Trader Vic’s Munich is a Time Machine to the 1970s

We had the pleasure of two trips to Trader Vic’s during our stay in Munich, once for dinner and then the following night at the bar.

Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s Munich

Unlike many Trader Vic’s locations, Munich does not purchase the Trader Vic’s syrups or rum for use in the cocktails. Thus, the finished result differs even when following a common recipe. We tried the Mai Tai twice and the Mai Tai variant Menehune Juice and found all to be good representations of these classic cocktails.

Mai Tai

The sour and sweet components were balanced in all of these, though the ingredients had an overall lighter mouthfeel than the cocktails in Trader Vic’s American locations. The Mai Tai uses Saint James aged rhum from Martinique along with Pampero Especial gold rum, which meant that this Mai Tai comes out lighter than many we’ve had elsewhere where Jamaica rum is the primary spirit. Still, this did serve as a representative example of the cocktail and the two rums did work well together so that you could taste the rich flavors of the Saint James but with a lot of the agricole’s rough edges tempered.

The Menehune Juice was an interesting contrast. This cocktail is essentially a Mai Tai but with light Puerto Rican rum as the sole spirit component. The resulting cocktail had fruity flavors that I didn’t get using the aged rums and this was still very flavorful and extremely satisfying. Munich also has little Menehune figures available, and as the menu states they come home with you.

Menehune Juice

Cocktails at Trader Vic’s Munich

As noted earlier, this Trader Vic’s location doesn’t procure the Trader Vic’s brand rums or syrups, so they definitely have a different taste than I’m used to. Overall, we felt that these were just okay, not nearly as good as other Trader Vic’s locations or most other tiki bars. That said, the vast cocktail menu does include some favorites that aren’t on the menu at some U.S. locations, including the Rum Keg and the overseas favorite Tiki Puka Puka.

The good news is that the spirits being used are pretty reasonable, including two different Saint James Rhum Agricoles in the Navy Grog that include five separate rums. That Navy Grog didn’t have the allspice-forward flavor but definitely was rich and boozy. The aforementioned Tiki Puka Puka is fruity and super boozy, so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular and pricey (€24). Mrs. Mai Tai didn’t love the Bahia, which needed to be shaken longer, but the Koana Puffer was better though still not stellar.

Navy Grog

Dinner at Trader Vic’s Munich

At the Munich location they offer some rice chips as a table starter both for table service and at the. Lightly savory, but not overly satisfying. I thought the Crab Rangoon and the Cheese and Ham Bings were really well done, though. Quite satisfying and adding ham to the Cheese Bings was a plus.

We both enjoyed our Cashew Chicken and Walnut Chicken entrees from the Trader Vic’s wok were very good, and the portions were quite large. Our dinner service was exemplary, featuring a waiter and junior waiter who both were reserved but friendly and accommodating.

Ham and Cheese Bings, Crab Rangoon

Overall Impressions of Trader Vic’s Munich

This location in the basement of the hotel Bayerischer Hof is amazing and seems like a portal back to the 1970s when it was built. There are so many tikis and little nooks and rooms off the main artery of the restaurant. There are dozens of peacock chairs, such that nearly every table has one both in the dining room and in the bar. There are an amazing number of masks on the walls, plus so many jade tiles. It is comparable in size to the Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, though with seemingly even more space and more sections/rooms.

We visited for dinner on Saturday night and the place was a frenzy of activity. There was a birthday party in one of the rooms and at one point they served an entire barbecued pig that included the head that they presented to the birthday boy! The bar was totally full on Saturday but also busy in the mid-evening on Sunday, too, but we didn’t have to wait very long for our food or to order another round of drinks.

There is no merch available here, aside from the take-away Menehune, and our polite ask about procuring an old menu was met with a very German and terse no.

The Trader Vic’s location in Munich is gorgeous and if you’re anywhere near here you must seek it out. We had a grand time in Munich generally, so we encourage anytime to come give this Vic’s restaurant a try.

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