Barbarossahof offers pricey Palatinate food in a pet-friendly setting
Stars and Stripes May 4, 2023
Dining with dogs is no problem at Hotel-Restaurant Barbarossahof in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Featuring food from the Pfalz, the eatery has a reputation among Germans and Americans for quality regional meals and a homey atmosphere, pets included.
While most restaurants in Germany welcome dogs, this was my first time booking a dinner reservation at a high-end restaurant for two adults and a furry friend. Despite Barbarossahof’s popularity, finding an available table there is generally not difficult. There is an online reservation system on the English/German website.
The exterior is packed with Palatinate charm, from its forest inn setting to the giant Kaiserslautern fish statue above the entrance. The interior is cozy with soft lighting and a busy decor that includes displays of wine and alcohol.
The restaurant’s claim to local fame is home-cooked regional dishes like wild boar and farmer’s sausages, but menu items range from fish to truffle spaghetti to flammkuchen.
Springtime in Germany is asparagus season, and when we visited, a page of the menu was dedicated to the celebrated white asparagus. Both of us ordered the asparagus cream soup.
The server brought it out quickly, presented elegantly in a tilted white bowl. The broth was creamy and salty with bite-sized squares of white asparagus that added texture. Even the dog had a lick and came back for more.
For the main course, my adventurous dinner companion ordered roasted rabbit with rosemary potatoes. She was impressed with the rabbit meat she had sampled at a wine tasting in Italy and was tempted to try it again at a place known for its meat dishes.
The rabbit came with a brown sauce, a side of fresh potatoes and a cabbage salad. The portion size was generous, and the sauce was so plentiful that it covered the plate and oversaturated the salad.
The roasted potatoes were deliciously seasoned with rosemary and salt and were an appetizing mix of soft and crispy. But the meat was too tender and undercooked for my fellow diner, and the size and shape of the cut were too reminiscent of a rabbit leg for comfort.
She ate all the potatoes but only nibbled on the cutlet, concluding that she was not a fan of rabbit meat after all.
I decided on the vegetarian faux chicken sandwich with french fries, one of several well-marked vegetarian options on the menu. For a restaurant proud of its “150-year-old tradition,” Barbararossahof puts together a menu showing a willingness to branch out, with nonmeat options like veggie burgers and eggplant schnitzel.
The sandwich was decent, but at a cost of 16.50 euros, I considered it overpriced. It was crispy, had a warm bun and was topped with fresh red onion, cucumber, tomato and a bland burger sauce.
The fries were average, served without ketchup, salt and pepper, as is the custom in Germany. Was the patty homemade or pre-packaged? I couldn’t tell. Next time I’d try the eggplant schnitzel.
For drinks, the server recommended a dry red wine for me and a white that paired with the roasted rabbit. Both wines were 6.90 euros for a single-serve carafe. The impressive beverage menu also has beers and large selections of whiskeys, as well as gins like Monkey 47 and The Illusionist.
By the time we finished our meals, the restaurant had filled up with German families, a large group of Americans and another adorable dog. The acoustics were making it hard to hear and straining the conversation.
When the person next to us took a phone call on speaker, we flagged down our busy server for the check. As we waited, we marveled at the number of people willing to pay double-digit prices for a salad and a sizable chunk of change for such entrees as veal in a restaurant that was more casual than fine dining.
The restaurant does offer a business lunch menu and happy hour. In warmer months, there is a beer garden that would be ideal for large groups, not to mention people with dogs.
The soup was a highlight of our meal, and I’m curious about the outdoor seating and other asparagus recipes at Barbarossahof, but even with the home cooking, conversation and canine company, it’s hard to justify the cost.
Address: Eselsfuerth 10, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Prices: Salads cost 15 euros; entrees range from 14.50 at the low end up to 49 euros for a 14-ounce beef filet.
Information: +49 961 33529; www.barbarossahof.com/de/restaurant