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Goldener Stern

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Lauerstraße 16 69117 Heidelberg

Wandering down the streets off of the Heidelberg Hauptstraße, you will surely come across many hidden restaurants and shops, each offering something unique.  After all, many tourists do not dare venture down these paths and risk being lost.  On a street parallel to the main street, one such restaurant, Goldener Stern, merely begs the question – does it truly live up to its name ‘Golden Star’?

 

At first glance, Goldener Stern does not merit any star whatsoever.  The place lacks any appeal and simply looks outdated.  From the old wooden tables and booth seats, to the lackluster yellow paint on the walls, the interior could use a fresh makeover.  Light supplied from ceiling fixtures is also an eyesore.  The interior isn’t entirely bad, though; blue drapes add a contemporary splash, while green plants on the window sills liven up the place.  Roses sit in glass containers at each table and await guests for a romantic evening.  Candles placed at the tables also add a nice effect.  White tablecloths are arranged over a pink colored cloth in an attempt to hide the aged bench.  The only indication of Greek culture here, aside from the food, is the enjoyable music playing throughout the restaurant.

 

Fortunately, the food is miles better.  The menu is fairly large and offers a considerable selection of traditional Greek dishes.  Appetizers feature many Greek classics, from dolmades and tarama to feta cheese and horiatiki (Greek salad).  The main menu is stocked with meat dishes, including Cevapici and Souvlaki.  There are pork, lamb, and beef steaks, as well as fish delights straight from the grill.  Gyros made from chicken are highlighted in many dishes.  Numerous combination plates provide you with a small sample of different types of meats.  Many of the entrées include thick cut steakhouse fries and a side salad.  Portions are substantial and will easily satiate your appetite.  A respectable number of Greek wines are listed in the drinks menu.  There are also a few Greek spirits.  Traditional Greek mocha is also featured in the list of hot beverages.  Beers are standard German.

 

One of the featured specialties is the Gyros au Gratin.  At 10,80 €, it’s one of the higher priced items on the menu.  In this dish, sliced pieces of chicken gyro are mixed with strips of onions and drenched in an orange Metaxa cream sauce, topped with a layer of white cheese and baked until bubbly.

The result is a wonderfully aromatic dish that sizzles upon service to your table.  The thick layer of cheese on top beautifully insulates the meat and keeps it warm throughout the meal.  The gyro, after baking under the cheese, becomes even more moist and delicate.  Absorbing the flavors of the Metaxa cream sauce, the gyro tastes far from regular chicken meat.  Instead, it has a unique, intense flavor.  The cheese is wonderfully gooey.

The accompanying side salad is refreshingly different from typical salads at other restaurants.  Aside from the usual greens, shredded carrots, white cabbage, and slice of tomato, there are also white beans and a banana pepper.  The salad is coated with a confident dressing in just the right amount.

Also complementing the Gyros au Gratin is a generous amount of steakhouse fries.  Although the potatoes are a much needed accompaniment to the meat and a wonderful medium to soak up the cream sauce, the fries need work.  They aren’t piping hot upon service.  Moreover, they aren’t uniformly cooked – some pieces are browned darker than others while a few are quite soggy.

 

Goldener Stern’s large portions make it difficult to even think about ordering dessert.  But if you can still manage, the menu features 3 indulgences – 2 traditional Greek treats (Galaktoboureko and Halva) and a standard ice cream delight.  Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert consisting of semolina custard that’s baked inside filo dough.  The custard is firm and creamy, but only slightly sweet.  Served soaking in a light, clear syrup and accompanied by two scoops of vanilla ice cream, the dish altogether has a delicate sweetness.  The warm pastry works marvelously with the chilled ice cream and, after a while, absorbs the melted cream (yes, it becomes even creamier!) and syrup extremely well.

Service at Goldener Stern is top-notch.  The wait staff is extremely cordial and welcoming.  Food is served in a reasonable amount of time and plates are taken away promptly.  Questions concerning the various dishes will be happily answered.  The server even suggested an ouzo (popular Greek aperitif).

Goldener Stern rightly lives up to its name; it certainly earns its golden star.  But does it reach the platinum or diamond levels?  Not quite.  The ambiance could use a new look and the food is great overall, but not overly impressive.  Goldener Stern is a solid Greek restaurant; with some improvements it could become so much more.  As is, Goldener Stern is a suitable place to enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean, considering Heidelberg’s limited options when it comes to Greek food.

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Summary:

Situated in the heart of the Heidelberg Altstadt, Goldener Stern is an old-fashioned restaurant that specializes in Greek cuisine.  Fairly extensive selection of classic Greek dishes.  Attentive and admirable service.  Prices reasonable.  Reservations suggested.  Outdoor seating available.

Hours: Daily 5:00 PMMidnight

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Gyros au Gratin – 4/5
  • Galaktoboureko – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.stern-hd.de/

Written by geschmack

June 1st, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Heidelberg

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Restaurant Dionysos

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N 2,4 68161 Mannheim

The beef gyros come, swamped in a creamy, red Metaxa sauce and enveloped in bubbling cheese on top, sizzling in a cast iron skillet – the aroma simply irresistible.  The black pan is so hot that the edges continue to sputter for a good few minutes after being placed on the table.  The waiter cautions not to touch the scorching skillet.  Accompanying the main star of the meal is a small side dish filled with house cut fries, crunchy and perfectly cooked, and a scoop of tomato vegetable rice, soft and bursting with flavor.  Finishing off the meal comes a slice of house made cake for dessert, a wonderful end to a dreamy meal.

It’s the baked gyros dish at Restaurant Dionysos, an item listed on their daily lunch menu for a mere 8,50 €.  Each item on this day menu, offered from 11 A.M to 5 P.M, is also served with a cool mixed salad that invigorates diners before the main entrée comes to the table.  All of the items served here are typical Greek dishes, traditionally prepared with Mediterranean flair.  Not only does the food capture the taste of Greece, the restaurant itself is a sight to see.

 

From the outside, Restaurant Dionysos looks expensive – like a Michelin quality, fine dining restaurant.  The wall sized glass windows are simply inviting and welcoming; it plainly screams to people to take a peak inside at the impressive décor and dining area.  Inside, the atmosphere is impressive and pleasing.  The open spaced area is highlighted by the Greek style columns, reminiscent of Ancient Greece.  There are countless statues throughout the dining area, as well as green vegetation that bring life to the entire area.  Near the back of the restaurant is a grand piece of artwork depicting an old Greek tale.  Okay, maybe not, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.  Each table is finely equipped with a calm blue tablecloth, in addition to a single burning candle.  The polished, crafted wooden chairs are padded and comfortable and relaxing.  Overhead chandeliers provide additional light to the room.  Adding to the Greek experience is soothing music playing from the speakers.  Hearing tunes from a bouzouki brings back memories of good times I had with a Greek friend.  It feels like Athens and you can’t help but smile.  Heck, even the napkins are finely decorated and provide a quick lesson in the Greek language for curious diners.

 

Overall, the food itself is likewise impressive.  For starters, the salad is crunchy and refreshing, although not characteristic Greek.  Missing are the olive oil dressing and feta cheese you would normally associate with Greek salad.  Instead, the mixed salad comes with white cabbage, freshly shredded carrots, red kidney beans, corn, and a single unpitted green olive in a creamy dressing sauce.  The white cabbage glistens in the afternoon light, the carrots also a vibrant orange.  Probably more German than Greek, but, hey, it’s eye candy and delicious at the same time.  Plus, the portion size is decent.

 

Next come the gyros, baked in the Metaxa sauce.  Metaxa is a distilled spirit, a blend of brandy and wine.  The sauce itself does wonders to the meat, providing extra flavor to the tender beef.  If you thought gyros and tzatziki was a good combination, wait until you try it with the Metaxa sauce!  At Dionysos, the Metaxa sauce is creamy and slightly peppery – but not spicy at all.  The flavor is definitely concentrated and very effective.

Alone, the gyros are wonderfully cooked and seasoned well.  Each piece of meat is juicy and extremely tender.   But the sauce takes it to an entirely new thrilling level.  The cheese adds that thick, gooey texture, complementing the pleasant taste of the sauce and meat.  Hidden in the dish are chopped onions and green peppers, perfectly softened by the baking process.  Of course, the best part is the crusty little bits of cheese and sauce stuck on the side of the skillet.  It takes effort to scrape them off, but it’s well worth the struggle.  Simply put, the gyros dish is simply to die for!  The portion size is more than generous, with a good amount of meat; you will be savoring each piece until the very last bite.

 

To end the day menu meal is a respectable sized slice of house made cake.  There is a thin layer of chocolate on top and a layer of fruit pudding sandwiched between two levels of delicate cake.  It is somewhat difficult to discern exactly what the middle layer consists of.  Asking the waiter for the name of the cake yielded no definite answer – it is merely a cake made by the kitchen staff.  Although it is not exactly Greek, it is a great end to a grand Greek meal.

If you’re unfamiliar with Greek cuisine, the lunch menu is probably the best way to experience the Mediterranean flavors.  Reasonably priced and generous in size, it’s as if you’ve died and gone… to Athens!  Καλή όρεξη!

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Summary:

Located in the Mannheim city center near city hall, Restaurant Dionysos is a fabulous Greek restaurant offering a wide assortment of traditional Greek dishes.  Quality selection of Greek wines, in addition to a handful of beverages.  Pleasant atmosphere, impressive dining room.  Outdoor seating during the summer months.  Great service.

Hours: Everyday: 11:00 AMMidnight

Overall – 5 stars

  • Gyros überbacken nach Dionysos-Art (Gyros baked with Cheese and Metaxa Sauce) – 5/5
  • Fries – 5/5
  • Rice – 4/5
  • Salad – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.dionysos-mannheim.de/

Written by geschmack

March 16th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Mannheim

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Restaurant Platon

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Restaurant Platon

Am Schönekamp 258 40599 Düsseldorf

Located right off of the Autobahn, this lovely Greek restaurant is a favorite of my uncle and aunt.  We arrived for dinner at approximately 9:30 PM on the 27th of August and decided to sit at a table outside.  Each table is lit by candle.  I decided to get a Königin Pils beer to get a taste of it.  We were also served small glasses of some alcoholic drink, which I found to be quite potent.

  

My uncle ordered the Garnelen Saganaki (shrimp cooked in a sauce filled with pepperoni and peppers) as an appetizer, which tasted quite good.  It reminded me of a tomato sauce with shrimp.  We were also served bread to eat with it.  As a main dish, my uncle got the breaded red snapper fillets served with vegetables.  The fish reminded me of good ole fish sticks, though a little more sophisticated than the frozen kinds back home, of course.  My aunt got the liver (Leber) served with grilled onions, red sauce of the side, and with rice pilaf.  It was good, though I am not necessarily a big liver lover.  As for myself, because it is a Greek establishment, I decided on the pork cutlet with a gyro.  It came with Tzatziki sauce, the red sauce, and rice pilaf.

  

As an American from the Los Angeles area, I always loved going to Petit’s restaurant near LAX for their awesome gyros.  It always occurred to me that a gyro was chunks of lamb stuffed, amongst other things, in pita bread.  However, the gyro here was simply pork meat slices (albeit from a spit) with raw onion slices.  Simply put, the gyro was good but definitely not what I was expecting.  The pork cutlet was also too tough for me to cut through.  Both the sauces are really good, but the rice portion was quite small.  For the price, I would have expected more rice and less sauce.  Oh, how I yearn for Petit’s!

Total cost was 51 EUR including the beer, a coke, and water.

 

Summary:

Great seating.  Outdoor seating available.  Dogs welcome.  Service was great (although my aunt and uncle know the owner of the restaurant and are friends with the waiter).

Overall – 3 ½ stars

  • Sagnaki Shrimp: 3.5/5
  • Red Snapper Filets: 3/5
  • Liver: 3/5 (remember, I don’t really eat liver too often)
  • Pork cutlet and Gyro: 3.5/5
  • Service 5/5

 

27. August 2009

Written by geschmack

August 27th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Düsseldorf

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