Dining On Schnitzel Where They Held London's First Olympic Games? We Checked Out German Gymnasium

With just about the most convenient location in the city, German Gymnasium is situated right between King's Cross and St Pancras stations. But it's not just the location that I'd been dying to try, as the dazzling Mittel-European dishes that you can spy through their full-length windows are pretty enticing as well. Though I'd walked past countless times, this was the first time that I'd stopped at the imposing two-storey venue, having pushed past the crowds of commuters to secure myself a spot.

German Gymnasium King's Cross | DesignMyNight

The German Gymnasium reviews all praise the stunning building - and they're not wrong.

On arrival we were greeted in the sophisticated welcome area that felt more like checking into a hotel than a restaurant. Once led to our table, I was able to fully take in the breathtaking interiors - high ceilings are an understatement here, as the converted gymnasium has been turned into a stunning eatery with lofty wooden beams sitting high above its mezzanine level. The spacious ground floor where we were seated, referred to as the Grand Cafe, was filled with simple wooden tables, white walls and leafy green plants, creating an atmosphere that reminded me of the 20th century European dining halls that I've seen in films. This speaks to German Gymnasium's history, since it was built in 1865 as England's first purpose-built gymnasium, which hosted London's first indoor Olympic Games.

Although the huge steins of beer here did look appealing, we opted for cocktails instead. I chose the lemon spritz (£12.50), a refreshing blend of limoncello, soda water and spumante with a sharp citrussy taste. My dinner date went for the sweeter raspberry and lemon bellini (£12.50); this also featured limoncello and spumante but was topped off with a fruity raspberry puree that gave it a delicious jam-like taste.

German Gymnasium Drinks | DesignMyNight

There's so much to choose from at German Gymnasium King's Cross - you might just have to make a second visit.

The German Gymnasium menu differs slightly between the two floors, but we decided on the Grand Cafe due to the more extensive number of dishes on offer. For starters, we tried out a Ziegenkäse (£12.50) - a gratinated goat's cheese salad drizzled in balsamic dressing. This was my kind of salad: a huge piece of smooth, tangy cheese on a bed of mixed leaves and hazelnuts, with a sweet kick of pomegranate seeds as well. Our second choice was the Westfälische Kartoffel Suppe (£8.50), which, for the non-German speakers among us, is a traditional, warm and comforting potato soup served with crunchy croutons and chewy chunks of Frankfurter sausages adding a smoky taste to the creamy liquid, topped off with fresh parsley.

The main courses here did not disappoint either, with an extensive selection of authentic options to choose from. After much deliberation I settled on the vegan currywurst (£18.50), served with beautifully fluffy French fries. While the sausage didn't exactly taste like the meat version, the texture was spot on and it had a herby taste that combined nicely with the spicy tomato-based curry sauce, topped with spring onion and chillies for a little extra heat. My partner opted for another classic with the chicken schnitzel (£21.50), tender on the inside with a crispy breadcrumb coating, paired with braised red cabbage soaked in a sweet red wine sauce.

German Gymnasium Food | DesignMyNight

What could be better than schnitzel and a stein?

Last up was dessert, and I'll admit I didn't choose the most authentic option here - but I couldn't resist the chocolate sorbet (£6). Although this had no dairy in, it was as smooth as ice cream, with a rich dark chocolate taste. Our second pick was the vanilla rice pudding (£7.50), finished with a delicate cinnamon biscuit and a tart cherry compote that mixed well with the sweet Madagascan vanilla flavour of the base, which also had a milky and creamy consistency.

The DesignMyNight Digest

German Gymnasium is really two restaurants in one, as each floor has got different specialty dishes and equally gorgeous decor. This historic spot is ideal for those commuting, but I would also recommend making the journey to King's Cross specifically for a meal. The Grand Cafe boasts a huge menu of authentic German food, with plenty of plant-based options too, and it's a great introduction to the cuisine if it's something you've never tried before. And if you like your eateries with an interesting history as well, then this is definitely the place for you.

💰 The damage: £99 for three courses each and drinks.

  📍  The location: King’s Boulevard, King's Cross, London N1C 4BU.

  👌 Perfect for: A sophisticated meal close to the stations.

 ⭐ Need to know: Each floor has different menus, so check which you prefer before booking.


If you've got a taste for Mittel-European cuisine, then check out our guide to the city's best German beer halls and restaurants. Don't want to miss a thing? Then sign up to our newsletter.