German restaurants in the Bay Area & beyond (part 2)
Dia duit and happy St. Patrick’s Day! OK, it’s the day you probably won’t think of German food … but just in case you do, here is part 2 of my write-up on German restaurants in the Bay Area and farther afield. In the last post, we looked at our two main German hang-outs in San Jose and ventured to Seaside and SLO. Today, we’ll travel up the Peninsula and check out what’s cooking there.
Our first stop leaving San Jose is Hardy’s Bavaria in Sunnyvale. To be quite honest, I hardly ever go to Hardly’s, I mean, Hardy’s since I have two great German restaurants close by. But from what I remember, they have good food, bit pricey, and slow but nice service. I also remember I was wearing my DFB soccer jersey last time I visited 🙂
Next, we visit Esther’s German Bakery in Los Altos. Although mainly a bakery, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and feature a cozy little Biergarten in the back. That means that, yes, you can get beer here too. Among my favorite dishes are the Bauernfrühstück (an omelet with potatoes, onions, and bacon) and their crispy potato pancakes with salmon. The bakery also puts on a variety of events such as the ubiquitous Oktoberfest and German live music concerts and jams. In the past, they have collaborated with the German school and supported a Laternenumzug (children’s lantern procession) on the day of St. Martin’s. You can find info on this and more on their Facebook page. The founder, Esther, sold the bakery recently, and unfortunately, I have seen the quality slip in some of the baked goods. However, they still make the best pretzels around.
Another must-know place is Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City. I remember when this was a dusty little old shop with two tables for food service; boy has it changed! The new owners (or new generation of owners) have turned this place upside down. The store is still there but cleaner and more spacious, with pretty much everything you might have on your German shopping list.
They added a dining room and Biergarten in the back which is always hopping. They may not have the most elaborate German food menu, but you gotta love their selection of local and German beers! This is where I had Weihenstephan Vitus on tap for the first time and that alone makes the Gourmet Haus an important stop on my way 🙂 What I also love about the Staudt is their friendly and caring staff and the fact that they embrace other cultures. The other night, we had a fabulous time listening to Irish live music, eating corned beef and enjoying Guinness on tap.
A relatively new space on the peninsula is the Wursthall in San Mateo. It’s located in a great airy space and features a lot of brats on the menu, hence the name. They have a nice local beer selection, while their German selection is not very extensive. The food we tried was disappointingly far removed from authentic though.
That’s it for today. San Francisco and the East Bay will follow in the third (and maybe last) installment of our German restaurant round-up!