There are several good restaurants/Imbissstuben that I have discovered in the course of my time here in Heidelberg which I think are worth knowing about and checking out immediately… rather than, say, taking months to gradually find them haphazardly. It took me a little time to discover them all, but in this post I would like to put them together so that knowing what there is to eat in Heidelberg won’t come down to chance and having to wander past the storefront.
If you want to eat fast food standards, kebap or traditional German food, you will have no problem finding it. In this post I will focus on the places that I have found to be both interesting, somehow exotic (non-European) or simply extremely good for the price. So, I know this is basically publicity for these places, but I am sharing this info because I honestly found the places to be a nice alternative to the Mensa (which is reasonably good for institutional food) or the standard Junk.
All of the places I am recommending offer at least a lunch special for between 3 and 7 Euros, so eating something different doesn’t necessarily mean spending too much money.
The first smaller restaurant I encountered was Raja Rani, an Indian and Tandoori restaurant with two locations in the Heidelberg old city. On the corner of Mittelbadgasse (no. 9) and Plöckstrasse… And the other is in the heart of the old city, at Friedrichstrasse 15.
Just to make sure that is clear, check the map:
Most dishes there are between 3 and 6 Euros and vegetarians will find something as well as meat-eaters. For instance, a small lentil curry with rice is 3 euros – a nice price for a fast lunch on the way to the Bibliothek from one of the Europahäuser. I would recommend the Lamb curry – pretty good and only 4.50! And large portion (6.50) with an order of nan bread and a Heffeweizen to go makes a great split-meal for two.
If you like Felafel, or Syrian food generally, check out the shop ‘Falafel’ in the Merianstrasse (no. 3). You can check them out on facebook too at https://www.facebook.com/falafel.heidelberg
I recommend the spicy falafel wrap with fried Halumi cheese (Felafel scharf im Brot mit gebratenes Halumi, bitte!).
Very nice, fast, and not so greasy. It beats an ordinary kebap (d.h. Magenschmerz) any day. Also, you can get a complimentary black tea seasoned with cardamom with every order. The wraps start at 3.50 and go from there, depending on what you would like in it.
Their middle-eastern deserts (baklava etc.) are always interesting too, and are usually about a euro per piece. An affordable happy ending to an afternoon lunch on a terrace in the old city.
Another good place that I have found is Malecón, a Cuban restaurant in the old city which also offers other Latin American and even Persian dishes.
The menu changes daily and always offers a vegetarian dish (or two). Having gone there only on Wednesdays, I have tried and would recommend the ‘Fillete Tropical’: a fried fish fillet in the Cuban Style with Shrimps, marinated in lemon and a layer of cheese backed over it, served with rice and salad with lemon-olive dressing – only 3.20 for the small portion! If you need a light lunch on a low budget, this is definitely worth it (there is always the ‘large’ too, which is only a little more). Non-alcoholic Mojitos are also a nice refreshing drink on a hotter day between classes in the old city. I also tried the Persian Khoreshte Alu, a meat dish with rice and plum-pomegranate sauce – also interesting, but I have to say I preferred the Latin dish. This place also has a few tables outside where you can sit in the sun for lunch, but is also nice inside (it is decked out in total Latin American decor) and regularly offers Latin American cultural events such as films and capoeira lessons (… and has a lovely Che Guevara memorabilia collection… ). They are open from 11:30 to 01:00 and serve warm food until 23:00. Lunch specials are between 11:30 and 15:30, but you can also find something at dinner from 3 euros! You can find out more info at their home page: www.cubamarket-caravana.de .
The next place I found worth checking out is Stuzzico Pizza in the Kettengasse (no. 1), across from Drugstore café. It is absolutely the best pizza I have found in Heidelberg so far and they start at 6 euros (depending on the toppings you choose, which are about .50 cents each, you can certainly keep it affordable) and are even big enough to split.
But when you see it, it will probably look more like this:
… because they only open evenings at 18:00. The upside is that they stay open until 04:00 Tuesdays to Thursdays, until 06:00 on Fridays and until midnight on Mondays and Saturdays. If you are in the old city and want to pick up a pizza to go or eat a pizza in the Drugstore or on the terrace, I really would recommend this place. Try the ‘balsamico Soße’ that the guy offers before he hands over the pizza – it was an addictive discovery for me… Proof: Pizza Jouissance á la Stuzzico!
Second to last, but very very good, is Persepolis, a Persian luncheonette located in the Zwingerstraße (number 21, across from the Bergbahn). The restaurant is run by a lovely pair that are very kind and friendly.
For Instance, before realizing that the menu changes every day, I really wanted to try the chicken-spinach dish with saffron rice – it was the wrong day, but the gentleman was prepared to make it just for me! This place is really great. I stopped by on a Friday with a friend and we shared the Albalu (a chicken dish with sour cherry sauce – yet surprisingly savory and sweet) and the Mahitche (Lamb with dill/saffron rice and berberis) with a coffee and a Multi-Vitamin drink for about 15 Euros total. Vegetarians will also find something every day for 4.50. If you are in the old city, defintely stop by for lunch or call for delivery, but don’t wait to long because it closes relatively early: 17:30 during the week, 20:00 on Saturdays and 19:00 on Sundays. Check out the website at www.persepolis-heidelberg.de. For students, after every 10th lunch, you can get one free, and the afternoon lunch special from 15:00 to 17:00 is a reduced price.
Finally, the last place on our little tour is La Couscouserie, a nice Couscous shop with a decent, but small menu, located in the Untere Strasse (no. 3), parallel to the Hauptstrasse, not far from Uniplatz.
It is a small and cozy little place with selections that change regularly, as well as regular selections. Come earlier than later though, because, for instance, the Lamb couscous (my favorite) seems to sell out towards midday, and at peak lunch-time, it can be hard to find a place to sit. But then again, taking a fish couscous with a plate of olives, humus and pita bread to the bank of the Neckar river for a picnic – assuming the weather permits – is also always a good idea.
I would recommend any of their couscous dishes, but just to give you an idea, here is the chicken lunch special (5 Euros) …..and for details, check out their card: