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April 2001

Hip Joints

Museum cafés — the meals and the patrons are anything but square

Literaturhaus’ Café Dukatz
Salvatorplatz 1
Tel. (089) 291 96 00
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-1 Sun. 10-18

Café Dukatz in the Literaturhaus, which pays tribute to the writer Oskar Maria Graf (1894-1967), is richly decorated with Graf memorabilia. New York artist Jenny Holzer came up with an extraordinary concept for the café: sentences taken from Graf's novels and essays are inscribed into the café's chestnut brown leather benches and a large high-speed electronic display relays a selection of the author’s texts. After finishing your meal, such quotes as “Es muss dich bald wahr sein, dass ich berühmt bin” (“It must soon be that I am famous”) are revealed on your plate. The café offers the usual coffee and tea selections at reasonable prices and is the perfect place to satisfy small appetites. The turkey avocado sandwich (DM 8) is a baguette layered generously with lettuce, tomatoes and thick slices of turkey spread with hot mustard sauce. More creative are the baguette with rabbit (DM 8) or the pastrami sandwich with sauerkraut and bread-and-butter pickles (DM 13.50). The Gemüsequiche (DM 12) is a light vegetable pie combining thin slices of carrot and leek accompanied by a tossed salad livened up by exceptionally flavorful vinaigrette dressing. For the sweet tooth Café Dukatz sets a challenging standard. The pear tart with almond cream (DM 7) offers a delightful balance of roughly textured shortbread, marinated pears and almond butter cream. After inspecting the house petit fours (DM 8) and cakes (DM 5.50), you may wish to skip the sandwiches altogether. The café’s atmosphere resembles a modern Viennese Kaffeehaus, filled, predominantly, with intellectual patrons and offering pleasant, efficient service.

St-Jakobs-Platz 1
Tel. (089) 26 69 49
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 11-24 Sun. 10:30-24

Following several contemplative hours spent at the Münchner Stadtmuseum, you will be drawn back to the reality of urban life by entering the Stadtcafé. Here, the fast-service team makes up for time lost waiting for a table. The daily menu featuring multicultural cuisine is displayed on blackboards. Italy is represented by the Ravioli Tricolore (DM 15.50) — freshly made carrot, spinach and noodle dough filled with ricotta and coated with just the right touch of melted butter. The vegetable soup with Rotbarsch (ocean perch) (DM 11.50) strongly resembles ratatouille; it is a combination of zucchini, carrots, onions, eggplants and celery that exquisitely complements the perch’s distinctive flavor. Arugula greens with mustard butter accompanies a cold beef sandwich (DM 8.50) — more than a mere snack. Forget about the spinach Knödel (13.50). Only the green color and a droopy spinach leaf as garnish — certainly not flavor — indicate that this dish has anything to do with Popeye’s favorite vegetable. Melted butter and a Parmesan sauce add little to these mashed bun balls. The dessert selection here (DM 4.50-DM 5.80) includes typical German cakes and tortes. Coffee prices are below Munich standards. With its original 1960s furniture, cleverly mixed with modern design, the Stadtcafé attracts a hip and colorful crowd.

Lenbachhaus Café
Luisenstrasse 33
Tel. (089) 23 33 20 00
Hours: Tues.10-Sun. 10-18

The café in the Lenbachhaus is a grand niche affording a view of the entrance hall of the museum. Although the commotion is sometimes distracting here, a special atmosphere is created by the three works of art that grace the café’s walls. Chrystal 8. Nov. 1988, by contemporary artists Angelika Bader and Dietmar Tanterl is a photographic triptych of broken glass, providing a striking contrast to the café’s glass ceiling. While coffee, art and people watching opportunities are highlights here, the food is certainly not. Hearty items on the limited menu include a vegetable minestrone soup with grated Parmesan (DM 8.50) accompanied by rather dull Paninis (DM 5.50) and a simple ham and cheese on toast (DM 6.00). A selection of cakes and other desserts (DM 4) features walnut cake (plain walnut, a butter and sugar mixture in short bread crust), poppy seed Guglhupf and creamy cheesecake with cherry filling. One waiter’s T-shirt reads “NO SELF SERVICE,” hinting at the staff’s fast and impersonal service. Though the culinary offerings here are not the most exciting in town, the café is nonetheless a worthwhile place to stop after visiting the Lenbachhaus collection or touring the Königsplatz area. While sipping one of the café’s many beverages you will enjoy musing over the mind-boggling light installation on the central wall: is it the letter A, R or T, or all three?

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