As the weather begins its descent towards winter, rib-sticking German food may suddenly seem more appealing. And one formidably filling dish for autumn and winter is käsespätztle. Hailing from the southern region of Swabia (nowadays, part of Baden-Württemburg), it’s a simple dish. Its classic form consists of spätzle (egg and flour noodles), cheese (ideally a Bergkäse, particularly from the Allgau region), and fried onions. And while it’s simple enough to make at home, you’ll probably want to skip the finicky process of hand-making your own spätzle and use the pre-made supermarket stuff – resulting in a serviceable but far from excellent dish. So, skip all that rolling and slicing of spätzle dough and instead, visit one of these five establishments for a bang-up take on the Southern staple.
Ignore the name: this Schöneberg eatery hasn’t been a bakery since the ‘70s (although the oven is still there for decorative purposes). Nowadays, it’s committed to homey Swabian fare, with a few dishes from Austria and South Tyrol in the mix. The classic cheese-onion-noodles käsespätzle is reliable here, but you can also break with tradition get it with some other southern German trimmings in the mix – with gravy, mushroom sauce, or ham (this one is only on the lunch menu). The woody bistro-style dining room is convivial and a great place to hang out with a glass or bottle of wine (plus, that acid is a solid counterpoint to the cheese and sauce). Penny pinchers should head by for lunch (12:30-15) when prices are ultra-low – under €8.
- Vorbergstr. 2, Schöneberg
Lebensmittel in Mitte
Lebensmittel is a hidden gem among the large cluster of flashy-yet-bland flagship retail stores on and around Münzstraße. Open from noon until night, its cosy counter-service dining room with mismatched wood panelling has the right vibe for a casual beer or coffee, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice by skipping out on the food. The menu features a pan-southern mix of favourites like roast pork with dumplings, and the käsespätzle is a strength. Unlike the oven-baked, casserole-adjacent style served at some restaurants, the noodles here are pan-fried, giving some bonus crispy texture to the plate. It feels like a lighter käsespätzle (relatively speaking – it’s not like you’re eating sauteed vegetables, after all), probably helped by the simply mustardy side salad that cuts nicely through the cheese.
- Rochstr. 2, Mitte
Käsespätzle purists might take umbrage with the gorgonzola version of the dish on offer here, but that’s to be expected from a place like Peter Schlemihls, which prides itself on modern takes on classic German cuisine (see also: a schweinebraten burger). That blue cheese noodle dish is also made with rocket and walnuts, making for a rounded dish that boasts more texture and greenery than the average heaping pile of egg noodles. But formalists need not panic: the standard Bergkäse-onion version is on the menu, too. It’s a charming place to dine, too, with rustic wooden furniture and splashes of colour from flowers and patterned tiles adorning the room.
- Willibald-Alexis-Str. 25, Kreuzberg
The noodles stay impressively springy despite the slathering of cheese, and the beautifully caramelised onions balance out the heft of it all.
The menu at this low-key spot in Neukölln is pretty much spätzle all the way down, minus the cucumber and potato side salads. There are two käzespätzle options: one with nutty Emmental and another with Bergkäse; the latter is a little more expensive but in this economy, both are a great deal at under 10€ for a heaping plate (a little more if you order from delivery apps). The noodles stay impressively springy despite the slathering of cheese, and the beautifully caramelised onions balance out the heft of it all. Despite the price, Schwabylon doesn’t cheap out on the dairy: both options are thickly layered with cheese – so much that if you’re sensitive to rich foods, maybe go for the slightly less creamy Emmental option – or split a käsespätzle and a non-cheese option like the pulled pork and root vegetable spätzle with a friend. Schwabylon doesn’t take reservations, but it’s a small counter service operation where people don’t tend to linger, so wait times aren’t really an issue.
- Pannierstr. 9, Neukölln
This is a less obvious place to tuck into spätzle since it’s better known as a breakfast and brunch spot. With its location just off Kollwitzplatz, you may have to battle Prenzlauer Berg mums and their strollers for space, especially on a Saturday. But your patience will be rewarded with top-notch Alpine cuisine. Alongside Bavarian weißwurst and leberkäse is a slice of Swabia, with Allgauer-style käsespätzle, done simply and classically with flavourful ingredients and without bells and whistles. Save room for the near-perfect apple strudel, too.
- Kollwitzstr. 42, Prenzlauer Berg
More on the topic
We can’t write an article about a classic German food without mentioning our list of the best German restaurants in Berlin. Craving something else? You’re sure to find somewhere to eat on this exhaustive list.