With the year 2007, our stay in Stuttgart is coming to an end as well. The original 9 months ended up being 17. We will be leaving in two days for a short stop in Bavaria and then on 26th we will be heading for Rome, to realize our dreams. Wish us luck!
Although the one and a half years in Stuttgart may not have been the happiest in our lives (we were away from friends!), I have to stress the fact that culinary-wise the area has a lot to offer. The geographical and historic proximity to France has left its marks, and the produce from the area is eye candy in the many markets. Not only was it very satisfying to shop and cook in Stuttgart, but also the restaurants were, as a whole, among the best Germany has to offer. So before we go, I would like to point out some excellent restaurants in and around Stuttgart. The last months have been crazy, what with all the bureaucracy to deal with (not only are we moving, we are also starting a new business, of which you will hear soon enough!) etc., so I never had the time to write the individual posts these restaurants all deserve.
With a formerly Michelin starred chef, this is a restaurant you don’t expect to find in the countryside. Evaluated highly in almost all restaurant guides, we had the feeling that the chef is trying a little bit too hard to make everything interesting. The food (an excellent P/V of €99 for 10 courses) is very good, there are very interesting combinations (seabream with rabbit ravioli? calf’s head strudel with octopus?), but not always thought thoroughly. I think here is a great chef with a lot of talent, who will get even better when he calms down a bit and re-thinks his creations, which are sometimes too “show-y”. Good wines, also by the glass.
Another reputable restaurant in Stuttgart, it is especially lovely to sit on the terrace on a mellow summer evening. The five-course menu (for €51) is not the most groundbreaking you ever had, but offers very reliable craftsmanship. Most products are local, as well as the wines, which are not always perfectly matched. If you are self confident, choose your wines yourself and enjoy a relaxed and high quality meal for a relatively small sum of money.
Irma la Douce
This restaurant opened in the red light district of Stuttgart in may of this year and took us by storm. We were there three times, this was the restaurant I wished to visit for my birthday dinner. Another former Michelin starred chef who is bound to get it again with this restaurant as well. Mostly local produce, mostly seasonal, french style cooking. Great sauces! The maitre is at times a bit too chichi and ladida, but he recommends great wines and somehow all the show fits into the surroundings between the, ehm, yes, you know, “establishments”.
Irma la Douce
A little jewel of a shop, this place has charmed us. It is actually a delicatessen-shop where you can buy directly imported french cheeses and wines (these not only french). Many a Monday dinner (when the market doesn’t offer its best) has been saved by the perfect baguette, some cheeses and pates from here. But the real ace up their sleeve is the lunch. I ate some of the best dishes of this year standing up in this little no-smoking, no-mobile phones deli, accompanied by some very interesting and less known wines. Everyday, there are up to three courses on offer, which you may pick and put together as you like, with a wine by the glass and at unbeatable prices. No reservations taken and be sure to go early enough, when the food is sold out, it is sold out! Mrs. Hebener, the owner and chef behind the scenes, was planning to open a “real” restaurant just across the street, but it seems like there have been technical problems. Do keep an eye on this!
Earlier this year I put together a culinary city snapshot of Stuttgart for Johanna, everything I wrote there is also still valid. If you are planning to visit Stuttgart any time soon, do have a look at that post as well.