In the six years since Christine and Wolfgang Becker converted their small wine bar to a restaurant, Weinhaus Becker has built a superb reputation validated by a one-star rating in Michelin's Red Guide and 17 points with Gault Millau. "I prepare everything myself, from the first appetizer to the last praline," says Becker, who considers himself part chef and part "artistic director."
The menu changes every six to eight weeks depending on what's fresh and in season. Recent appetizers included a "mosaic" of smoked fish, vegetables, sheep's-milk yogurt and greens; sautéed rabbit with mushrooms; and caramelized goose liver served over a poached pear, with vanilla sauce. Main dishes were venison medallions with wild mushrooms and blueberry pancakes; Atlantic halibut with saffron; and shrimp encrusted with a puree of sole and potato served atop sweet chicory. For dessert try ginger soufflé with papaya ragout over white chocolate ice cream. The wine menu is extensive and of course includes many bottles from the Becker's own vineyard.
The setting is comfortable and inviting, with 12 tables in a front room and 10 in back. The dominant theme is wine, from barrels on the walls to carvings of wine presses.
Entrées range from €28-32, appetizers from €17-19 and desserts from €8-12. The restaurant also offers a four-course menu for €49.
Rating: QUALITY 18/20, VALUE 14/20
Café Restaurant Brunnenhof
Although Café Restaurant Brunnenhof offers lighter fare like salmon marinated in Riesling, the city center restaurant is heavy on "comfort foods" like beef-and-beer goulash and pan-fried noodles with onions, bacon, potatoes, garlic and cheese. It's also relatively inexpensive with few entrées more than €11. Servings are large and well-prepared. Although located in the 11th-century Simeon College, the restaurant's interior is 20th century. If possible, choose outdoor dining in the old courtyard with a view to the Porta Nigra. Jazz fans will enjoy the "Jazz im Brunnenhof" outdoor series in July and August.
Contact: Brunnenhof Café, Simeonstrasse 60, D-54290 Trier, tel. +49/651/700295.
Rating: QUALITY 13/20 VALUE 15/20
One of three restaurants at Hotel Blesius Garten, Kraft-Bräu is Trier's largest beer garden. Many guests come to enjoy the fresh beer and to socialize. Many more are tempted by the culinary offerings. Fish dishes, such as rainbow trout fresh from the trout pool and fried in butter, range from €13-17. Meat dishes generally fall between €14-20, such as beef filet with pine-nut crust and rosemary-chili au jus, and lamb in a red-wine mint sauce. At the Brewery-Bistro, almost everything is under €10: ten Nürnberg sausages, beef stroganoff, sliced pork with beer sauce and fried potatoes, and fresh pasta with pesto. They'll also bottle your choice of their beers to take with you.
Contact: Kraft-Bräu Olewiger Strasse 135, D-54295 Trier, tel. +49 0651 3606-0, fax +49 0651 3606-33
Rating: QUALITY 14/20, VALUE 15/20
The speciality at Etage is Eifeler Fladen- a flat farmers' bread typical of the region north of the Mosel. Cooked in a stone oven in an open kitchen, it is served crisp with a choice of toppings like tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, broccoli and shrimp. The best of these is a delicious combination of beans with Mettwurst, a delightful smoked sausage. Although the menu features many regional dishes with various combinations of meat, fish, sausages and cheese, guests with lighter appetites can choose the salad bar, Apple Mountain (apples, nuts and raisins served in yogurt), and Klatschkes (cucumber salad with scallions and Quark- sort of a cross between cottage cheese and cream cheese). A light lunch might cost €8-10, a more complete dinner €9-15. The mezzanine seating offers a nice view of the Art Deco bar, but the rear terrace garden offers the best atmosphere and a quiet retreat from the pedestrian plaza just a few paces away.
Contact: Etage Restaurant, Neustrasse 56, D-54292 Trier, tel. +49/651/912/0858, fax: 994 6708
Rating: QUALITY 14/20 VALUE 16/20
Elevation: 518 feet (158 meters)
Basel 408 km 253 miles
Berlin 729 km 452 miles
Bonn 146 km 91 miles
Frankfurt 189 km 117 miles
Heidelberg 196 km 122 miles
Koblenz 122 km 76 miles
Munich 522 km 324 miles
Saarbrücken 94 km 58 miles
Hourly rail service from Koblenz and Luxembourg and frequent service from Mannheim via Saarbrücken.
Typical Rail Times
Basel 4 hours, 45 minutes
Berlin 6 hours, 50 minutes
Bonn 2 hours, 35 minutes
Frankfurt 3 hours, 20 minutes
Heidelberg 3 hours, 20 minutes
Koblenz 1 hour, 25 minutes
Munich 6 hours, 15 minutes
Saarbrücken 1 hour, 25 minutes
Prices current as of November 2003.