Ahr Valley Restaurants
It was easy to eat well during the prime growing season of this valley. Fresh produce was abundant at every stop. The oldest Ahr Valley restaurant, Brogsitters Restaurant/Sanct Peter, is located in Walporzheim (Walporheimer Strasse 134, Tel +49-2641-97750, Fax +49-2641-977525). It was established in 1246 and operates today as a combination gourmet restaurant, wine pub, and gift shop. We, however, opted for a newer establishment, certainly equal in character, if not in age.
Hidden on a hill in a residential area of Bad Neuenahr is Restaurant Idille, a charming country escape and among the best in the region. Your host is Werner Bouhs, who opened the restaurant in 1994.
In a dining room illuminated by windows on three sides, we looked out over the garden that envelopes Idille and enjoyed the sweeping view of the valley below.
The atmosphere is a tasteful mix of classic and modern design: there are worn pine floors, a high ceiling, crisp white walls, and chic wall vases full of blooming gardenias and tall, arching greens. About a dozen tables, funky chairs, white linens, an open kitchen, a seldom-used baby grand piano, and Frank Sinatra singing softly in the background, completed the ambiance.
At Mr. Bouh's suggestion, we began our midday meal with a sweet and flowery Sekt made from elder blossoms. Though delicious for tasting, an entire glass was too perfumy.
Fixed menu prices average $35, a la carte entrées cost from $18-$22 and the cuisine has somewhat of a French touch. We tried the roasted chicken breast, served with an artistic arrangement of potato croquettes and fresh white asparagus, carrots, and snow peas; and a roasted pork filet served with similar vegetables and a light, flavorful sauce. Both dishes were sprinkled with tiny, delicious, fresh mushrooms. For dessert, a decadent chocolate mousse put us over the edge of utter indulgence.
Reservations are encouraged, as the restaurant is small. Credit cards are not accepted, and lunch for two cost about $40. Dinner for two is about $75. There was a lengthy wine list, but after a morning of tasting we passed.
Contact: Restaurant Idille, Am Johannisberg 101, D-53474 Bad Neuenahr, Tel +49-2641-28429, Fax +49-2641-25009
Rating: Quality 17/20, Value 12/20
More than anything else, we picked Lochmühle for convenience and so were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and incredibly attentive service. Catering to a business clientèle, meal prices like the rooms are on the high side.
In the large dining room, with low exposed beams and pine-paneled walls, we sat at a booth next to a tall picture window. A small vase of asters and tiny lilies decorated the table. We browsed a list of several Ahr Valley wines served by the carafe, and many more offered by the bottle from elsewhere in Germany, France, and Italy. We selected a carafe of a 1995 Mayschosser Spätburgunder-trocken and a 1995 Klosterberg Portugieser-mild.
We began with tomato cream and French onion soups. Then, craving light summer fare, we ordered the vegetarian special, which turned out to be flavorful little mushrooms sautéed and served with cheese, fresh vegetables broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and small potato pancakes.
A roasted chicken breast (heavy on the salt) was served over a bed of lettuce with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and peppers, in a creamy dill dressing. But our plans for a light meal were thwarted when our server tempted us with a strawberry sundae for dessert, complete with fresh berries, vanilla ice cream, and loads of whipped cream.
Credit cards are accepted and dinner for two without drinks cost about $50.
Contact: The Lochmühle, Ahrrotweinstrasse/Bundesstrasse 62, (Route B267) D-53508 Mayschoss, tel +49/02643/8080, fax 808445.
Rating: Quality 12/20, Value 8/20