restaurants in Strasbourg and Colmar
Hi, folks. I'm looking for some some help to narrow down the fine dining choices in these two cities. Comments on Michelin-starred places as well as those that are more modestly-priced would be welcome. I thank you, in advance, for your advice.
Thanks for the question, SRK I can comment on three restaurants.
I quote from an email sent to my friends: "I had lunch at Maison Rouge because it reminded me of Jimi Hendrix. A piece of an onion tarte followed by ham carved off the bone, roasting away in the restaurant, served with some sautéed potatoes, and an ordinary Pinot Gris. I have to tell you, every time, the potatoes challenge everything else for the best thing on the plate." It was a good lunch, but would have been a rather plain dinner.
I had a superb dinner at JY's. Again, quoting from an email to my friends: "Folks, this was an exceptional dinner.
The amuse bouché had six tastings. A mushroom mouse, foie gras, smoked salmon, some sort of fried fish (cod?), a mini maki roll, and something I cannot identify.
My entree was 'tapas.' A couple of fried calamari rings, some salmon tartare, quail in corn flakes (this was half a quail a la shake and bake), some veggies, wrapped in veggie (zucchini?) with Parmesan sauce and truffles, mackerel bruschetta, and an octopus salad. I left about one-third of this for pacing purposes.
I then had the pigeon, except one wouldn't know it was pigeon. It was a galantine of pigeon. The bird was spread with a bock choy mouse, a piece of foie gras was put in place, and it was rolled up like a sausage. The sauce was made from the bones and red wine, massively reduced. This was really good and, like many items on the French menu, looked nothing like I thought it would as the menu item was described as pigeon stuffed with bock choy puree and foie gras.
Desert was two compte cheeses, one from 2008 and the other from 2010. Dinner was washed down with a Saint-Estèphe, château de Crock, 2005."
I also had dinner at l'Auberge d'lill, a Michelin three-star, and was pretty disappointed. I didn't think the food was exceptional in any way. Regardless of the price, I would not pay for that meal again. To be fair, perhaps I caught the kitchen on a bad night. The room and service were delightful.
I ordered a là carte, while the other tables appeared to order the set menu. To quote again: "I got a taste of champagne and three little bits, foie gras, some fried blue cheese, and I forget the third. I order, and get a second amuse bouché, some brandade on top of some parsley jam and sprinkled with some diced sweet peppers. There was absolutely no flavor to the brandade.
I then ordered something basic to offset my aggressive second plate. The entre was sandre, or pike-perch, grilled, with some smoked eel and a ravioli stuffed with shrimp and spinach all in some sort of sauce. Except for the eel, nothing had any flavor. I was longing for the fishing trips with my dad when we caught wall-eyes (for you east-coast folks, a wall-eyed pike is the largest member of the perch family) in the morning, and had them for lunch after dusting with seasoned flower and frying in lard. I had this with a glass of Riesling. With my dad, it was a brewski.
My next course was something I knew I would never have in the states. It was also a signature dish of the chef. It was a black truffle wrapped in foie gras and then wrapped in some sort of pastry. I don't know if it was baked or fried. It was served with a wickedly-good brown sauce. This dish did not do a thing for me. I guess I no longer have to eat black truffles. This will save me some money. Washed down with half bottle of Château Soutard 1989.
I had some cheese, compte, muenster, and epoisses. Coffee but no dessert. Then came out the petit fours.
I ordered an Armagnac Gelas 1968. Then came the chocolate tray. My goodness, I had to leave, so I did."
I hope that this is helpful.
There was another thread somewhere about restaurants around the area. I can only add that:
(a) I absolutely enjoyed Aux Trois Poissons, Quai de la Poissonerie in Colmar, which serves expertly-prepared seafood and makes a great change from the very hearty fare common in the region. The wine list is very Alsace-strong and offers superb value.
(b) I also really liked Le Chambard, a one-star joint in Kaysersberg down the road from Domaine Weinbach (which is a must-visit in any event). Other posters beg to differ and it does have service hiccups which I find irritating, but until recently, you were able to buy a bottle of 1996 Margaux for 300 euros, which was an incredible steal. The food wasn't bad either.
(c) I haven't tried La Table du Gourmet at Riquewihr, across the road from Hugel et Fils (another must-visit, particularly if you get Etienne Hugel to host you), but I have heard very good things recently from people whose opinion I respect. The nearby Sarment d'Or serves excellent modern cooking (very good meat dishes) for those on a more modest budget.
I`ve just returned from a vacation in Alsace using Colmar as a base. Theres quite a few choises in Colmar. We dined at Rendez-vous de la chasse two times. One for the tasting menu, and one for a la carte. They serve really big portions (even on the menu) so be prepared to eat a lot. Very friendly service, a very nice female sommelier who suggested really nice local wines. The food was very good. They indeed deserve one star. On our second night at the restaurant we tried to get bookings at L`Atelier de Peintre and JYS. But because it was raining both were totally booked.
For less expensive choises you may check out Wistub Brenner in the Petit Venise area. Really nice traditional food. Also the Bistro at Hotel Bristol were serving good local food. The Taverne Alsacienne in Ingersheim (4km outside Colmar) was also very nice and in the same category. We arrived a bit late for lunch, but they were very friendly,and made a nice selection of cold food.
If you really want to treat yourself go to the L`Auberge de l`ill in Illhauseren. Classical and amazing. Family owned since 1878.
My husband and I visited these two lovely cities in February so have some recent recommendations for you. In Strasbourg, we had a long lunch at Tire Bouchon. I had a special of the day; my husband had the choucroute, which he proclaimed was the best he'd had, anywhere. We had local beer as an aperitif, then an Alsatian pinot gris with the meal. Reasonably priced; charming atmosphere; good service.
In Colmar, where we spent more time, I can recommend La Cocotte de Grand-Mere on Place de l'Ecole, and, in particular, the Sezanne Bistrot -- a small restaurant on the top floor of a cheese and wine shop on Le Grand Rue. The menu is on a chalkboard and changes daily, and the proprietors are charming and helpful and oh so talented. We had lunch there two days in a row.
We dined outside of those two cities while we were touring the Route des Vins, but memorable meals were had at these two places, and I'd highly recommend both.
Enjoy your trip!