and where should I eat in Alsace
There is lots of really good dining in Alsace. Here are my favorites, they are located in sort of out of the way places, get good directions or have a GPS handy.
Lembach: Auberge du Cheval Blanc http://www.au-cheval-blanc.fr
Marlenheim: le Cerf http://www.lecerf.com
Michelin kicked both of these in the balls earlier this year and cut them from two to one star. I have no idea why, both are fabulous. They each server meticulously prepared Alsatian food.
Barenthal: l'Arnsbourg http://www.arnsbourg.com This one is a 3 star. The cooking is truly stunning but not really Alsatian in character. This place is located at the end of a narrow county road, not really easy to find. You can get directions from viamichelin.com.
Gundershoffen: le Cygne http://www.aucygne.fr This is a 2 star, very nicely done Alsatian cooking.
I have also been to Crocodile in Strasbourg but would definitely pick any one of those listed above before Crocodile.
Been to Auberge de l'll a few years back and while the wine list was staggering, felt the whole experience to be very cold and unfriendly, food very good, not fabulous, Service was correct, not fun, perhaps always should be proper, but l prefer fun. Left the restaurant scrathcing my head saying what was that all about?
I am sorry to hear about the cold service at Auberge de I'll. From numerous visits, first one dating back to the late 70's and more recent in 2004, I found the service to be the most friendly, informal and warm of all the three star restaurants in France. My last visit, Jean-Pierre Haeberlin, who must be in his late 80's and a bit out of sort, still worked the dining room. I always order the Haeberlin classics: salmon souffle, rabbit salad, lobster Prince Vladimir and frog legs. It's a very beautiful place on the river.
Went to Auberge de l'Ill once for lunch, liked it very much. On the down side it is, to me, in the Paul Bocuse or Tour d'Argent category. Somewhat stuck in time but not so much as these other two given that young Haeberlin is adding more up to date items to the menu. And, it is almost too famous in that hordes of tourists flock in from everywhere. You will still see daddy Haeberlin, one of the kings of French gastronomy, tottering around the dining room.
On the up side the food is flawlessly prepared. The service is highly attentive, once I thought I would get my hand slapped when I reached for the Badoit bottle on the table. Reaching for the bottle set off a stampede of wait staff to beat me to it. Would I go again, yes no question and have it on the schedule for a December trip coming up. It is probably best though to visit here in the warm months when you can have aperitifs & amuse and then later have coffee or digestifs in the beautiful garden.
As for Buerheisel, never been there but do know that last year Westerman announced he was turning in his stars and reformulating or turning it over to his son under a new format. I do not know what kind of place it is now.
Never been to Buerheisel. Westerman did
I can understand the downgrade of Le Cerf. When we ate here last year he service was dire (food was OK).
Amongst other things we were seated at a table for two that literally joined another table for two (it was a 2 star in the country not a Paris Brasserie). The French couple at he other table were equally astounded. We asked to be moved to a vacant table which did not go down well, although we persisted.
Auberge de l'll - I am always puzzled by the negative comments about the restaurant. We had a perfect meal here, great setting (by a river), faultless service (and we had fun with our waiters), good wine recommendations, and classic food.
True don't go there for innovation and culinary fireworks. It is a classic grand old french restaurant - nothing more nothing less.
Near the gare saint lazare are the great bistrots of the 9th: Chez Jean, Chez Velly, Casa Olympe, Il Sardo -- (and a bit further, Spring, le Petrelle, chez Michel, I golosi, le Petit Riche) to name but a few. The madeleine is also just at the end of rue Tronchet, with Senderens and Tante Jeanne.
The 8th and the quasi totality of 2 and 3* are not far away.
JY's in Colmar is well worth a stop. In atmosphere it slightly resembles a high end brasserie with very modern furnishings. The chef worked in New York for a while and then returned back to Alsace. If you don't like smoke, insist that they seat you upstairs in the non-smoking section; the default choice appears to be downstairs with the smokers unless you request otherwise. They have a very extensive wine by the glass and by the 20cl list, which works out well if you want to try a bunch of different wines, or if you are dining alone or with someone else who doesn't drink.
I found everything there to be rather tasty. I liked it so much in April that I'm headed back there shortly with two reservations already having been made.