The most popular German dinnerware companies have to be Rosenthal and Waechtersbach. They both have been in business for years with an international outlook. Rosenthal was established in 1879 and Waechtersbach in 1832.
Another long-term dinnerware brand from Germany is Hutschenreuther dinnerware. It is very exquisite and has been in production since 1814. It in now owned by Rosenthal.
The brands produced by the Rosenthal company include:
I really like the holiday dinnerware that Waechtersbach puts out. The holiday pieces coordinate well with their dinnerware sets which makes it possible to decorate for different holidays and seasons without buying a whole new dinnerware set. To me, that is very practical.
Villeroy and Boch is also a well known German dinnerware company that has been around since 1748. I really like their modern styles of luxurious dinnerware.
The collections that are produced fit into both the casual and fine dinnerware lines and the company even services fine dining restaurants and hotels.
Arzberg Dinnerware is made in Germany. The designs are rather modern with white and two-tone colors. What I like about this brand is that you can buy the pieces individually so you can mix and match to your desire and create your own, unique dinnerware set.
I believe that other German manufacturers of dinnerware might include Meissen, ASA Selection, Royal York, and Dresden, but I can't find much about these names, not enough to verify that they are German manufacturers anyway. I have seen pieces of dinnerware using these names on eBay and Replacements.com but I think the names might refer to a design, style or a location, especially since Dresden and Meissen are cities in Germany.
Dinnerware made in Germany is not as plentiful or as popular as dinnerware from other countries, but it certainly isn't because of a lack of creativity. The German dishes that I have seen are very stylish - some fancy and some simply practical. All seem to be of high quality.