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Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

There is now a vegan food truck that comes to Saarbruecken regularly. I first tried their food at the Altstadtfest this summer. It was the first “food stand” we saw at the festival, and Derek was quite surprised that I wanted to try it before checking out all the other offerings. But how could I resist trying the only vegan food truck in Saarland? (more…)

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I happened to be walking down Johannisstr, and noticed that what used to be the Russian restaurant Maxim is now a Korean restaurant Gu Xiang. Derek and I stopped in for dinner last week, and we were the only ones there. They started us out with a complimentary bowl of seaweed salad, bean sprout salad, and kimchi. It was reasonably tasty.

There are only three vegetarian dishes on the menu — Bi Bim Bap, beansprout soup, and tofu teriyaki bento. I was in the mood for tofu so I ordered the teriyaki bento, spicy. It turned out that it was just a pretty typical Chinese-style greasy, salty stir-fry, without much spice or anything distinctively Korean about it.  We asked for something spicy to add to the food, and they brought us a bowl of Korean chili flakes that were both sweet and oily. They weren’t that hot, but they added flavor, improving the dish a lot. Still, I wouldn’t order it again.

I would go back to try the bi bim bap, and the owner said they can also make other dishes vegetarian, like the fried noodle dish. But I’m guessing any of the fried dishes are going to be similar to what I had — greasy, salty, and just not that flavorful.

Derek got one of the Korean stews (Eintöpfe), and he said it was okay, but pretty one-note. He liked it better with the Korean chili flakes added, but he said he wouldn’t get it again.

They’re open every day, 11 – 14:30 and 6pm – 1am.

Addres: Johannisstr. 27, 66111 Saarbruecken
Telephone: 0681 / 688 90 361

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Apero is a little Italian gourmet food shop in St. Arnual, selling various different high-end Italian products: cheese, wine, olive oil, etc.  It also happens to be Derek’s favorite Italian “restaurant” in SB. They serve lunch Mon-Sat, with an emphasis on slow food, organic, etc. I generally find the vegetarian dishes a tad boring, but at least the quality of the ingredients is very good (often organic and sometimes local).   The menu changes every day, but a weekly menu is usually posted on their website on Monday.

They now offer a selection of (mostly cold) antipasti, which are on display when you enter the restaurant. You can choose a meal with two or three antipasti and a pasta and/or a meat course.  It’s not at all cheap but it’s always a very lovely lunch. They start you off with complimentary bread and olive oil, both of which are excellent.

The restaurant is in a fairly scenic stretch of St. Arnual with easy parking (a few spots in Apero’s own lot, and plentiful street parking across the street). The interior of the restaurant has a cozy European feel.  It is recommended to call ahead (in the morning) to reserve a table, since they only have a few tables.

I’ve been there many times, and am not usually super excited about the antipasti and pasta, but the ambience is always pleasant and I love the bread and olive oil and desserts. Just recently they started serving an excellent bicerin (rivaling the best that we had when we visited Turin) and their chocolate cake is to die for. It’s made from an extremely high quality chocolate, and costs only 3.50 for a slice. It’s the best dessert I’ve had in Saarbruecken! We’ve also tried their lemon tart. The curd was nice and tart, but I don’t know why they felt the need to put a layer of chocolate underneath.

Both of the proprietors speak English. It’s pretty vegetarian friendly, as at least half (if not more) of the antipasti are usually vegetarian, and there is almost always a vegetarian pasta. On the rare days when both pastas have meat, they will make a vegetarian pasta for you even if it’s not on the menu.

The service is excellent, and usually everything comes quite fast. If you wanted to, you could be in and out in an hour. But why rush? Watching the (very minor amount) of grocery store hustle and bustle is part of the charm.

Warning: If you show up later in the day, often many of the antipasti are already sold out, so you have fewer choices.

March 2013:  I really enjoyed the mushroom ravioli covered in walnut sauce.  Rich but very flavorful.  My beet salad was okay.  The beets were a tad crisp for my taste, but I loved how the combination of green pistachio oil and red beet juice looked on the plate.  Gorgeous!

 

Here’s what Derek wrote after his first visit, in 2011.

I tried the 3-course menu (antipasto, pasta, main).  I liked the antipasto (endive salad with goat cheese and grapes) and the pasta (orecchiette with broccoli and sundried tomatoes) very much; in fact,

I would say the pasta was probably the best I’ve had so far in SB (in a restaurant), with a convincing rustic flavor.  The main course (calf’s liver with apples and onions) was just OK — the liver was rather tough, but the apples and onions were good.

The portions were quite large and the service was fast.

 

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Decent pizza at L’Osteria

We haven’t really found a pizza place we love in Saarbruecken, but recently L’Osteria opened up near the Hauptbahnhof, and at the moment it’s our favorite place to get pizza in Saarbruecken.

Although it’s a chain restaurant, we like the pizza at L’Osteria better than at Pizza per Tutti or Il Mediteranio. The crust is neither too thin nor too thick, and is flavorful with a nice chew. We like the tomato sauce quite a bit, and the cheese is acceptable. The pizzas are huge, and very salty though. So it’s probably best to share one between two people. They’ll happily put different toppings on each half, though, so you don’t have to come to a consensus with your pizza-sharing party.

I first ordered the funghi pizza, which both Derek and I liked.  We asked them to add garlic, but couldn’t detect any on the pizza. Last time I had them add arugula to the funghi, which was a nice addition. They added a ton of arugula, and it was nice to have something fresh and green on my pizza. Derek got take-out pizza there once, and ordered the aubergine pizza, but we didn’t like it. The aubergine was greasy and not that tasty.

Other than pizzas, we’ve tried the antipasti plate, which I thought was okay, and Derek thought was very bad. The first time we went, Derek ordered a pasta of some sort, but it was terrible (overcooked and tasteless). The last time I was there with a friend, she started with a small salad, which I didn’t taste but it looked pretty good. It was overdressed, however, so it’s probably best to order the dressing on the side.

There is parking in a lot behind the restaurant. It’s free on weekdays after 5pm and all day on weekends.

I was at the restaurant on Friday, and even though the space is enormous, the entire restaurant was packed, and super loud. The service was pretty good. They even brought me a carafe of tap water after I had finished my glass of Schörle. That said, when I asked for a refill the waitress gave me some sort of lecture about how they can only give me a tiny glass of “Leitungswasser.” Luckily it was so loud I couldn’t hear any of the details of the lecture, and the waitress that delivered the lecture did help me carry Alma’s stroller down the many steps in the entryway on my way out.  So that (partially) made up for the ridiculous Leitungswasserlecture.

Pizza report:

  • BRACCIO DI FERRO (SPINAT, EI, KÄSE, KNOBLAUCH). Very good. Nice and garlicky. Last time also had a hard cheese like parmesan on top. Want to try it with mushrooms too.
  • FUNGHI: Good. Also good with extra arugula, but the arugula doesn’t reheat well.
  • PARMIGIANA (MOZZARELLA, AUBERGINEN, ITALIENISCHER HARTKÄSE, OREGANO): Good. Not as greasy as some eggplant pizzas. Maybe good with capers too?
  • RUSTICA: not very good

Other vegetarian pizzas I haven’t tried yet

  • RUCOLA (MOZZARELLA, RUCOLA, ITALIENISCHER HARTKÄSE, KNOBLAUCH):
  • VEGETARIANA (MOZZARELLA, GEGRILLTES GEMÜSE, FRISCHE EGERLINGE, KNOBLAUCH)
  • CAPRESE (ITALIENISCHE MOZZARELLAKUGEL, KIRSCHTOMATEN, BASILIKUM)
  • MARGHERITA (TOMATENSAUCE, MOZZARELLA, BASILIKUM): Haven’t tried yet
  • FOUR CHEESE
  • ERBACCIE (SPINAT, BROCCOLI, GORGONZOLA, KÄSE2)

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I have mixed feelings about Undine. On the one hand, it’s very close to my house, it’s never full, they always have two vegetarian main dishes on the menu, and the vegetarian options change seasonally. On the other hand, the atmosphere is quite sterile and the vegetarian options, while sometimes excellent, are sometimes pretty bad. I do appreciate, however, that they often try to mix it up and offer dishes that are a bit different than the standard German vegetarian fare. (more…)

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I first heard about Cafe Zucker und Zimt a few years ago, but only managed to finally try the place recently, at the monthly Veggie Stammtisch meetup. The Cafe is a small cafe in St. Arnual. They serve coffee/tea and cake on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon starting at 3pm, as well as on Sundays from 1 to 7pm. They also have offer a very limited Moroccan-style dinner menu on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. (more…)

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A friend asked me about Japanese restaurants so I decided to extract the information I’ve written on my general restaurant page here to a separate page.

Kimdo: [Review updated in 2014] This is Derek’s favorite restaurant in SB. Seriously. He always wants to eat there, but it’s expensive and so we don’t go nearly as often as he’d like. But if you want Sushi / Japanese, it’s the best option in SB by far. The place is small so you typically need to make a reservation, especially at peak times.  Unlike many of the other sushi restaurants in SB, their ginger always taste fresh, and they offer a high-quality soy sauce. Their rice is always perfectly seasoned, not too sweet and not too vinegar or salty. If you sit on the sushi side of the restaurant you can only order off the sushi and salads menu, but if you sit on the grill side you can order from the sushi menu and from the grill menu. Comments on some of their vegetarian dishes:

  • Their avocado rolls are the best in Saarbruecken.
  • I often order a tofu kimbab roll (tofu, spinach, egg, radish, avocado, and sesame seed). It’s tasty but huge, and the slices are hard to fit in your mouth! If you go to the sushi side you can only order sushi, but if you go to the grill side then you can order from the sushi menu and/or the grill menu.
  • The bulgogi salad is good without the meat. The wasabi dressing is a bit sweet but nice and spicy and it comes with sunflower seeds and pepitas. If you order it vegetarian the price is the same but the portion is larger.
  • The Namul korean salad is small but very tasty, with spinach, soy sprouts, and cucumbers.
  • The edamame is good but salty.
  • I found the grilled tofu a bit underseasoned and overpriced.
  • The roasted green asparagus is very good, but I’ve only ordered it once, because I refuse to order asparagus out of season.
  • The grilled Kräuterseitlinge (King oyster mushrooms) are amazing
  • They used to have a braised daikon radish that was heavenly, but they took it off the menu and replaced it with a broccoli dish that I haven’t tried yet.

OiSHii.  [Review written in 2010?] A Korean girl I met recently told me that this Japanese all-you-can-eat place is her favorite restaurant in Saarbruecken.  Derek and I tried it for dinner one night.  We had a reservation but we still had to wait about 10 minutes for a table to free up.  Lunch is 13.50-15.50 and 21.50-23.50, plus any drinks.  If you eat fish it’s pretty cheap but for a vegetarian it seemed pretty expensive.  I started with the miso soup, which was fine.  Sadly they didn’t offer any avocado rolls, but the cucumber rolls and pickled veggie rolls were fine.  I liked the inari quite a bit.  I think it was yuba in a sweet sauce on top of a ball of rice.  They also offer tamago nigiri, which is a piece of omelette on top of the rice.  They also have wakame salad and kimchi salad, neither of which I tried.  I tried a number of the hot dishes. I didn’t care for the hot tofu with teriyaki sauce, nor the hakodate (sort of a japanese veggie burger).  The grilled vegetables were salty and oily but very tasty.  I don’t think I tried the fried veggie spring rolls.  Derek really liked the tempura veggies, even though they didn’t use a traditional tempura batter.  Other hot dishes I didn’t try:  fried rice and fried soba noodles. Even though the food was generally pretty oily and salty I think I would go back.  However, I’d go back for lunch.  It’s almost half the price, the exact same veggie options are available, and I’d rather eat a big all-you-can eat meal in the middle of the day.

Osaka: [Review updated in 2013] This sushi place is on Dudweilerstr. near the Bahnhofstr.   The first time I went I ordered an avocado roll (2.60 euros), an egg roll (2.70 euros), and the A11 tofu (3.50).  The two rolls were both fine, but not quite as tasty as the ones at Kimdo.  I didn’t care for the tofu–a bit greasy and bland.  The rolls started to come undone towards the end.  The ginger was quite fresh tasting, but the wasabi wasn’t very spicy.  The service was acceptable.  Certainly the food came out quickly.  They also have cucumber rolls (2.50), radish rolls (2.50), egg tamago (3.00), miso soup (2.40), goma wakame salad (3.50), edamame (3.50), and a noodle soup that they could probably leave the shrimp off of.   Derek isn’t a huge fan of Osaka, but he has had a food things he likes:  the california roll, the unagi nigiri, the seaweed salad, the kürbis roll (just okay).  He doesn’t like the salmon, tuna, scallop, unagi roll, or miso soup (which has meat). I went again in Dec 2013 and ordered an avocado roll (3 euros), which was bland, edamame (3.80), which was overcooked, the Goma Wakame seaweed salad (3.80), which I enjoyed. I was still hungry though so I also got a Kürbis maki (2.80), which was better than the avocado roll but not great. Overall I wasn’t that pleased. The soy sauce tasted cheap and the sushi rice didn’t have enough vinegar in it. The ginger tasted just slightly moldy. Derek ordered the Tokio roll, some fancy expensive salmon roll with kürbis and other stuff (12.50) and was happy with it. He said the quality of the fish wasn’t that good but they loaded it up with some fatty/salty sauce that made it quite tasty. He was less pleased with his Unagi maki.

Sushi Bar. This sushi place near the St. Johanner Markt is the cheapest of the sushi places in Saarbruecken. I only went once, but it was not at all good. Really low quality.

  • I tried their avocado roll.  It was okay, and for 3 euros made a reasonable small lunch.  Derek tried their all you can eat sushi, and wasn’t impressed at all.  He said they give you a huge amount of rice and not much fish, and all the sushi is really standard stuff.  Plus, when he ordered “unagi” the teenage chef had no idea what he was talking about, and had to go ask the head chef.
  • I went another time and ordered an udon noodle bowl and I don’t remember the details but do remember that it was not good.

Places I haven’t been yet: Hashimoto (in Nauwieserviertel) and take-out Hashimoto (near St. Johanner Markt)

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