Schloss Hotel and Villa Rheinfels
The restaurant at the Schloss Hotel and Villa Rheinfels is one of the best on the Middle Rhine. Service is impeccable, the food heavenly, and the view across to Burg Katz and Burg Maus a living postcard.
The restaurant buys most of its meat and produce from local farmers and hunters, and fish from local fishermen (but not from the Rhine), and the freshness comes through. While the jumbo shrimp in the parsley soup assuredly aren't from nearby, the fresh parsley tastes just-picked and fragrant. And the pears poached in red wine and served with cinnamon ice cream are from local trees, the wine from local vineyards and the ice cream homemade.
My dinner began with a salad scattered with wild berries, wild mushrooms and goose liver strips in a blueberry dressing. Although tempted by melon soup, I moved straight to tender duck served with kohlrabi in red pepper sauce. Dessert was apple beignets with vanilla sauce.
With an appetizer, main course, glass of wine and dessert, expect to pay €40 or more per person. You can also choose a four-course meal for €35 or six-course for €48, excluding beverages.
Be sure to make reservations, and request seating on the terrace.
Rating: Quality 17/20 Value 16/20
Weinhaus Altes Haus
Compare a modern sketch of the Altes Haus with a print from the 17th century, and there won't be much difference - perhaps just a Mercedes or VW in place of a trader's cart. It has the same half-timber construction, same slightly off-kilter gables and turrets, and same leaded-glass windows as centuries ago—an architectural jewel. Inside, it's a step into history, with original wood floors, thick-beamed ceilings and plaster walls with original prints.
For the past century, the building and restaurant have been in the family of current owner Reni Weber, who calls it her "great passion." It shows. The cozy, historic setting (the cellars date from the 14th century) complements a superb restaurant with attentive, cordial service and reasonable prices. The menu features both regional specialties and broader fare, all with creativity and elegance: salmon poached in wine; pork cutlet with herbs and cheese; grilled sheep's cheese over fresh greens; and Camembert baked in orange sauce. Most entrées fall in the €8-13 range.
Call in advance to get the Klavierzimmer—the Piano Room. Its a small and especially comfortable side-room with upright piano, tile oven and views to the marketplace.
Contact: Weinhaus Altes Haus, Oberstrasse 61, D-55422 Bacharach, tel. +49 06743 1209, fax +49 06743 919067
Rating: Quality 15/20 Value 16/20
Weingut Fritz Bastian
Bacharach is filled with small wineries that offer inexpensive wine tastings or serve light meals with their own wines. The Weingut Fritz Bastian is typical, where guests can choose to sit inside the old tavern or outside under a shaded grape arbor. Tables are old wine presses fitted with slate tops.
Menus change with the seasons, but summer choices included a cheese platter with bread and butter, bread with three types of sausage; Spundekäs (a kind of cream cheese mixed with spices and wine) served with bread, pretzel or tomato; and sauerkraut soup. Most items fall in the €4-6 range
Contact: Weingut Fritz Bastian, Oberstrasse 63, D-55422 Bacharach, tel. +49 06743 1208, fax +49 06743 2837
Rating: Quality 13/20 Value 16/20
Restaurant Café Seilbahn
In a town loaded with "touristy" restaurants, the Restaurant Café Seilbahn, named for the adjacent cable-car base station, is a surprising delight. And you have to love a restaurant where the chef's motto is "Quality is when the guest comes back but not the meal." The menu refers to the outdoor dining area as a "little green oasis," and the description is apt: a terrace garden filled with plants, flowers, grape vines and a small aviary. A partial roof protects against the elements, and ceiling fans keep the space cool in summer.
The restaurant offers a variety of well-prepared meat and fish dishes, most in the €8-12 range. The menu, also available in English, includes tortellini with cheese sauce, goulash in a wine-cream stock with Spätzle, pork loin simmered in pepper-cream sauce and served with croquettes, beef cooked in burgundy sauce with dumplings, and Sauerbraten in wine with Spätzle and apple sauce. A typical (and tasty) dessert is simmered cherries served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Service is relaxed, friendly and extremely attentive.
Contact: Restaurant Café Seilbahn Oberstrasse 43, D-65385 Rüdesheim, tel. +49 06722 2927, fax +49 06722 48187.
Rating: Quality 14/20 Value 15/20
Gutsausschank Peter Prasser
This peaceful patio is a pleasant retreat from the hustle of the Drosselgasse, just a block away. The setting could easily be distant countryside, not Rhine-side town. On a quiet side street under an arbor bulging with plump grapes, travelers can relax, enjoy a glass of wine and nibble on a snack. The setting is laid-back and conversations flow easily across the handful of tables, thanks in part to Frau Prasser, the vintner's amiable mother. Most glasses of wine (from the Prasser winery, of course) cost about €2 and small plates of sausage, ham or cheese with bread about the same. Inside, a variety of the vineyard's excellent wines is available for sale.
Mondays are "Euro Days" with all wines only €1 per glass.
Rating: Quality 12/20 Value 15/20
Prices current 2006