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Insider: Munich

MUNICH'S TOP TABLES In the ongoing battle to be called Munich's best restaurant, Tantris (7 Johann Fichte Strasse; 49-89/361-9590; dinner for two $135) always comes out on top, thanks to chef Hans Haas and stellar dishes such as red snapper with coriander pesto and mussels in a spinach and truffle sauce. · The restrained façade of Lenbach (6 Ottostrasse; 49-89/549-1300; dinner for two $86) barely hints at what's inside. Sir Terence Conran updated the 1898 interiors with blue neon lighting, a mosaic tile floor, and a fashion-show runway cutting through the room. Worthy of this theatrical environment is the food of Stefan Marquard, one of German cuisine's Junge Wilde (young wilds) group—think punk-rock chefs. · Ododo (6 Buttermelcherstrasse; 49-89/260-7741; dinner for two $53) opened its doors five years ago, and it's still hard to get a table. If you do, don't miss the fondues: bread, meat, vegetables, chocolate—you name it, you dip it. · Twenty years before its current vogue, Karl Ederer made organic food fashionable here, when he opened Gasthaus Glockenbach (29 Kapuzinerstrasse; 49-89/534-043; dinner for two from $95). A classic is Ederer's mini-eggplant with arugula and octopus. BEST VALUE Sitting down to eat in the collectibles-packed Master's Home (11 Frauenstrasse; 49-89/229-909; dinner for two $85) is a bit like dining in an overflowing flea market: you get everything—including the kitchen sink. The inexpensive nine-course menu changes often and you never quite know what you'll be served; simply choose vegetarian or meat.

AFTER DARK You can't talk about Munich nightlife and not mention Schumann's American Bar (36 Maximilianstrasse; 49-89/229-060), still going strong after more than 20 years. And though most tables say reserved, they're not really: etiquette dictates that you wait for an invitation from owner Charles Schumann himself (he's behind the bar) before sitting down. · The blink-and-you'll-miss-itentrance to Maria Passagne (42 Steinstrasse; 49-89/486-167)—minuscule writing on a nondescript door—ensures that most out-of-towners pass right by this sweet sixties-inspired lounge. · The pared-down Bar Centrale (23 Ledererstrasse; 49-89/ 223-762) has a great wine list, good cocktails, and the best panini in town. · Dress your best for Erste Liga (3 Hochbrückenstrasse; no phone), a packed dance club with Munich's pickiest door policy.

NEXT GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS South of the Marienplatz, two turn-of-the-century quarters—Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbach—are attracting major attention. Among the chic boutiques that have colonized Gärtnerplatz are Slips (2 Gärtnerplatz; 49-89/202-2500), with a lively collection of Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Paul Smith; and Sarajo (3 Rumfordstrasse; 49-89/ 2602-4343), selling selections from Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten. · You'll see more than international labels in the two new neighborhoods; local stylemakers have their own shops: Talbot Runhof (41 Klenzestrasse; 49-89/236-6730) specializes in opulent evening gowns, and Clara Niggl (8 Rumfordstrasse; 49-89/2602-6035) turns out classic fashions reminiscent of early Ralph Lauren. · In the studio behind their namesake Glockenbach shop, Eisenblätter & Triska (13 Hans Sachs Strasse; 49-89/260-5860), Katrin Eisenblätter and Astrid Triska design hats from everyday wool ones to over-the-top-occasion chapeaux worthy of Ascot.· The menu and décor at Kay's Bistro (1 Utzschneiderstrasse; 49-89/260-3584; dinner for two from $85)are revamped every month. The most recent theme was Caribbean, with waiters in sunny tropical shirts dishing out jerk chicken.· The tiny Holy Home (21 Reichenbachstrasse; 49-89/201-4546), a funky lounge with comfy couches and other secondhand furnishings, spins house and trance late into the night.

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