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Sep 15, 2006 10:19 PM

German food in San Diego?

I thought I would never ask that question.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I recall a recent thread started by Jim Strain about a place in La Mesa:

    There is a place in Ocean Beach called "Kaiserhof", but they've gotten surprisingly little discussion in this group. Personal accounts I have heard pretty much place it in the "lukewarm" category, OK but overpriced. I've yet to try either place myself.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RB Hound

      RE: Kaiserhof, I thought this review was pretty funny -

      Haven't been there myself. I am curious to try the place in La Mesa though.

      1. re: Josh

        That is hilarious! I am not aware of any even halfway decent German food in SD - but haven't heard about the place in La Mesa. It's not far though, so maybe we should check it out!

      2. re: RB Hound

        I have been to Chef Axel's in La Mesa for Sunday brunch. It was great. The potato soup amazing. I would like to go back for dinner. I couldn't agree more with the lameness of Kaiserhof. Won't be going back there...

      3. I've been to Kaiserhof twice, and I can say that it's good, but not great, and a little overpriced.

        Also, a great deal of their side items are fried in some manner. It's not exactly the healthiest place to eat.

        They have a happy hour with cheaper beer (they have a good selection of german beers) and german snacks.

        The food is german, with meats and thick sauces and german-ness. I've never eaten in Germany, so I'm not sure how authentic. The service is good, although it does get packed sometimes.

        1. Kaiserhof, in the opinion of this Swiss German the worst example of what can be excellent cuisine.
          If you ever get up to the City of Ventura, check out Old Vienna for a taste of real German food.

          1. There's also Tip Top Meats (in Cardiff I think). They are a butcher shop, Europen Grocer and German Food Restaurant. A little kitchy but a lot of fun..

            1. Grab a plane ticket and fly to Germany.
              All German related food in SD (Tip Top, Kaiserhof) is some mediocre tourist food which has nothing to do with real German food. (It is the same as somebody would tell you that only burgers and nothing else are American food). If you want some of the better tasting tourist food go to Continental Deli in Escondido.

              (I haven't tried Chef Axel's yet. At least the menu looks better than most other "German" restaurants in SD)

              7 Replies
              1. re: honkman

                what do you reccomend fromt the continental deli? I walked in when they were having the big escondido street faire and the place was jamming.

                Despite what people say, the closest thing that you are going to get to germany in San Diego is Tip Top Meats. This is coming from a person who lived in Berlin for a year and a half as an exchange student.

                This seems also to be confirmed by the fact that I have often been suprised to see many German customers whom I had met working at a grocery store in Temecula dining and shopping there purely by chance. And I know that the Owner is from Thueringen.

                Having said that = You are probably better off picking up something from their meat case, which is very nice. The restaurant is also good, but not mind-blowing. But come on its German food!

                I think some people set their standards too high sometimes. This is not Germany, and not even the East Coast for that matter.

                1. re: honkman

                  Because Tip Top is less expensive than Major Market or Whole Foods or Continental and, once more, tastes like mom used to cook. Where else can you get a prime rib dinner with an additional bone on the plate, side dish of kraut, potato, roll and soup or salad for $8 anymore?

                  My husband and I like good, fresh, quality food and do not want to pay for the location or rent of the building, but rather the food and its quality. Sausage King makes good quality smoked meats also (the old fashioned bacon you can eat without cooking) its run by Germans, but only make sandwiches, which is not what the OP was asking about...I hadn't mentioned that place because its just meats and not all German foods, per se.

                  I answer questions like this one posed because the Original Poster asked about German food in San Diego. I am pretty sure I know what their question meant: They either have a craving for something like "home" or because it is nearly Oktoberfest time they might just be looking for something 'touristy'.

                  Your posts regarding Tip Top have been vehemently nasty and I do think quite unfair. kare-risu has been to Germany relatively recently and seems to not agree with you, as do many others who suggest Tip Top and those who keep going to Tip Top.

                  The meats are of good quality and the store has people placing orders for the holidays already. If it were that bad, they would not be in business after all these years.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    I guess we could argue for ever and don't agree on Tip Top Meat.
                    I recently had dinner at Tip Top Meats with other Germans and the Rotkohl and Sauerkraut were both just horrible directly out of the glass (and sadly enough not even better quality one like the one from Kuehne). The rolls are americanized and don't taste like anything from Germany. My Zwiebelbraten was full of fat, the onion still raw and the meat was definitely not high quality. The other meals were on the same level. And if you think that Tip Top Meats is like "mom used to cook." than I am sorry to say that your mom can't cook. BTW, I am just curious when you were the last time in Germany.
                    And it is also not true that for example Major Market meat is much more expensive than Tip Top Meat. Certain cuts are more expensive at Major Market, some at Tip Top Meats but the overall quality is definitely much better at Major Market. I agree that Wholefood is more expensive but also much better than Tip Top. In addition the Leberwurst at Kontinental is even cheaper than at Tip Top Meats.
                    Dont' always hype Tip Top Meats with arguements which are not true.

                    1. re: honkman

                      So, its horrible, but you go there and order dishes that are difficult to make anywhere, much less at such a place you know to be not authentic....interesting. I don't bother wasting my money at someplace I know to be bad, or I at least order something they can't screw up, like soup or salad or something basic.

                      I am Polish, my husband is Finnish. I grew up in a Polish-German neighborhood and all the places owned my Germans were named Tip Top (bakery and bar and corner meat store)when we moved out here we went to Hadleys, walked out the door, saw the sign "Tip Top Meats" and had to try it.

                      Both of our sets of parents lived through the depression and cooked in the old country way. My husbands parents ran a truck stop restaurant in Helsinki and the money from the juke box paid the rent...the rest was profit...when they moved here, his dad became a professional chef. We like hearty, good, fresh foods.

                      Major, as a market is overpriced on regular items. There are specialty items and kobe meats are only found at Major. The bakery items are fresh made at Major. Tip Top has the smokehouse in the back and makes the sausages there. Major only makes the Italian and brats in house. They both sell organic turkeys for the holidays and price per pound is slightly less at Tip Top. Comparing the 2 stores is apples and oranges.

                      No, we will never agree on Tip Top, but if I don't like someplace I merely don't recommend it and try to suggest to someone an alternative as to what they are looking for..I don't tell them to never eat that type of food again and to get a plane ticket out of here to find something good....and I don't patronize someplace I think has bad food...

                      1. re: Cathy

                        I went to Tip Top because I was invited (I wrote that in a post before but apparently Chowhound has deleted some parts of the post) and since when is Zwiebelbraten difficult to make ? I thought about the salad but when I saw that they gave another customer small salad dressing package from Kraft instead of making their own I thought I would go for something easy - Zwiebelbraten.
                        And for my own recommendation: As I wrote before I recommend Kontinental Deli for their food. (Much better Sauerkraut, good Kassler). I also wrote that I haven't tried Chef Axels place but that at least their menu looks very promising. And for buying meat I think there are better places like Major Market, Wholefood, some Chinese supermarket (Lucky Seafood has some good meats).

                        1. re: Cathy

                          If it matters I actually like Tip Top Meat's smoke house food. It is hard to find real smoked BBQ in San Diego but they do honest and truly smoke their meat until it gets a nice thick smoke ring. It takes them eight or more hours to smoke their stuff and to me that tastes like gold.

                      2. re: Cathy

                        Sausage King on Washington is the best I have found for cold cuts and sausages, wurst salad, etc. I love real wienerschnitzel, but haven't had a really good version outside of Germany.