No matter if on the outskirts or in the centre, Hamburg is full of first-class restaurants. Whatever it is you crave for, you will find it in the Schanzen and Portugiesenviertel districts, Eimsbüttel, Old Town and all around the University. But well, sometimes there's nothing as fulfilling as some homemade pasta or take-away fast food.
With the Elbe river and both the North Sea and Baltic Sea right around the corner, fish is of course a mainstay in the Hamburg kitchen. People from all over Germany come to enjoy a herring sandwich by the banks of the river. It is, however, no longer the case that inhabitants instantly turn into the proverbial 'Fischköppe' (lit.: fishheads). A dish like Labskaus has long been associated with the North, even though in reality many Hamburgers don’t even know the ingredients of it (fish, meat, potatoes, beetroot).
Oh, and speaking of hamburgers: Yes, this fast food dish is most likely connected to the city of Hamburg, and no, there isn't a convincing explanation as to why that is so.
Next to the 'Imbissbuden' that sell hamburgers and fries, there are plenty of other takeaways all over the city. Döner, for example, is an incredibly popular dish. Although technically a Turkish specialty, the meat and salad in flatbread was invented in Germany.
However, it is still very common to cook your own meals whenever time allows it. Unlike, for example, in the US, there are supermarkets everywhere and German discounters like ALDI, LIDL, NETTO or PENNY have established themselves all over the world. The prices are comparably low and the overall quality of the products is mostly more than OK. In recent years, most of the discounters have stocked up considerably on vegetarian and vegan options, too.
Fresh produce can be bought at the well-known Fischmarkt or other weekly markets. In addition, many Turkish family-owned shops offer a broad range of fruit and veggies. Food carts have become more popular during the last years ─ such as Vincent Vegan (see photo).
When it comes to drinks, Hamburg is and has always been known across the country for its Pilsener beers. Today, Astra beer is inseparably connected to the maritime spirit of the city. To play it true, it should be complemented by a shot of Korn or Kümmel, two kinds of clear 'Schnaps' that are made from wheat and caraway.
See this link for a list of restaurant recommendations!