Warning: some of my bad German language skills follow below. You’ve been warned.
So, today I’ve had a mishap with my lunch I’ve brought from home, hence I’ve headed to eat outside. Completely unexpectedly, due to various factors, I’ve ended up in Bavarian restaurant called “Bavaria” – which is situated right on, you would never guess, Bayerstraße (“Bavarian street”) in Munich.
So, at first sight, everything is so local-patriotic, almost separatist looking. The place looks like typical Bavarian “Wirtshaus”, and even a bit over the top for those standards. First thing – outside it has two Bavarian flags hanging. And as you enter it, first thing you see on the wall is
simplified version of Bavarian coat of arms, surrounded by “Freistaat Bayern” inscription in gothic letters. Freistaat Bayern is, to be honest, full name of this German federal state, and at the same time it is a name in “Hochdeutsch” not Bayrisch language/accent, so nothing questionable about it itself. But it’s usually not really used outside of local-patriotic circles, or even shallow but still existing separatist movements here.
On top of everything, waitresses are wearing obligatory “dirndl” (Bavarian folklore dresses), which you probably know how they look like – if from nothing else then from the photos from Oktoberfest. Yes, those.
So, I am putting my best “Hochdeutsch” to work in attempt to fluently order “ein Wienner schnitzel zum essen und ein Spezi zum trinken, bitte”, knowing my German is far from fluent (and I’ve probably made a mistake or two [or more] in this sentence alone), but also realizing this place, with all of its ultra-Bavarian style, is situated right next to the place where Oktoberfest is usually happening – so they are used to broken German by tourists.
That all goes well. And then… I’m almost done eating, as the bartender tells to waitress across the room – “can you take this to the table in the corner” – in FLUENT CROATIAN.
I’ve done so much over thinking whether to enter this place to have lunch there, still feeling slightly uncomfortable going alone to typical German places due to my slow pace of learning the language, only to realize I could have simply order the food not even in English, but in my own language – Croatian.
In the retrospective, what should have given them away is the sole fact that the restaurant is placed (and I’m not exaggerating here) right in between two Croatian shops – one of which has accent on Croatian football shirts and various Croatian souvenirs (yes, I’m confused as much as you are by this – Croatian souvenir shop in Munich) and the other is selling classical Croatian delicacies like “Čokolino”, “Vegeta”, “Bajadera” and “Napolitanke”. Further into retrospective, “čevapčići” on the menu did look a bit strange, but this meal is so domesticated all over Germany that I’m not even surprised any more if I see it on the menu.
Overall, leaving the place I’ve laughed my ass off and fired a series of tweets in similar manner to this status. But I also remembered Vladimir Kaminer’s book called “Russian Disco” (“Russendisko” in German), in which he complained a lot about a lack of authenticity of foreign restaurants in Berlin – something I’ve experienced quite the opposite compared to Croatia. In Croatia almost no Indian restaurant is held by Indian people, no Italian restaurant by Italians and ice-cream shops are usually, for some reason, held by Albanians. In Germany in general Asians work and own Asian restaurants, Italians own most of the places which serves pizza or pasta as main specialty, and vast majority of ice-cream shops are held by Italians. But, apparently, Croatians and Serbians are in charge for Bavarian restaurants (previously I’ve used to go to similar place ran by Serbian family near the company I used to work at). :-)
To conclude – should you eat at “Bavaria” restaurant? It obviously isn’t horribly authentic, but I would say yes – food is quite ok, prices are below average for the Munich city center, and the quality is higher than prices from what my taste buds can tell. But keep in mind food might have a “Kroatisch schmack” which I wouldn’t necessarily realize but would make me biased towards it.
Featured image photo credit:
Photo by James Almond