Orangerie is a fancier take on traditional German Pfalz fare
Stars and Stripes March 16, 2023
The three months since I moved into my new home in Germany kept me so busy that I didn’t have much chance to check out the sort of restaurant where you relax for a little while.
With that behind me, my culinary kickoff came at Restaurant Orangerie in Kirchheimbolanden, about 25 miles northeast of Kaiserslautern.
The restaurant reopened under new management in October 2022, meaning the new Orangerie arrived on the scene roughly the same time I did.
Its intimate feel is noticeable the moment you walk in. A hallway leads to two rooms for seating. Doors can be closed on both sides, as well as between walls in the main room to give patrons plenty of privacy.
I wanted to try a taste of the Pfalz, so I started with a chestnut soup that had hints of Riesling, bacon bits, croutons and sour cream. On a day with temperatures near freezing, its warmth was most welcome. The bacon bits and croutons added a crunchiness that I also found pleasing.
Saumagen was the next thing I sampled. I’m glad I didn’t look it up ahead of time, as I guarantee I would not have ordered stuffed pig offal if I had known what it was.
A German friend whose grandfather was a butcher later described the dish to me as a porcine version of haggis. It was a favorite of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Restaurant Orangerie’s version consists of two patty-like shapes, carrot bits and chopped onions wrapped in a pig’s stomach lining. On top was a chestnut glaze with cabbage and croquettes.
Even though I now know the ingredients, the saumagen tasted so good I would consider having it again.
The last dish I ordered came from a special menu for Glan cattle, a traditional Rheinland-Pfalz breed.
I ordered the tafelspitz, or boiled beef. It came with a horseradish sauce that wasn’t as overbearing as others I’ve tried. The sauce left a little tangy aftertaste while finishing off the accompanying steamed vegetables and parsley potatoes.
Each dish was excellent, and I want to return to try some other menu items. Restaurant Orangerie isn’t cheap, but it’s not so expensive that it bars people from going on a regular basis. As long as you stay away from a steak or a rack of lamb, the main dishes are priced between 17 and 25 euros.
The restaurant also has a large wine selection, appropriate for a major wine-producing region, with suggestions for each dish. My waiter tried to interest me in butterscotch schnapps after my meal, but I declined for the sake of my drive home.
Overall, I consider Restaurant Orangerie a great place for date night and get-togethers of small groups. And as a solo diner, I didn’t feel at all out of place there.
Reservations are advised, as even on the Monday evening I visited, only a few tables were open the entire time I was there.
Address: Dr.-Edeltraud-Siessl-Allee 4, Kirchheimbolanden, Germany
Hours: Thursday through Monday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m.; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Prices: Between 10 and 30 euros for entrees, soups and appetizers. Dessert options are available.
Information: Online: restaurant-orangerie.eatbu.com