McDonald's is a classic American institution. Americans love their fast food, and McDonald's is typically seen as the go-to fast food chain. McDonald's has been so popular in the United States that it's slowly taken over the world. There are now McDonald's restaurants in many countries across Europe, and each country has a slightly different menu than the next.
Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, McDonald's is not afraid to customize its menu offering based on the region where each restaurant is located. A combination of classic offerings and regional favorites makes McDonald's popular anywhere it sets up shop. If you find yourself at a McDonald's in a European country, one theme you might notice is more variety than the locations in the United States. Another noticeable difference is the amount of side items available and that dipping sauces almost seem to be encouraged, unlike in America where they seem to be stingy with giving them away.
While you'll find many of the same items available in European McDonald's as you would in America, there are are a variety of items you've likely never tried or even heard of. If you're looking to try some local flavors but aren't adventurous enough to commit fully, you can try some of these items. Whether it's a new take on a burger or one of the many side items available in European McDonald's, you'll certainly find some interesting items on this list of 20 menu items only found in European McDonald's.
Americans love beer and fast food, but most of the time, we have to combine them ourselves. At some McDonald's in Europe, beer is available on the menu.
While you may not want to go to McDonald's instead of your favorite pub, a nice light beer might pair pretty well with some french fries or a burger or chicken sandwich. This situation isn't like a bar where you can order any type of beer you want. They usually just have one option available. Americans can choose from a soda, coffee, tea, or water in addition to some other beverage options, but European McDonald's offer more choices at their McCafe and also serve drinks like Red Bull in some locations. If you're looking for a healthier option, some McDonald's in the UK serve organic milk. This is used in Happy Meals as well as for oatmeal, coffee, and tea.
McDonald's has been pushing its McCafe drinks for some time now, but Americans don't take them as seriously as Starbucks or other major coffee brands. In France, the fast food restaurants have a separate section dedicated to McCafe, which
looks more like a coffee house and serves up some pastries including macaroons and pieces of pie.
While cookies are available in McDonald's in the U.S., they are more fanciful in Europe. These pastries provide a different take on breakfast, and you don't have to order a McMuffin when you get your morning coffee. This makes McDonald's a great place to go if you have someone who wants a coffee and a pastry and someone else who wants their traditional fast food breakfast. It's no surprise that macaroons are readily available in France, but you might not expect to see them for sale in a McDonald's along with a coffee, tea, or milkshake.
18 French Fry Sauce
Americans love their sauces, and at McDonald's, there's a good amount of choices to go with your chicken. McDonald's in France has a special sauce available just for dipping fries, so you aren't stuck with ketchup. Unlike in America where fast food workers may give you a hard time or try to charge you extra for more sauce, in Europe, they give away sauce just for fries.
The traditional pommes frites sauce tastes somewhat like a malt vinegar aioli. While Americans love their potatoes, we sure don't have as many options as those in Europe do when they eat at McDonald's. We have our fries and hash browns, but that's it. At some European McDonald's, french fries can almost be treated as an entree and deserve their own sauces. Imagine getting some Chicken McNuggets with a side of fries and then getting multiple dipping sauces for each one without having to pay 25 cents.
17 Grand Big Mac Chicken
If you love the Big Mac but prefer chicken to beef, the Grand Big Mac Chicken would be perfect for you. It's available in Spain and other European countries.
This sandwich swaps out the two traditional beef patties found in the American Big Mac and substitutes in two McChicken patties.
It still comes with lettuce, onions, pickles, cheese, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun. If this sounds too good to be true, you might not have to board a flight to check it out. Sometimes, you can order special modifications to your food in America. And depending on who is working, they may or may not accommodate you. At the very least, you can have the mayo on the McChicken left off and ask for the special sauce instead. McDonald's has been playing around with various sizes of the Big Mac so they may start offering this version in the U.S. at some point in time.
16 New Prime Burger
While Americans have some new signature flavored burgers available, those in Switzerland are able to enjoy the New Prime burger which features two large beef patties, Gruyere cheese, relish, coleslaw, and other standard items like lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. The New Prime is served on a sesame seed bun, and don't forget the bacon. It's also adorned with some relish and arugula and something called “farmer sauce,” which is credited to a Rene Schudel on their website. A further investigation reveals that Schudel has been featured on several Swiss cooking shows and published a book as well as being awarded the Best of Swiss Gastro Award for a newcomer in 2006.
The New Prime comes in at more than 900 calories, but who's counting?
It can be enjoyed with a small green salad, an order of lamb's lettuce, a coleslaw salad, or Rosti fries, which are some type of combination of french fries and hash browns.
15 Pork Sandwich With Horseradish Sauce
This cousin of the McRib is available in Romania. It consists of a slice of grilled pork, white onions, a mustard sauce with horseradish, and pickled cucumbers on a long sesame seed bun.
McDonald's in Romania has traded in the American barbecue sauce in favor of something a bit more tart, but it seems to be a favorite among Romanians. The item is available in Romanian McDonald's “pig” category. If it doesn't strike your fancy, you can try the crispy chicken wings or Chicken Grill sandwich. Romania's McPuisor sandwich looks somewhat like a Hot and Spicy McChicken, but the chicken is “roasted for 2 minutes in vegetable oil,” according to the website. It comes with McPuisor sauce, and a Double McPhysor is also available. You can wash down your pork sandwich with traditional Coca-Cola products or something called Actimel with Strawberries, which is a yogurt-based drink.
14 Potato Wedges
As if McDonald's french fries were not good enough, several European countries serve multiple varieties of fries including what's known as Big French Fries or fried potato wedges.
One of the only few fast food joints that serve these potato wedges or jojo potatoes in America is KFC, which doesn't serve hamburgers. If you want this combination, you'll have to look around at some regional restaurants or you can charter a flight to Europe. Some European McDonald's also offer waffle fries, or “grid potatoes.” Rosti fries are extra crispy and you can also find what's called “fun fries” served with cheddar sauce (and bacon, if you want). These fries come complete with a fork in a container that makes them easy to eat. Don't forget the variety of sauces available specifically for fries in Europe. If you've ever ordered a 20-piece McNuggets in America and they only gave you one sauce, you'd be surprised to see how freely the sauce flows in Europe.
13 Fish McBites
The Filet-o-Fish is pretty polarizing in the United States, but some European McDonald's offer what are called Fish McBites. Think of these as McNuggets. But instead of chicken, you're getting fish. These bad boys were available in the U.S. in 2013 but weren't very popular so they didn't last long. They come with what's called a salsa creamy deluxe or a tartar sauce. Fish McBites have a lot of breading on them just like their chicken counterparts. Fish lovers may not like them because they aren't very authentic, and non-fish lovers probably won't like them either. These seem a little fishy but some people still enjoy them. They're somewhat like chicken McNuggets before McDonald's started pledging to use better ingredients. You don't know what type of fish is in them, but you can't imagine that it's the good stuff. If you're looking for a quick snack and you can only eat fish, these may be right for you.
12 Mozzarella Dippers
These mozzarella sticks made a brief appearance in the United States at one point as part of the McPick menu. They must not have been very popular because they disappeared pretty quickly. There were some people complaining on social media that there was no cheese in some of them so they basically bit into a mozzarella stick with no mozzarella. These dippers come with a side of marinara sauce. They are actually a pretty good deal compared to how much you might pay for a similar dish at happy hour of your favorite dive bar. Some fast food connoisseurs might say that these have all the necessary food groups, including dairy and fruit and/or vegetables depending on which one you believe and if you count the tomato sauce. These make for a nice snack or a good alternative side dish to fries if you are in the mood for something different.
Some Americans may not be familiar with gazpacho, but it's a staple of Spanish cuisine and is a cold soup featuring raw vegetables. In Spain, you can order packaged gazpacho at McDonald's. It's actually a pretty healthy option compared to the burgers or fried chicken offered.
Gazpacho is traditionally a summer soup, and the version offered by McDonald's actually comes from PepsiCo.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can also order a gazpacho drink, which is described as the “taste of summer that comes from the Mediterranean.” This red drink looks somewhat like V-8 or Clamato, but you'll have to judge how it tastes for yourself. Soups are not uncommon at McDonald's in Europe. For example, in Portugal, you can choose from peas cream soup, cream of vegetables soup, caldo verde soup (a Portuguese favorite featuring potatoes and collard greens), or a lavender soup with red beans, dough, and ham with vegetables and olive oil.
10 Tzatziki Wraps
Over the years, McDonald's has introduced different varieties of wraps, but in Croatia, they serve a tzatziki beef wrap. Wraps that feature tzatziki sauce have also been available in other countries like Sweden, Hungary, and Belgium. Tzatziki sauce is yogurt-based and has elements of garlic and cucumber. The Hungarian version comes with a grilled pork patty, something called a Mediterranean cheese, tzatziki sauce, bell pepper, and red onion. The Swedish version uses ground beef, tzatziki sauce, cheese, lettuce, red onions, and cucumber. In Belgium, the wrap uses chicken and comes with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and cucumber. McDonald's likes catering to the unique tastes of countries and regions so this doesn't come as much of a surprise. Greek food has become popular in the United States, but the tzatziki wraps have not yet made their way to America. These are relatively healthy compared to some of the other items offered by McDonald's, and they also have a nice blending of flavors.
9 Greek Mac
The Greek Mac is another way that McDonald's has incorporated local flavors into their popular food items.
This is somewhat of a combination of the traditional Big Mac with a Greek gyro.
Like the Big Mac, it comes with two all-beef patties. The “special sauce” is a yogurt sauce similar to tzatziki sauce. The Greek Mac also features onions, lettuce, and tomatoes and is served in a pita bun. This entree combines Greek and American tastes and is served in its own special packaging. The pita provides a nice alternative to the traditional bun that McDonald's uses. It allows you to really taste the flavor of the beef and other ingredients. The yogurt sauce has a bit of a mint flavor to it and is quite different than the normal Big Mac sauce you've come to expect. This is a great option for travelers from the United States visiting Greece and wanting to try a local take on a classic favorite.
8 Chili Cheese Tops
If you're in Sweden or Denmark, you can try the chili cheese tops from McDonald's. These are another snack or side alternative and are somewhat similar to jalapeño poppers, only without the actual jalapeños. The chili cheese tops come in an order of four pieces and feature delicious smoked cheese and spicy chili inside. These would be great as an afternoon snack with your favorite beverage. The only problem is that an order of four doesn't seem like a very generous portion so you might have to order two of them or perhaps try the home-style chips available in Denmark. Unlike the traditional McDonald's french fries, these are sliced potatoes like something you'd get if a restaurant made their own fries by slicing potatoes and frying them up right then and there. They come with a chili dip or a cheddar version. European McDonald's are big on offering a variety of sides and sauces to go with them.
7 Fried Shrimp
While McDonald's offers their Filet-O-Fish in the United States, they offer other types of fish in Europe. Fried shrimp is on the menu in Switzerland, and other varieties of it are available in other countries as well.
McShrimp is served in Russia and is just an order of breaded shrimp available as a side dish or perhaps an entree if you order two of them.
If you travel to Japan, you can also get a shrimp burger served with a tempura sauce. Japan also offered a burger called the Super Gurakoro, which is a fried shrimp and macaroni croquette served on a bun with your choice of toppings. Shrimp is popular in America for sure but McDonald's has left that to places like Long John Silver's. While a shrimp burger probably wouldn't work in the United States, fried shrimp could be a popular menu item when paired with an order of french fries and a Dr. Pepper.
If you find yourself at a McDonald's in the Netherlands, you'll have the opportunity to order the McKroket sandwich. It may be explained to you that this is a kroket burger served on a bun with a mustard sauce, but if you don't know what a kroket is, you'll still have no clue what you're eating. The kroket is a popular Dutch food item. It's breaded and deep-fried, which means that it tastes good. But what's inside it? It's described as a meat ragout which commonly contains beef along with other ingredients like onions, butter, beef broth, and onions. It's somewhat like a beef stew made into a solid patty and then deep-fried. The taste is somewhat similar to a croquetta served in a Spanish Tapas bar. This sandwich has a strong cheese taste that's apparently in the kroket. The mustard sauce is also strong. If you know what a real kroket is, you might not like this sandwich so much. If you don't, it's worth giving it a try.
5 McToast Chocolate
We know that McDonald's now has all-day breakfast available in the United States, but there are many other choices in Europe. Many of those McDonald's take their McCafe pretty seriously and offer a wide variety of pastries including cookies, cakes, pies, and macaroons.
In Germany, you can start off your day with a McToast Chocolate which is basically pancakes folded up to form a sandwich with chocolate inside them.
In America, you can get pancakes at McDonald's but they don't come with anything like chocolate in them. Some critics don't think there's enough chocolate in between the pancakes and you can barely taste the sweet treat. On the menu, it appears to be toasted but it often doesn't come out that way. You might be better off trying the chocolate croissant or Croissant Schoko. It's similar to the McToast Chocolate or McToast Schoko, but as the name implies, it comes with a croissant instead of pancakes.
4 Mush Burger
This may not sound very tasty to Americans, but the mush burger available in Bulgaria is made up of pork topped with horseradish served on a bun. If you aren't paying much attention, it might look a bit like a Hot and Spicy McChicken, but you'd be surprised once you bite into it. If you find yourself in Bulgaria, you might want to try some of the local cuisine. But if you do make your way to a McDonald's, you should come prepared. There are just over 40 McDonald's restaurants located in Bulgaria, and they first came to the country in 1994. Don't be confused if you order a mush burger thinking it comes with mushrooms because these two items are completely different. The mushroom and Swiss cheese burger served in America may be more of what you are looking for. If you do end up with a mush burger, you may like it. But if not, you can always get something else off the menu.
The 1955 burger (also available as a chicken sandwich) is a throwback to the way McDonald's hamburgers were originally served when the chain opened back in 1955.
This burger is served in various parts of Europe and is marketed as an American classic (but not served in the U.S.).
It comes with a hamburger patty or a chicken patty, bacon, lettuce and tomato, onions, ketchup, and barbecue sauce on a sesame seed bun. The sandwich is somewhat like a Big Mac, but you're only getting one patty and there isn't an extra bun in the middle. This is a pretty flavorful sandwich if you don't mind more toppings than actual meat. This burger was launched in Germany in 2010 and has gone on to become popular in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, and other European countries. This burger would have sold for about 15 cents back in 1955 when Ray Kroc opened the first drive-in McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois.
You may have seen that American Burger King's have started selling hotdogs to go along with all their burgers and chicken sandwiches. What you may not know is that McDonald's has been serving hot dogs in Europe. Some American and Canadian stores actually served hotdogs for a limited time but they didn't seem to catch on and were eventually taken off the menu. McHotDogs were available in Europe starting in the '90s and seem to have been available for a limited time and have come and gone multiple times. They have also been available in Japan and Chile. At one point, they were even available on the breakfast menu in Japan. Selling hotdogs goes against what McDonald's original stood for. Founder Ray Kroc prohibited McDonald's from selling hotdogs because he said that there was no telling what was inside a hotdog's skin. One noticeable feature of the McHotDog was that the bun didn't appear to be long enough to fit the hot dog.
1 Royale With Cheese
You might think that a Royale with cheese is just a quote from the movie Pulp Fiction, but it's an actual menu item at some European McDonald's.
The McRoyale Deluxe is described as a “mouth-watering” all-beef patty topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, tangy mayo, tomato, and tomato and mustard sauces served on the traditional sesame seed bun.
This is quite similar to the American quarter pounder with cheese. This traditional-style burger is available in several European countries and may be called a McRoyal or a McRoyale depending on where you're at. You'll certainly be full after consuming this 500-calorie sandwich with 32 grams of protein and 34 grams of carbs. If you're in Europe at a McDonald's and don't feel like being very adventurous, then this might be the perfect item for you. You'll also be able to have fun saying royale with cheese if you're into that sort of thing.