The quaint cobblestone streets and 16th-century architecture of the Alsatian town of Riquewihr have made it one of France’s most popular tourist destinations. The region is steeped in the history of wine making, and many of these traditional Alsatian winstubs (wine lounges) are still in use today. Many acclaimed restaurants have been established in Riquewihr. Here we list the top ten.
Chef Philippe Aubron has set up his Michelin Guide recommended restaurant in a 16th-century vineyard house. Across two rooms filled with various antiques and buttressed by the original exposed beams of the building, he serves inventive and refined gourmet food along with traditional Alsatian dishes. A former long-time resident of Japan, his menu includes French and Japanese fusion dishes for which he will often depart the kitchen to explain to his guests. You are equally likely to be treated to a wakame, cucumber, and yakitori chicken salad as a roasted lamb fillet.
La Grappe d’Or is a relic of the Alsatian past. The restaurant has retained the charm of the winstub that formerly occupied the building, including the iconic red checkered tablecloths and the archaic wine-making equipment and barrels that line the walls. Regional dishes like sauerkraut can be enjoyed alongside traditional French fare all complemented by a varied wine list. As well as in the main dining room, you can choose to sit in the snug downstairs vault or in an armchair in the upstairs corner.
This modernized 14th-century winstub is owned and operated by chef Jean-Luc Brendel. A local Alsatian, his menu includes regional delicacies like tarte flambée (thinly rolled dough shaped into a rectangle and covered in crème fraiche, onions, and lardons) as well as international influences. Tradition is not overlooked, as the restaurant is equipped with an open kitchen, wood-burning oven, and spit-roast. A plasma screen, sound system, and video projector are also installed, however, and the underground ‘Artists’ Square’ room in the basement is, aptly, awash with color.
It’s hard to tell which is more relaxing: the warm welcome given to you by the owners of La Dime, Bernard and Christiane Hommel, or the charming stone courtyard overhung by grapevines in which you will (weather permitting) enjoy a pleasant meal. There are no pretensions here, just hearty homemade food in the Alsatian or German style. Whether enjoying the outdoor dining experience or the pleasant ambiance inside, you’ll be able to try pork knuckle, sauerkraut, tarte flambée, potatoes with bacon and Munster cheese, or quiche lorraine.
A sushi bar is the last thing you would expect to find in a converted wine cellar underneath Au Trotthus in Riquewihr, but it is evidently much appreciated by both tourists and locals. Chef Ai Maheara has over 15 years of experience crafting sushi in both Japan and California, and brings her expertise to an intimate setting of only 19 seats which combines the original wooden beams of the building with crisp modern furnishing and lighting. A wide selection of wine, Japanese beer, and sake are also provided.
Casks are suspended from the ceiling in this tastefully decorated restaurant of sumptuous dark red walls and wood paneling, in which you can also find an antique sewing machine and a pair of rifles hanging on the wall. Hearty Alsatian meals are the order of the day here, like chicken in Riesling sauce with spätzle (soft egg noodles), or choucroute, a recipe that combines sauerkraut with potatoes and various meats including sausages and charcuterie. Alongside these dishes is an excellent wine selection, with the Riesling and Pinot Gris being of particular note.
Crêpes and tartes flambées are the specialty here, both sweet and savory but pizzas and galettes (round, crusty French cakes) are also on the menu. The recipes may be simple but are well-executed, and with all the fresh ingredients you may be spoiled for choice: vegetables, potatoes, kidneys, chocolate, cream, fish, fruit, meat, and eggs are among them. A local favorite, the restaurant proudly displays its autographed cups from the army of loyal customers, an indication of the high regard in which this restaurant is held in Riquewihr.
A Riquewihr restaurant helmed by Jean-Luc Brendel, La Table du Gourmet boasts a Michelin star. As its name suggests, it is nothing short of a gastronomic experience. The interior is decorated according to the principles of feng shui and, as you would expect from such an acclaimed establishment, the presentation of the food is as modern as the environs. The food itself is the result of passion and commitment, with regional favorites creatively altered with unusual herbs to produce unique flavors.
Found down a side street, La Grenouille’s out-of-the-way location means this restaurant is of better value than others of similar quality in the more touristic areas of Riquewihr. If its name (The Frog) or the multitude of frog figurines dotted around don’t give it away, their specialty is frog dishes, including frogs’ legs and the traditional Alsatian tarte flambée with frog meat. They serve a wide selection of other dishes, but be sure to root out this hidden gem if you fancy a change from the standard regional fare.