After a long day of exploring Potsdam's Schloss Sanssouci and the area's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visitors will be desperately in need of a good meal. There is no need to trek all the way back to Berlin to eat as Potsdam has plenty of delectable options from burgers to fine dining.
Be aware that the crowds at the palace can follow you to the restaurants, making finding a seat a bit difficult. Call ahead for reservations, and most staff can handle English requests (although a little German is always appreciated). Also be advised: Most German restaurants only accept cash.
Drachenhaus Restaurant & Cafe
Drachenhaus, or the Dragon House, is perched above the main palace of Sanssouci. Dating back to 1770, the Chinese-inspired building is modeled after a tahōtō pagoda with 16 dragons glowering from its rooftop and it has been a restaurant since 1934. Many people stop for a reviving afternoon kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake), but they also serve a range of seasonal, local cuisine like boar sausage. Its location high on the hill means it is a climb to get there, but visitors are rewarded with a view of the grounds from the elegant biergarten. Note that you can skip the hill with a trip by taxi, but there is no parking available.
Zum Fliegenden Holländer
"The Flying Dutchman" is in the charming Dutch quarter. Developed by the court craftsmen who worked on the palace in the mid-1700s, this area is full of curling gables, red brick, and crisp white window shutters that wouldn't look out of place in Holland. The restaurant serves traditional German food with a Dutch touch. Homey and cozy, the interior is enclosed in dark wood with a fireplace warming the atmosphere. In summer, take advantage of the outdoor seating. There is a dining section, as well as a pub that serves food so while other places might be booked up, you can usually squeeze in here. Tuck in for a simple, hearty meal.
Located on the picturesque lake of Jungfernsee in Neuen Garten, this sprawling brewery features beloved German specialties like schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle) and an assortment of wurst (sausage). While the food is delicious, the stars of the show are the craft beers brewed in-house. There are clean pilsners and summery hefeweizens though if you're looking for something lighter to enjoy in the beer garden, try the "Potsdamer" which mixes a beer with Fassbrause, a Berlin lemonade.
While you can get to brewery by land, you can also reach it by private boat or water taxi. Look for the point where the Berlin Wall once ran right next to the brewpub. And if you want to take the party elsewhere, you can get beer to mitnehmen (to go).
Potsdam Zur Historische Mühle
There's another Sanssouci dining location at the historic windmill. While many people pass right by, eager to reach the palace from the parking lot, this is the ideal location to fuel up before a visit or recover from a day of walking.
Part of the Mövenpick network, this is relaxed fine dining fit for the hordes of tourists that descend on the palace each day. Expect high-quality ingredients, fine wines, and an accessible atmosphere. While inside is more formal, outside there is a terrace cafe and beer garden with a playground.
Entrees focus on regional, seasonal dishes with a tempting dessert counter begging for indulgence. On weekends, there is also a well-appointed brunch.
Located in the center of Potsdam, this tasteful restaurant features excellent wines from Germany, France, and Italy, and a fresh, international menu. The house was built in 1739 and the restaurant is named after the Jewish family who owned the building in the mid-19th century. Its welcoming interior holds the comforting smells of pasta, coq au vin, maultaschen, and more.
Just off the main street in Potsdam, the crowds often miss this local gem so it may be easier to find a seat. However, like many places in Germany, they only accept cash
Der Butt may sound like a joke in English, but this name is nod to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV who was nicknamed "the butt" for his portly figure. What isn't a joke is that Der Butt is the best fish restaurant in Potsdam. On the menu is a range of sea life from salmon to trout to lobster, along with options for fish-free dishes. Everything is fresh and presented beautifully. Pair your entree with a quality wine and finish the meal with one of their elegant desserts. Despite a bill that can start to tip the scales towards expensive, this is another location that is cash only.
For something completely different, head to this casual burger joint offering a burst of flavor. Located between Potsdam's Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and the Dutch Quarter, you can get a burger using beef, chicken, pork, or several vegetarian options. Try more unusual offerings like the Banana Joe—a beef patty on a chia bun topped with grilled banana, blue cheese, red onion, jalapeño, lettuce, and fried onions. Waikiki Burger is great for an inexpensive meal and is a welcome change-up to many of the more traditional offerings in Potsdam.
The newest restaurant in Potsdam is also one of the most exciting openings in the region. Located on the outskirts of the city across from Cecilienhof Castle, the villa is a destination in itself. It dates back to 1914 and is named for the writer Bernhard Kellermann. During the German Democratic Republic, this was a meeting point for intellectuals that eventually fell into disuse. Recently, Chef Tim Raue set out to renovate the historic building and establish a new restaurant there that opened September 2019. The focus here is on modern German cuisine and the dishes are as beautiful as they are delicious.