German Sausage Restaurant Review Redux

Over the past few months I’ve been to at least 7 German restaurants in Taipei and vicinity and I thought I’d provide some updates, a lot of the old posts are, well, old. I’m no German (closer to Basil Fawlty) but when we went to the fatherland for Oktoberfest a few months ago, I can say I ate sausages nearly every day, and my better half ate them literally everyday, and German food is our favorite food I think, so as Bill Murray once said “I’ve got that going for me”. In ascending order of greatness:

  1. Zum Fass (on Xin Sheng I think) - very poor service upstairs, repeatedly had to go downstairs to get the waitress upstairs, nary an apology, only good thing was the beer (Koenig Ludwig IIRC), one of my friends got ill from the steak tartare (but he mighta shoulda known better anyway, it didn’t look right), and the rollmops didn’t taste good. Sausages were OK, and the sauerkraut was good. Will not return because of the service. That was a year ago, perhaps it has improved.

  2. Wendells (ZS N Rd in Tien Mu) - I heard their Oktoberfest was awesome but I couldn’t make it, went for the first time last week and I must say, though the atmosphere is great in nice weather int he biergarten, and though the bakery was very good, the service was slightly put-off-ish, the sausage platter was just average bordering on bland (sauerkraut slightly sweet and that’s all the taste), and the franks I bought from the deli were very bland. I met Wendel once and he seemed like a nice enough guy, but I gotta, say, very disappointing. Oh and the goulash was, as other posters have said, like tomato soup with barely recognizable chunks of meat. I’d go back for the bread and pastries - wasn’t he a pastry chef or something at the Sherwood once upon a time? I’ll try to get back for Oktoberfest though, I heard it was rockin from 2 different groups.

  3. Chalet Swiss (Nanjing across from the egg) - see recent topic here, didn’t get the sausages this time round but they are tasty from a year ago, and because it’s Swiss German, the menu is quite different from the other on the list, but the quality is very good, just the stuffiness and some overpricing could use some improvement.

  4. Smoky Inn (Sanzhi, on the N coast, 1 branch in the city, 1 up the mountain) - over the past few years, have seen this place go from very good to just good. 3 years ago the beer was Paulaner and now it’s Hofbrauhaus, the sausage platters seem to be getting more greasy, and man that huge huge salad with what looks like Trix cereal or Fruit Loops in it has just the worst dressing - like blueberry yogurt. You have to order it in advance before coming it’s so huge. The fondue, while it doesn’t taste totally Swiss (I guess it’s German) is more buttery, but really good tasting, and the bread and liverwurst snacks are fantastic. The smoked meats platter does still taste really good and you get your money’s worth, but seems a little more greasy. Sauerkraut is very tasty as are the mash potatoes. But you have t keep asking for more mustard and they bring you just a dab. They don’t serve water. They don’t have soda IIRC - they have that weird apple juice fizzy stuff. The wait staff is not very friendly in the mountain branch, they are better in the city. They charge you extra for even a little more sauerkraut, and they give you that look like “we’re gonna charge you… really, you sure you want it?” I like Andreas (?) the owner, he’s got a good sense of humor and seems nice enough, but I get the impression this is sort of “you’ll like it my way and I don’t care if you don’t come back”. Worth going in a large group. Kind of far without a car.

  5. Pan’s Garden (Tong Hu, out past Neihu, way the hell out on Min Chuan) - Peter Pan (is that his real name? what kind of German name is Pan anyway) is a real nice guy, outgoing and a good sense of humor, the place is laid back with nice outdoors, the beer on tap is good (I think it was Warsteiner, or maybe Bitburger, I can’t remember, I got kind of awash in it last time), and his sausages are very nice, so is the kraut and the potatoes. Not a big menu, but the other dishes we got - pork tenderloin, chicken breast in grain mustard - were solid good (not great). Nice place to spend a long evening with friends. A little far out.

  6. Schwartzwald (An He Rd lane 112) - I’ve had a couple friends say they didn’t much like the sausages. Mrs. Tongues loves them, and I find them very good. Sauerkraut is very good. Potato salad - with mustard and dill and nice and mushy - is great. They sell the biggest pork rib - caramelized - that I’ve ever seen, it’s like twice a gold bar - but I don’t normally order that elsewhere so maybe all Germans eat Godzilla Pigs. Their homemade rye is fantastic, and they serve it chunky-garlic-buttered with some dishes. Goulash barely OK, slightly better than Wendells but I wouldn’t get it again. Chicken cordon bleu is above average. If you just order mustard they bring out the blasphemous French’s brand, but if you ask for the German mustard from the kitchen, they bring you a dollop - so ask twice or thrice. Desserts look great but taste just so-so. Got the choco fondue once, it was what it was, but not great and a little high priced. Warsteiner was tap, the dunkel’s real nice. Overall, very good. When they first reopened last year about, the owner lady was running around and real friendly, but we haven’t seen her there the past few times.

  7. Paulaner Brewhouse (Guan Du, on the Art University Campus) - To me this place is the best of the lot. It’s in a really pleasant location once you get out there - up on the Taipei Art University campus, with a great view of the city - and even though it has a chain restaurant feel to it a little (well I guess it is, I think it is owned by Paulaner itself), the quality is tops and consistent (been there 4 times now), the beer is Paulaner draught, the sausages are outstanding as is the meatloaf and kraut, the pretzels (bretzel) are doughy and buttery and soft and the butter and liverwurst they come with is very nice too - ask for extra liverwurst and they bring you a big bowl, and no tone like the Smoky Inn wait staff. There is a huge non-totally-German part of menu (like pasta etc) if you come in a group and a few don’t like German food (i.e insane, or vegetarian, which is a form of insanity). Outdoor seating. If it was in the city, it might be ruined, but they would make a mint. I wouldn’t normally flog a big business like this, prefer to help out people like Peter and the Schwartzwald lady, but good is good and this place is solid.

XXX. Zum Adler - finally found the place after 3 years, coming back down from Elephant Mountain - haven’t tried it yet, it’s next up.

I’d include Mr Sausage here, his sausages are quite good, plus he’s got good beer and kraut, plus he’s a nice enough guy (unless you’re Queen Victoria :wink:), but I’m concentrating on German restaurants.

I’m looking for more options, so please post other possibilities!

I’ve been to the Paulaner Brewhouse in Guandu and one in Shanghai.

The food (we had sausage, salads, breads–a big party) at the Shanghai location was average, nothing special. The food in Guandu (smaller party, but we tried several items) was slightly better, but the beer was completely flat.

The beer and food (we had the sausage platter and a few other dishes) at Wendels, on the other hand, was just right. I think Wendels is far superior to Paulaner.

Different strokes, I guess.

Good reviews, Mr TwoTongues. :thumbsup: You didn’t mention what their pizzas were like, though.

Great post TwoTongues.

I agree with you on the Paulaner. For me it is the best of the lot but of course far from perfect. The location is the thing that sets it apart. You could go there on a date and order anything and still be “it”. I have been to the Shanghai branch and Taiwan branch - both have their positives and of course negatives. They have somewhat close to the type of sauerkraut that I like.

Tomas has some good points regarding China branches. Take note.

For Taiwan, incredible location wins out for them on the mountain. Great romantic location.

Here is the original thread on them.

Anyone had a good experience at Zum Fass? Any advice on Zum Adler?

I wonder why anyone would go to 7 German restaurants in a few months, but hey, whatever makes you happy… We, ze Germans, are happy about all who don’t mention the war (Disclaimer: This joke is to be attributed to Britain’s Fawlty Towers), but instead happily munch away on anything from Grünkohl to Weisswurst instead :sunglasses:

Yes, the Oktoberfest has a great atmosphere, mostly thanks to the nice decoration / surroundings, and last but not least due to the performance of the “Bavarian” show band there (actually from somwhere around the Weinstrasse… Dürkheim maybe, but I think I don’t remember correctly). The one thing putting me off here is the beer. OK, they have good wheat beer, which can pass as reasonably Bavarian, even if not particularily popular at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Plus, I can get that even in 7-11 if I want. Unfortunately, the 1 liter “Mass” Mugs they have hold some north German beer, with at least the Pils for me as far off the “real” Oktoberfest as… uhm… Milk? The dark brew they have is pretty good though - but I was really hoping for a south German beer there.

Bread and so on is simply great and totally worth the price tag and the travel to Tienmy in my opinion (try the simple yet delicious Bananenkuchen, or of course the Kosacken Loaf), but every time I have eaten there I was slightly disappointed. It is Ok, but I think they could do sooo much better if they wanted to. On the other hand, catering to Germans-in-Exile probably doesn’t pay so much, so if this is what years of experiments found to be suitable for the local crowd, then there would be not much of a point changing it. The sausages they have on sale there were extremely dissapointing (seems to be the same ones they serve at the “Messe Bistro” at Nangang exhebition center, which is somehow connected a bit to Wendel’s), with the worst Weisswurst I ever tasted (barely edible) and very bland Frankfurter (or Wiener, or whatever it was - not memorable). The owner is pretty cool as far as I can tell, even he was (not surprisingly) more interested in talking to that blond Russian-German friend of mine than me :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“TwoTongues”]4. Smoky Inn (Sanzhi, on the N coast, 1 branch in the city, 1 up the mountain) [/quote] “Alpine Cottage” is the name of the branch near the coastal highway #2, coming from Danshui. Yep, his name is Andreas. For long that was the best “German” I’ve known here in TW, and they got almost everything right in my opinion. Unfortunately, the bread always was very stale when I went there, greatly taking away from the otherwise very good experience. Yep, the meat/sausage platter is a bit greasy and a bit bland, too - I mostly go for cold cuts. Great beers! Oh, and I am no expert on Jägermeister, so I don’t know what’s “right” - but lukewarm it doesn’t taste so great to me as it would have if it was chilled, or at least with ice.

[quote=“TwoTongues”]5. Pan’s Garden (Tong Hu, out past Neihu, way the hell out on Min Chuan) [/quote] Yep his name is Peter Pan, ith Peter being his German first name, and Pan being his wife’s last name. Very nice chaps, both he and his wife. I went there once when they had “too many” people (as in: Kitchen too small, and ran out of beer :wink:) visiting, so they did some kind of buffet style. I liked it, but my (Austrians & TWnese) friends thought it was too plain. Anyway, very nice atmosphere restaurant, I want to go back there and try the menu.

I agree, this seems to be the best all-round performer that I know so far. A bit pricey, and I have no idea about their standard menu. I always happen to visit there when they have the cut-down “holiday menu”, which I guess is for the weekend. A bit pricey, but they seemingly know what they are doing, with both beer & food. I am not sure about the music, though - funny mixture some times, from cheesy Volksmusik & Schlager a la Griechischer Wein to Punk by Die Toten Hosen. Esay to reach by MRT, too. My recommendations there so far: Cheese Noodles (Käsespätzle), Pretzel Stand with Liver sausage & butter, pork knuckle. The sausages there are just OK in my opinion, though.

Hmm… last time I dropped by there he was wearing a “Deutschland” T-Shirt at least - doesn’t that count? :wink: Anyway, I really liked all the (4 types so far) sausages I tried there, even though the skin is not like what I am used to from Europe (I believe he already explained it has to do with the sourcing of the skins as well as the sausage machine - anyway, it doesn’t take away from the great taste). and the different types were not toooooo different in taste.

Seems like you tried almost everything that’s known to me. The Messe Bistro I mentioned above was not on your list yet, but I guess since you know Wendel’s, it’s a much smaller version of the latter, and it’s far out in Nangang (depending on where you live), it’s not really worth long travelling.

Here are some more hints, by the German… uhm… “Embassy” or whatever: … rants.html . No idea how current this info is, though.

And here is some info (from Forumosa’s very own Bob Honest) on a strange / funny / interesting / whatever restaurant that claims to be Japanese, but obviously serves some German food (no, not only pork knuckle) too: … aipei.html

(Is the original “Axis of Evil” back? No - No Italian red wine to be found there, thanks god :P)

Which one serves sauerbraten? (no not horse :slight_smile: )

According to some Google searches, “Zum Fass” does. Which makes me want to go there, since I am not experienced in cooking that myself. Also Rouladen to be had there, allegedly :slight_smile:

Olm, thanks for the review, I can confirm that Zum Fass had a few items on the menu that the other’s didn’t (rollmops, the tartare), but man I tell ya it was just not pleasant there. If I saw some rave reviews (or if the owner miraculously posted here), there’s a small chance I’d give it another go, but I don’t expect that to happen.

We’re going to Zum Adler this week and I’ll update then.

I think the reason we enjoy German food is because it’s fairly consistent for everyday fare. French food can be excellent but so many places here - and even in France! - serve Onion Soup that should be used to wash dishes, crappy Croque Monsieurs (with no bechamel!), and overpriced wines and such, it’s just too variable. Even Wendells and Zum Fass had edible sausages and kraut and potatoes, I can’t say the same about places that server French food. Italian sauce is done so piss poorly so many places, nevermind the stuff that passes for parmesan reggiano in this country.

Now if only I can find a place here that does bayerische leberknodelsuppe served by a busty waitress, I’ll have arrived at my final resting spot!

Paulaner is owned by the Namchow Group, a local industrial food conglomerate. So is the one in Shanghai. The one in Shanghai was an NT$200 million investment that has now supposedly made NT$1 billion according to this story [ZH] in the China Times. The Taiwan branch cost NT$100 million plus. The beer is brewed locally in Guishan with equipment, hops, barley, and yeast imported from Germany. Namchow also owns the chain Zhejiang restuarant Dianshuilou (點水樓).

After our first experience with Zum Fass on Xin Sheng just south of Nan Jing (west side) (see my earlier post above), I wouldn’t normally have gone back there without a really good reason.

Well we sort of had an accidental reason - the Mongolian BBQ that used to be on Nanjing between Fu Xing and Jian Guo moved down Nan Jing to just past Xin Sheng (south side), so we followed it and when we got there, the place was filled with cooking smoke - the other diners didn’t seem to care, but I am not exaggerating when I write there was a layer of smoke in the room, must be faulty exhaust fans, so we leave there and only have 45 mins to eat, nothing else around except Zum Fass around the corner, so what the hell, lunch special sausage platter, zum fass salad, a koenig ludwig weissbier, and this time, as there was no one there, the service was very fast, the lady spoke English, and the sausages were fairly good - I’d put it at Smoky Inn/Pan’s garden quality. Sauerkraut was uberfantastisch and the roasted potatoes likewise.

So we’ll give em another shot at dinner sometime after we finally get to Zum Adler…

Check out Oma Ursel (Yongkang Street, close to what was Ice Monster) and Goethe (Wenzhou Street, close to Taida’s main gate).

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=60596 … 2003155483 (please notice the address in English is not exactly right)

Thanks! They’re added in to the list of next-ups.

No hay por donde. :smiley:

don’t forget the coffee/chocolate/banana pie…

Just one small update: The Smoky inn location in the hills has been abandonned, now it has moved to right next door from Alpine Cottage. The HB (light) beer is still great, the “Smoky Inn’s Big Mixed Family Pan” is still too bland for my opinion (with the exception of some of the sausages, like liver and Nürnberger) - AND they have finally done at least a little bit to improve the bread quality: Now you get the (still a bit stale) bread freshly “toasted”. Not browned, but somehow it makes it a whole lot better than before. Still not good, though :frowning:

I read on their website that


So maybe going on a Friday (with reservation, of course) would be good, since their cheese and cold cuts platter are pretty good in my opinion.

Oh, and beware of the enormous family salads, the ones that you have to order one day in advance. Unless you like TW style sweet sauce on a huge mound of lettuce, some pretty bitter greens, and other stuff, garnished with fruits, and with some blueberry yogurt as sauce on the side, you will be disappointed by everything but the size.

I really wish they would do something with their bread, and if it was only freezing it and unfreeze or even just microwave it when necessary…