Tel: 49 351 481 04 26
By day, chic café; by night, graceful restaurant. Alte Meister is a modern Dresden fixture, combining killer location with hearty, inspired food. The seasonal menu—featuring standout dishes such as cream of carrot soup with braised rabbit, veal carpaccio, and sea bass with vegetables in coconut curry—is modern, international, and stylishly prepared and presented. Adjoining the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, it's an ideal rendezvous when you're going to the art gallery or opera.
Open daily from 10 am to 1 am.
1 Kötzschenbroder Strasse
Tel: 49 351 852 920
Four miles from the center of Dresden, this historic brew house and dance hall was established in 1898 on the banks of the Elbe River. Today, Brauhaus Watzke promises a panoramic view of the city, an expansive beer garden in the summer months, rustic local fare, and, of course, a selection of reasonably priced house beer. Sample the Meltzer Schnitzel, a fried veal fillet, or the Watzke bierfleische, a beef ragoût stewed in dark beer—and save room for the traditional Saxon desserts, such as homemade chocolate mousse.
Open daily 11 am to midnight.
Tel: 49 351 42 04 250
Located in a glass-walled Volkswagen factory, an architectural marvel in its own right, Lesage is anything but a work canteen. Surrounded by postmodern architecture including big metallic spheres and cones that soar up several stories, and with an assembly line in the middle distance, diners feast on some of Germany's most progressive food. A crayfish "torte" with a tomato-vanilla sauce evolves slowly in the mouth, defying expectations, while red mullet with fried bread is light and delicate. Traditional dishes such as osso buco are remixed with the meat appearing as a sauce on top of pasta in the form of a veal shank, along with asparagus and orange slices. The experiments nearly always work out. The wine list, however, is heavy on German and local Saxon wines, which are decent though overpriced. Don't miss the bathrooms, finished in tiny Bisazza-style copper-colored glass tiles.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays noon to 2:30 pm and 6 pm to 12 pm.
Hotel Kempinski Taschenbergpalais
Tel: 49 351 497 260
In the basement of the Taschenbergpalais, the decor and tableware are rustic, and waitresses are decked out in 18th-century costumes to serve traditional Saxon dishes such as medallions of wild boar and venison, or gesindeessen (pan-fried rye bread with pork, mushrooms, mustard, and cheese). Try to reserve a table in the Grosses or Kleines Zunfi Gewölbe sections—these parts of the cellar are almost completely candlelit, adding extra authenticity to the feast.
Open daily 11 am to 1 am.
Tel: 49 351 899 67 24
A reasonably priced fusion-cuisine hot spot in the hip outer Neustadt neighborhood, Villandry caters to Dresden's slick and bohemian residents and low-key international tourists. In a white-walled modernist setting, waiters present the day's menu on chalkboards carted from table to table. Tandoori swordfish atop a radicchio salad and rabbit filet in a shrimp-tempura crust with sweet melon and carrots are typical of the ever-changing appetizers; all are light, fresh, and entertaining. Main courses lean toward fish, including turbot with cucumber, tomato, and fennel, as well as lamb and a modern twist on Tafelspitz, a dish of boiled veal with horseradish, here served with root vegetables and French Fourme d'Ambert cheese. Meats and fish are expertly prepared and paired with daring texture and flavor combinations, though after a few courses of relentless experimentalism, one's palate can be a bit worn out. Book well in advance—this is one of Dresden's harder tables to reserve.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 6:30 to 11:30 pm.
Tel: 49 351 804 20 10
To call this place a bierkeller makes it sound far too rough-and-tumble; it's actually better groomed than most pubs, and the grub is superior, too. There is a well-stocked cellar, but there are also several fin de siècle salons surrounding an old courtyard and garden for alfresco dining. The kitchen serves hearty fare—goulash, dumplings, and garlic sausage—at pub prices. Grab a potent black beer, or relax with a lighter lager.
Open daily 11 am to midnight.