be more especial if in were in Melbourne or Berlin (though for Hamburg it's quite on the top)
 their website, Goldbekplatz 1 (Winterhude)

Playground Coffee: 

Playground Coffee has three locations by now.  A little niche in the entrance of Otto's burger, their own cool coffee shop in hip St. Pauli, and a little stand downtown.  I will refer to the Otto's Burger niche after the "//" for some categories below.

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, Prana Chai, hot chocolate, soft drinks
☞  7 different of their own roasts
🍰 a few different pastries // Otto's Burgers dessert like cheesecake, ice cream and seasonal specials
🍴 none in St. Pauli // (their niche at Otto's: burgers, fries, salads. . .)
☁︎ playful, friendly instagrammable interior for plant lovers full of hanging cacti, Viva Mexico chairs, felt cushions and turquoise/green tints
🍼 local cow milk, oat milk
✤ very humorous, ironic and lively baristas (almost look like twins with their round matching glasses)
•  bathroom, wifi, Flat White 3,40€ // bathroom, NO wifi, Flat White 3,40€
👎🏼 Cons: hmmmm… some other coffee shops might be jealous of them
 my post on Otto'stheir website, Detlev-Bremer-Straße 21 (St.Pauli), + entrance niche at Otto's Burger (Grindelhof 33), + little kiosk on weekdays in downtown (Rathaus-Passage)

Balz und Balz:

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, fresh tea, local hot chocolate, soft drinks, fresh squeezed juice, wine
☞ roasts by jb in Munich (owner of Standl 20) and a guest roast
🍰 home-baked, varying German Blechkuchen (e.g. apple cake, cherry crumble, Linzer Torte, chocolate crumble cheesecake) and a very popular (!) cinnamon roll
🍴 German open faced sandwiches (mostly meat, one veggie), weekend breakfasts with eggs, fruit, waffles (menu here)
☁︎ modest and warm, very popular, one large table and many sets of two where locals often get some mac-work done (such as arranging appointments with model agencies or updating social media (those were my observations at least 😉)
🍼 local cow, lactose-free and oat milk
✤ owned by siblings Kathrin and Chris who love coffee, good Stullen and thus their job
• bathroom, free and fast wifi, Flat White 2,80€
👎🏼 Cons: not as idiosyncratic as I would wish for
 my posttheir website, Lehmweg 6 (Hoheluft/Eppendorf)

Nord Coast:

 espresso based drinks and brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fresh squeezed juices, homemade lemonades, soft drinks
☞ 6 different of their own roasts
🍰 very dainty desserts: tiny cheesecakes, croissant, Franzbrötchen, brownies, large selection of sweet waffles (they're awesome!), açai bowl
🍴 avo-toast w/ poached egg, quinoa fritters (gluten free or vegan), lox red beet toast, acai and matcha-mango bowl, paninis, quinoa bowl (all served till 15:00 on weekdays) . . .
☁︎ spacious, hip place to meet, all is made very fine with love and attention to the details,
🍼 local cow and oat milk
✤ opened in 2015 by the couple and coffee specialists and lovers Jörn and Paula (she grew up in Brazil spending summers at her grandparents' coffee farm)
• bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 3,30€
👎🏼 Cons: hard to find a spot, no table service, small & pricey portions
 my posttheir website, Deichstraße 9 (between downtown and Speicherstadt)


numerous espresso based drinks and brew coffee, tea, various hot chocolates and chais (David Rio), frappés, cascara tea, fresh squeezed o-juice, Lebeleicht juices, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages
☞ numerous own roasts (freshly roasted in the branch in the Schanze)
🍰 various (also vegan and gluten-free) home-baked goods: cakes, banana bread, brownies, pies, muffins, cruffins, tartes, cookies, bars . . . and croissants, granola, fruit salad, bagels & breads with sweet toppings
🍴 different bagels/baguette/whole grain rolls/sourdough sandwiches . . . with different toppings (e.g. cream cheese-lox, vegan spread, tomato-arugula-mozarella etc.)
☁︎ bobo, spot to chat with familiars, spacious with cozy spots to work on weekday mornings but bustling on weekends (Schanze)
🍼 local cow, low-fat, lactose-free and soy milk
✤ make sure to get Yuri's latte art (in the Schanze) and tag him with #theBaristaYuri! and Elbgold gets credit for bringing today's coffee culture to Hamburg
• bathroom, NO wifi, Flat White 3€
👎🏼 Cons: a bit less idiosyncratic
 my posttheir website, Lagerstraße 34c (Sternschanze), Eppendorfer Baum 26 (Eppendorf) Mühlenkamp 6A (Uhlenhorst)

Stockholm Espresso Club:

espresso based drinks and brew coffee, teas, David Rio chai, hot chocolate, milk'n'honey, fresh squeezed juices, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages (incl. Swedish craft beer)
☞ Koppi Roasters from Sweden (and Germany wide distributors of Koppi)
🍰 home-baked variety of cakes or crumbles, banana bread, muffins, cookies, croissant, Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon roll), sweet bagels
🍴 large variety of bagels prepared on spot (pastrami, salmon, chicken ceaser, veggie . . . )
☁︎ international, bobo, coffee table mags, lots of friends chatting on a coffee and cake, good laptop working spot on weekdays
🍼 local cow, lactose free and oat milk
✤ all drinks are served in these carved in whiskey and long drink glasses – it looks awesome
• bathroom, free wifi, Flat White 3,60€
👎🏼 Cons: not very attentive service, a bit pricey
 their website, Peter-Marquard-Straße 8 (Uhlenhorst)

* When my mom and I were in Mexico this summer it took till our last day in the capital to find a decent coffee.  We went from shop to shop, suffering through some really bad moods, following locals' favorites never finding a cappuccino that wasn't drowned in milk.  The mistake was that I had searched for the best coffee shops in town and not the third wave coffee shops.  Eventually we found El Chiquitito in Condesa (which is the most lively, cheerful district full of cafés and joggers).  Not only did we enjoy perfect flat whites but the owner taught us a lot about the coffee culture in our world today.  And he even told us all other 3rd waves he new of in CDMX:  Cucurucho Café, Casa Cardinal, Almanegra, Café CentroAvellaneda  . . .  There's more if you google, but these are a local's tips!

The Waves of Coffee - First, Second, Third and Fourth Waves of Coffee

The History of First, Second, and Third Wave Coffee | Craft Beverage ...

Third wave of coffee - Wikipedia

The Three Waves of Coffee / The Reading Room - Coffee Kind

Ombak Bagus Bowls – Pop Up in Eppendorf

"Ombak" means waves in Indonesian.  "Bagus" is good. And these bowls transmit exactly that vibe, where you find good waves.  After my first slurp, I got the feeling that I was hanging at a tropical surf beach. This little "surf shack" feels very bohemian, right in the middle of Eppendorf. These were the best and most original smoothie acai bowls in Hamburg. The owners are dedicated surfers with an apparent fondness for Bali.  Four smoothie bowls, four surf islands of Indonesia: Bali, Java, Sumbawa, Mentawai.

Ombak Bagus Bowls started out as a local açai bowl delivery service (the owners themselves even bike it to your door and the glasses are refundable).  They were the pioneers of açai bowls in Hamburg.  I had tried every other açai bowl in town last year (check out my guide) except Ombak's cause I'm not the type to order food home.  As soon as it popped up in Eppendorf, I fixed a date with my sis to go.  And now I can compare to the eight other bowls:  I'd rank Ombak tied first with Mad About Juice and Nord Coast.

Topped with the best homemade granola!

The açai and smoothie bowls are served in light coconut shells with wooden spoons.  Topped with (finally!) not too sweet home-baked granola, and a mix of tropical and local fruits. I could taste the real açai, the temperature wasn't too cold and the texture was nice and spoonably thick. I might have preferred a tad bigger portion but in the end half a coconut actually fits more than it looks.

green smoothie bowl at Ombak Bagus Bowls

From 12 onwards they serve savoury Poké Bowls.  Whoever hasn't heard of Poké Bowls before, think of sushi as a salad.  Rice with greens, toppings such as avocado, sushi ginger, mango or sprouts, an asian dressing and a protein: tofu, tempeh or sashimi.

An exclusive bohemian spot for açai bowls in Hamburg:

☁︎ Now this little surf shack is an exclusive bohemian spot for açai bowls.  For now it is in Eppendorf, in a German metropolis and distant from real açai or surfing. However the interior makes you feel transmitted there.  The surfing pictures (many of which the owners took themselves), turquoise painted wooden table pallets, and a simple, functional interior makes Ombak Bagus Bowls as welcoming as it is.

Ombak Bagus Bowls Pop Up Eppendorf

Updated in November 2017:

Where? since August 2017 in the Uzwei concept store, Große Bleichen 23-27

When? Mo-Sa: 10-17:00, acai bowls from 10-12 and 14:30-17:00, Poké Bowls from 12-17:00

Cost: (not updated yet) smoothie bowls 6,50€, poke bowl tofu 7,50€, - tempeh 9,50€, - sashimi 10.50

– – for more acai bowls in Hamburg, check my whole guide here

CODOS Brewbar

CODOS might be the smallest but finest coffee bar in town.  It integrates creative coffee blends and moreish American baked goods with a great location in hip Sternschanze.  Almost all third waves' coffees are equally awesome, but my coffee taster was (more than once) so impressed that he now claims that CODOS makes the "best flat white of Hamburg"(And yes, we've checked by every third wave we can think of, here's the guide)

Coffee Bean Roast:
Their coffee beans are selected from individual growers around the world and made ready to brew by a small roastery in Hannover.  The roasting process is a very gentle one, whereby the beans lose their acidic taste.  The procedure lasts 16 whole minutes at max 240º C in contrast to industrial roasters, who blast their beans for 2 minutes at much higher temperatures.  CODOS' outcome is an earthy aromatic, but soft and chocolatey espresso with 80% Arabica (from Brazil) and 20% Robusta (from India).

Of the pure coffee blends they offer a wide selection, with flavors as different as the countries they come from:

• a complex, slightly sour and fruity Karengera from Ruanda
• the sweet, aromatic, full-bodied flavour called Java Jampit from Indonesia.  
• the two managers' favorite – with a light floral, citrusy and slightly sweet note that make this roast taste like so much more than just "coffee" – Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia
• nutty, minerally aromas and no acidic hints : Malabar Monsoon from India

The last coffee they sell is from a "foreign" roastery, like when I visited Man vs. Machine from Munich.  After their coffee tour through London, they also collected some of their favorite roasts from there, to sell in Hamburg.

Sip don't slurp:
. . . Drip Coffee, and the usual different coffee + steamed + foamed milk ratios in a cup. A newbie to other third waves' might be the Golden Tea or Golden Milk (a meld of hot water/oat-milk with turmeric, ginger, vanilla and agave).  And even more the High Fly, a caffeine concoction of espresso, matcha and cacao.  I loved it.  You can make out all flavors independently – then again will taste the warming, awakening mix as a whole – and then again the single flavors.  It's amazing.  But if you want to test all their ingredients pure, then they'll make each an espresso, matcha latte or hot chocolate plain too.

from the top left clockwise: 1. cheesecake brownie with Valrhona chocolate glaze, 2. High Fly, 3. pumpkin pound cake, 4. flat white

To nibble and devour:
Baked by the co-owner in her own café in Hildesheim (Black Apron) , because you wouldn't want anybody else's skills to be tæsted.  Their american inspired cakes are in tune with the seasons but not too sweet: fruity and tropical in the summer yet with dominating chocolate, nutty or pumpkin flavors around Christmas.  There's something for everyone – vegan, gluten-free, and "normal" for the less adventurous palate.  They also have granola bars, banana bread, brownies energy balls breakfast with greek or soy yogurt, homemade granola and fresh raspberry sauce.  I've tried the fluffy pumpkin pound cake topped with cream cheese frosting, and nuts.  Perfectly spiced and not too deftig.  The cheesecake brownie was even better, moist and fudgy, refined by the cheese layer and Valrhona chocolate glaze.  As a nibble alongside the coffees we got the gluten-free almond lemon cake, which I'd order again in a flash.  And there were lots more that tempted me: peanut cake, banana-walnut cake, matcha balls…

Summing up the rest:
This place is cute and friendly, the logo is adorable (it's the owner's doggy, Snatch) and they do their best to be environmental.  Since lots of their customers are young professionals on the go, CODOS gives a discount if you bring your own cup.  To encourage that, they sell reusable Keep Cups.  That's a brand from Australia that sustainably produces coffee cups to-go.  With your own cup you won't only save trash but another 20¢ for each drink inside it.

When? Mo-Fr: 8-18, Sa: 10-18, Su: 11-17

Where? Bartelstr. 26 (Sternschanze)

Cappuccino: 2,60 €, Flat White: 2,90€

• no bathroom • free wi-fi •

Balz und Balz

A new third wave coffee shop opened in Hamburg.  The siblings Chris Balz and Kathrin Balz opened their concept right in between Hoheluft Ost, Hoheluft West, Eppendorf and Harvestehude.  So the customers got a bit of poshness, though the price is very reasonable.  Balz^2 is a bobo* type of café, like Elbgold.  But small-scale and with personality. It keeps up with the current trend of cafés but stays German nevertheless: open-faced sandwiches, Blechkuchen and weekend breakfasts.

On a sunny and cold Friday afternoon it was quite full.  Even though it's just by big Hoheluftchaussee, all it appears to be, is a little shining pearl on Lehmweg.

Balz und Balz outside
(yellow bike) that's how post gets delivered in Germany

After walking in, my eye first spotted the cute designer poster-cards and Keep Cups that they sell.  Next I was tempted by the little twisted cinnamon roll, which I definitely want to give a try next time.  But we had coffee, tea, Stullen and Blechkuchen.  The flat white, reasonably priced at 2,80€, was just as great as other third waves' with a sour hint.  I got the ginger-lemongrass tea, which was served beautifully with the fresh (to being infused) herbs assorted on a plate atop and a little bowl of honey aside.

Stullen are North German open-faced sandwiches.  Similar to danish Smørrebrod if you know that.  They top dark dense bread with traditional coldcuts and cheeses.  Mine is the goat-cream cheese, red beet and sprouts which tasted unique and fresh.  My dad chose the aged salami from Hessen.  Our dessert, Blechkuchen (Blech= baking tray, Kuchen = cake), is also typical for German cake-time.  They bake a variety of these: apple cake, cherry crumble, Zupfkuchen*, Austrian Linzer Torte, or curd poppyseed (Quark-Mohn). 


Friday through Sunday the breakfasts are like they would be described in a German story book. Different home-baked breads and rolls (whole grain, spelt, rye or from curd), and carefully chosen cheese and cold cuts.  For example the homemade "Cancoillotte" with caraway, a 12-month aged nutty north German Deichkäse or if you want to be really classical then try the Bauernleberwurst, ("farmer" liver sausage) and Mettwurst (a German sausage spread).  But that's not my stuff, so for peeps like me they make organic scrambled eggs with fresh herbs or sweet waffles as well.  Oh and finally, the "sweet" german breakfast, that's the aforementioned breads with butter and cream cheese, honey or jam and a side of fruit with Quark.  It's basic, but popular. 

Lunch menus vary daily, as well as creative seasonal soups and stews.  (Check out their Instagram to get inspired!)

The interior isn't large, but spacious enough to have an own spot and not feel uncomfortable doing some laptop or book work.  In the back half of the room are four small tables; in the front a large community table decorated with vases of flowers.  By the windows they arranged two cozy windowill spots for duos, mirrored by equivalent tables and stools outside.

Balz and Balz is a great new addition to Hamburg's cafés, especially in the Hoheluft area, which needed a cozy place to escape to. Not too unconventional but individual with a broad audience and hidden German flair to all of it.

*bobo (bohemian-bourgeois): that means maybe an itsy bit "snobby" (people are well tailored, freshly showered and might spend more on their haircut than an average person spends monthly eating out) but still with laid-back features, casual customers and open friendliness

*Zupfkuchen: (Russian-German cheesecake, which is more fluffy, with splotches of Chocolate and crumble on top)

When? Tu-Fr: 8-18, Sa-Su: 9-17

How much? Cappuccino 1,90€, Flat White 2,80€

Where? Lehmweg 6, between Hoheluft/Eppendorf/Harvestehude

Their website, and menu (in German)

Otto's Burger


Little Anecdote:  “The other day we were grilling: My mom came inside with, not a grilled veggie kebab as expected, but a high piled burger – made all from scratch.  Homemade bun, grilled ingredients, juicy patty from the local organic butcher, fresh arugula . . .  I really only tried out of kindness and gave it the tiniest nibble.  But then I was speechless.  It tasted amazing!  And didn’t only look like a professional burger.  On second thought, all that came out of me was: This tastes like at Otto’s Burger! (Even though I’ve never even tried a meat burger from Otto's . . . 🤔 The veggie ones taste just as burger-y, just in veggie.  I’m not saying they taste like meat, they don’t, but they hit the spot if it's supposed to be a “burger”.)”

“1891 the burger was born.  In Hamburg.  By cook Otto Kuase who served sailors commuting from NY to HH: a beefsteak and sunny side up egg sandwiched between two roasted bread slices.”

Otto’s Burger wants to keep our tradition real, have hamburgers be Hamburger's* and top them with the sunny side up to keep your mind off the Hamburg rain.  Nobody can know the taste of a “real burger”, but this one tastes like the real (American?) burger to me.  Its bun is fluffy, almost juicy, and in between: a succulent patty, also made of quinoa or chickpeas.  Not too dry, sorta sloppy, but still edible finger food, smothered in deliciousness.


The proportion and combination of the ingredients, make these burgers stand out from most others; they're verily perfected.  Unfortunately vegans won't get their fair share hereNot true anymore as of today, February 15, 2017!  They just introduced their vegan quinoa-black bean burger, I am looking forward to trying that And, as has always been, there are sweet potato fries and caucusber-infused water. Also Luicella’s (read more here) ice cream for dessert.  Or local craft beer (and wine) which gets paired with a matching burger.

their original location in Grindel
their original location in Grindel

The most paradoxical part of Otto’s is that they say they want to be Hamburger, not American.  But they do a pretty damn good job of turning the American norms into a pleasurable European hot spot.  Usually for 18-35 year olds I’d say.  College students, school kids that invite themselves out, work colleagues and friends.  The hired staff is friendly, chatty, open and gracious (American? check ).  They offered PB SHAKES for a while (✓) (I think the new hit flavor is salted caramel), but they'll always have the Oreo® flavor (which is at least just as good.  All-you-can-drink water (, homemade smoothies or lemonades (✓✓) in handled mason jars ().  And just look at their toppings: chipotle-chili mayo, guacamole (not avocado-mush), cheddar cheese, bacon, smokey mayo, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, pulled pork… (✓✓✓✓✓✓✓) But this isn't supposed to defame them.  The resemblance of American standards takes on a neighborhood-like European flair. Save the interior, which reminds of a diner (✓– bright red super soft cushions and scrabble letters () naming themselves on the wall (seriously, I don’t know a single German person who plays scrabble).  But sorry, hamburgers are to Americans like the chicken to the egg, or the egg to the chicken?

It's the place to go if you (like burgers: 100%) and care about more than solely being fed (which I guess you do, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this 😉).  Those runner friends of mine could happily eat two and a half, but I think the sizing is quite well for the average.  And hungry folks should really try the sweet potato fries and unique shakes if they're craving more!  Whatever your impression now is of Otto's, just give them a try and see for yourself where you a agree.

Where? Grindelhof: Grindelhof 33 (the original location) – Ottensen: Bahrenfelder Str. 175 – Schanze: Schanzenstraße 58

When? 11:30am-10/10:30/11pm (depending on location and weekday, check here), no reservations

Burger price: 7,70€ - 8,50€ here you can check out their online menu

For: Everybody! Vegans, Veggies, Omnivores, to meet a group of friends or have casual restaurant dinner with work colleagues

[Ah-sigh-EE ] in Hamburg

{Guide: skip to 🍧 for my opinion on the acai bowls, or to ❄ for info about the temperature}

San Francisco, Summer 2015: "The coolest breakfast I ever had" My very first açai bowl was from BOWL D'AÇAI, a food truck on Mint Plaza. The area around it is quite grubby,but then you land here: full of business men splurging on their quarts of açai before work… Made right in the truck.  All I can say is that these bowls were soo amazing, the best ever, creamy and just awesome! And right across the street is Blue Bottle Coffee if you need even more energy… or just a restroom 😉   My second try was from BASIK CAFE.  An actual café this time with seating spots. Again, I don't remember much other than that this slush kept me just as filled and speechless as the first.......

………and they kept my expectations very high.

Back in HH I was desperate to find this wonder.  At first: nothing.  After three months of waiting I saw a sign on the street by a new café (Paledo).  Written on it: acai bowls.  What!?  Did I see that right?  I stopped mid-bike to turn around and check it out, and yes, that's exactly what it said.  Since then this business has constantly been growing.

At the start of my survey there were exactly three spots that served açai bowls (which all had opened within the last month), now there are nine!  Just last week my favorite vegan spot, Happen Pappen, added açai to their breakfast menu.  So I better finish this survey before it turns impossible…

I can't call myself an açai-pro (like my cousin whose second home is Brazil) but will try my best to review the variety of this breakfast… snack or lunch (whatever it is for you) – in the order by which they started serving this fruit bowl.

For a quick evaluation, this is my opinion
⇒ the slushy, cold one - best for a hot day: MAD about juice
⇒ beautiful spot, lovely café and delicious other dishes: Nord Coast
⇒ feels like you are on Bali: Ombak Bagus Bowls

However, I've come to realize that how ever much I like acai-bowls, Hamburg isn't the place for them. Although some aren't bad at all, most are pricey and not too spectacular. So if you're new to alai-bowls or aren't craving one, I would suggest you save the experience for San Francisco, or better Brazil or Hawaii, maybe Bali and devour some amazing ice cream, cinnamon rolls or waffles as a sweet snack.



Ombak Bagus Bowls

açai bowl, green smoothie bowl and hot matcha tea

PRICE VS. QUALITY: ++ (6,50€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

They were the açai pioneers of Hamburg – started as a delivery service, then residing in Eppendorf as a Pop Up, now having their own location downtown.  It turned out to be one of my favorite açai bowls of Hamburg!  We were in here in the midst of winter and once we dug into that açai bowl (and green smoothie bowl) we felt teleported onto Bali. Seriously, it just has that vibe. The bowls are super light coconut shells, topped with homemade and not to sweet granola with extra roasted coconut strips and tropical fruit.  The two owners are surfers themselves, who spent lots of time on the waves of Bali.  For lunch they make the famous Poké Bowls: that's like a rice veggie buddha bowl topped with sashimi, tempeh or tofu.



PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,50€)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

The first açai that I heard of in Hamburg was from PALEDO.  A paleo café in Eppendorf, which already opened a second branch on hip Mühlenkamp, less than a year after their first opening on Lehmweg.  I went here with the açai-pro, aka my cousin.  🍧 She said it didn't show any similarity to those of Brazil (which I now realise none in HH do, except maybe MAD about juice) but she still liked it as much as I did.  Nice portion, not overpriced, spoonable consistency and plentiful toppings! They're the café with the biggest variety of a-bowls, well that's three, but they also offer overnight oats, chia pudding, smoothie bowls, buddha bowls or sweet-potato avocado toast.  And it's definitely a heaven for the gluten-intolerant.




AMOUNT: very little

This was the first açai bowl that I actually tasted in Hamburg; and my first breakfast of my raw food week.  This instagram worthy, stylish little juice studio is just of the main street in St. Georg.  It's definitely unique for a healthy, fresh "grab and go" breakfast on your way to work - only a 10min walk from the main train station (Hbf).  They serve a variety of juices, and small pre-made breakfast bowls or paninis. 🍧 Unfortunately my açai breakfast was very small and much too liquid with just a few toppings that sunk into the liquid.  However OMJ didn't open for their açai proficiency.  They specialize on home-made, delicious cold-pressed juices made with local, sustainable ingredients.  So just be sure to come here with the right desire 😉


moki's goodies:

PRICE VS. QUALITY: 0 (7,90€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

A casual café between Eimsbüttel and Eppendorf…  They started out quite small with daily avocado smoothies that I used to always get after my races, baked goodies and basic brunches… which have now expanded to vegan breakfast platters, avocado toast and açai-bowls!  This one I had as a pre-run snack which worked perfect (and I'm picky when it comes to eating before running)! 🍧 I personally liked the tangy flavor (more fruity-ish than berry-ish) and the change of toppings: nutty granola, puffed amaranth, pomegranate, dried flowers… A bit too liquid in my opinion, but very refreshing and appetizing.


Mad About Juice:

here you can see the thickness

TOPPINGS: + (nice granola)
PRICE VS. QUALITY: ++ (6,50€ Mühlenkamp, 6,90€ Downtown)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

Mühlenkamp is a collection of hip places; amidst them was the only raw food café of Hamburg (Gracias Madre, that unfortunately now moved to Isla Hotbox on Mexico).  This juice bar has a stylish and dim upscale surf feel to it; a peaceful sous-terrain with creative interior.  It attracts all those posh sunglass ladies from the Alster, or the suited men in downtown.  But they serve açai bowls, so why not? 🍧 They're literally mind-blowing, a bit too cold for my head at first 😇 (compare to Lebeleicht ❄️ below) but with that comes the creamy smooth and thick texture that no-one else in Hamburg can make.  And I loved the super crunchy cinamonn-y granola, although that always varies.


Nord Coast: 


PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,50€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

A noticeable advantage: it's owned by a Brazilian.  We chatted with her and it turns out that they import their frozen açai pulp straight from Brazil (so nothing like those too liquid smoothie bowls with a tad of acai powder)!  Their speciality is coffee for sure, and café-ish meals (like amazing red beet-lox toasts, avocado with poached eggs, banana bread and gluten free waffles…)  🍧 but the açai bowls hit the spot as well (backed up by 2nd açai-pro, aka my cousins mom).  It was creamy-fruity, had the best texture-temperature combo yet, with classical toppings and pretty toppings.  Next I recommend the mango-matcha-spinach bowl.  It's sorta half savoury, half sweet and quite an interesting unique bowl, especially for Hamburg.  But if you wanna play it safe, the waffles are truly splendid and the red beet lox toast doesn't lack in toppings.


Fetch closed down, not a big loss to be honest.



PRICE VS. QUALITY: - (6,90€)
AMOUNT: very little

Well I've been wanting to come here for a while already… but was quite disappointed from my experience.  This acai bowl was worth the try, because now I know even better what they actually should be like.  And even if it were half as expensive I wouldn't come here again.  Only now I realized how important small, individual cafés are to Hamburg.  The staff should feel like it belongs to the place, cares and knows what their menu and food.  Fetch sounds as perfect as it could get: avocado on sourdough, ricotta pancakes, banana bread with cream cheese and berries, vegan quinoa salad… but the two things I had weren't very satisfying: 🍧 the immensely overpriced tiny acai bowl with a very uneven texture and temperature, and topped banana bread with a sweet fluffy cream cheese, but still too dry.  The interior tries to imitate a fancy city-version of a chilled post-surf hang out and the posh people around Mühlenkamp only pay these prices for looks and sounds, not tastes…


Happen Pappen (only in the summer):


PRICE VS. QUALITY: - (9,50€)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

I love Happen Pappen over everything and not only cause they're the most chillax vegan that's been around the longest… but everything is literally finger-licking (if you forget to bring along your spatula to clean the dishes more politely).  So I'm allowed to be critical – 🍧 I think that the açai bowls weren't the best; not terrible, but it tasted more like a wild berry (a bit too liquid) smoothie bowl.  However the portion was large and filling enough for a breakfast.  But for any brunch when it's not bursting hot I'll probably always opt for the triple decker avocado-tempeh sandwiches... (read more here)


Lebeleicht Hamburg:

PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,59€) (all organic)
AMOUNT: somewhat small "great refreshing delicacy"

This is the first cold-pressed juice bar of Hamburg.  Right in the center of Eppendorf, super clean design, bar stools along the glas walls, an open area in the middle and some stylish products  presented on side shelves. But more importantly, all their smoothies, juices, raw lunch plates, and breakfast bowls are 100% organic!  I've finally managed to come and try their newest breakfast addition, of which there are also three different kinds!  🍧 The açai was real tastable, I want to describe it as delicate and fine somehow – every spoon I savoured from beginning to end. The owner, lady chef of Lebeleicht was super nice and honestly curious of our opinion: When I said how I loved the taste and toppings (especially the Rawnola) but had hoped for a bit thicker consistency she had a clear opinion.  In the end it depends on what you prefer: thicker or thinner texture… but for her it was important to get the temperature just right ❄️ so it does not freeze off your head and tastebuds.  In that case it can only be so thick, before turning into a slushy sorbet.

Was wir wirklich lieben:

PRICE VS. QUALITY: - (6,90€, but tiny)
AMOUNT: quite small 

Was wir wirklich lieben means "what we really love".  This trendy and casual is in the midst of posh Eppendorf.  Acai bowls, salad bar, sandwiches to go, avocado toast…  The interior is dim and comfortable and there's nice outside seating too. 🍧 My breakfast date here was explicitly planned to sample the açai bowl.  The bowl wasn't surprising in any way – similar to most others we find here.  In this case it was more of a small berry smoothie bowl than an acai bowl.  Fine to spoon, tasty, but nothing striking. I would wish for a bigger portion and a more special topping, that "normal people" might not have at home – such as hemp hearts or sprouted buckwheat, instead of flaxseeds.

Locations and hours:

→ Ombak Bagus: Uzwei – Große Bleichen 23-27 (downtown), Mo-Sa: 10-17

→ Paledo: Lehmweg 31a (Eppendorf/Hoheluft) Tu-Sa: 9-18, Sa: 10-17 ; also Mühlenkamp 1 (Uhlenhorst/Barmbek-Süd) Tu-Fr: 8-18, Sa-Su: 10-17

→ OH MY JUICE:  Schmilinksyallee 30 (St.Georg/HBF) Mo-Fr: 8-17

→ moki's goodies: Eppendorfer Weg 171 (Eimsbüttel/Hoheluft) Tu-Fr: 9-16, Sa-Su: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays and 14 on weekends)

→ Mad About Juice: Mühlenkamp 12 (Uhlenhorst/Barmbek-Süd) Mo-Fr: 8-19, Sa-Su: 9-18 (a-bowls all day!), Dammtorstraße 29-32 (Downtown by Gänsemarkt) Mo-Fr: 8-20, Sa: 10-20

→ Nordcoast Coffee Roastery: Deichstraße 9, (Hafencity/Neustadt) Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa-Su: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays and 14 on weekends)

→ Happen Pappen: Feldstraße 36, (St. Pauli) Mo-Fr: 10-18 (a-bowls only on weekends till 14)

→ Lebeleicht Hamburg: Eppendorfer Landstraße 60 (Eppendorf) Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa: 10-18 (a-bowls all day!)

→ Was wir Wirklich Lieben: Hegestraße 28 (Eppendorf), Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays, all day on the weekend!)


RAIN Cafeatery

♦ Ottensen ♦ Poached Eggs ♦ Avocado ♦ Pancakes ♦

I have the impression that the new standard for breakfast places is avocado toast with poached eggs, at least in Germany that's the new  discovery.  It seems to somehow qualify an eatery to some higher level – or maybe it just makes me think that they have some higher concept… a better one than just nicely assorted fruit, three different kinds of German rolls and samples of jam and cheese… however nice it's made up to be, it's just not my cup of tea.

In Berlin I wouldn't say this is a very new thing, but in Hamburg the only avocado & poached egg combo I've had was in my kitchen – until, I came upon RAIN Cafeatery in the heart of Ottensen.

The menu already looked great and breakfast tasted as good as it appeared.  The selection wasn't too vast, but nothing didn't tempt me.  Slightly less variants for vegetarians, and not favorable for vegans, but splendid for omnivores.  Homemade sourdough bread accompanying most savory meals with avocado, hummus, poached eggs, maple glazed bacon or lox, scrambled eggs and omelettes…

My starter was a strawberry-red beet smoothie.  The only and daily smoothie, so that made the choice easy.  As a beautiful change to the mason jars, that are another "standard" item of new cafés, it was served in a flat wide glass.   The same ones which were stacked on the magazine rack, to be refilled with lemon-mint infused water as one wished…

Next came, (for the three of us): Homemade sourdough bread topped with one of these three: 1. Chorizo scrambled eggs, avocado, sautéed tomato sauce.  2. Avocado, hummus, poached egg.  3. Eggs Benedict with maple-glazed bacon.  (listed in order of my preference).  The latter two were accompanied by a fresh salad with pomegranates.  I most preferred the scrambled eggs because many flavors and tastes were combined, like the juicy rich tomato sugo, which perfectly soaked into the sourdough bread, topped with soft avocado all below the perfectly spiced chorizo scrambled eggs.


Dessert was a very deliberate decision, but we ended up with the pancakes (very happily).  Those really rounded off the meal perfectly: soft, chewy … – however one can describe perfectly made pancakes (the words won't come to my mind) – decorated with maple syrup, mascarpone, pistachio, blueberries, physalis, pomegranate, pear and one little almond.

Apart from the food, the interior was comforting as well.  Not big, nor small with some antique amenities, a clean, industrial feel and cactus decorating the food photography backdrop.  The back window with views to the courtyard gave the far tables a streak of light and an outside atmosphere.  We had an early brunch; it was easy to find a spot at 9:45 but by the time we left the place was bustling.


I really look forward to coming here again.  It could serve as a  meetup among friends or a special occasion brunch.  The whole morning was an indulgence.

Where? Große Rainstraße 15 (Ottensen)

When? Mo-Su: 9-18

Price: €€ (main dishes, 7-12€)

My favorites: Pancakes (10€) & Chorizo scrambled eggs (9€), Strawberry-Red Beet Smoothie



Your choice of Pizza

Eimsbüttel : ITALIAN ♦ Sternschanze: HIPSTER ♦

This hanseatic town has delicious and different types of pizza to offer.  Lots of classical Italian, but also innovative, creative and the build-your-own kind.  Below are my three favorite pizzerias to go to – they all differ quite a lot from each other.  It really depends on where you are, who you're going with, and what you feel like eating to decide which one you opt for.

• • •

Piazza Trapani 

This is a genuine Italian pizzeria in the heart of Eimsbüttel, owned by a sicilian-german couple.  It's the place to get delicious, thin crust, Italian style pizza.  Choose from a variety of toppings and three different sizes.  Their daily menu usually offers 5-6 more dishes, amongst them amazing home made pasta.  The service is super nice, humorous and accommodating, and you can spend a long evening at Trapani without feeling rushed.  Don't be shy to ask for an ingredient that might not be on the menu … like spinach.  Well that used to not be on the menu, now it is, I wonder why 🙂  I'm a huge garlic fan, but here, instead of baking it on top, I add it from the garlic oil (they also have chili oil), which they will happily add to your table.

the family-owned Italian

I've had phases where I went here every week, and extra ordered more to take home leftovers.  Actually my friends asked me where I got the pizza from, because it smelled and tasted so good. Always friendly, low-key and never disappointing!

Eppendorfer Weg 89, 20259 – daily from 16:00

• • •

 Slim Jims

"Eat Pizza and Stay Nice!"


the hipster one of ☆Schanze

The creative, but hip, alternative pizzeria in the Schanze.  They fill up quickly in the evenings.  Similar to Trapani, you can assemble your own thin crust pizza, but that's the end of what they have in common.  Ingredients are listed on a big chalkboard: lots of meats, goat-, cow-, sheep-, but also vegan cheese, antipasti, arugula+balsamico…  Every month they create a specialty pizza with more peculiar ingredients such as orange, ground beef, or carrots.  The atmosphere is very casual, well like in the Schanze.  You order at the counter where you can also see the pizza being made (which often takes a while).  Seating is inventive, if not plentiful, family style at wooden tables, or on the windowsill, cushioned as seats and paired with high tables.

Bei der Schilleroper 1, 20359 – Mo-Fr: 12-22, Sa & Su: 13-22

• • •


"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy pizza, and that's kind of the same thing." — Das Mehl

I never heard of this place, till I read an article in the NEON about a couple that traveled to Hamburg specifically to try pizza from Das Mehl.  So I finally found my way to this innovative peaceful spot, hidden in a courtyard of Ottensen.  In the summer there's lots of nice outside seating in front of the old brick building.  The interior has an industrial and vintage feel: large rooms,tables of all sizes, wooden, metal, concrete furniture and an old vaulting horse just standing around.  If you look at the opening times (till 1 or 3 AM) don't get confused .  That's for the nice bar right in the front. Now to the food!  (which is served till 10PM)  There's not many choices, but still too many.

the innovative with industrial dining

Homemade lemonades, cocktails, a couple craft beers and lots of customers seemed to like the wines as well. Antipasti with soft home-baked bread. And pizza! Some doughs are black, made with squid ink.  Plain old tomato sauce doesn't exist… the closest it gets is white tomato sauce (I didn't know white tomatoes existed), or a thickened spicy onion-tomato sauce.  Other bases are lemon-mascarpone-ricotta-cream for example, topped with rhubarb, red beet, fresh salad or lard.  The toppings of the Marktlage pizza depends on the season, such as asparagus in April.  So they change the menu quite often.  The only dessert; mousse au chocolate.  It's served by the scoop, out of a large common serving bowl. But unfortunately we only got to watch the others have it, by the time we were done all was gone 🙁  It must have been good.

Gaußstraße 190 (Ottensen) - in a coutryard next to the Thalia Theater –– Mo-Th: 17:30-1AM, Fr-Su: 17:30-3AM (CURRENTLY CLOSED)

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