Above: Tomato water with mozzarella pearls and basil from Se7en Oceans in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburgnow has a Michelin three-star restaurant,The Table Kevin Fehling, but I couldn’t see why I should spend €195 per person to sit for three hours at a counter, nibbling on dishes with fashionable ingredients like yuzu and tonka bean, when I could pay far less for a similar experience in, say, Portland. Instead, I sought out restaurants with more of a sense of place. Some local recipes, such as Hamburger Aalsuppe — an unpalatable brew of eel, smoked pork and stone fruits — are best left to the locals. But I’m happy to say I made numerous delicious discoveries over the course of our stay. Today it requires little effort to eat very well in Hamburg.

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