Alsace is an intriguing region, now belonging to France but having been influenced by German occupation in the past. The local cuisine has elements from both nations but also has its own particular identity. The restaurants of Mulhouse showcase the best of Alsatian food as well as innovative offerings from elsewhere. Here’s our guide to some of the best restaurants in the city.
This restaurant eschews modernism in favor of tradition, and is all the better for it. The red check tablecloths, antique decorations, and steins hanging from the rafters give Zum Saüwadala a homey feel, and the same can be said for the food. Plenty of hearty Alsatian dishes are on the menu, like pork knuckle, braised ham hock in Munster cheese sauce, and choucroute, which is composed of sauerkraut with potatoes and a variety of salted meats. Here, being old-fashioned is certainly not a bad thing.
Le Gargantua is an award-winning restaurant. They are proud of their roots here and offer escargots à l’Alsacienne – the regional approach to escargot in which they are cooked with butter, parsley, garlic, nutmeg, shallots, and white wine – which would be the perfect accompaniment to an Alsatian Pinot Noir, obtained from the restaurant’s own wine cellar.
Recommended by the Bottin Gourmand guide, Chez Auguste provides fine dining at a very reasonable price. The 3-course menu includes dishes like scallops with pesto and celery purée at an affordable price. Diners for whom intimacy is paramount can hire one of the two private rooms the restaurant has available, and the entire establishment is tastefully decorated throughout.
A favorite with the locals, Mealtin’Potes has a relatively small yet well-crafted menu of fusion food. On its spectrum sit satay chicken with quinoa, beef tartare, and seafood gnocchi: both tradition and exoticism are present in the melting pot suggested by the name of the restaurant. Its elegant interior design is matched by the presentation of the dishes, and a spacious terrace for dining alfresco is frequently used by the clientele.
For those wanting something a little different, this restaurant serves sweet and savory crêpes and Breton galettes, which are a type of buckwheat pancake, along with ice cream and a salad bar. A plethora of fillings and toppings for the crêpes and galettes can be chosen, including chicken liver, tuna, tomatoes, onions, capers, eggs, chocolate, fruit, nuts, and cream. The restaurant is located in a quaint old building in downtown Mulhouse. German, Spanish, Castilian, and English are spoken here.
There are Lebanese delicacies aplenty here at Les Saveurs du Liban. These range from the well-known falafel, kebabs, flan, and hummus to the more niche tabbouleh(a salad made up of bulgur wheat, parsley, tomatoes, green onions, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice) and kibbeh(fried croquettes of ground meat, onions, bulgur wheat, sautéed pine nuts, and spices). Combo plates are a favorite here, as they allow the diner to sample the wide variety of flavors present in Lebanese cuisine.
Befitting a restaurant housed in what was once a 15th- century convent, Aux Caves du Vieux Couvent serves the kind of authentic Alsatian cuisine that has been enjoyed in the area for generations. The chef is an expert in preparing offal and game, which is evident in the regional specialties that are on the menu here: fleischnaka(minced beef rolled in fresh egg pasta), lawerknepfla(pig liver, bacon, and onions fashioned into dumplings) and presskopf(a meat jelly made with the flesh from the head of a calf).
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Home to the best Asian food in Mulhouse, Khrua Thai offers a taste of the Orient in an authentic, but not ostentatious atmosphere. Of note are the lape nam tok– minced grilled beef with mint, lemongrass, and shallot – and the salmon in their house Khrua Thai sauce, which is made up of coconut milk, red curry sauce, and kaffir lime leaves. The restaurant doesn’t neglect the classic Southeast Asian dishes either, with the Cantonese dim sum and Vietnamese pho sitting alongside pad Thai on the menu.
One for the connoisseurs, Il Cortile boasts two Michelin stars and is a real landmark on the Alsatian dining scene. What is served here, according to Italian head chef Stefano d’Onghia, is “gastronomic mediterraneal-transalpine cooking.” Quite a mouthful, but when that mouthful is roasted squab agnolottiwith fresh figs and a balsamic emulsion, the description is warranted. The exquisite wine list and luxurious interior design are well-suited to a restaurant of this stature. This is a dining experience to remember.
Le 4 is a restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine. Proprietors Tatiana and Lionel have won awards from CCI Mulhouse for their accomplished and creative approach to meals like fried scallops and zucchini carpaccio with hazelnuts and parmesan. Finish off your dinner with an assortment of cheeses and chutneys.