The old train station of Hartenstein, the small town near Zwickau, is not used by the Deutsche Bahn anymore but it was turned into a very nice restaurant. The best feature is the large beergarden. Old, tall trees provide shadow on hot summer days.
The ambience is rustic, the clientele are mostly cyclers that ride the Mulde river valley trail and visitors of the neighbouring castle Stein (see separate tip). I didn't have much time before the guided tour of the castle started so I just had a glass of dark beer and ordered my meal for AFTER the tour - very kind of the staff to accept that.
I had asparagus with ham, potatoes and salad. Delicious! With a glass of orange juice the check was 9.10 Euro. Very reasonable.
Closed on Mondays. Otherwise open from 11 am on (open end).
I've had a meal here a couple of times so far, mainly because the location is simply not to beat - smack-dab in the middle of the old town right on Hauptmarkt square with the beautiful view of town hall and Gewandhaus vis-a-vis. The food is okay but nothing to write home about.
The place calls itself a "cafe - bar - lounge" and that's what it really is. A huge variety of drinks is available at reasonable prices, food is mainly quick snacks with a few *real* dishes thrown in. I've had a salad with tuna once (pretty good), a pasta dish another time (fair) and on my latest visit zucchini halfs filled with feta cheese and tomatoes, grated with mozzarella (fair). What makes up for the less exciting food are the ambience and the wine. Enjoyed the local beer and the white wine (Pinot Grigio, pretty good) and of course people watching and chatting. Service is friendly and relatively quick.
A word on the building: It dates from 1470 and was home of one of the oldest apothecaries in Germany, the Salomonis Apothecary, first mentioned in 1484. The neighbouring house, btw, was home of the "Löwenapotheke" (Lion's Apothecary), same age, meaning that Zwickau had two of them in the middle ages! The vaulted room and the one room with wooden ceiling on the ground floor still convey the ambience of that past era while the magnificent, originally preserved room upstairs is used for special events.
This restaurant is one of the more fancy ones (at least in the evenings) in Zwickau, which doesn't mean much, though. It is located in the remains of the former Cistercian convent (see separate tip). The neighbouring buildings are of younger age, form a nice courtyard and are used by the College of Applied Sciences which makes for a vibrant atmosphere during the day (quieter in the evenings).
I had a three course dinner there that changes weekly. Price is 19.45 Euro. First I had a creamy asparagus soup with cress and aceto balsamico, main course was red-mullet fillet on a bed of roasted fennel and orange fillets in white wine sauce with croquettes. Dessert was raspberry parfait on white chocolate with oranges and kiwis on chocolate sauce. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. A steal! Together with a local beer (Mauritius, a half litre 2.90 Euro) and an espresso (served with water and chocolate for only 1.80 Euro!) the check came to 24.15 Euro.
The service was very friendly, quick and competent. Ambience was relaxed as I sat outside, watched some students chatting and doing probably homework while having a meal and beer. Inside it is more formal.