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Our First German Meal at Café Rossi

Café Rossi 2, Heidelberg, Germany
This travel blog photo’s source is the TravelPod page: Farewell to Heidelberg

We ended up picking Café Rossi on Rohrbacher Straße for our first German meal. When we walked in, we did not see a hostess despite that there was what looked like a hostess stand near the door. We watched a few people walk in and seat themselves, so we followed suit, going upstairs to a small table. We later learned that you can seat yourselves in most German restaurants unless it’s something very upscale, and usually in that case it would be a place where you need a reservation. After a few minutes, a waitress came by and asked, in German of course, if we’d like to see a menu. Tim asked if the waitress speaks English. She did and seemed very happy to do so.

The menus were in German and English. I ordered a large Coke which was a .33L bottle served with a glass and a meal I cannot remember the name of because they basically list all the ingredients as the name of the meal. But it was some kind of beef with potato, sheep cheese, green pepper, green olives, and some other things I didn’t know the name of. When the food came out, the guy who brought it let us move to a bigger table, which people had left while we were waiting. We had picked a small table more for just drinking coffee than for eating, so we welcomed the change.

My dish looked really good and tasted even better. I tried to take a picture but it didn’t turn out. I had never eaten sheep cheese before, but it went well with everything. The dish sort of reminded me of a stew. I can’t accurately describe the taste, but it was awesome. All the ingredients complimented each other nicely. I’ve gotten to eat out a few times in Germany since, and that’s still my favorite dish I’ve had. We’ve gone back to the restaurant, but since they frequently change their menu I have yet to get to have it again.

Kristallweizen (left) and Hefeweizen (right) f...

Tim ordered a “Kristallweizen” (crystal wheat) beer which came in a glass taller than he had expected. I had run out of Coke and did not want to pay for a refill–it didn’t take long to learn to pace myself to only needing one drink–so I tried some of his beer. It wasn’t bad, but I am not a beer person, so I’m sure it’s probably really good if you like beer. For his meal, he had ordered something that looked like a German version of barbecued chicken legs and was trying to figure out how to eat it, so he asked the waitress if it was okay to eat with his hands. She seemed confused at first if he was asking permission til he explained that he didn’t know the custom and if it would be rude to eat it that way. She told him it was okay to eat it with his hands and other people do with that dish. She said she would bring some wet napkins.

In most German restaurants you have to let them know when you’re ready for the check because they don’t want to hurry you, and this was not an exception. When we were ready to leave, Tim asked the waitress how we would go about paying and tipping her. She showed us the device she carried and explained that she can just tell us the price or she can print a copy. If we wanted to pay in euro, we could hand her whatever tip we like. If we wanted to pay by card, then it would be like in America where there is a tip line to write it in.  At first she read the bill as 130 and Tim was startled. I figured it was due to the fact that Germans would say “one and thirty” instead of “thirty-one”. She explained that was the case and that she gets mixed up when switching to English, which is understandable.

We talked to her for a minute about how we just got in town, and she told us how she likes the American candy Butterfingers. She knew they could be bought on the American army post but said it is hard to get over to. Tim told her we could probably work out getting her some next time we come in. She gave us her schedule and we planned to go back when she was working. Unfortunately we got busy and the next time we were there we had a different waitress. The original waitress seemed very excited about being able to have some of the candy (which interestingly enough is one of the few my husband likes), so I hope she doesn’t think we forgot. After the restaurant, we went back out to wander around…

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5 Thoughts on “Our First German Meal at Café Rossi

  1. I really like Cafe Rossi, even though it’s on the expensive side. :) I love the decor.
    You probably already know that tipping here is usually just rounding up a Euro or two. It’s hard to get used to – you always feel like you’re ripping people off after coming from the land of “anything less than 15-20% is evil”! Sometimes when we get really nice service we tip 10% and the waitstaff is like “THAAAANK you” and we wonder if we overdid it…

    • Yeah some of it is although they do have a few more affordable choices. I don’t think 30 euro was too bad for a night out, although it ends up being about $40 when you deal with the exchange rate. It was really good though. We had it another time where we went in around lunch and I didn’t see as much offered but it was less expensive. That time I had a roast beef noodle salad which was deli slices with some kind of thing noodles. It wasn’t bad but not my preference. I like the atmosphere as well. Yeah I’ve heard taxi tips should be tipped rounded to the next euro and waitress tips should be no more than three although I’m sure we over tipped the first few times. It does feel a little like ripping them off to do that, but I remind myself that the waitresses get paid something like 9-11 euro an hour, much more than the States. I’m sure they love tourists though because we’re so used to the 15-20% mentality.

      • CN is ABSOLUTELTY right! Do not tip as extensively as you tip in the States, Amanda, I know many people who have fallen for that and who have only found out that German waitresses earn a lot so they actually are not dependent upon this tip. If you want to tip, keep it at the aforementioned 1 or 2 Euro. Not even 10 percent. Maybe 5 percent when it comes down to a big meal (over 100 bucks). There are other things you can use this money for. The same goes for Paris/France in general, if you ever make it out there. The bill they hand you already incl the tip. You are not expected to tip anymore after this (maybe a euro or two, that is absolutely it, though!).
        Oh, and just a kind warning: I find it very nice of you to think about bringing her butterfingers from post. However, I wouldn’t make this a habit (promising Germans who do not have access to base to bring them a gift). You have to be very careful sometimes with who you speak to about these benefits you have. I’ve had friends wanting to take me to the PX because of a pair of jeans they desperately could not live without. Then my neighbors were always swarming around me because they needed peanut butter and other goodies they thought they could get from me. Legally it is forbidden to buy anything that is not for your own use. And while it is very thoughtful of you to bring practical strangers something, I wouldn’t make this a habit. Sometimes Germans like to take advantage of your kindness. I hope you won’t experience this in a way I did but just be aware of it.

        • Yeah we definitely need the money lol. The next time we were in there the waitress actually walked away before my husband could hand her a tip and he couldn’t find her so he didn’t leave it as we had been told not to leave tips on the tables. I would have felt terrible if that happened in the States because she’d be making like $2/hr and needing it, but I didn’t feel as bad since she’s still getting paid decently regardless. Thanks for the tip about France. I didn’t know that. I still have to get a tourist passport before we can go there but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

          Oh yeah I definitely wouldn’t make it a habit. I forget what she had said the circumstances were that she had been over there and able to purchase them before, but we didn’t mention it to her til she had mentioned having bought them there (which was well after she had been gushing how they are her favorite American treat). If she hadn’t been so enamored over them or it had been something ridiculous, he wouldn’t have offered, but as it’s a relatively cheap candy we figured we’d just bring a bag in lieu of her next tip.

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