Best American restaurants in Europe
Part of the fun in Germany is going on a hunt for the perfect wurst or schnitzel.
It'd be a pity to leave France without tasting a few good crepes.
And no trip to the United Kingdom is complete without gorging at least once on a traditional English breakfast.
But sometimes you really just want a good burger and fries. Or some other specialty associated with the United States.
Fortunately, there are a number of diners across the continent offering menus to satisfy the nachos, root beer and breakfast slammers crowd.
1. White Trash Fast Food, Berlin
Berlin’s own White Trash Fast Food serves one of the best burgers in town.
The Chinatown-themed space in Prenzlauer Berg (hey, the States are nothing if not eclectic) accommodates a large nightly influx of crowds with two stages for live music, a tattoo parlor for souvenirs and a cinema where people are free to smoke.
Drop in any night of the week to find a local punk show to rock ‘n’ roll bingo, with drag queens to rockabilly kids. It’s one of the only places in the city where it’s OK to be a loud American.
The entire interior conveys a mini-museum of the weird and wonderful from across America.
The menu is creative, including a sprawling octopus burger and an authentic platter of nachos as big as a booth.
Cocktails are plentiful, never measured and the lemonade is perfectly sweetened.
Reservations are recommended.
White Trash Fast Food, Schönhauser Allee 6-7, 10119, Berlin; +49 30 5034 8668; open Monday-Friday 4 p.m.-6 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday 6 p.m.-6 a.m.; www.whitetrashfastfood.com
2. Breakfast in America, Paris
Breakfast in America -- where you can always depend on a good meal with all the essentials.
It’s a no-frills place that delivers exactly what it promises. Breakfast is served all day and includes filling breakfast burritos, eggs cooked just right, thick malts and real bagels.
Nothing says comfort food like weekend brunch with unlimited coffee, stacks of blueberry pancakes and bacon and eggs.
Each table has its own toaster, so if your toast gets cold it's your own fault.
Sure, you’re paying Parisian prices for Denny’s quality food, but with decent veggie burgers on a brioche roll and hard-to-find sodas like A&W Root Beer and Dr Pepper, it's worth it.
Hamburgers are served lovingly, with all the toppings.
Desserts are topped with a tiny American flag, and portions are big and gooey.
Lines can get long but turnover is quick.
Breakfast in America, 4 rue Malher, 75004, Paris; +33 1 4272 4021; open Monday-Sunday 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; www.breakfast-in-america.com
3. Bugsy’s, Paris
Although many would consider it sacrilege to eat American cuisine in France, Bugsy’s is worth a visit for the service alone.
It’s the closest thing Paris has to a local watering hole, complete with a circle bar for easy conversation. Its 1920s Prohibition-era decor pays tribute to Al Capone -- gimmicky, but not overdone.
The food is just what you’d expect: dripping nachos, giant cheeseburgers, golden steak frites and large chicken Caesar salads.
The place is usually packed. Large screens playing football -- both the American and European variety -- are welcoming for solo travelers.
As busy as the place can get, the staff never rush you. Best of all, they’ll never give you the eye if you mispronounce “merci.”
Bugsy’s, 15, rue Montalivet, 75008, Paris; +33 1 4268 1844; open for lunch and dinner daily to 11 p.m., bar closes at 1 a.m.
4. The California Breakfast Slam, Berlin
There are occasions when the typical German breakfast of cold cuts and cheese just won't do.
Berlin’s party-hopping crowd can dance through the mid-Sunday morning and then head to Neukölln’s California Breakfast Slam to nurse the hangovers with a hearty meal and a strong cup of coffee.
Not only will you find the best American-style pancakes in the city, it’s also one of the few places where you can get eggs Benedict or huevos rancheros.
Drinks include a tart blood orange mimosa and spicy bloody Mary.
Pancake specials come in flavors like lemon ricotta; olive oil with dark chocolate and sea salt; and apple, pomegranate and pumpkin.
You can even get a version of a cold cut plate, “the douche plate,” complete with quality meat slices, French and Spanish cheeses, yogurt, granola, bread and spreads. It’s high-quality diner food with low Berlin prices.
The service is painfully slow, but no one eats in Berlin for the service. It's best to ignore the grating snark, such as the printed warning that the diner will “charge extra for annoying orders."
The California Breakfast Slam, Pflügerstrasse 19, 12047 Berlin; open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; www.facebook.com
5. Flippin’ Burgers, Stockholm, Sweden
Flippin’ Burgers owner Jon Widegren went on a road trip throughout the United States eating 64 burgers in 38 days to find the secret behind the almighty American food.
His Stockholm restaurant, which opened this past spring, is known for the best burger in Sweden, posisbly one of the best in Europe.
It’s made with lean meat, is juicy, never greasy and options include a classic double cheddar burger, or the cricket, a specialty topped with cream cheese, pickled onions and jalapeños. Sides of fries are hot, crisp and generous, and served with herbed mayonnaise.
The milkshakes come in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors and the beer selection includes American staples like Pabst and Samuel Adams, as well as more exotic imports from Namibia and the West Bank.
The only drawback is its popularity, which pulls in long lines with people waiting up to two hours for a meal. Get there early when they open at 5 p.m. for your best shot at avoiding the crowds.
The service is excellent -- they know how to turn over high volumes without pushing people out the door.
Flippin’ Burgers, Kungsholms Strand 157, 11248 Stockholm; open Monday-Saturday 5-9:30 p.m.; www.flippinburgers.se