In this sentence:

Kann man hier gut essen gehen?

Why do we use "gehen"? What does it mean here?

The exercise is asking us to fill in the correct modal verb, which I have done, but I don't understand the meaning of the sentence – more specifically, why "gehen" is used.

  • 3
    – Olafant
    Dec 11, 2023 at 7:22
  • Note that you might use the sentence when e.g. visiting a town. In that case you are asking whether there are a decent number of good restaurants to choose from. -- You might not use the sentence about a specific restaurant; for that situation you'd rather ask: "Kann man hier gut essen?" Dec 11, 2023 at 20:04
  • Hi, thanks a lot. Much obliged.
    – Kamran
    Dec 16, 2023 at 6:55

2 Answers 2


Essen gehen is a fixed phrase meaning to visit a restaurant (perhaps translatable to eat out). It may not be restricted to the quality of the food, but address service and surrounding as well.

  • 1
    There are analogous contructions with gehen such as schlafen gehen (to go to bed) and einkaufen gehen (to go shopping).
    – RHa
    Dec 11, 2023 at 7:40

This is a quite common construction that can be used with about any verb that describes an activity. The idea is that you go to another place in order to do the activity there, along the lines of "to go out to do X" or "to go somewhere to do X there". The place you go to is often specifically designated for the activity. For example

Wir gehen am Mittwoch essen.
We go out to eat on Wednesday.

means that you go somewhere, being to the restaurant, in order to eat there. The restaurant is meant to be a place where people eat.

Other examples might be

Ich bin müde, ich gehe jetzt schlafen.
I'm tired, I'll go to bed now.

meaning that you go from where you are, for example from the living room, to the bedroom and sleep there. The bed is meant for sleeping.

Ich muss noch einkaufen gehen.
I still have to go shopping.

You go to the store, which is meant for people to shop there.

Möchtest Du spazieren gehen?
Would you like to go for a walk?

Here the designation of the place is less clear, because you can go for a walk just about anywhere, but you still go to another place than you are right now.

Meine Tochter geht oft Fußball spielen.
My daughter often plays soccer (at the soccer pitch).

Du musst heute nicht arbeiten gehen.
You don't have to go to work today.

A similar construction is used in cases where there's no physical movement, but more a change of state:

Frank geht in Rente.
Frank retires (goes into retirement).

Die neue Anlage geht in Betrieb.
The new facility goes on line (goes into operation).

"Essen gehen" specifically typically describes going to professional establishment like a restaurant. If you visit your brother and have dinner with his family, you probably wouldn't call it "essen gehen".

  • I am deeply grateful for your kind response.
    – Kamran
    Dec 11, 2023 at 16:37
  • This is a great answer. You could still "Zum Bruder auf Besuch gehen" (visiting your brother)
    – hitchhiker
    Dec 11, 2023 at 23:18

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