Gran Cafe Vittoria Gelateria: Our Favorite Ice Cream
Hands down, ice cream in Europe beats the socks off ice cream in the states. And Vittoria Gelateria has our favorite ice cream in Mannheim. They boast all the same flavors as other ice cream parlors in the area, as well as the same prices (1 euro per scoop whether in a cup or waffle cone), but the scoops are bigger, and occasionally they have a rare flavor. I once tried "muffin," and it was heavenly. Located directly next to Vodafone on the Planken, this sweet treat is too good a bargain to miss on your next shopping trip. In fact, whenever we have dinner downtown, we usually skip expensive desserts and make a quick trip here instead!
Outdoor seating under giant umbrellas provides the perfect place to sit on a warm day, with a view of the Wasserturm down the street. Some indoor seating is also available, and is photographed. There are toilets available, free of charge.
Favorite Dish: My favorite flavors...are all of them? If I had to choose, it would be between lemon, muffin, and strawberry. (The strawberry is MUCH richer than strawberry ice cream from the states...true to the flavor of the fruit.) The waffle cones also have a sweeter flavor, and they're thicker.
UPDATE 9/16/2011: I just tried the pink grapefruit, and I think it's my new favorite. Be warned, it tastes identical to grapefruit, right down to the slightly bitter aftertastel. I loved it, but my husband wasn't quite a fan. It's one to try for citrus lovers though!
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Vapiano: Italian, Of Course
Vapiano is situated perfectly in an open, welcoming corner next to Mannheim's main attraction, Wasserturm. It's a casual Italian restaurant, where your pizza, pasta, salad and desserts are made to order, right before your eyes. Reasonably priced and delicious, you can't go wrong.
Favorite Dish: Spaghetti Pomodoro is my personal favorite. It's hard to beat the basics. The pasta carbonara is also delicious. My husband prefers traditional salami pizza.
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Italian Cafe: Around Water Tower
Had a very yummy, and creamy coffee at a very nice, quiet, and romantic (possibly) Italian cafe right around the Water Tower on a roofed passageway with a beautiful view on the Rosengarten. Wish I would remember the cafe's name, where at we took a break, and mugs of great coffee, from a long, lovely, and detailed stroll through Mannheim town.
Favorite Dish: Mild and creamy coffee.
- Food and Dining
Bao Anh: Above Average Mall Food
Bao Anh is a cute little Chinese restaurant nestled in Rhein Neckar Zentrum. It's staff is friendly, the food is delicious, and location is more than convenient for mall-goers. This is above average mall food. After ordering you are given you drink and a small complimentary fruit cup with fresh watermelon, kiwi, grape and other various fruits. Mine included a slice of nectarine. (Yum!) Then your food is delivered to your table. I had fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce over fried rice with vegetables. It was plated nicely, and the food tasted very fresh. The chicken itself was especially tasty -- the breading is unlike most American Chinese restaraunts; it's crispy and fantastic. The price was very reasonable. My entire meal was about 7 euro, and the portions were very large. Overall this was a fun place for a quick lunch with a friend. I was happy to find that dogs are welcome (same as mall policy, leashes required), so my little Maltipoo had a taste of the chicken as well. He recommends it as much as I do. ;)
Since this restaraunt is inside the mall it is also accessible by strass -- line 5, stop "Tivoli - Rhein Neckar Zentrum."
Favorite Dish: Sweet and sour chicken with fried rice and veggies.
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Maredo: Steak, Fries, and English Speakers Aplenty
My husband and I tried out Maredo with some friends yesterday. It was a treat for us Americans. Not only did our waitress speak pefect English, they offered mulit-language menus. (German, English, Spanish, French, and more.) The restaurant was also nicely decorated and very clean.
The food itself was great. My husband and the rest of the boys will vouch for their steaks, but I had the grilled chicken "fuego," and it was fantastic -- perfectly portioned and delicious. The prices were reasonable as well, we paid about 30euro for both our plates and drinks. Nearly all the appetizers and desserts were less than 5euro, and main courses ranged between 10-20euro. The meal also came with a complimentary bread basket. I can't wait to go back; next time I want to try out the fajitas, and sample the dessert menu. (Their menu is available in German online at the web address below.)
Seating is available both inside and out in good weather. Casual dress is perfectly acceptable.
- Food and Dining
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Café Journal: Cozy but Elegant
My husband and I decided to check this place out after reading a couple good reviews here, and I am so glad we did! Cafe Journal is situated in Mannheim's Market Square (Marktplatz). Both outdoor and indoor seating is available, and I imagine the outdoor tables would be a perfect lunch spot on warm days when the market is bustling. The restaurant is larger than it appears on the outside, and is decorated with newspaper clippings and photos. Our table was underneath a large, pretty skylight. Service was friendly and reasonably fast. Our waitress spoke passing English. The food was great. It was just what I expected after reading reviews and visiting the website (below): there is a decent variety of dishes -- sandwiches, burgers, pasta, salads, and a selection of grilled meats. There is also a children's menu, a few vegetarian options, and a menu of weekly specials. (Full menu availabe on the website below.) What I didn't expect was how elegantly everything was plated (so pretty!). Our party of six can now vouch for the Vegetarian Tagliatelle, Shrimp Tagliatelle, Burger and fries, Grilled Chicken and Lamb, and Spaghetti Bolognese. Everyone left satisfied. The prices were fair, and about average -- around 10-15euro/person.
[The next time we go, I'll be sure to take photos to upload...]
- Family Travel
Heller's: Vegetarian food can be so good
This is one my favourite places.It's strictly vegetarian, with some vegan dishes as well. There is a large salad bar, but warm lunches are also served. It's cafeteria style, no waiting at the tables. If you're still hungry after your lunch, you can go to their cake stand and order some cake for dessert, with a good cup of coffee.
It's a very polular place, so during lunch hour it can be very crowded and you may have to share a table. When the weather is nice, you can go and sit out in their garden.
They offer a daily lunch menu, which always includes one vegan dish. Additionally there are also glutenfree dishes.
Locanda: Quite a surprise
Close to the Karlsstern in the woods there used to be a restaurant with a large beergarden.You could get some cakes,some snacks, coffee or a beer. It was a nice place to rest, but nothing special.
So we were very surprised when entered it this time. It still doesn't look much from the outside, rather run-down actually, but the menu posted outside showed good Italian cuisine.
Inside it looked completely different, no longer a simple garden café, but a fancy restaurant with real tablecloths and napkins on the tables and a piano in the centre of the room.
The waiter gave us the menues, but also told us about the specials of the day,not in the menu. We decided to order them, Italian pancakes with salmon and spinache filling.They were excellent! They were more expensive than what we had expected to pay, especially considering the location. But they were worth their price.
I suppose most of the people coming to Karlsstern do not come for food, but for walking and playing with their children on the playground, and I'm not sure if this is the perfect location for such a restaurant. But I wish them good luck. We certainly will be back.
- Family Travel
Café Journal: Wonderful food, perfect location
Café Journal is conveniently located just opposite the town hall on market square. Especially in summertime, it's a great place to sit outside and watch the passers-by. But also the interior is very nice and cosy. Better than all of that, however, is the food. I had an Argentinian papaya-beef salad which would easily make it to the top 10 of my personal "Best foods ever eaten list" - if only that list existed. I'll definitely go there again next time I'm in Mannheim!
Favorite Dish: the Argentinian papaya-beef salad was perfect!
- Food and Dining
Goya Lounge: Organic food
I don't know which kind of food to choose in the list "select the appropriate theme for this restaurant". I have eaten there three times so far and will go back. Each time something else was on the lunch menu for the daily specials.Probably "international kitchen" may be appropriate.
It's an organic restaurant, meaning the meat is from free range animals and the vegetables are from organic farms. This also means the food is more expensive than in other restaurants, but the difference is not too much. I never spent more than 20 Euro for a lunch for two. The specials for lunch are between 5 and 8 Euro, really not to bad.
The location is great for lunch, right in the centre of Mannheim. Next to the Paradeplatz, the Stadthaus has been transformed into a "Biocenter", with a supermarket, a butcher for organic (free range) meat, a hairdresser - organic hairdressing? probably a special shampoo? - and several organic restaurants.
The Goya Lounge has a large terrace and we usually sit outside. The terrace is on the far side from the Paradeplatz, so it's not too noisy.
Andalucia: Best Service in Mannheim?!!!
One of the better places to eat in Mannheim. The service is friendly, plus they remember you if you go more than once (most of mannheim is quite rude....even for german standards). One you walk in, you are greeted and seated right away. Usually the drink order is taking immediately, instead of the city standard of 30 min. Right after you order your tapas and meal, olives and bread are brought to the table. The bread comes with a tasty garlic and herb butter.
A guitarist gets up at least once an hour to play spanish music. if you go on thursdays, you will have flaminco dancers.
Favorite Dish: All the food is generally good. Although slightly overpriced, the entertainment makes up for it.
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Palms: Cocktail bar? Restaurant?Smokers'Lounge?
I had heard the Palms served good food and mentioned it as a meeting place to the others in my party. Big surprise: "You want to eat in a cocktail bar?" "Are you aware of the fact that this is a smokers' lounge?" I checked their menu in the internet and it looked good, so we decided to meet there on a Saturday evening.
When we arrived I realized that I should have reserved, even though we were just four people, the non-smoking room was packed and every free table had a sign saying "reserved". The waitress asked us if we wanted a table outside and we agreed. The restaurant is in a passage between two shopping streets, so it was not really outside, but still a bit windy occassionally.
We then found out that the Palm is all three, a restaurant , a cocktail bar and it also has a large smokers' lounge. The food we had was excellent. We had ordered Flammkuchen, a sort of pizza with very thin dough and various toppings. I had the Norwegian one,lots of salmon and cream. Very good!
The service was fast and friendly and it's not expensive at all.
I will certainly be back.
Sankofa: A family quarrel??
We had read about a new African restaurant, run by a German-African couple and decided to try their lunch menu which was said to be very good.
While I was waiting outside, the African owner saw me, greeted me and told me they were open. She was very friendly.
My first impression was that of a very good restaurant. White tableclothes, real flowers, everything very clean. My second impression was somewhat different, the cutlery was laid out the wrong way and our bottles of soft drinks were just put down on the table, the caps loosened, but not poured in. Don't get me wrong, of course I'm perfectly capable of pouring my own drink, but this was more fitting for a self-service restaurant.The waiter, the German husband, managed to give us the message that he was not too happy we had come in.
When we asked about the lunch menu, he told us a cook had called in sick and his wife would be cooking, so no lunch menu. I then ordered the vegetarian cous-cous and was told this would take a very long time, since his wife was on her own.
Next attempt: We asked him what would be available and he mentioned about four dishes out of the large menu, none of them vegetarian. The meat was industrial meat, so we asked him to keep it out.
We ordered yam with spinache sauce and corn dumplings with okra. It took 40 minutes for the food to be served, and another few minutes until I got the sauce. It was brought to the table with a "Oh yes, this is also yours".
Since we had one hour for lunch, we had to eat quickly. The food was very good, spicy, but not too much. The owner is a very good cook.
Her husband was talking into his mobile the whole time we were there. No other people had come in , we were the only ones. When we left, we were at the door when he asked if we had liked the food. Again it seemed to be an afterthought. He had never smiled or even pretended to be interested, a striking contrast to the cheerful behaviour of his wife.
I got the impression that she is trying hard to run a successful restaurant, while her husband is not happy with this and is trying to prevent this by quietly sending the message to the customers they're not welcome.
I'm really not sure if I'll go back
Chinesisches Teehaus: Tea in the Chinese garden
In Mannheim's Luisenpark there is a Chinese garden, with a small lake and a waterfall. Next to it there is the Chinese teahouse. They serve several sorts of Chinese tea, in the typical Chinese teacups. No straining of the leaves, which makes drinking rather difficult for me.
If you're hungry, that's not the place to go, as they only serve some very small appetizers. But if you like to sit for a while, relax and enjoy Chinese tea, it's a very nice place. In summer you can sit outside.
Since the Chinese part of the Luisenpark is some distance from the main entrance, there is a small "train" taking passengers to it. Walking, however, is much nicer, as you get to see some more of the park, like the swinging bridges and the small creek. (There is also a regular bridge a bit further down. Not as much fun, but safer.)
- Family Travel
Café-Bistro Picco: Near Mannheim's Landmark
The name of this bistro used to be Picasso, after all it is in the same building as the art gallery Kunsthalle. But when Picasso's family vetoed this name, they dropped a few letters, added another c and came up with Picco.
The location is great, sitting outside you can see the watertower with the fountains and the park with all flowers and you can watch the world go by.
Favorite Dish: I had read about their cold melon soup with shrimps and wanted to try it , as this sounded like a very unusal combination. It was excellent! Unlike any other soup I have had before, but very,very good. I had a large cinamon crêpe afterwards, my daughter had dumplings with mushroom sauce and a salad, also very good.
The service was friendly but very SLOW!
Luckily we had time enough and it was a very pleasant day to sit outside, or we would have been nervous. I don't know why everything took so long, there were not too many people eating there and two waitresses, but it took over one hour for our three dishes to be served.
We made a note not to go there just for our lunch break.
The bill was 18 Euro alltogether.
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