914 Neuer Jungfernstieg
Tel: 49 40 349 40
This decidedly gemütlich café is located in what some consider to be one of Europe's poshest hotels, the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. Condi is open for breakfast on Sundays and breakfast, brunch and lunch the rest of the week. It's known for elegant and filling morning meals, as well as coffeehouse sumptuous cakes, but the light lunch fare is lovely, too—try the salmon carpaccio marinated in lime and basil, cream of lobster soup with a swirl of cognac, or the chicken breast with tender potatoes and kohlrabi.
Monday–Saturday 6:15 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday 7:15 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Im City Sporthafen
Tel: 49 40 362 553
This bar, restaurant, and six-cabin hotel is located in a bright red boat that once served as a floating lighthouse in the English Channel. The Feuerschiff (or "fireboat") is anchored in an ideal spot at Hamburg's harbor, where guests can watch the river traffic pass by over a bowl of fish soup washed down with good Bavarian Weissbier. Local jazz and cabaret acts provide the onboard entertainment, and on Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon, a seafood-heavy breakfast buffet draws a big crowd.
Hotel Louis C. Jacob
Tel: 49 40 822 550
Sitting a few miles west of town overlooking the Elbe River traffic—including the occasional horizon-blocking cruise ship—Jacob's is a Michelin-starred classic without the stuffy pretension. It's far from cheap: Prix fixe lunch menus start at about $85, but delicacies such as Bresse pigeon and a meltingly tender calf's head in a delicate tomato compote deliver sophisticated and satisfying flavor. The wine list is encyclopedic (800–1,000 bottles), including several excellent 2005 Rieslings by the glass. Getting there (by car, if at all possible—otherwise, it's a bit inconvenient to reach) takes you along much of Hamburg's prime real estate overlooking the river.
5 Neuer Pferdemarkt
Tel: 40 439 782 3
This fashionable bar and restaurant in the Schanze district—a subdued neighborhood that is nonetheless home to many of Hamburg's newer restaurants and bars—is located in a former shoe shop. The seasonally adjusted, upscale fare, including fennel-stuffed calamari over gazpacho, potato soup with white truffles, and venison with baby turnips and potato cakes, is smartly executed. The crowd is young and chirpy, and the wine list is especially good on tangy German whites, but until Germany passes its antismoking ban, beware of the first floor. Credit cards are not accepted, and reservations are advised for dinner.
1 Van der Smissenstrasse
Tel: 49 40 380 591 9
Located halfway up an extraordinary glass-and-steel building, this trendy oyster bar and seafood spot offers commanding panoramic views of the harbor. The menu mixes local favorites with Mediterranean flavors—and all the fish dishes are incredibly fresh. Watch the ships sail by and snack on lobster, clams, or herring. Heaters keep the waterfront patio area comfortably warm from early spring through late fall. Reservations are recommended, and a prix fixe menu is available.