Along the Rhine.
I will be taking a Rhine cruise this summer. The itinerary is: Cologne, Koblenz, Braubach, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Colmar, Breisach and Basel. I would appreciate suggestions for spots to sample the best regional beer, wine and food in any of those places. Here are the parameters: I will be on foot and have limited time in each place, so the most valuable suggestions would be spots near the town center/ main tourist area. Also, it’s my first trip to Europe, so I would like to concentrate on German and Alsatian foods (rather than the best Chinese restaurant in Strasbourg, for example). Thanks.
I've been to Germany quite a few times, and try as I could.. I just don't usually like the meals I've eaten. One exception is the Hotel Ernst in Cologne... two very good restaurants and right across the street from the Dom. Also in that area is the lovely Cafe Reichardt. It's worth a stop there for a dessert or lunch. Bread and cake in Germany is very good. Cologne has some wonderful museums in the centre of town and the modern art one has a nice cafe, too.
In Heidelberg there is a good local brauhaus called Vetter's, right by the old bridge. They brew a pils called Rothaus (Tannen-Zapfel) that is pretty good. Further down, but still in the pedestrian zone is the Schnitzel Haus, which boasts 101 kinds of schnitzel. Your schnitzel comes with pommes frites and a salad: good and reasonably priced, and schnitzel is definitely a German standard!
If you have limited time in Cologne you should obv. concentrate on the area around the Dom (cathedral) and Altstadt (Old Town). You should be aware that there are lots of tourist traps in this area but still you can find some reliable german restaurants /Brewpubs.
1. Altstadt: Bierhaus in der Salzgasse (www.bierhaus-salzgass.de). Right in the middle of the Altstadt with very good beer (Paeffgen Koelsch) and decent food.
2. Gaffel am Dom (www.gaffelamdom.de). Right in front of the Central Railway Station and the Cathedral and next to Hotel Excelsior. New Brauhaus which opened a few month ago. Nicely done and with outdoor seating.
3. Max Stark (www.max-stark.de). Just a few minutes walk from the Cathedral located in a non-tourist area. Very good food and beer (Paeffgen from small wooden casks). One of my favourites in Cologne.
They all focus on beer and german food but I think that is what you are looking for. If you need any other advice let me know.
I visited Colmar in '02. The best I can say is they were VERY FRENCH. The first cafe we went to was outdoors. A mild rain shower began and they refused to serve us. The next place we went to my wife ordered a pizza and a soda and I aske for "un vin rouge" OK, I don't have the best French - but I was trying to be nice. They told me they had no red wine. I asked for Heineken. The waitress left and came back to say they had no Heineken. I asked what they did have and picked something the waitress said. She left and came back to say they had no "whatever." Where upon I just got up and left and took the bus back the Breisach. PLUS, the place was dirty. The waitress never even cleaned the table debris from whoever had been there before off our table in all the time we were there.
Go to the Elsasser Hof in Breisach. It's just a small family place off the main town square. Gutgesellentorplatz 6. Simple food of the region. But good. They have photos of the town from 1945 and it is very interesting to see how they have rebuilt after the war.