I have a homework:

Ich schlage vor, wir gehen heute Abend mal wieder essen. Hast du Lust?

Now I need to give a positive answer from these words:

Warum nicht, vielleicht italienisch.

I thought this:

Ja, warum nicht, wir könnten vielleicht italienisches Essen essen.

Now as far as I am concerned it is grammatically OK.

But can I use italienisches Sauer essen?

Why did I come up with this?
I know that the German soldiers were nicknamed by the allies as Kraut due to Kraut sauer, which is mid-europe food. So I though I could use sauer here again. But I am not sure it sounds right.

So if it's not, I'd love to hear an alternative.

  • 2
    I fixed a few typos. Note especially that in "italienisches Essen", "Essen" is a noun and capitalized. — However, it's "Sauerkraut", not "Krautsauer". I didn't fix this, but if at all it should be "italienisches Kraut". But it's German food, not Italian.
    – Em1
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 7:28
  • 4
    Sauerkraut is a typical dish in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. It's not part of the traditional Italian diet. (crauti is a loan word from German in Italian.)
    – Janka
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 8:08
  • 3
    If you don't like the Essen essen in your sentence, use … wir könnten vielleicht was italienisches essen. That's perfectly okay, as well as … wir könnten vielleicht zum Italiener gehen. and so on.
    – Janka
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 8:10
  • 3
    "Sauer" corresponds to "Sour" in English, so "italienisches Sauer essen" becomes "eat Italian sour" which IMHO makes no sense to either a German or English speaking person. If you mean Sauerkraut, simply say so, although I don't know what Italian Sauerkraut is.
    – RHa
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 9:32
  • 3
    Kraut as term for Germans is a derogative word. Don't use it.
    – äüö
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


Short: No, you can't. ;)

As already mentioned "sauer" means "sour" so "italienisches Sauer essen" could be roughly translated to "Italian sour food" although the term itself is grammatically not correct.

The term "Sauerkraut" literally translates to "sour cabbage". That is because it is cabbage which is conserved through fermentation. The bacteria growing during the fermentation produce acid making the cabbage taste sour.

In Europe, and especially not in Germany, the terms "Sauer" or "Kraut" are not used to refer to food in general.
You might find German speaking people talking about "Kraut" as an abbreviation for "Sauerkraut" but this only refers to Sauerkraut..

edit: as mentioned by @IQV this is not correct. "Kraut" may also refer to other mostly cabbage-based dishes. The definition of what "Kraut" actually means depends a lot on the dialect spoken in that geographical region.

Your solution

Ja, warum nicht, wir könnten vielleicht italienisches Essen essen.

is grammatically perfectly correct. But it might refer to just eating Italian food at home, somewhere else or at a restaurant offering several kinds of food and does not explicitly express that you wish to do so at an Italian restaurant.

If you want to express that you want to go to an Italian restaurant the term

Ja, warum nicht. Lass uns doch zum Italiener gehen.

is what you are looking for.

In German everyday language restaurants are mostly referred to by naming a male individual of the restaurant's nationality.

A Greek restaurant - Ein Grieche ("Lass uns zum Griechen gehen")
An Italian restaurant - Ein Italiener ("Lass uns zum Italiener gehen")
An Indian restaurant - Ein Inder ("Lass uns zum Inder gehen")

And so on.

One exception (and the only one I can think of right now) is if you are going to a German restaurant in Germany.
Restaurants serving German everyday food are mostly referred to as "gutbürgerlich".
In this case you normally don't talk about going to a German restaurant ("... in ein deutsches Restaurant gehen.") but about going to a plain restaurant ("... in ein gutbürgerliches Restaurant.")

edit: @O. R. Mapper has a good point regarding the restaurants serving German cuisine: Restaurants serving German food are actually rarely called "gutbürgerlich" in German everyday language. Instead one might refer to them with the kind of cuisine they serve (vegetarian, vegan ...) or the region the cuisine of the restaurant originates from (bavarian, bohemian, swabian, ...)

Her you can also refer to the male individual representing that kind of cuisine (the Vegetarian, the Bavarian, the Swabian) but this is very informal and depends a lot on the regional dialect.

For example you might say

Lass uns in in vegetarisches Restaurant gehen - Let's go to a vegetarian restaurant. Lass uns in in böhmisches Restaurant gehen - Let's go to a bohemian restaurant. and so on.

This is the most common option and you should use such phrases.

You MIGHT hear

Lass uns zum Vegetarier gehen - Let's go to the Vegetarian. Lass uns zum Böhmen gehen - Let's go to the Bohemian.

and so on as well.

But as I already said this is very informal and depends a lot on the regional dialect and therefore I do not recommend to use these phrases. I only mention this for the sake of completeness.

  • 1
    The term "gutbürgerlich" may appear in a newspaper review about a restaurant, but it seems rather stilted to me in spoken language. Instead, for German restaurants in Germany (and certainly, for most restaurants in their respective native countries), you would rather refer to a specific region (e.g. Swabian cuisine, Bavarian cuisine, ...) or any other specific trait (fish restaurant, vegetarian restaurant, ...). Commented May 11, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    Die Aussage, dass "Kraut" sich als Abkürzung immer auf Sauerkraut bezieht, halte ich für falsch. Beispielsweise besteht Krautsalat nicht aus Sauerkraut. Ansonsten eine sehr gute Antwort.
    – IQV
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 5:44
  • IQV, O.R. Mapper. Ihr habt beide Recht. Das hatte ich tatsächlich nicht auf dem Schirm. Ich werde das ins Posting editieren.
    – Matze
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 16:15

In standard German usage, one doesn't refer to the "subject matter," but to the people behind it. Here is an example:

One doesn't refer to Italian food, but to the Italian person that (presumably) makes it.

So "let's have 'Italian," would be "Lass uns zum Italiener gehen." (Let's go the the Italian (person).

German food is the exception to the above rule. A good reference would be "Lass uns gutbürgerlich essen." Let's go national. (The "German" is understood.)

You would not use Sauer or Kraut in this context. Those words are derived from "sauerkraut" and having nothing to do with people. (OK, "Kraut" was a reference to "German" by the Allies in World War II but that's not a German, civilian usage.) And as discussed in the paragraph above, German food is the one exception to the rule of referring to the person, rather than type of food.

  • I have corrected the grammar mistakes in your examples. Please update the English translations to match the German text more closely, if you like. Commented May 12, 2017 at 18:22
  • Other than that, the same remarks about gutbürgerlich that I mentioned in my comment on Matze's answer apply to yours, too, of course. Commented May 12, 2017 at 18:23

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