Hamburg is married to the sea, and all sorts of denizens of the deep end up on the table: lobster from Helgoland; shrimp from Büsum; turbot, plaice, and sole from the North Sea; and huge quantities of fresh oysters. It’s no accident many of the Hamburg’s best and most popular restaurants are seafood houses—and they’re reasonably priced, since seafood is not exorbitantly expensive in this port city. But Hamburgers are carnivores, too, hence their eponymous contribution to world cuisine, here known as Stubenküchen (hamburger steak). A traditional sailor’s dish, Labskaus, is made with beer, onions, cured meat, potatoes, herring, and pickles, but brace yourself for at least a taste of the city’s iconic treat, Aalsuppe (eel soup). Whatever your epicurean appetite, you can probably satisfy it in this city that’s long had ties with exotic lands—ethnic restaurants do a brisk business in almost every neighborhood. While dining can be a fine art and a costly pursuit in this expense-account-oriented city, you can also eat well without breaking the bank. No matter how much you spend, in many places your meal will probably be seasoned with an ingredient that Hamburg seems to care a lot about, a generous dash of trendiness.

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