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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

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