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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