• The World's 50 Best Restaurants
No.33

Aqua

Wolfsburg, Germany

No.33

Technical modern German cooking in a suitably industrial location

Locations for a world-class restaurant don’t come much more unlikely than a motoring theme park adjoining Volkswagen’s car factory, but that’s exactly where you’ll find Sven Elverfeld’s inimitable Aqua. In Wolfsburg, a somewhat bland modern town between Berlin and Hanover, this former pastry chef cooks some of Germany’s most ambitious food in a strikingly contemporary dining room that references the Ritz-Carlton’s industrial location.

The chef’s main schtick is the reinvention of German peasant food. The country’s often derided dishes undergo avant-garde reworkings. For example a classic midnight snack of fresh local cheese with onion, vinegar and dark malted bread is reimagined as a chilled appetiser with astounding clarity of flavour. However, the menu has recently taken on a more global hue. Yellow fin mackerel gets the Mexican treatment and is served with guacamole, smoked corn foam and black quinoa. Elsewhere, he also riffs on ceviche and Greek salad to great effect.

If the cuisine sounds a tad confused, rest assured, Elverfeld’s cooking is anything but. It’s merely evidence of a confident and open-minded kitchen: the dishes are as finely tuned as the engines of the cars that fill the Autostadt’s garages.

Images: Markus Hoehn, Goetz Wrage

On the pass

  • Sven Elverfeld

Pastry chef

  • Henning Hartwig

Style of food

  • Modern German

Standout dish

  • Cod, veal brawn, cauliflower, brown butter and silverskin onions

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