If you're visiting in the summer, there are plenty of cafes & Italian ice cream cafes around old Heidelberg. After having tried & tested most of them (not all in one day of course!) I can truly say that in my opinion, Cafe Roma serves the best ice cream with the nicest atmosphere.
Wherever you are in Heidelberg you are surrounded by history, and sitting here slurping coffee & satisfying your sweet tooth is no exception. So whilst sitting in the sun we looked at the wall of the cafe itself and discovered that this house was built in 1698! (click photo to see) The cafe is located at the rear of the Heilig Geist Kirche, a beautiful setting for people watching and just soaking up old town charm.
The waiting staff is friendly, welcoming, relatively efficient & also speak some English.
Favorite Dish: Made with fresh cream, eggs, fruit, etc. just the way it's supposed to be, you can choose a simple scoop of ice cream, a very nice Iced Coffee (very good value for money here) or go full-hog and indulge in some of the extraordinary creations that ice cream cafes in Germany are so famous for.
Let me recommend some of our favourites to you:
> The "Schwarzwald Becher" = "Black Forest Cup" with chocolate, nut, cherry & vanilla ice cream, fresh cream, chocolate sauce, cherries & a generous dash of Cherry Schnapps (see photo)
> Also very nice is the "Sunshine Becher" made with nut and banana icecream, drenched in eggnog.
> And then there are the fancy creations with numerous slices of exotic fruits ("Tropicana" with mango, papaya, etc.). These are usually the most expensive even if the portion is relatively small, as such imported fruits aren't cheap in Germany.
Most creations cost between 4 to 7 EURO, depending on size and whether they are alcoholic or not.
They have a large outside seating area.
Along the Hauptstrasse (main street = pedestrian precinct) in old Heidelberg you'll find numerous restaurants and cafes. However, a lot of these can be a bit over-priced due to the touristy nature of the area.
A good alternative is in the shopping mall Kaufhof. There are two "Kaufhofs" in Heidelberg, within 5 min walking distance from each other: one is located exactly on the Bismarksplatz (at the tram/bus stops) & the other in the pedestrian precinct itself... both in the old town.
Kaufhof 1: Bergheimer Strasse 1 (Bismarkplatz)
69115 Heidelberg (Tel.: 0049-6221-9160)
Kaufhof 2: Hauptstrasse 30 (pedestrian precinct)
69117 Heidelberg (Tel.: 0049-6221-5040)
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 09:30am - 08:00pm.
Favorite Dish: You can find the "Markthalle" (market hall) on the ground floor at the very back of the Kaufhof in the Hauptstrasse. Here you'll find good food at reasonable prices, freshly prepared or from the counter. There's a bakery, "Nordsee" fish counter, Chinese restaurant, health-food restaurant "Beerola", a tea store, cheese & dairy counter, butcher, Italian restaurant and a fruit & vegetable section.
It's a lovely place to sample some of the large variety of delicatessen on offer or to sit down for a quick bite before continuing your shopping excursion.
My mother and I had lunch at "Beerola" (self-service). She had a large portion of couscous with vegetables and side salad and I had a portion of spinach & ricotta tortellini with side salad, each for only 3.90 Euros.
Another good place for food at reasonable prices is the "Dinea" restaurant on the top floor of the Kaufhof at the Bismarkplatz. From here you have a superb view (see photo) and a choice of daily buffet, desserts/cakes and hot or cold drinks. Grab a tray, pick-up whichever dishes you fancy and pay at the counter before grabbing one of the highly sought-after spots by the window.
This chain of restaurants is another cheap alternative in Heidelberg. It is also the most popular fish & seafood franchise in Europe, and is much-loved by Germans who enjoy fish, possibly boycott McDonald's, perhaps despise Burger King & maybe hate KFC... ;-)
The fishing company was founded in 1846 and only starting its restaurant business in 1964. There are over 355 branches of Nordsee ("north sea") in Germany, and of course there's one in Heidelberg as well... actually, there are 5 branches! One of the restaurants is located inside the "Markthalle" of the Kaufhof shopping mall in the old town's pedestrian precinct, another two are located independently in the pedestrian precinct itself. You can't miss them; you'll quickly spot the big red fish logo.
You can either sit inside & enjoy hot dishes from their menu selection & buffet, or grab a quick bite from the snack bar. The warm meals are very good, but who has time to sit-down for a main course when you're busy shopping? Haha!
Main courses such as Paella (perfect for lunch in winter), Salmon with pasta or spicy Trout with cheese crust cost between 5 - 10 Euros.
Favorite Dish: Grabbing a quick snack is the most popular & cheapest choice at Nordsee, and some of my favourites are:
> "Fischbroetchen / Bismarck-Baguette" = crispy bun with raw onions, pickles & herring (see photo... this is my absolute favourite, and a German tradition!) costs 1.79 Euros.
> "Backfisch" = crispy bun with fried fish fillet & tartar sauce / costs 2.49 Euros.
> "Garnelen-Baguette" = crispy bun with large prawns in cocktail sauce / costs 3.29 Euros.
If you like fresh fish, stop at the nearest Nordsee. You won't regret it ;-)
If you visit Heidelberg and want to go to a place where the locals have a beer after a walk or a home made meal, go to Bierhelder Hof. Take the direction Speyerer Hof. Don't miss a walk there. There is also a memorial cimetary with a great view to the Rhine valley.
Favorite Dish: Try to go there when the beer garden is open. They serve meals with the meat from their own cattle and pigs.
I am recommending this establishment not so much based on its culinary selection, but moreover because of its unique selling-point:
The "Zum Weissen Schwan" (the white Swan) is a self-pronounced BEER MUSEUM and offers 101 different types of German & international beers.
The food here is mostly rustic German fare, with a lunch and dinner menu and daily changing specials. There are tables inside and outside, but I most enjoy sitting at the bar.
Favorite Dish: Most well-known (and also unknown) German beers are on tap, and depending on their seasonal stock you can enjoy beers from Thailand, Singapore, Ireland, South America, Turkey, Croatia... it's difficult to choose! The staff here are quite helpful and will give you some ideas about what type of beer you might enjoy most.
As in many tourist-cities, this is one of those pubs collecting nominations from all over the world, "donated" by travellers. We started chatting with the bartender, and noticed that the wall behind him had some Saudi Riyals, but no money from the UAE. As Dubai is now starting to become quite well-known and well-travelled by Germans, John and I gave him a 10 Dirhams note to add to his collection. The wall is especially interesting when spotting currencies that no longer exist (including the Deutsch Mark!)
--> This little "hobby" makes it a great place to meet fellow travellers (and a few locals like myself ;-)
7 Days a week: 11:00am - 11:00pm.
I was wondering if I should tell you about the Café Tiefburg in the warnings and dangers section of tips, as anybody who spends some time there is in serious danger of gaining a few pounds. But then the cake lovers wouldn't find it, and this café deserves to be known.It's just a few meters from the Tiefburg castle.For more than 50 years they have been selling coffee and cakes here.
It's my favourite café in Heidelberg. They serve excellent coffees, also several sorts of tea, and the most delicious cakes you can imagine. All cakes and chocolate items are hand-made, and believe me, you can taste the difference.I love their fruitcakes, apple- or rhubarb are the best in my mind.You are not rushed, but can sit at your table as long as you want to.And of course, you can buy some more cake to take home.
Prices are average, 4,.80 Euro for a cappuccino and a piece of applecake, for example.
The website is in German only, but you need no translation when you look at the display of cakes.
I took the picture in the weeks before Easter, when all the Easter bunnies are sitting in the window.
We stopped at The Swan for lunch. While most people were enjoying more typical German meals; schnitzels, spaetzels, and meats and potatoes, we had the mussels in wine sauce and a side of fries. Along with gluewine and grog, a tasty warm up!
On our first jet lagged night, we picked up a picnic from this Lebanese restaurant to take back to our room. The Alstadt is a great place to find ethnic food; sushi, Mexican, Spanish Tapas, Italian, Thai, Chinese. This student environment is truly an international place with something for every taste. There's even a Starbucks!
Opened in 1987 and popular with tourists (but so is most of Heidelberg) and also locals, "Der Vetter" is simply an Heidelberg institution, famous for it's traditional cuisine and freshly brewed beers: old wooden floors, high ceilings decorated with massive bundles of dried hops, and of course the 2 gigantic brew kettles that are contacted directly to the tap at the bar.
I asked the waitress whether they are still operational and she confirmed that once or twice a week, the "Braumeister" comes to the pub and brews various types of beer overnight... so you can definitely be guaranteed the freshest & most wholesome beer here! (the Vetter's beer is also brewed under the German Purity Law, stating that nothing but water, barley & hops may be used in the process)
Favorite Dish: The "Vetter 33" is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records of the year 1994: as the strongest beer in the world, with 33% alcohol. Naturally, John and I had to try it :-) It is served in only a 200ml glass: dark, almost without foam, heavy and aromatic. It's a very malty beer that lends itself perfectly to a huge & hearty portion of roast pork and gravy. John very much enjoyed his pork roast and dumplings ("Knoedel") and I opted for a heavy, unhealthy, but ever-so-delicious portion of Kaesespaetzle (cheese noodles).
We returned to the Vetter for lunch on another day, where we choose some of their "deftige Brotzeiten". A Brotzeit is a cold meal consisting of bread and various cold cuts, cheeses, pickles, etc. The "Maelzer Platte" (meat & cheeses) or "Kaese Platte" (cheeses) are each definitely large enough for two people to share... we found out the hard way!
Lunch hours are usually pretty quiet at the Vetter, but in the evenings all tables are full with people of all ages and from all corners of the earth.
It seems everyone really enjoys their visit here, and it's a fantastic place to meet new friends.
Admittedly, this place is a cliché for Southern German appetites and thirsts... but I still think that it's a must-see-place... especially if it's your first time in Heidelberg!
--> Reservations highly recommended, especially for larger groups.
Sundays to Thursdays 11:30am - midnight.
Fridays & Saturdays 11:30am - 02:00am.
Their kitchen is open from 11:30am - 11:00pm.
NOTE: The smoking ban in Germany is also enforced here, and the only smoking section is... well... the sidewalk outside on the street.
--> They also offer special brewery-education or historic dinners and tours for groups!
June 2008: some of us stopped-by the Vetter during the VT EuroMeet 2008 Heidelberg Tour. Very refreshing; and I'll never forget royslaven's happy face with his bottle of freshly-tapped beer ;-)
Vetter brews its own excellent beer right on the premises and also serves very good traditional German food. I finally got to use the word "Kartoffelsalat" when I ordered my lunch there. The location is perfect because it is right in the heart of the historic district near the Hauptstrasse, between the Old Bridge (Alte Brucke) and the Church of the Holy Spirit. From Vetter it is an easy walk to the castle (Schloss Heidelberg)
Favorite Dish: Weisswurst mit Kartoffelsalat (white sausage with potato salad). Actually that's the only thing I ate there, but it really hit the spot.
Another one of my Heidelberg favorites-- actually a bit outside central Heidelberg, in the Handschuhsheim district.
Elegant, minimalist decor... EXTREMELY good food.
The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday, 5.30 pm to 1 am (kitchen open: 6 to 11 pm)
Sunday, 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 1 am (kitchen open: 12 to 2.30 pm and 6 to 11 pm).
Auerstein also has a small number of beautifully-furnished guest rooms at reasonable prices.
Favorite Dish: Pumpkin Soup... it was superb.
Heidelberg's oldest cafe offers a comfortable atmosphere, great desserts, and a small but all good selection of dinner menu items. Stop during the day for coffee and relaxation, or in the evening for a fine meal.
Restaurant with a Wine Store which opened recently.
The interior is more in a minimalist style in warm beige colours. I would say that the cusine is French and Italian. They offer a special menu for lunch time.
Great variaty of white and red wine.
Favorite Dish: I chosed Fettucine with pesto of black olives, dried tomatos and rucola. As we couldn't decide which of the many wines we should choose we had the house wine.
When I was still in high school and my pocket-money wasn't quite the same as Paris Hilton's, finding a good and affordable meal in Heidelberg's old town could be quite limited. McDonald's or Pizza Hut never really tempted me that much, and supermarket sandwiches shouldn't be allowerd to call themselves "food"...
GINO's has been in the Hauptstrasse for many, many years. It's a superb place to grab a quick and tasty bite for lunch, and it's also a famous place for that famous weekend feeling of "I-have-just-left-the-pub-and-desparately-need-to-eat"!
Favorite Dish: GINO's is split into 2 sections: one half of this tiny establishment specializes in Mexican food, the other is Italian.
In my opinion, these Taccos are only satisfying during the aforementioned midnight-munchies-situation. If you've had great Mexican food before, then this will be a sore disappointement.
However, the Italian half of this eatery is a Heidelberg-student-tradition. You can tell how successful this place has been with standing its ground: it's only 2 houses away from Pizza Hut, and it's still doing great business!
Pop into GINO's for a slice or a complete freshly prepared pizza to your choice. The entertainment value of this place is great as well, especially in the summer months were the staff will be spinning their pizza dough high above their heads, and calling-out to passing pedestrians in a joking way.
Prices are very reasonable, they also serve alcohol. There are a handful of tables inside and in the warmer months you can also sit outside. This lack of space and abbundance of popularity means that in bad weather, you'll probably have to order your food "to go", as all tables inside are full!
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 01:00am.
UPDATE: walked past Gino's in Dec. 2007 & it was once again full of customers.
A brewery that serves up a variety of house beers, along with large portions of traditional German food-- sausages, pork, noodles, potatoes.
A fun atmosphere, with a mix of university students and business people out for a dose of typical German food.
If you are a brave soul, try Vetter 33-- the strongest beer in the world. If you have a bit more sanity, try a few of their "lighter" varities!
Favorite Dish: Sausage salad-- traditional German fare, with thin slivers of sausage.