HEIDELBERG, Germany — Even if you’re not a head of state, captain of industry, or U.S. Army general, you can still eat like one.

Bring plenty of euros. Put on a jacket, don’t look puzzled over the huge amount of cutlery on the napery, and the staff at Die Kurfürstenstube at the Hotel Europa will treat you as well as they did Winston Churchill (who visited in 1932), Neil Armstrong (1971), or Muhammad Ali (1979).

The elegant, family-owned, 142-year-old hotel containing what’s often called the best restaurant in Heidelberg, is also the annual setting for the Conference of the European Armies.

Hosted by U.S. Army Europe, top generals from North America and Europe dress in business suits and confer for several days amid impressive security on geopolitical and military matters.

But that doesn’t mean the place is stuffy.

“You say you want a sandwich? We send a sandwich,” said Roland Duerkob, the highly congenial head waiter and sommelier.

We didn’t know we could ask for a sandwich. All dark wood and gleaming crystal, it didn’t look like a sandwich kind of place. Before long, two waitresses had set our places with four forks, four knives and two spoons each. And the charming Duerkob had come over and suggested we try the house cocktail, which was pink and bubbly, made from apple schnapps, sekt and something lemony, and among the most delicious cocktails I’ve ever had.

We had arrived for lunch on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, thinking that our euros would go further at lunch than dinner.

Hah! The menu is the same for both. The restaurant does provide a three-course prix-fixe (fixed price) lunch menu for 58 euros; at dinner, the five-course prix-fixe is 80 euros.

But when you’re in the mood for, say, roulade of smoked saddle of wild rabbit on foam of foie gras and quince chutney, or essence of deer calf with truffle tortelloni, you can’t find it at the brauhaus, can you?

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Die Kurfürstenstube

Heidelberg, Germany

Hours: Lunch is noon to 2:30 p.m.; dinner is 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Prices: Start at 12 euros for desserts, soups and some appetizers, which can reach 28 euros. Entrees average about 32 euros. Prix-fixe is 58 euros for a three-course lunch; 80 euros for a five-course dinner.

Food: Continental, seasonal

English menu: Yes.

Dress: Men should wear a jacket, at least.

Clientele: Businessmen, Rotarians, U.S. Army generals.

Phone: 06221- 5150

Location: Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 1

Web site:

author picture
Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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