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Archive for July, 2010

Goldener Hecht

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Steingasse 2 69117 Heidelberg

Like Heidelberg itself, Goldener Hecht (translated as ‘Golden Pike,’ pike as in the fish) is an establishment with a long history.  Since 1717, Goldener Hecht has opened its doors to visitors from around the world.  Today, the colorful murals inside the restaurant and the decorated pages of the menu hint towards the extensive tradition here.  It is said that Goethe himself ventured into this place during one of his visits to Heidelberg and possibly slept there overnight (recorded on the wall).  Images on the walls also depict the Heidelberg flood in 1947, when the Hecht was partly submerged.  Another illustrates a fire that burned the building in 1989.

 

With these dramatic images adorning the walls, the place has a unique and interesting feel.  The dining room itself is homely and inviting.  Wooden tables with carved engravings along with wooden chairs make up the seating arrangements.  Lining the walls is cushioned booth style seating.  Red and white pillows offer added comfort and contribute to the home-style setting.  Selected tables are given the white tablecloth treatment; others are merely equipped with a cloth that streaks down the middle portion of the table.  Wine glasses, turned upside down, await diners at the tables.  Candles are also placed on top.  Various wine bottles sit in different corners all around the restaurant, making it seem a bit more like an Italian restaurant than a traditional German.  There are a few antiques, like old kettles and containers, positioned on shelves adding some décor to the room.  An inner room provides even more seating options.  Written on the walls are some interesting words of wisdom.

On the menu is a mix of familiar and local as well as a few unique dishes.  German and Austrian specialties can be found here at Goldener Hecht.  To start things off, there is a list of appetizers that can also be ordered as a snack in between meals.   A handful of soups are featured, along with a good number of different salads.  Roasted dishes and cuts of Austrian beef and veal highlight the list of main dishes.  Additionally, there are a few vegetarian options.  Small, black chalkboards with the list of desserts are placed on the tables, essentially reminding diners to save room for it.  Sweets include different types of cakes, like Apfelkuchen and Kirschkuchen (cherry cake), as well as an Austrian delight – Kaiserschmarrn.

 

As a main entrée, Leberknödel mit Speckkraut und Kartoffelpüree is liver dumplings served with kraut and mashed potatoes.  Juices from the dumpling form a lake around the three components of the dish, slowly getting soaked up by the cabbage and potatoes.  Two Leberknödel dumplings are served in this dish, topped with chopped chives.  A dollop of mustard provides even more flavor.  The dumplings have a wonderful blend of seasonings that mask the characteristic taste of liver.  Though the liver taste is present, it is not as dominating as one might expect.  Both of the accompaniments pair well with the dumplings.  Fried, sweet onions garnish the mashed potatoes and provide explosions of flavor.  Both the potatoes and kraut are great when eaten in conjunction with the gravy sauce.  A few black peppercorns can be found in the kraut.

The different elements in this dish combine together wonderfully and create an outstanding grouping of flavors and textures.  The mashed potatoes are slightly chunky and creamy; the liver dumplings a somewhat soft texture, like meatloaf; the kraut providing a mild crunch.

 

The featured dessert on the menu is Kaiserschmarrn – a confection consisting of sweet pancake with raisins, dusted with powdered sugar on top.  Delicate and fluffy, Kaiserschmarrn is a traditional Austrian dessert rarely appearing on menus in German restaurants.  To find it here at the Goldener Hecht is an absolute treat.  Served on a fine silver platter, the light dish is accompanied by a delicious plum compote that strikes a fine balance between sweet and sour.  The pancake itself has a fluffy, light texture comparable to perfectly cooked scrambled eggs.  The powdered sugar enhances the flavor of the dish extremely well, rendering the compote almost unnecessary.  However, the plum sauce adds such a novel boost of flavor to the dish.  Plums are plentiful in the compote.  It is served cold and strikes a nice contrast to the warm pancake.

At 7,30 €, the Kaiserschmarrn may seem a tad overpriced for a dessert item.  However, the dish can be easily shared amongst two people.  Eaten alone, Kaiserschmarrn is quite filling and can even be enough for lunch.  Considering the rarity of such a dish in this area, it is definitely worth a taste.

Service is fairly good here.  The female servers wear traditional dirndl dresses underneath their aprons, which add to the authenticity of the German dining experience.  Some of the wait staff members manage to maintain a welcoming smile despite the frenzy in the front of the house; others may not be so warm and hospitable.  Food arrives in an acceptable amount of time.

With its ideal corner location directly off of the Old Bridge, Goldener Hecht draws many diners to its establishment, tourists and locals alike.  The menu is a mixture of regional and national German dishes that are sure to meet any diner’s needs.

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Summary:

Situated facing Heidelberg’s historic Old Bridge, Goldener Hecht is a German restaurant and hotel serving up traditional German and Austrian cuisine in a comfortable, rustic dining atmosphere.  Good service.  Outdoor tables make up a relatively small beer garden that overlooks the grand entrance to the Old Bridge – an ideal spot to sit down and people watch, while having a delicious meal.  Prices moderate.

Hours: Monday – Friday: Noon3:00 PM, 6:00 PMMidnight
Saturdays and Sundays: NoonMidnight

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Leberknödel mit Speckkraut und Kartoffelpüree – 4.5/5
  • Kaiserschmarr’n mit Zwetschgenröster – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.goldener-hecht-heidelberg.eu/

Written by geschmack

July 20th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Benjamins American Diner (Update)

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Gorxheimer Straße 9 68309 Mannheim

2 kilograms of sheer hamburger meat, topped with slices of cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, raw white onions, pickles, and ketchup, sandwiched between two sesame seed buns measuring 30 cm (about 1 foot) in diameter.  If you’re looking for the ultimate test of man versus burger, an ordeal of pure gluttony and fortitude, then look no further than Benjamins American Diner in Mannheim.  Here, you can test the capacity of your stomach with their XXL burger – a true monster, indeed!

Benjamins American Diner is an American restaurant establishment located along a long highway, next to a US army base installation in Käfertal.  Classic American items, such as burgers, salads, sandwiches, BBQ pork loins, ribs, and steaks, highlight the menu.  Breakfast items, including pancakes, eggs, ham, and bacon, are also featured.  Moreover, there are a couple of Mexican items like Mexican salad and Mexican rice.  The menu is printed in both German and English and features many rich images and photographs of the food.  The actual booklet is impressively designed and is reminiscent of typical American restaurant menus.  Special summer dishes, including salads and desserts, are also available on a laminated menu.

Drinks include a nice selection of popular American soft drinks like A&W root beer, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew, as well as different types of beer (including Corona).   Their homemade sweet tea is refreshing.  Served with a slice of lemon, the cool drink is thirst-quenching and satisfying on a hot, summer day.

Appetizers include spicy chicken wings, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, potato wedges, nachos, and cheesy fries.  Soups are also served during the colder months.

Onions rings are thick, crispy, and extremely addicting.  They are battered in beer and fried to a golden brown.  Onions are sweet and have the perfect ratio of batter to onion.  The flavor is simply outstanding – some of the best you’ll ever find.  Furthermore, the rings aren’t overly greasy.  This appetizer is certainly an excellent starter.  The only shortcoming is the small amount of onion rings given in an order – around 8 rings for 3,90 €.

 

The colossal XXL burger is an experience in itself.  An exercise in mastication and determination, only the finest eaters will be able to conquer such a colossal beast.  Served on a huge serving platter (conceivably a Thanksgiving turkey serving dish), the 2 kg burger is accompanied by crisp fries on each side.  Conquering this behemoth requires absolute skill and a strong stomach.  The hamburger patty itself amounts to a little over an inch in thickness; the bun approximately two inches.  Simply managing the burger is a huge obstacle in itself – you surely won’t be able to bite off a portion of the burger in a single bite as it is just utterly impossible.  It may be safe to say that this burger is indomitable by mere mortals – only the finest eaters could overcome such a monster.

The burger meat is juicy and seasoned well; the flavor enhanced by the melted cheese and condiments.  Due to the gigantic size of the patty, it does taste a bit like meatloaf.  The sesame seed bun is somewhat tough to cut and bite into, though it is a contrast of textures with the succulent meat.  Taking into account the massive amount of meat, the condiments are not individually noticeable.  An occasional tomato or pickle will add a flavor burst, but the burger dominates everything else.  Cheddar cheese is a welcome sight and provides a delightful gooey texture.

 

What’s a burger without fries?  The fries here are cooked well and finely salted. A side portion costs 2,50 €; seasoned fries 2,60 €.  The seasoned fries are nothing spectacular – seasoning salt is loosely sprinkled over regular fries.  As an alternative, chili cheese fries can be ordered off of the menu.

Like the previous visit, the service on this visit was top-notch.  Upon entrance into the diner and throughout the entire meal, the staff was friendly, attentive, and patient.  You will almost always find a warm smile from every staff member.  One waitress, in particular, was outstanding.  Her politeness and general sociable demeanor made the dining experience even better.  With her New York English accent, she politely addressed each diner with a ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ that is quite uncommon nowadays.  Although the dining room was packed, food came out in a reasonable amount of time.  Plates and empty glasses were also taken away promptly – very impressive considering the situation.

The burgers at Benjamins American diner are better than any you would find at any fast food joint here in Germany.  The ribs and chicken wings are also better than most.  Tack on the superior service, relaxed dining room atmosphere, and American sports on big screen TVs and Benjamins American Diner is quite possibly the best American restaurant in the entire region, if not in all of Germany.  The unique buffet specials also add a special flair to this establishment that will have diners coming back for more.

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Summary:

Hands down the best diner in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan region, Benjamins American Diner dishes up authentic, quintessential American style cuisine, including traditional American breakfast items, burgers, sandwiches, BBQ ribs, steaks, and chicken wings, in a classic, retro style diner.  Prices reasonable.  Excellent American style service.  All-You-Can-Eat: Mondays – Ribs, Wednesday – Wings, Sunday – Breakfast.  Reservations highly recommended.  Home of the XXL 2 kg burger – the largest of its kind in the city and perhaps in the region!  Major American credit cards accepted.

Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 11 PM 
        Saturday: 9:00 AMMidnight
        Sunday: 9:00 AM – 11 PM

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Onion Rings – 4.5/5
  • XXL Burger – 5/5
  • French Fries – 4/5
  • Seasoned Fries – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.benjamins-diner.de

Written by geschmack

July 16th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Mannheim

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Hackteufel

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Steingasse 7 69117 Heidelberg

Anytime you see the image of a red little devil on a store front, you can’t help but wonder if it’s some sort of rebel cult establishment or a restaurant specializing in insanely spicy foods.  Surely, the last thing you would think of is a charming, stylish establishment, rich in history and tradition, located in the heart of an old, romantic German city.  But this is exactly what Hackteufel is (Teufel means ‘devil’ in German) – an impressive hotel and restaurant specializing in regional German cuisine.

 

The dining room interior is fascinating, quaint, and captivating.  Musical instruments, including brass trumpets, accordions, and violins, decorate the walls and act as a placeholder between the lanterns.  Ample lighting is provided by the cute light fixtures inside.  There are lots of framed black and white photographs and hand drawn images of stunning landscapes and buildings.  The dining room furniture is charming.  Long booth style seating line the walls and are comfortably cushioned with devilish red pads.  Pillows are arranged at the wall corners.  Carved wooden chairs provide an alternative.  The tables are also polished wood and are set with a folded napkin and silverware.  Potted plants instill life all around the dining room.  While the World Cup is in full swing, German colors are proudly displayed in the form of long party strips and a large flag on the wall.

The menu features a rich variety of German dishes, including regional specialties from the Palatine.  The menu appears to change often, with some dishes making their appearance quite regularly.  Schnitzel, baked fish, Maultaschen, different types of Fladen (flat cakes), Bratwurst, and rump steaks are some of the dishes featured.  A separate drinks menu is heavier than the standard food listing.  A large array of wines from the surrounding Baden and Pfalz region can be found inside the booklet.  Of course, there are also a good number of German beers and other cold and warm beverages.

On one visit, a small basket with pieces of wheat bread is provided free of charge.  It is quite a pleasant surprise.  Complimentary bread at a German restaurant?  That’s a first.  The bread is clearly fresh and very flavorful.  Authentic German bread just adds to the genuine German dining experience.

 

Pfälzer Leberknödelsuppe – liver dumpling soup – is, without a doubt, an excellent starter.  Diners who find liver off-putting or Knödel uninspiring will be surprised by the flavor of Leberknödel.  Despite being called a liver dumpling, the unique flavor of liver isn’t predominantly noticeable in the dumpling.  This is due to the mixture of herbs and pieces of bread roll mixed in during the formation of the dumpling.  In this soup, two Knödel balls are served in a clear, soothing beef broth; sliced green onions adding additional aroma.  Brunoised carrots and turnips can be found at the bottom of the beautiful ceramic bowl.  Although the sweltering soup probably isn’t the best choice on a scorching summer day, it is still an excellent option.

 

The Hessisches Kochkäs-Schnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln is breaded pork escalope topped with melted cheese, served with a good amount of buttery home fried potatoes.  The dish is aromatic and comes to the table on an extremely hot plate.  Presentation is simple, yet lovely.  Every restaurant makes schnitzel differently and Hackteufel is no exception.  The pork is confidently seasoned and very tender.  It is coated extremely well with breadcrumbs.  Fried crisp to perfection, the schnitzel is absolutely marvelous.

The breaded pork is topped with melted cheese and sits in a milky, white cheese sauce that adds such a nice, gooey texture and flavor.  The cheese complements the schnitzel well and enhances the dish wonderfully.  Home fried potatoes are perfectly browned and simply melt in your mouth.  They are the ideal accompaniment to the schnitzel and also taste great with the melted cheese.  This dish is a safe choice if you are unsure about some of the other local options on the menu.

 

Sauerkraut-Orgie (literally Sauerkraut Orgy) is a dish consisting of Teufelswurst (sausage – translated as ‘devil’s sausage’), Pfälzer Saumagen (stuffed pig’s stomach), Krustenbraten (crispy pork belly) and Knödel (dumpling).  Meat juices sit at the bottom of the dish, gradually getting soaked up by the Knödel.  With the different types of pork and sides appearing in the dish, a lot is going on.

Saumagen – a popular item from the Palatinate – is a type of sausage made up of pork, potatoes, carrots, and various herbs and spices, all stuffed inside the stomach.  The saumagen is sliced and pan fried; the result is a delicious regional masterpiece with a seared, crisp edge.  It’s slightly similar to thick ham, but with a distinctive flavor and texture.  Sweet, grilled onions top the saumagen and provide the perfect accompaniment.  The spices really shine here, enhancing the flavor of the pork wonderfully.  The potatoes inside the saumagen create a soft, delicate texture that contrast sharply with the meaty portions.  It is such a unique item with amazing flavor.

A foot long sausage lines the middle of the plate, dividing it in half.  The sausage has a firm casing that gives it a wondrous snap.  It is meaty and slightly salty – the ideal complement to sauerkraut.  Fried crisp like cracklings, the Krustenbraten is marvelous.  It has the perfect portion of fat, meat, and skin.  This piece of pork pairs a lot better with the sauerkraut.  The layer of gelatinous fat under the skin adds richness and flavor.  It is such a guilty pleasure!

The Knödel has a surprisingly nice flavor.  Personally, I am not a big fan of Knödel, but this one caught my eye.  The dumpling is soft and delicate, but there are also a few seeds mixed in that add a distinct consistency.  A crumb topping with sesame seeds is scooped on top, providing another unique twist.  The dumpling soaks up the juices quite well and works admirably with the other elements in the dish.  The final element – the Sauerkraut – is basically good with everything.  Overall, this Sauerkraut-Orgie dish is so filling that, at the end, you won’t be having a sauerkraut orgy; rather, you are bound to have a pork orgy instead!  It’s such a delightfully satisfying dish that is well worth trying.

Although some of the dishes at Hackteufel seem pricey, the quality of the food and the meticulous preparation justifies every cent.  It’s easy to see that the dishes are prepared with utmost care and with a high level of culinary skill.  A visit to Hackteufel, whether for a cool beer, a glass of wine, or a traditional, hearty German meal, will not disappoint.  Tack on the excellent location – just steps away from the old bridge – a nice, cozy dining room environment, as well as a hotel upstairs, and you have everything you need for your stay in Heidelberg right here at Hackteufel.

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Summary:

Hackteufel is a combination hotel and restaurant ideally situated in the heart of Heidelberg.  Located steps away from the infamous Old Bridge, Hackteufel offers excellent traditional German cuisine, as well as local dishes from the Palatinate region (Pfalz).  A genuine experience awaits every visitor.  Service with a smile, warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Outdoor tables available in front of the restaurant.  Prices moderate, but portions and food quality superb.

Hours: Daily: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Leberknödelsuppe – 4.5/5
  • Hessisches Kochkäs-Schnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln – 4.5/5
  • Sauerkraut-Orgie mit Teufelswurst, Pfälzer Saumagen, Krustenbraten und Knödel – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.hackteufel.de/

Written by geschmack

July 13th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Tom’s Original Hot Dogs

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Heugasse (corner of Hauptstraße 154) 69117 Heidelberg

Quintessential American food – apple pie, meatloaf, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, Philly cheese steak, and hamburgers and fries.  Oh, and don’t forget the hot dogs!  Despite being surrounded by hundreds of different types of German sausages and delicious breads, you would be hard pressed to find this classic American fare in Germany.  The closest thing to an American hot dog might possibly be Bratwurst or Würstchen mit Brötchen, but of course you don’t get all of the nifty condiments as you would on a hot dog.

Tom’s Original Hot Dogs will satiate your cravings for this ultimate all-American snack.  Forget the fancy decorations and elegant seating arrangements.  The focus in this fast food restaurant is solely placed on the hot dog.  There is a tiny service counter – essentially a hot dog cart – where the worker places the bun onto a wrapper and the wiener inside the bun.  As the hot dogs are pre-boiled and held warm in water until service, the process is simple and quick.

 

7 containers, full of condiments, line a brick wall.  Sweet green relish, original relish, sweet yellow corn relish, and red pepper relish make up the relish varieties.  Jalapeño rings, as well as red pepper rings, can be added onto your hot dog.  Toasted onions are highly recommended – they are crunchy and sweet.  Naturally, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise bottles are available on the table.  Seating is limited to two bar stools.  A wooden book shelf functions as a counter table.  There is also an oil drum that can be used as a table.

 

The hot dog itself tastes great.  Though it is a bit small, it has a good casing and the inside of the dog has a nice texture.  It is nothing like the abomination found in ‘American style’ hot dogs sold at the local German supermarkets.  The buns are also different than the standard plain hot dog bun.  Cornmeal is dusted on top of the buns here at Tom’s, adding even more taste and flavor.  The bun is warmed up and has a nice, delicate texture that complements the juicy hot dog extremely well.

If you think 1,99 € is expensive for a hot dog, consider this: 6 ‘American style’ hot dogs, sold in a jar in brine, cost around 2,79 € at a German supermarket.  A package of 4 plain hot dog buns can be bought for 0,99 €.  Tack on the cost of condiments and you will already be around 1 euro per dog.  Now, taking into account the fact that these poor imitations you find at the supermarkets don’t even come close to the hot dogs at Tom’s Original Hot Dogs, 1,99 isn’t so bad after all.

 

Besides hot dogs, there are also bags of chips available for purchase.  Habanero chili chips, manufactured by the local Chili Food Company in Bad Dürkheim, boast being produced without flavor enhancers or other artificial additives.  The chips are also labeled as ‘extrem scharf’ (‘extremely spicy’) with a ‘Schärfe Grad: 8‘ (a heat level of 8).  Personally, the chips aren’t terribly spicy – they merely leave a tingling sensation afterwards.  In fact, they start to grow on you after eating just a few.  They taste like kettle chips with its distinctive crisp texture.  Considering that there aren’t any added ingredients – only potatoes, sunflower oil, a blend of spices, and habanero chilis – these chips are well worth a try.

Moreover, the list of drinks is quite unique here.  Unless you have connections to the U.S. army, in which case you can obtain them at the local commissary, finding popular American soft drinks like A&W root beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper is as difficult as locating a good Mexican restaurant here in Germany – it’s almost close to impossible.  In addition to varieties of these beverages, you can also find Big Red soda and NOS energy drinks.  The cost of these drinks is fairly reasonable – a can costs about 2 €.

Of course, there is still room for improvement.  The selection of potato chips could use some work.  Maybe importing in some Lay’s potato chips will solve this problem.  Also, the choice of condiments is somewhat lacking.  If they added some fresh lettuce and tomatoes, pickles, chopped onions, bacon, or even chili and cheese sauce, it would be much appreciated and would attract an even larger crowd.  Heck, visiting this hot dog joint had me yearning for corn dogs.  Selling fries could be a good idea.  Fries with toasted onions and jalapeños would make an excellent combination.  The list of possibilities just goes on and on.

But as is, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is quite possibly the only place in town where you can find hot dogs, living up to their slogan ‘The Hottest Dogs in Town.’  Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a great place to pop in for a quick, inexpensive hot dog or two and a cool, refreshing American soda.  Just look for the American themed store off of the Hauptstraße!

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Summary:

Situated just off of the Heidelberg Hauptstraße, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a very small fast food restaurant focusing exclusively on one traditional American favorite – hot dogs.  A good selection of typical hot dog condiments is provided.  Hard to find American soft drink beverages, including A & W Root Beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper, imported from the United States, can also be found.  There are also habanero chips as well as insanely spicy hot sauces sold in bottles.  1 hot dog costs 1,99 €.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Hot Dog – 4/5
  • Hot Dog Bun – 5/5
  • Selection of Condiments – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

July 8th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Ristorante Santa Lucia

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Bahnhofstraße 7 69115 Heidelberg

Framed oil paintings and beautifully decorated ceramic plates ornament the walls inside the ristorante.  Bare white paint cover the walls around, bricks making up the bottom half.  Wooden cabinets and furnishings appear in different places.  Peach colored tablecloths cover the rather small wooden tables.  Flowers sit in translucent containers, next to a black pepper grinder and salt shaker, as well as a flickering candle, at each table.  Cozy cushioned chairs await guests at each end of the table.  Wine bottles are lined up neatly towards the back of the restaurant and provide a nice decorative touch.  The dining room is charming, lovely, and inviting.  This is the dining environment at Santa Lucia, one of numerous Italian restaurants in this romantic city of Heidelberg.

On the finely printed menu is typical Italian fare – salads, a variety of pizzas, a selection of pastas including spaghettis and tortellini, and a variety of meat dishes.  The list of desserts is very impressive – a larger selection in comparison to other pizzerias and restaurants – but not all of them is available each day (read on below).  The list of beverages is crammed into one page, but diners can find a large selection of Italian wines.  Naturally, hot and cold drinks are also included.

 

A bread basket containing five slices of warm complimentary bread is provided.  The bread is not spectacular, a bit tough and chewy.  But it’s free of charge, so you can’t really expect too much.

 

The homemade tortelloni is a seasonal dish featured on the special handwritten section of the menu.  Stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese, the large pockets of pasta are served in a mascarpone cheese sauce.  Accompanying the dish is a container of grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the pasta.  12 euros for 5 stuffed tortelloni is a reasonably fair price.

The pasta does look and taste homemade; however the filling looks far from being fresh.  Instead of clean, vibrant leaves of green spinach and creamy white and grainy ricotta cheese, the stuffing merely looks like a mash up of the two ingredients prepared days or even weeks in advance.  The pasta is not exactly ‘al dente,’ rather a tad overcooked.  Adding to the list of problems is the scant amount of cream sauce.  Instead of sitting in a thick mascarpone cheese sauce, the tortelloni is bathing in a milky and runny pool and ends up barely absorbing anything.  Fortunately, the complimentary bread aids in soaking up the remaining sauce.  Overall, the dish is not bad, but nothing to marvel at either.

Panna Cotta has always been a favorite of mine whenever dining at Italian restaurants.  So when I saw it listed on the menu, it was a guaranteed sure thing.  But when the waiter revealed it wasn’t any available today – only tiramisu and crème brûlée – there was no way this meal would end on a positive note.  Looking for something remotely creamy and close in texture to this gelatinous Italian dessert, I opted for the crème brûlée.

 

At 6 €, the crème brûlée is grossly overpriced.  Served in a ceramic container with a handle, the dessert is taken from a cooled glass display in the dining room back to the kitchen to be torched on the surface, giving it the classic, hard caramel top.  The result is a nice contrast of smooth, vanilla flavored custard with a crisp, caramelized layer that adds an extra dimension.  Vanilla bean specks are visible throughout the thin sheet of custard.  Though it tastes good, the dessert isn’t as rich and silky as one would expect and simply justify the price tag.

Santa Lucia is a family owned establishment and that warm hospitality is delivered.  However, the service can be a bit sluggish at times.  The staff is friendly, nonetheless.

Santa Lucia follows the formula of many other Italian ristorantes and pizzerias in Heidelberg – welcoming, charming dining room interiors but only decent, uninspiring food.  With some slight improvements and changes, though, Santa Lucia can easily become a fabulous, top notch Italian restaurant.

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Summary:

Located behind the Bauhaus not too far from Heidelberg’s Bismarckplatz, Santa Lucia is an Italian restaurant with charm.  Serving a reasonable selection of pizzas, salads, pastas, risotto, and meat entrées, Santa Lucia presents diners with a good Italian experience in a typical, yet pleasant, dining atmosphere.  Prices are fair.  Service is rather ordinary.

Overall – 3 stars

  • Hausgemachte Tortelloni mit Spinat-Ricottafüllung in MascarponeSauce (Homemade Tortelloni with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese, served in a Mascarpone Saucce) – 3/5
  • Crème Brûlée – 2.5/5
  • Service – 4/5

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Written by geschmack

July 2nd, 2010 at 11:55 pm