Culinary delights in cultural venues


A really good meal not only fills your stomach, it also broadens your horizons, as the flavours of a region bring you closer to the culture of the people who live there. The scents that surround you as you step into the restaurant, the selection of the perfect dish to promise you the most indulgent pleasure and the anticipation as the waiter heads out of the kitchen bearing aloft your steaming plates – all these things add up to make a lovely meal one of the most wonderful things in the world.

But at many places in Rhineland-Palatinate, it is not only the good service, the local cuisine and the perfectly paired wines that make your visit an extraordinary experience. The following is a small selection of foodie highlights where the wait for your food is made all the more enjoyable by the stunning cultural setting.

1. Restaurant Interieur No. 253 in the Arp Museum at Rolandseck train station

Right in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, you can find the architectural complex of the Arp Museum at Rolandseck train station on the banks of the Rhine. In 2007, star architect Richard Meier designed a gleaming white museum building above the historic 19th-century railway station that embeds itself remarkably well into the green of the surrounding forest.

You can enjoy world-class contemporary art and also dine at Interieur No. 253, the bistro and restaurant in the magnificent former station waiting room. What better place to enjoy excellent food at the very highest level than on the Rhine terrace, with its wonderful views over the river and the whole of the Rhine valley. Afterwards, why not take a walk along the riverside sculpture trail, or perhaps the easier option of a guided bicycle tour, taking in 15 installations thus far along a total of 14 kilometres of the Rhine.

Restaurant Interieur No. 253 in the Arp Museum in Remagen, Romantic Rhine

A toast in the restaurant Interieur No. 253 in the Arp Museum at Rolandseck train station in Remagen, Romantic Rhine

2. Restaurant Puricelli at Reichenstein Castle

Further south in the Middle Rhine, you will find Reichenstein Castle on a rocky outcrop above the river, just outside the pretty little village of Trechtingshausen. This impressive fortress complex originally dates back to a 13th-century building that was converted in the late 19th century to the Rhine Romanticism style by Baron Kirsch-Puricelli, who also lends his name to the cosy Puricelli restaurant, reopened by a descendent of the baron in 2015. Sitting on the castle terrace and enjoying views over the Rhine or in the historic Knights’ Hall, you could almost feel like an aristocrat from times gone by.

Before sampling the regional cuisine with a modern twist, it is worth having a look around the castle museum: the authentically styled rooms and halls are home to all sorts of historic weapons and suits of armour, plus a collection of firebacks from the Rheinböllerhütte ironworks. It is a really interesting insight into life in the Middle Ages for both the castle dwellers and simple peasants!

Puricelli restaurant at Reichenstein Castle in Trechtingshausen, Romantic Rhine

Interior view of the Puricelli restaurant at Reichenstein Castle in Trechtingshausen, Romantic Rhine

3. Vis à Vis wine bar and restaurant

If you would rather enjoy the typical conviviality of Rhine-Hesse, then a trip into the centre of the charming wine-making town of Osthofen comes highly recommended. There, you will find Vis à Vis, a converted ‘cow chapel’ with a wine bar and restaurant. The congregation here was made up not of believers, but of livestock and well-to-do farmers, who had their stables built in the 19th century by craftsmen who had primarily worked on churches until secularisation under Napoleon.

The results are impressive cross-vaulted buildings for secular use, such as cattle stables or wine cellars. In Vis à Vis, the interesting history of the building is brought to life and combined with modern elements. It is an experience of perfect craftsmanship, both in terms of the architecture and in terms of the seasonal specialities of Rhine-Hesse cuisine.

Vis à Vis wine bar and restaurant in Osthofen, Rhine-Hesse

Former ‘cow chapel’ Vis à Vis wine bar and restaurant in Osthofen, Rhine-Hesse

4. Wine lounge Q-Kapelle

There is another cross-vaulted stable in the Palatinate, more specifically in Forst on the German Wine Route. The winemakers in the Forst wine association took on the challenge of lovingly restoring the sandstone vault of a former cowshed.

The result is the Wine lounge Q-Kapelle, and, as its name suggests, the focus here is very much on wine. A touch of industrial chic has been added to the historic atmosphere, creating a showcase for the local produce of the wine-making village to serve with creative dishes and lovely delicacies from all over the world.

 

Wine lounge Q-Kapelle in Forst an der Weinstraße, Palatinate

Wine lounge Q-Kapelle as a former cross-vaulted stable in Forst an der Weinstraße, Palatinate

5. Heiliggeist restaurant

If sacred architecture appeals to you but you do not fancy eating in a converted cattle stable, Rhineland-Palatinate also gives you the option of dining in a church. One example is right in the middle of the state capital, Mainz, just a few steps away from the cathedral, in the Heiliggeist restaurant. The original 13th-century late Romanesque Heilig-Geist-Spital was dissolved under Napoleon and sold to the Mainzer Aktien Brauerei in 1888.

It remained in secular ownership and was gradually renovated and restored to its original condition in the second half of the 20th century. Today, the building is listed and forms part of the city’s cultural heritage. The menu boasts an imaginative mix of local, seasonal and international dishes. The only dilemma is what to try first!

Heiliggeist restaurant in Mainz, Rhine-Hesse

Dining in sacred architecture at the Heiliggeist restaurant in Mainz, Rhine-Hesse

6. DENKMALz

There is an even holier setting than the Mainz hospital on the river Nahe, in the Felke town of Bad Sobernheim. This is a 600-year-old monastery chapel of the famous Disibodenberg monastery, once home to Hildegard of Bingen, which sadly fell into decline after it was deconsecrated. In recent years, the building has been renovated, with a modern new building added that has been home to a craft beer brewery since 2018.

DENKMALz offers a fascinating selection of local beers brewed using traditional methods, while the chapel kitchen serves some culinary specialities that are treat for both the eyes and the stomach. The rustic charm of the converted place of worship underlines the compelling visual impression still further.

DENKMALz restaurant in Bad Sobernheim, Nahe

Classy ambience in the historic walls of the DENKMALz restaurant in Bad Sobernheim, Nahe

7. Restaurant Puricelli at Schloss Lieser

If you like things a little more sophisticated, head to the picture-perfect Middle Moselle between Traben-Trarbach and Trier, where industrialist Eduard Puricelli had a magnificent palace built on the banks of the river in the wine-making village of Lieser in the 19th century. The majestic building still looks amazing today: a fairy-tale combination of Neo-Renaissance and art nouveau towering up amongst the trees lining the meandering Moselle, with the hills behind covered in vines.

Since 2019, the interior has been home to a luxury hotel and the Puricelli restaurant, which owes its name to the building’s past as an ancestral home. Contemporary interpretations of traditional French haute cuisine are prepared from the finest fresh ingredients from the region and served in the princely atmosphere of the grand hall. It is a real treat for the senses!

Schloss Lieser in Lieser, Moselle valley

Luxury hotel Schloss Lieser in Lieser, Moselle valley

8. Restaurant 1832 at Hambach Castle

The Palatinate also has some magnificent buildings of its own, including one of the most significant buildings in German history on the intersection of the Palatinate Forest and the German Wine Route. Hambach Castle, the cradle of German democracy, sits on a hilltop visible from afar. History comes alive at every step here: you can follow in the footsteps of the procession of the Hambach Festival in 1832 and explore the interactive exhibition to gain an interesting insight into this turning point for Germany and its influence on modern-day Europe.

Once you have soaked up enough history, it is worth a quick diversion to Restaurant 1832. You can enjoy wonderful examples of Palatinate cuisine in a sleek new building designed by architect Max Dudler with a sandstone façade in keeping with the character of Hambach Castle. There is even a castle terrace where you can enjoy amazing views over the endless sea of vines along the German Wine Route.

Hambach Castle near Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Palatinate

Hambach Castle, "the cradle of German democracy", near Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Palatinate

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