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German food in Hooksett NH--Bavaria Restaurant

This place got a write-up in the Union Leader a while back, but haven't seen any feedback here. It's been open only 8 weeks, but seems to have found a local following; pretty busy for a Tuesday night. It's located in a strip mall in Hooksett, go up the hill around the back. Knowing nothing about German food, I will say the offerings were very tasty. We had a sausage sampler with sauerkraut and a crispy potato pancake for apps, and weinerschnitzel and a beef rouladen for mains. I'm thinking this place will be great once the snow returns. Owners are from Munich, service was friendly, they serve wine and beer. A little pricey, but high quality. Here's the website: http://bavaria-nh.com/

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  1. Thanks for the heads up! We went here yesterday and thought it was great. I actually think we ordered the same items minus the sausage sampler (which we will try next time). It did get pricey after a starter, entrees, and a couple of beers, but portions were very generous and the quality was good. Some entrees were less expensive (like the sausages), so one could get out with a cheaper bill. Will definitely be back.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up on this. My fiancee and I ate here for lunch today.

      We too had the Münchner Wurstplatte as an appetizer and thought everything on the plate was perfect. She had the Veal Rahmschnitzel and I had the Veal Jägerschnitzel. Both came swimming in delicious sauces and the spaetzel was quite good as well.

      We were happily surprised to find the veal was pan fried, not battered and deep fried as most restaurants prepare schnitzel.

      They have a respectable german bier selection as well.

      This is now our favorite german restaurant in the area, much better than Jacob Wirth, the Green Barn, and even Wirtshaus in our opinion.

      1. My wife and I stopped in last Saturday, and enjoyed a great meal in an unlikely location. My appetizer was an ENORMOUS marzen (see pic), so I may have had a more positive and forgiving attitude than normal by the time the entrees arrived. Muncher Wurstplatte featured what I believe was bratwurst, knackwurst, and a couple of other sausages that I enjoyed thoroughly but couldn't identify. Nicely pan fried Jagerschnitzel was full of porkiness that pushed it's way through the copious amounts of flavorful sauce. I'm not an expert on the subject of spatzle, but these examples had the bouncy chew of a well made ramen noodle. Good stuff!!

        1. Are the prices as listed in their downloadable menu for real??? $26 for (veal) wienerschnitzel, $7.50 for apfelstrudel and $13 for a liter of Spaten! That's beyond pricey... I hope that there are at least busty waitresses! We'll check it out - but man that's like paying 30 EUR for a burger, a slice of pie and 2 bottles of Bud.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wongadon

            Seems a little pricey on the beer. Even in Boston you could get a liter of imported Ofest for $12 at Olde magoun saloon.

            1. re: wongadon

              Yes, the prices are for real unfortunately. I think we've been back once or twice but it really is an expensive meal. My next trip will be to the Wirsthaus in Methuen, as I have read some good reviews. It's also a good $10 less per plate than Bavaria.

              1. re: wongadon

                These prices are higher than here in the SF Bay area! Seems really steep for N.H.

                Both great food and drink.

              2. Finally made it back for lunch yesterday--we were totally amazed that the waitress remembered us from our first visit back in June! For starters we had the liver dumpling soup--a softball sized dumpling in a delicious broth. If you like liver, you will love this--very unusual, we enjoyed it. I had the currywurst with fries as the main, a modern German classic. Dining companion had the kasespatzle, spatzle with cheese gratin, served with a salad. The quality of the ingredients, and the presentation were excellent, and the food delicious. Lunch with two .5 liter Spaten Oktoberfest beers was $48. I can see how other posters would consider this place on the high-end, but it is a slightly formal, white tablecloth, cloth napkin restaurant aiming for a specific crowd. It feels European, like a gastronomic inn outside of Munich. The place was full for lunch and the waitress said that Friday and Saturday night are by reservation only. For the quality of the experience, I think it's worth the money.

                1. First visit on 5/17/10, Sat. evening. Party of 3. Got bumped off our reservation we made earlier in the day. No one to greet you when you arrive; woman who finally came was relatively unsmiling and harried. Clean, decent decor. Waited a while at the bar; one of us requested water & never got it. Seated 20 minutes late. Uneven food preparation: some very good, but a dessert that shouldn't have been served. Already sold out of the duck special when our order was taken. Appetizer: v. good meatballs. Jägerschnitzel / Rahmschnitzel with spaetzle were tasty; rindergoulash ho-hum. Main courses are small in size for the restaurant's large price tag (especially so when compared to the consistently large servings I got when living in Germany). Only one Ger. beer on tap = Franziskaner Weissbier, well poured.

                  Desserts: 1 Apfelstrudel, 1 Heisse Liebe. The latter (van. ice cream w/hot raspberry sauce & whipped cream) = 2 thumbs up. Apple strudel - the evening's last? - two very small pieces joined to appear as one; hard in texture, unappealing appearance equaled the taste. My wife ventured two bites and was sorely disappointed. Dish never should have made it out of the kitchen, & I should have asked it be taken off the bill, which came to $147 for three persons (included 3 beers @ $6.50 each). Waitress: excellent server, affable & professional; service unhurried throughout the later evening as the earlier crowd dissipated.

                  Second visit (Fri., 6/25/10). Things the same: non-greeting / waiting at entrance, unsmiling woman to seat you, great waitress & unhurried service, small portions for the $$$. Things different: food quality more uniformly good, fairly empty restaurant @ 8PM w/more persons at the bar. Please get some good bread - please.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: djbnh

                    Hey, Germans are serious, what can I say? Reminds me of my Russian friend who says that if you smile at somebody in Moscow, they think you are retarded. My take-away from this place is: serious, authentic cuisine, once you are admitted you get friendly, American service, and it's not for everyone. It is expensive, but high quality.

                    1. re: whs

                      I lived in Germany for over 3 yrs. (in Gießen and further south, 1988-1991; back there in 2000) and disagree. Every one of my meals in Deutschland whether in a gasthaus or restaurant (and many of these apply to quick meals at an Imbiss stand) featured: proficiently composed cuisine, excellent attentive and affable service (yes, I did speak some German but do not think that mattered), extremely generous portions, availability of wonderful bier / Weißwein / brot / kaffee und Kuchen (Imbiss stands did not have the Weißwein / brot per se). I stand by my comments. Auf Wiedersehen!

                    2. re: djbnh

                      I have tried to eat at this restaurant 4 times in the past 4 weeks with my wife, albeit on Saturdays and have been turned away each time. My arrival times have been 4:30 PM, twice at 5:30 PM, and today at 5:45 PM. On the phone I was offered the bar (1 time), but in person have always been turned away. Each time I showed up in person, I was wearing outdoor gear (hiking, gore-tex pants) and shown the door with no alternative. Today, I received the most uncurteous greeting and was told I could not wait for the bar even if I wanted to. Each time I've been told that I can't come back till 8:00 (today no time was given), with absolutely no flexibility. What is up with this place? I'm ready to give up. Is there an unspoken dress-code? A little friendliness or understanding by the hostess would be welcome.

                      1. re: Highland Park

                        That IS odd! I usually get a weird kick out of gruff service, but this sounds a bit much. Was the place packed when you were turned away?

                        1. re: crowdingthepan

                          There were very few cars in the back parking lot. Hard to know table occupancy since we weren't allowed in far enough to see. Do people in Manchester really eat this early on a Saturday night? I don't know of many restaurants were showing up at 4:30 or even 5:30 doesn't get you a table (or at least a seat a the bar). And if not, usually they will work with you. Gruff is the correct description.

                        2. re: Highland Park

                          I don't understand that you went there so many times and didn't make a reservation after your second or third attempt,as far as I know there is NO dress code,we always make a reservation by Wednesday or Thursday to make sure to get a table,it's a small place maybe 40 seats so they fill up fast,and people like to stay there longer than at a regular place,and we never ever had a problem with the hostess/owner

                          1. re: germangirl61

                            I understand your point of view, but a reservation is not possible when your day is not planned around eating at this restaurant. Each time we stopped at Bavaria it was after a day of hiking or skiing and our time reaching Manchester was variable and unpredictable due to weather and other conditions. Plus, a reservation for 4:30? Seems a bit silly since they are open continuously from 11:00 AM. Based on my experience its likely they wouldn't take it anyway since it may disrupt their 6 PM rush. Also if you see djbnh's post, it does not seem like an unwelcoming greeting is an isolated event. I will consider a reservation when I know I'll be in Manchester at a certain time of day. Its fine if they want to be grumpy and inflexible, I won't try again without a reservation. There are plenty of great places to go that will gladly accept my $100 for two in the corridor from Boston to Northern NH and that I can stop at at 5:30 and not have to worry about being denied dinner. And not being able to wait for a seat to open up at the bar at 5:30 PM is ridiculous.

                            1. re: Highland Park

                              I agree with the unwelcoming hostess. We have been to Bavaria three or four times, and it has been the same icy reception each visit. Each time, I felt like it was a bother to seat us....or that we just weren't welcome. If germangirl61 is correct and the woman is the owner, it's not a good way to greet people and they are going to lose some customers (even if they are one of the few decent places to eat in the area). And if the place really requires reservations on the weekends, it would have been nice for the hostess to mention that to Highland Park. A simple "we are so busy on the weekends, but would love to have you. It's best to make reservations for the weekend in advance" would be a good start. At those prices, you'd expect a little service.

                              While I liked the food and the waitress was great each time, I have not been back in a while. I thought the prices were high and, honestly, I did not feel welcome. However, I will say that it is good to hear that they are busy on the weekends, because I hate to see businesses fail.

                              1. re: elctrnc

                                Elctrnc is exactly correct - a little courtesy and hospitality goes a long way. I will wait till the hype surrounding this place subsides and a reservation is no longer necessary to eat at early hours after a day of outdoor fun in N. NH. I'm sure that after that happens the treatment by the hostess will be different. I've had outstanding German food in other cities across the US at much lower cost, including one of my favorite places in Ralegh, NC called J. Betskis. In the meantime there are plenty of restaurants on my list at that price point to keep me busy. It sounds like at this juncture its not worth the bother, unless you have a reservation or go mid-week.

                                1. re: Highland Park

                                  Hard to say, Highland Park. If the attitude of the hostess was icy within the first 2 months of the restaurant being open (when one would expect that new owners would be excited to welcome customers and thus be overly friendly), I don't think the reception is likely to improve.

                              2. re: Highland Park

                                FWIW I've eaten here four times and never made a reservation. Three of those times were between 2pm and 3:30pm and the dining room was just about empty. The last time I was there, we arrived around 4:30. The dining room was pretty busy and we were asked if we had a reservation. After telling the hostess that we didn't, we were told "thats no problem" and we just didn't have our pick of tables like we usually do.

                                Each visit, I have noticed that the clientele is generally post-retirement aged, so this seems to create an early dinner rush that starts around 4pm.

                                As for attire, all four visits I was wearing jeans, sneakers and a t shirt and had no problems being seated and never felt unwelcomed at any point.

                            2. re: Highland Park

                              Highland Park - do you understand what a reservation is?

                              A restaurant is under no obligation to accommodate you if they are totally booked and you do not have a reservation.

                              You have two obvious choices:

                              1. Plan your day around the restaurant-make a reservation and adjust your activities accordingly.

                              2. Plan your activities as you mentioned and take your chances.

                              It's that simple.

                          2. I agree about making the reservation bit; if you really want to get in, make the reservation and plan your day accordingly. That being said, is this place really that busy?

                            There's no excuse for the owner/hostess being so rude. Also the prices are high. I must be honest this sounds like a place that's not going to succeed, which is too bad as this area could use a great German/Bavarian restaurant. My guess is that the kitchen is only geared to do only so much volume, hence the high prices and not wanting to take any additional covers. It's a true recipe for downfall (unless they own the building, then it's a tax thing).

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: bewley

                              They must have done something RIGHT,they are voted by the Hippo Press,one of the 50 most recommended Restaurants,.

                              1. re: germangirl61

                                Germangirl, could you please provide the link so we can view the list (if its available)? I couldn't find it, only the 2010 list seems to be there.

                                1. re: germangirl61

                                  I must say, I read the list of 50 and a lot of those places are not so good = the Brazilian churrascaria place, about 6 or more Common Man locations, Wings Your Way?? I mean, come on. . . I REALLY love German food, so I'm going. (and I'll definitely make a reservation!)

                                  1. re: bewley

                                    From my perspective, it read like the voters possibly have not all enjoyed the true hospitality, warmth, large portions, and reasonable prices reflected in Germany itself within its native, respective restaurants. To each their own, and YMMV. I agree I did question a number of the Hippo ratings; however, pleasing the customer is often near the top of the list re: what a restaurant needs to do to stay in, and grow, a business.

                              2. So, we went this past weekend. Made a reservation, arrived at the appointed time and were greeted & seated by the owner/hostess immediately. She also stopped by the table twice while we were eating to inquire how everything was--which is more than I can say about a lot of local places. She seemed pleasant and very professional. She obviously takes her job/business very seriously and this may reflect in her attitude.

                                The server was quite pleasant though not so fast. The dining room was 1/2 full, so I would say they were moderately busy.

                                I thought the prices fair for what they were offering = basic biergarten comfort food. Nothing fancy here, the pork Jägerschnitzel was tasty, (you could taste the flour in the sauce) as were the homemade dumplings served on the side. The sausage platter was ok, (the wurst comes from NYC and didn't stand out) but I really loved the homemade sauerkraut with whole juniper berries & peppercorns. Tried a few salads they were basic and nice. The potato salad had yolk folded into it, real rich & tasty. Had the crepe with ice cream which was tasty. This is really old school--authentic German fair here folks, not cutting edge "haute" cuisine. (Think pub food.)

                                A few people were dressed up, but most were wearing red sox t-shirts and sneakers. There is no dress code that I could see.

                                Overall, this place is a real gem located in a redneck, hick town. I hope they do well.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: bewley

                                  Maybe word was passed on that the owner/hostess did not have the sunniest disposition. Or maybe there is a new hostess. Either way, glad that has improved.

                                  I still have trouble with the $20+ price point for, yes, basic biergarten entrees. I did visit the Wirsthaus in Methuen a while back. Prices are less for the same type of food. Similar quality and portions to Bavaria, in my opinion. Beer prices seems less as well. But a much farther drive for me.

                                  1. re: elctrnc

                                    New Hampshire is ranked #1 in median household income in the US on Wikipedia ($65,028), and the demographic at Bavaria appears to be well-padded retirees who spent some time in the service in Germany. Which may explain the prices. Or not, go figure.

                                    1. re: whs

                                      whs-have you been foodshopping lately,or run a restaurant
                                      as far as I know they get a lot of their products from Germany,so they are imported,and cost more to beginn with,even when you get the saugages from NYC,they have a delivery charge to pay,just my thoughts about your question

                                      1. re: germangirl61

                                        Interesting, but how do you explain that other similar restaurants do not have comparably high prices using the same ingredients? Further, the finest Biergarten restaurants I've eaten at tend to make most everything in-house, including their sausages. A pounded out veal cutlet has a pretty low cost, generally speaking. We're not talking Copper River Sockeye or Alaskan King Salmon here. That being said, I'm not opposed to slightly inflated cost restaurants if the experience warrants it.

                                        1. re: germangirl61

                                          "They get at lot of their products from Germany"? What could they possibly be importing from Germany?? They certainly aren't importing meat or vegetables. They say the spatzle is homemade, so they aren't importing that. Most of their beer options are readily available in the vicinity.... ?????

                                      2. re: elctrnc

                                        You could have wiener-schnitzel in Hookset, NH for $26 or Lutter and Wegner in Berlin for € 16,50 ($24). Sorry, I just can't get my head around that one.

                                        1. re: wongadon

                                          wongadon-BUT you still have to fly there for $800.....

                                          1. re: wongadon

                                            VAT included in Berlin, plus just round up to the nearest Euro for tip.

                                      3. Sure it's a little on the pricey side, but you're paying for the experience of eating authentic Bavarian (NOT German/American) food in an area were pizza, KFC & Applebees rules. Same goes with a place like Cafe Momo. Good God, some "local" places charge $12 for a martini.

                                        Cafe Momo
                                        1065 Hanover St, Manchester, NH 03104

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: bewley

                                          So true, bewley. Slim pickins in the area, for sure.

                                          1. re: bewley

                                            I did a little research on other German restaurants I've eaten at in New England, and to be fair they are all in comparable price range to Bavaria. I have not eaten at Wirsthaus in Methuen, which elctrnc claims is less expensive for similar quality food. The two places I've been to in New England are Countryman's Pleasure near Rutland, VT and the Dining Room at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. I can't say I was terribly impressed with either, and both had weiner schnitzel for $27. Trapp was particularly bad on all levels at my last visit, but passable on my first.

                                            My experience with biergarten places outside of New England is that they have been better food-wise and at a lower price point. Others have already pointed that out.

                                            Needless to say, the problem with higher priced food of this type (e.g. biergarten, not haute cuisine) is that unless you are truly wowed by all aspects of the restaurant, you are unlikely to return regularly.

                                            Despite my past experiences with the icy hostess I will return to Bavaria out of curiosity, but only with a reservation and likely post-8:00 PM after a late day of hiking.

                                            1. re: Highland Park

                                              Take a trip to Springfield, MA and visit The Student Prince. An excellent german restaurant with good german bier.Their luncheon specials are inexpensive and their dinner menu is good.

                                          2. Well I finally made it to Bavaria and have to say that it was excellent. I did not find the food over-priced and at all, especially given the quality. I had the sausage salad (cold) to start and Jager Schnitzel for the main. Wife had cheese spaetzel for the main with a mixed salad and side of the warm red cabbage and apple kraut. The food was plentiful, very authentic, interesting, and most importantly delicious. The mixed salad was a surprise, it was an amalgamation of all the various German salads in one bowl - yum.

                                            The service once seated was gracious and welcoming. It is a small place and they seem to take care not to overwhelm the kitchen. I will definitely be back soon, and always with a reservation.

                                            My only minor complaint was the draft beer selection, which I think could be a little more creative, since there are only two of them. The weiss bier was solid, but Spaten Lager is a little too typical for such an authentic restaurant My understanding is that two draft beer selections is typical at a restaurant in Germany. There was no weakness in the selection of bottled beer however.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Highland Park

                                              The menu lists Franziskaner (which is Spaten as well) as the weisse beer. Putting two Inbev beers on tap would most likely provide the best profit margin for German beer. At $13 per liter, that's a whole lot of margin. If fresh, the Ayinger and Weheinstephan .5 liters are a better value.

                                              Most places I went in Munich usually only had a handfull of taps at most - usually serving just one breweries' beer.

                                            2. Went here for the first time last night. It was fine. And a bit overpriced. Doubt we'll be back.

                                              Our server was wonderful...absolutely no complaints about service.

                                              A reservation is a must, we saw folks turned away.

                                              Food: butternut squash soup was wonderful. Potato pancakes were a let down as was the jarred applesauce that came with them. Venizen special was very good. I had the beef with paprika gravy which was also good, but very salty.

                                              So one soup, one app, 2 meals....$80. No alcohol, no dessert.