This restaurant is located in my favorite Stuttgart find, a perfect little plaza tucked behind Eberhardtstrasse, decorated with a small statue of "Lucky Hans" straddling a golden pig in a wrought iron cage. To find it, turn left out of Breuninger on Eberhardt. Look for an arched passage on the right between the Block House and Beauty House leading onto Geiss Strasse. You will come out into a tiny flagstone plaza ringed with tall, pastel-colored gabled houses and lined with wine pubs.

The one behind Block House is Harris Kachelofen, a local institution. Every city has one restaurant that attracts every visiting celebrity, and in Stuttgart they all seem to come here. Dozens of autographed photos line the walls, and I was told that the owner, Mr. Beck, is quite a character and a fount of knowledge about the city and its food. However, neither he nor his lively clients were there the day I had lunch alone, so the room seemed a bit close and musty and abandoned. As luck would have it, rain made it impossible to eat out in the lovely little square, so I ended up in a corner table covered with a heavy lace cloth near a tiny wooden window.

The service, however, warmed the place. I couldn't decide between the maultaschen in onion soup or the one with cheese (€10), so the chef made me a half portion of each and then came out to ask which one I had liked best. Again I couldn't decide, but the soup version was both light and rich, while the cheese version had been a bit too enthusiastically grilled under the broiler. They came accompanied by one of those ubiquitous huge side salads. The chef turned out to be a brawny, Spanish-speaking Bulgarian, but he certainly can cook Swabian. The proprietress offered me an umbrella for the walk back. Honest home-cooked Swabian specialties for €10-15 won't win gastronomic awards, but perhaps this place makes it on personality. —by Lydia Itoi

Contact: Harris Kachelofen, Eberhardstrasse 10, Stuttgart, tel. +49/711/24 23 78
Rating: QUALITY 12/20, VALUE 13/20