Every June for the past eight years, I've jetted off overseas for the biggest perk of my job, an annual international conference. This year the setting was Munich - full of sunshine, giant beer gardens and beautiful old buildings. The traditional Bavarian diet is not particularly sympathetic to vegetarians (and vegans would really struggle). I ate a lot of creamy mushrooms and cheesy potatoes. Luckily, there are a decent number of vego places in the city and I had a few free meals to explore. My main focus was Bodhi, a well-reviewed place that takes the traditional German pub vibe and vegans everything up.
My first visit was an early dinner (staving off jetlag as best as possible) and I sat outside in the sunshine with a tall wheat beer watching most of the city biking past.
The menu they gave me was in German, and I puzzled it out as best I could although I'm sure the staff would be happy to translate if you wanted more details (I've just used google translate below). The grilled tempeh in dark plum sauce with millet/hemp dumplings, roasted tomatoes and sauteed zucchini (19.90€ ~ AU$29) sounded interesting, as did the lupin fillet with a mustard crust, red wine shallots, broccoli and mashed potatoes (16.90€ ~ AU$24.70), but I decided to go for the most German-sounding meal on the menu: the crispy soy steak with a dark beer sauce, red cabbage and potato dumpling (14.90€ ~ $21.80). I threw in a side of chilli cheese nuggets (3.90€ ~ $5.70) just because I could.
Look at that triptych of amazingness! The soy steak was crisped up with a kind of cornflake batter, swimming in a rich beer gravy. The potato dumpling had something impressively cheesy about it, and the red cabbage was soft and tangy. The little cheesy nuggets were completely unnecessary after the giant plate of heavy German food, but they were so great I couldn't stop myself. After 25 hours of travel, a litre of beer and all that food, I barely managed to make it home before falling asleep.
After a full day of meetings on Saturday, I had a spare morning on Sunday to do some more exploring. First stop: Bodhi's weekend brunch.
This time I parked inside, mostly so I could stare longingly at the buffet table. From memory, the brunch price was 18.90€ (AU$27.60), which bought access to an amazing spread of breads, pastries, spreads, salads, desserts and three hot dishes: pancakes, scrambled tofu and a tomato-y potato bake.
The scrambled tofu was probably my highlight, with chunks of smoked tofu dotted throughout the scramble. The pretzel was great, but they're available everywhere, so I probably should have focussed more on the bread and dips or grabbed myself a plate of pancakes. Instead, I found myself fading after my salad plate, even after a decent cup of filter coffee. The place gradually filled up between 10:30 and 11:30 when I moved on, so if you were coming with a group, I'd recommend making a booking. The staff are lovely, happily speaking English to monolinguists like me and making me feel super welcome even as a solo traveller.
I spent the rest of the weak pining for more Bodhi - sadly our conference venue was too far away for me to sneak off at lunchtime and all of our nights were booked up with beer-garden-related shenanigans. It's a wonderful place - definitely worth stopping by if you've got a day or two in Munich.
There aren't too many blog posts about Bodhi that I could find - Living in Germany is the only one in English, while there are positive (if a bit garbled thanks to Google Translate) reviews on Wie ein frischer Veganer die Welt erlebt, Muc.Veg, Claudi Goes Vegan, Munchen Blogger, Prostmahlzeit and tine taufrisch.
Ligsalzstrasse 23, Schwanthalerhohe, Munich
+49 89 41142458
menus (in German): starters, salads and pasta, mains (and another), dessert
Accessibility: There are a couple of steps up on entry, to a reasonably spacious interior. The toilets are gendered and on the narrow side. There's full table service.
I did manage to check out a couple of other veggie places during the week: Max Pett is Munich's most famous veggie establishment, a centrally-located, vegan and alcohol-free restaurant with a wide-ranging menu. It was a welcome source of salads and vegetables amidst the regular German food, including this excellent (but badly photographed) palak tofu (15.80€ ~ AU$23).
I also stopped by Tian for lunch - the two course set meal of carrot soup with bulghur and a romaine lettuce salad with hummus, hazelnuts and herbs was fresh and healthy, but not something you'd go out of you way for.
Munich's a lovely city - well worth a detour from the veg*n Mecca of Berlin if you've got a few spare days. Beautiful historic buildings, lovely parks and some jaw-dropping Alpine scenery a short day trip out of town - some non-food highlights are in the slide-show below.