Six favorite ethnic restaurants near Stuttgart…

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I know many people follow my travel blog because I write a lot of restaurant reviews.  Bill and I really like trying new places and I enjoy writing about them, if only to stay out of trouble and keep busy.  However, if I’m honest, sometimes the food in and around Stuttgart can seem a little… canned.  I don’t mean that the food is literally canned.  I mean sometimes it seems like there are only a few kinds of restaurants and they all serve the same things.  A person can enjoy only so many schnitzels before it’s just not fun anymore.

Let’s be real.  If you want German, Italian, or Greek food, you will have no problem finding it.  You will also not have a problem getting your hands on doner kebab, pizza, burgers (of middling quality) or Chinese food, although the Chinese food here may not be like what you’re used to in the States.

What if you want something different?

Stuttgart and its environs actually do have a pretty good range of ethnic cuisine.  It’s just that it seems like finding those different cuisines can seem challenging.  Today’s post is yet another one of my ever popular aggregate write ups based on prior experiences.  It’s not intended to be a list of all of the great ethnic restaurants in the area.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite… and I’ll save the rest for the next time I’m inspired and/or bored.

As usual, these are not ranked in any particular order.  Search the blog if you want to read more or see pictures.  The first link in each description leads to the official Facebook page or Web site for each establishment.

Patrick’s Stop Jamaican Imbiss & Take Away–  Jamaican food

Spicy Jamaican Jerk chicken served with rice and peas, fried plantains, and kraut.  This is a treat if you’re a fan of zing in your food.  Patrick’s has daily specials that change… everything from curried goat to ox tail!  They also have a vegetarian selection.

Special thanks to my soon to be departing friend, Rick, who encouraged me to try Patrick’s Stop a couple of years ago.  At that time, Patrick’s Stop was located in Böblingen.  Patrick’s Stop has since moved to Hechinger Strasse 14 in Stuttgart.  I have not been by since the move, but I did visit twice before the restaurant left Böblingen.  I was left with a great impression of the food, which is not like anything else I’ve had in these parts.  The owner is from Jamaica, so the food is very authentic.  I particularly loved their version of fried chicken, while Bill liked their Jamaican Jerk chicken.  Although the fried chicken is offered daily, other specialties aren’t.  You should consult their Facebook page to see what’s being offered as well as when they will be open.  I believe they’re on vacation right now until April 9th.

Grüner Baum– French food

Charcuterie appetizer.  

 

We live just a few miles from Tailfingen, which is a little hamlet south of Herrenberg.  There isn’t much to Tailfingen, except a really cool French inspired restaurant called Grüner Baum.  I don’t think I have ever seen this place not busy.  It’s a very popular restaurant, for good reason.  The food is fresh, delicious, and delightfully different.  They have crepes made with both sweet and savory fillings, as well as killer chocolate mousse.  There’s also a nice outdoor area for when the weather is good which also has a sandbox for kids to play in.  We’re long overdue for another visit to this restaurant, but because it can get crowded and parking can be scarce, it’s a good idea to call ahead first.

El Mero Mexicano– Mexican food

Above is the delicious Pozole Rojo, served with a tortilla chip and fresh guacamole.  Below are the spicy enchiladas with green sauce!  This was a hit with Bill, who considers himself a Texan.  He had a big smile on his face after this meal.

I’ve heard it said that there is no decent Mexican food in Stuttgart.  I will agree that it can be very difficult to satisfy your cravings for Tex Mex food in particular.  However, if you’re willing to drive to Fellbach (or are lucky enough to live near there), you can get a pretty good Mexican fix at El Mero Mexicano.  The owners of this restaurant are actually from Mexico, so they know what they’re doing. You won’t find any weird German style Mexican flavors here.  Nope… they serve guacamole that doesn’t look like green slime and tastes of fresh avocados, lime juice, and garlic.  I am not an expert on Mexican food, but this is the best I’ve had in these parts.  I just wish we lived closer so we can enjoy it more often.

Tshito-Gwrito– Georgian food

Shashlik– basically marinated, grilled pork and vegetables.  This was delicious!

Khachapouri– pastry filled with mild cheese, hot from the oven.  Next to it is a spinach dip made with walnuts and pomegranates.

This next entry is admittedly of a place I’ve just recently experienced for the first time.  Bill and I went to Tshito-Gwrito last weekend on a tip that was shared in the Stuttgart food and wine lovers Facebook group.  I used to live in the Republic of Armenia, which is just south of the Republic of Georgia, so the food served at this charming eatery was familiar to me.  Let me just say, it was such a treat to enjoy something so different last weekend.  The food at Tshito-Gwrito is very fresh, beautifully presented, and tastes amazing.  We didn’t have a single thing we didn’t love.  Best of all, it was not like any other meal we’ve had in Stuttgart.  If you love wine, I especially encourage you to visit.  Georgian wine is fantastic, but it’s not always easy to find around these parts.  You can try a glass or a bottle at Tshito-Gwrito.  This restaurant is located in downtown Stuttgart, but isn’t too convenient to public transportation.

Samowar– Russian

This beautiful shrimp salad was being offered as a special on the day we visited.  Bill went with a more traditionally Russian choice of stuffed peppers.

We found Samowar last summer, again on a tip from Stuttgart food and wine lovers.  This little Russian gem is located in Weil der Stadt and serves up delicious Russian treats.  They have Russian beers, Georgian wine, Armenian brandy, and very cute Russian decor.  I was so impressed by the love and care that went into everything that came out of the kitchen.  Once again… we’re due for another visit.

Afrika Bar und Restaurant– Ethiopian

Doro Wat– basically chicken stew.  This was served with injeera bread, which is kind of a soft, moist, sour bread used for picking up and eating East African food.  Bill enjoyed ostrich when we visited, which he declared excellent.  Afterwards, we had Ethiopian coffee.

 

On the outskirts of Tübingen, there’s an excellent Ethiopian restaurant called Afrika Bar, which offers authentic food.  The Stuttgart area actually does boast a few good African restaurants.  We also like Jambo in Ludwigsburg, but it’s a little bit easier for us to get to Afrika Bar in Tübingen because it’s closer to us.  Also, when we visited Afrika Bar, we noticed that everything on the menu was available, which isn’t always the case at Jambo.  If you are a coffee drinker and have time, I highly recommend trying the Ethiopian style coffee.  It’s a real treat on many levels!

Alright then… this list of six should be a good start for newcomers to the Stuttgart area.  I will probably be writing a sequel, since I’ve already found a couple of other places I’m ready to try.  Someday, I will make it to an Indian restaurant in these parts, just so I can branch out a bit.  I’ve also recently discovered another Russian restaurant I want to try, plus there are a few places that could have made this list and were left off because of space considerations.  In any case, I hope this post is helpful for anyone who’s a little sick of the usual spread.  You may have to travel a bit to get to these places, but I can speak from personal experience that none on this list have ever disappointed us so far.

Happy eating!

Another delightful African meal at Jambo

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Last August, Bill and I visited Jambo African Restaurant in Ludwigsburg for the very first time.  The place was recommended by my Facebook friend, Jennifer, who raved about how good the food is.  We did indeed enjoy a great meal last year and I reviewed it on this blog.  Unfortunately, that particular post did not get much exposure because I wrote it during my infamous Facebook Stuttgart groups hiatus.  Since I really believe Jambo is a great place to try something different, I am going to write about it again.  This time, I hope I can give it more exposure.

Our visit to Jambo was brought on because I wanted to visit Heinrich’s drink market to get rid of some empty bottles that had been taking up space in our pantry for months.  We usually visit Ludwigsburg early in the day, but because the weather was so yucky yesterday morning, we put off going until late afternoon.  That worked out great for us; on Saturdays, Jambo doesn’t open until five o’clock.

Bill tried to use the online reservation application, but his query was never answered.  It was no big deal, though, because he called the restaurant after we finished our beer run and reserved a table that way.  Then we spent some time trying to find parking.  Ordinarily, there’s plenty of street parking near the restaurant, but there was some kind of carnival going on in Ludwigsburg.  I actually felt like checking it out myself; it looked like a great opportunity to people watch.

On the way to Ludwigsburg, I had to take a photo of the beautiful valley.  The weather was so odd yesterday.  On Bill’s side of the car, there were heavy, low hanging, dark grey clouds.

 

We arrived at the restaurant a bit early for our 6:30 reservation.  I could see that several tables were reserved, but quite a few weren’t.  We would have been okay simply showing up last night.  As it was, there was only one other party when we arrived.  They were a group of Germans and they had a baby with them.

Bill strikes a pose in the doorway at Jambo.

 

We checked out the menu, still all in German like it was last time!  I wouldn’t mention that the menu is entirely in German, except that there are a few items on the menu that might seem exotic to some American diners.  On occasion, Jambo serves springbok.  Both times we’ve visited, they’ve had ostrich.  If your German isn’t up to snuff or you are concerned about trying something outside your comfort zone, you might want to check out the menu ahead of time.  The music was very festive and fun and the dining room smelled wonderful, like exotic spices and savory meats.

Obligatory shot of Bill.  They have pretty embroidered tablecloths on the tables, covered in plastic. 

 

I really wanted to try something new last night, but ended up going with the Sierra Leone platter again.  It was a very good choice.  

The Sierra Leone platter is chicken served with a mildly spicy peanut sauce, spinach, plantains, vegetables, and rice.  This was really delicious, but quite rich.  I couldn’t finish it.  

Once again, Bill went with ostrich (Strauß).  It’s served with injeera, a spongy bread you tear off and use to pick up the meat and vegetables.  Last time we visited Jambo, Bill didn’t get the concept.  The proprietor came out and explained it to him in German.  For the especially aware, there’s also a pictorial at the front of the menu!

 

We enjoyed this meal over a bottle of South African Syrah, specifically Golden Kaan, which Bill tells me is available at the Real.  I think we may need to get some of that for our house.  It’s a very nice South African table wine with bold spicy flavors.  I am partial to spicy reds.

I was going to try one of the African beers advertised on the table.  Last time we visited, I noticed them and wanted to give them a shot.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have any available last night.  I got the sense that some items at Jambo are very hit or miss and may not be available frequently.

I settled for a hefeweizen as I watched the restaurant start to fill up.  I noticed several parties ordering the platters offered at Jambo.  Basically, they’re big family sized dishes meant for the whole table to share.  Maybe next time, Bill and I will go for that.

We finished up with a house shot.  Bill had grappa and I had a Williams pear digestive.  All told, the bill before the tip was under fifty euros.  Jambo is a kid friendly restaurant.  They have a children’s menu and besides the baby who was doing a fair amount of shrieking, I noticed a family with several children enjoying a nice meal.  They also offer options for vegetarians.  The proprietor also told us that the small outdoor biergarten opens on Monday.

Next time, I think I’ll venture outside my comfort zone and try something different.  Maybe I’ll even have ostrich.

Eating African style at Jambo in Ludwigsburg…

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I’d like to dedicate this post to fellow Stuttgart area resident and new Facebook friend Jennifer, who recommended Jambo African Restaurant to me.  She told me about this great place in Ludwigsburg months ago.  Bill and I kept meaning to go, but we were never in Ludwigsburg at the right time of day.  Except on Sundays, Jambo is only open for dinner.  We go to Ludwigsburg every couple of months or so, but we’re usually there closer to lunchtime because we mostly go there specifically to buy beer at Heinrich’s drink market.  Since Jambo typically opens at five o’clock for dinner, we’re usually long gone by the time they start dinner service.  And we don’t usually go to Ludwigsburg on Sundays because the drink market isn’t open that day.

The sign is easy to spot on this main drag.

We had big plans to go to a local market yesterday, but the weather was kind of cloudy and we got up later than usual.  By the time we were finished with breakfast and our Saturday chores, it was kind of too late to hit the market.  I always like to do stuff on Saturdays, because that’s the one day of the week most things are open and Bill is not working.  But by two o’clock, I was starting to think our Saturday might be a bust.  Then I remembered Jambo and Jennifer’s suggestion that we try it.  I suggested it to Bill, who was definitely game.

We made a reservation online for six o’clock, but that turned out to be unnecessary last night.  When we arrived at Jambo near six o’clock, no one else was there yet.  We had our pick of generously sized two top tables.  We selected one in the back of the dining room, right by a window where I could see Jambo’s small outdoor area.

Bill checks out the menu.  It was entirely in German, but I had already checked it out online using Google Chrome.  There are also many pictures, which makes it easier to choose.

 

A quick shot of the biergarten.  I noticed the proprietor putting up a large umbrella for a few folks who sat out there.

I was really getting into the festive African music playing over the sound system as I decided what I wanted to order.  The restaurant’s decor is also very authentic.  There are carvings, paintings, and photos all over the walls.  I enjoyed the lighting, which was somewhat dim and kind of romantic, though the music made it seem more like we were at a party.

We ordered a lovely bottle of South African shiraz.  This one was priced at 18 euros.  It was very fruity and jammy and it went great with our meals.  Had we wanted to, we could have also tried some African (or German) beers.  There were three advertised at our table– mango, pineapple, or banana. If I had seen that before we ordered the wine, I might have given one a try… probably the mango one.

Originally, Bill asked for springbok, which he had once tried and loved on a trip to London.  Jambo did not have any springbok last night.  There was a note in the menu that Bill missed.  What they did have was ostrich!  Bill’s first taste of ostrich (Strauß) was at the Schwartzbach Sportsplatz near Vaihingen when we lived here last time.  The ostrich at the Schwartzbach wasn’t that great.  The next time he tried it was at 10 Degrees South, an African restaurant in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  That time, it didn’t disappoint!  Bill decided to try it again in Germany, this time prepared by people whose kitchen was putting out aromas that told us they could cook.  The ostrich was 17,50 euros.  I took a look at 10 Degrees South’s menu and they’re selling ostrich medallions for $40.  I think you get a better deal in Deutschland!

I opted for the Sierra Leone Teller, which could be prepared with chicken or beef.  I ordered it with chicken.  It was priced at 12,50 euros.

Bill’s delicious ostrich!  At first, he didn’t know how to eat it.  The proprietor came over and explained that the rather spongey rolled up bread is meant to be torn.  Then you pick up pieces of ostrich with the bread.  

My Sierra Leone plate.  The chicken was prepared with peanut sauce and lots of peppers.  It came with sides of rice, spinach, beets, and fried bananas.  The menu said they were bananas, anyway… to me, they tasted more like plantains… bland and a bit starchy.  They went well with the peanut sauce, though.

Bill finally eating the ostrich correctly.  It was delicious!

I had to take a photo of the back of the bottle of wine.  It was imported through Great Britain, which is famous for its nannyish signs…  

 

We finished our meals with a round of single espressos.  We wanted to try the African coffee on the menu, but it wasn’t available last night.  I also didn’t see any desserts offered, though that was no big deal.  I didn’t have room for dessert anyway!

I had to take a picture of the vehicle parked across the street.   It looked like a speed boat on three wheels.

 

Although we were the first to arrive at Jambo last night, the place filled up quickly.  Service was leisurely, but professional.  Everyone appeared to be having a good time and I could tell the place is very popular with locals, including several kids.  We were the only Americans there last night.  If you plan to go on a weekend, I recommend making a reservation, though again, it wasn’t totally necessary for us last night.  There is a lot of street parking near the restaurant.

Our bill came to 55,10 euros.  It was worth every euro cent.  As we were about to leave, the kindly proprietor asked us how we liked his restaurant.  In a very typically enthusiastic American way, I said we loved it and we’d definitely be back!  Thanks again to Jennifer for the recommendation!  I am very happy to spread the word about this great place for eastern African food in southern Germany!