Written and photographed by: Maxwell Gawlick
Hidden in a nook of Chinatown is Bestie, an authentic German restaurant with which you’re guaranteed to fall in love. It’s a cute location, bigger on the inside than the outside, and filled with historic German artifacts. It is some distance from any SFU campus, but it’s only a five-minute walk from the Abbott stop on the 95 B-Line route going towards Burrard Station.
The moment you step into Bestie, you are embraced by the smell of freshly baked pretzels. A moment later you can taste the tang and spice of sauerkraut and German curry in the air. You’re greeted by the soft, yet interesting music in the background; it’s pleasant to listen to, but not intrusive enough to disturb you. There’s often subtle chatter between the customers and staff, generating a quiet and welcoming ambience.
Looking at the menu, you’ll discover the prices are affordable — for $9 you can get the Currywurst, or the Sausage and Sauerkraut for $12. The sausage is made of your choice of beef, pork, turkey, or other seasonal meats such as deer and elk. They also offer a vegetarian sausage option and salads, in case you want a slice of Bestie goodness without the meat. Mix and match with a side of sauerkraut, fries, or potato salad for $4 each and you’re set. If you spend a little more, you can end (or begin!) your meal with a huge, fresh-baked pretzel and an assortment of mustards and spreads, depending on the kind you choose. The drinks are also reasonably priced, so you won’t have to drop out of university if you decide to have a stein of German beer with your meal.
In addition, the menu can be maneuvered carefully for better deals. For instance, instead of buying two plates of sausage for $20+, you can get a single plate and simply add on another sausage for about $15 total. You can even add another side or substitute the default one and still be under $20.
You’ll find the servers make pleasant conversation as they take your order, happy to answer questions and give suggestions. The food comes promptly and in perfect portion sizes. If you get the Currywurst, you’ll be presented with a large plate with a massive sausage sat on a bed of fries and covered in a thick layer of curry ketchup. The sauerkraut is described by the menu as “just like Opa used to make,” and it’s not incorrect — the sauerkraut has perfect proportions and adds a wonderful tanginess to the savoury sausage.
While you certainly can’t go wrong with either of these two options, Bestie does lack in variety. With the Currywurst and the Sausage and Sauerkraut being the two main options other than side dishes, it’s not the kind of place I’d want to go very often, lest I become tired of those dishes. However, it’s the perfect treat for the beginning or the end of semester, or during exam week when you simply need a break. Bestie is one of the few places you’ll find delicious, authentic German food in Vancouver, and it’s definitely worth a visit.