Located on the western end of the Grande Île, Strasbourg’s district of Petite-France is one of the city’s oldest. In the Middle Ages, this neighborhood was home to fishermen, tanners and millers. Today, Petit-France is a part of the Grande Île UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1988. Here is a list of the top 10 restaurants to explore in the ancient heart of the area.
Le Pont Tournant
A part of the Régent Petit France Hotel & Spa, which sits on River III, Le Pont Tournant (The Swinging Bridge) offers patrons a modern take on traditional French cuisine. Chef Boris Derendinger’s philosophy is to ‘work with ingredients without altering them’, thereby letting individual flavors shine instead of burying them within the dish where they become indistinguishable. Diners shouldn’t miss Chef Derendinger’s signature steak tartare, Caesar salad or club sandwich, they are all excellent! Seasonal prix-fixe menus are also available, with drinks included.
Situated between Place Kléber and Notre Dame de Strasbourg, L’Épicerie is the perfect place to stop for a quick lunch or a light and alternative dinner. This adorable café features an ever-changing section of salads, soups and desserts on its menu. However, L’Épicerie specializes in tartines, traditional French open-faced sandwiches topped with a plethora of delicious ingredients. What’s more, the dining room, with its dark wood furniture and tiled floors, feels more like a cozy kitchen in the French countryside than a restaurant in the middle of a bustling city.
Restaurant Au Petit Bois Vert
Located right on River III and in the shade of a magnificent tree planted under the reign of King Louis XIV, Restaurant au Petit Bois Vert offers diners a taste of traditional Alsatian cuisine and culture. Every two months, the menu changes to reflect what ingredients are available locally, offering more fresh produce in the summer and more meat in the winter. Whatever the ingredient, Au Petit Bois Vert makes sure the source is local, and does as much processing as possible in-house to guarantee superior taste and freshness. As the weather dictates, diners can enjoy their meal in the cozy old-style dining room or on the cobblestone street just outside.
Académie De La Bière
Those who have a passion for beer should be sure to check out Académie de la Bière, located near the Port Royal Observatory. Opened in the 1960s, this pub specializes in Belgian beer, but also serves brews, ciders and liquors from all over Europe, as well as a menu tailored to complement whatever diners choose to drink. Keep it simple and order a Belgian beer and a plate of mussels with French fries, the molluscs arrive fresh at the restaurant every morning.
Like Restaurant au Petit Bois Vert, Winstub S’Kaechele specializes in Alsatian cuisine, which draws extensively from both German and French food traditions. Owners Karine and Daniel serve regional dishes, and use only the freshest ingredients sourced from local producers. Fois gras coexists peacefully on the menu next to pork cheeks served with sauerkraut and horseradish sauce. Whether you enjoy your meal on the street side patio, or in the cozy dining room with an old-style timbered ceiling, the experience will be as authentic as it gets.
Perles De Saveurs
Located near Place Benjamin Zix, Perles de Saveurs is housed in a historical building dating from the Renaissance. The private courtyard in front of the restaurant shelters diners from the bustling city outside, and fosters an atmosphere of relaxation. Adhering proudly to their commitment to use the freshest products available, Perles de Saveurs changes their menu every month to reflect the “rhythm of nature”. Their menu is French-inspired but noticeably creative, modern, and just a tad out there, though in the best possible way! Expect the likes of potato waffle served with pumpkin pulp, creamy ricotta and silvered pistachios.
Just down the street from Perles de Saveurs on Rue des Dentelles, Vince’Stub offers diners Alsatian dishes served with a twist in a snug dining room that exudes a homey atmosphere. Like many restaurants in Petite-France, the menu at Vince’Stub changes constantly, sometimes everyday, based on what local ingredients are available. Some examples of past dishes served include a salad of quail thighs and new sauerkraut, braised lamb, and pork shank encrusted with Munster cheese. Also, be sure to save room for one of Chef Vince’s home-made desserts, like the plum tart topped with streusel.
For a taste of Asia in the heart of Petite-France, head over to Umami Restaurant. After starting his culinary career at the age of 14, Chef René Fieger cooked all over the world before a formative two years in Shanghai inspired him to come to Strasbourg and open a restaurant that pays homage to the Asian flavors and techniques he loves and respects so much. Unlike many of the other restaurants in Petite-France that try to stay seasonal, Chef Fieger is willing to import fresh ingredients in order to stay true to a specific dish or cuisine. Try some of his eastern takes on local dishes, such regional deer with sweet potatoes and massaman curry, or pan-seared duck fois gras with pak choy hoisin.
For a taste of India in the middle of Strasbourg, check out Cinnamon Indian Restaurant. Inspired by the culinary philosophy of Maharaja, an Indian restaurant that opened in Strasbourg over 30 years ago, Cinnamon strives to show that an ancient cuisine can adapt to a new generation of tastes and presentations. The restaurant offers updated takes on well-known classics such as chicken tikka masala and samosas, as well as an extensive selection of vegetarian dishes to accommodate the tastes of a wide range of diners.
Restaurant O Brazil
Located on Rue du Jeu des Enfants just off River III, Restaurant O Brazil serves authentic Brazilian dishes. Influenced by European, indigenous and African food traditions, Brazilian cuisine uses a plethora of diverse preparations and ingredients. In short, it’s anything but boring. While the menu changes constantly to make use of the freshest local ingredients, some mainstays include feijoada, a stew made with pork and beans, as well as an extensive selection of Brazilian beer and wine. Diners can also enjoy live music in the light, airy dining room, and an assortment of Brazilian-style donuts for dessert.
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