“ Bismarckplatz, Heidelberg „
The Cafe Rossi, located beside the Bayerischer Hof on Rohrbackstr., just off Bismarckplatz in the centre of Heidelberg, is a surprisingly large cafe/bar/restaurant. They serve a mainly great vegetarian food, but not the lentils-and-sandals type; it's really good quality, moreish, hearty and incredibly tasty food. They only make dishes from what's in season, so everything's fresh and healthy, and organic where they can. The side effect is that food can sometimes take a little while, but it's worth it for something that might only have been out of the ground a few hours.
I've eaten there a few times, and the last time I went I had a spaghetti dish with pumpkin and rocket that was one of the nicest things I've ever eaten. Their pasta is home made on the premises and as well as pasta they have enormous salads (you could take a bath in a salad bowl if you wanted, but I wouldn't cause your leaves would get all wet), hearty filling soups served with gorgeous bread, lovely fish dishes and some sort of meat dish daily. But the meat is almost an afterthought.
This is just lunch and dinner, Cafe Rossi is open for breakfast daily and does a massive, pants-stretching Sunday brunch.
The drinks menu is also impressive. As well as all the usual suspects in wine, beer (lots of local ones) and spirits, they serve a wonderful collection of fresh juices and juice cocktails.
The location is fantastic, and the space itself is beautiful, all high arched ceilings and dark wood, so it would have been easy for the owners not to bother overmuch on style. Just the opposite is true; it's beautifully decorated and feels like a really nice cosy space despite being massive. The acoustics are really good too; it looks like the sort of place where you'd be deafened by everyone's talk but it's possible to have a quiet conversation at 10pm on a Saturday without having to yell over the multitudes of other diners.
The service is also good. Normally in Germany I expect a degree of unfriendly service because I normally get it, but Cafe Rossi has these lovely smiling wait staff and everything is done really well. The only time I've ever had a problem was one night with a new waitress, I'd made a reservation for a group of 16 people of whom two were joining late. The waitress didn't ask me and seated two strangers at the end of our table! A quick word though and she sent over the manager, who reseated our interlopers and apologised.
Oh, and their coffee's pretty good, too, and the prices are moderate - about Euro8 for a salad and Euro10-15 for a main. Fairly standard for central Heidelberg.
Mon-Wed: 8am till midnight
Thurs-Sat: 8am till 1am
Sun: 10am till midnight
All night buses stop at Bismarckplatz, as do trams and most of the Heidelberg local buses.
Reservations are recommended, and you can find out more by visiting www.caferossi.de. It's in German but you can see the pictures and marvel. Just don't look when you're hungry; there's no reason to be cruel to your stomach.