Alpine Cuisine in the Hansestadt

Spring, 2013 – We watched Alpenkantine being conceived, just around the corner from home on the busy and (then) still ugly Osterstraße. The storefront let us judge the book by its cover and it was clear that this would become a local favorite.  Luckily, because otherwise I never would have been dragged into the concept of this mountain hut style cuisine with comfort food for yodellers.  

What I now will refer to as our alpine cuisine, from the Allgäu in Swabia extending through the German speaking Alps, will consist of Knödel and Spätzle.

Knödel: round dumplings; made of potatoes, flour or bread – pepped up into various flavour combinations

Spätzle: short and chewy, soft egg noodles; most commonly known as Käsespätzle which have cheese (Käse) baked on top; (The word “Spätzle” is derived from the diminutive form of Spatz (like chic-ito in Spanish), now meaning “little sparrow”)

Of course much more than just the aforementioned belong to alpine cuisine, so these eateries might also make delicious Kaisserschmarrn (ripped apart pancakes bits with applesauce and powdered sugar), tender warming Rindergulasch or Seelen (the swabian version of open-faced sandwiches).  But Knödel and Spätzle are the classics, so that’s what I’ll focus on.

Alpenkantine • Zum Spätzle • Marend • Harbor Cake


Alpenkantine (Eimsbüttel)

KNÖDEL: varying flavors (potato, chili-peanut, potato, pear-nut, red beet, cheese, spinach-walnut, carrot-goat cheese) either warmed in brown butter with baby spinach, parmesan and seeds or as the weekly created dish with experimental toppings (cabbage-horseradish-hazelnut, curry, chard-gorgonzola, brussel sprouts-goat cheese. . .)
SPÄTZLE: weekly varying Käs’spätzle with additions like Sauerkraut, chard, red beet, roasted onions and bacon
MORE ALPINE: Maultaschen, Gulasch, Schnitzel, Leberkäs, Kaiserschmarren, Strudel
BREAKFAST: Bircher Müsli, savory cheese and meat platters with bread
☁︎ ☁️ lively, full of locals, modern-alpine flair, eclectic mix of chairs, bistro service (pay before)
👎🏼 staff doesn’t always quite live up to the rest of the place
main dish: 8,90-10,90€
• bathroom, no wifi, German menu here, Mo: 10-20, Tu-Fr: 10-22, Sa: 10-20, Su: 10-18


Zum Spätzle (Neustadt – b/w downtown and harbor)

KNÖDEL: none
SPÄTZLE: the largest selection of all: with sauerkraut, smoked-tofu, saitan, bacon, parmesan and pesto, lentils, meat-loaf, monthly specials (like red beet, gorgonzola-mushroom, pumpkin…) also VEGAN
MORE ALPINE: Seelen, Flädlesuppe, desserts
☁︎ ☁️ feels and smells like a cozy miniature home-restaurant, vintage-alpine flair with rustic tables, stools, cozy cushions and table service
👎🏼 no Knödel (but you can’t accuse them of false advertising)
main dish: 8,90-14,40€, ~2€ lunch discount, and larger portions upon request at no extra charge
• bathroom, no wifi, German menu here, daily 12-22


Marend – Tiroler Küche (St. Pauli & Eimsbüttel)

KNÖDEL: spinach, red beet-goat cheese or cheese-sage Knödel in browned butter, with parmesan and salad
MORE ALPINE: Rindergulasch, savoury cheese and cold cut platters, fruit dumplings for dessert
☁︎ ☁️ alpine flair, with rustic tables, wooden bar chair and cozy windowsill seating, (table service)
👎🏼 too much Knödel or too little zingy topping/salad to make up for it
main dish: 9,70-9,90€, 2€ lunch discount
• bathroom, German menu here, Mo-Fr: 12-22, Sa: 18-22 (St. Pauli), Mo-Sat: 18-22 (Eimsbüttel)


Harbor Cake (Karo-Viertel)

KNÖDEL: super doughy, juicy soft and filling – red beet, spinach, cheese, mushroom, bacon (might change) with a load of fresh salad
SPÄTZLE: optional with cheese and or bacon – gooey, creamy and comforting as can be, think 5-star mac’n’cheese (thought I hate this comparison)
MORE ALPINE: Rindergulasch, Schlutzkrapfen (alpine raviolis with spinach and mountain cheese), Kaiserschmarrn, Flammkuchen, Leberkäs, fruit dessert dumplings
☁︎ ☁️ like a crowded social living room, inviting you in by the smell and a low-key and quite varied customer group
👎🏼 hard to get a spot, restrictive warm kitchen times and the owner could make this spot the hit of the city if she’d put a smile on her face and recommend me her favorite dish
main dish: 6,90€-7,90€ (large portions)
• bathroom Mo, Th-Sa: 11-18, Su: 13-18 (warm kitchen 12-16:00)


Ookie Written by:

One Comment

  1. April 26, 2017

    Hach, die gute Alpenkantine! Ist fein dort und sehr schmackhaft! Leider auch ein wenig überrannt – war eigentlich immer voll dort, wenn ich da war! Aber lohnt sich schon! Die anderen kenne ich noch gar nicht, wie cool! 🙂 Zum Spätzle muss ich wohl mal, wenn es dort auch etwas Veganes gibt! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *