I just got back from a tasty dinner out with my husband, and I am in a very appreciative mood. Appreciative of all the good food that can be found around Aachen. I grew up in a university town, and I am pretty sure that the diversity that comes with a university is part of what can make a relatively small city feel plenty big when it comes to eating out.
In that vein, I would like to share some of my favorite restaurants around Aachen:
I admit to being a little biased toward Persian food, given that my husband is Iranian, but my husband’s talent in the kitchen also makes me fairly critical of Persian restaurants. Zarathustra has the most amazing, fluffy rice. (We started buying the same brand of rice after going to this restaurant, and I have yet to get it as fluffy as they do.) I am a big fan of their grill plate — a mix of chicken, lamb, and beef — but am also very happy with their khoresht bademjan, one of my favorite Persian dishes.
I love the atmosphere of this restaurant, and the food is just as good. There aren’t many tables, so reservations are recommended. We first went here shortly after moving to Aachen, when I was severely missing spicy food. And I wasn’t disappointed! The food is both spicy and well-seasoned, so it tastes great as it burns your tongue.
Lai Thai (Thai)
This is another restaurant in my “I want spice” category. Their spicy curries can make you cry. I particularly enjoy the Tom Jam Gung soup, along with the Phad Kraprao Nüa (stir-fried beef with basil) and Gäng Däng Gai (chicken in red curry). If you are craving Thai beer, they also have bottles of Singha and Chang for just a little more than domestic beers. The restaurant is relatively small and located right in the city center, so reservations are also highly recommend here, although usually we have been able to get a table without a reservation (usually with a little wait).
La Stazione (Pizza)
This restaurant has real Italian pizzas for not expensive. I am not a fan of German-style pizza, so this restaurant is lovely for the occasional pizza craving. They have really nice, fresh salads, too! In an adorable exchange that included a lot of hand-waving (and the owner speaking a mix of German and Italian while I spoke English and Spanish back to him), the owner finally brought over a fresh fish to explain the special of the day being offered at their sister restaurant, Da Salvatore, next door. We stuck with the pizza, though — my best fancy Italian dinner has been at Prosecco (Maastrichter Str. 1).
Pasta (Pasta — seriously, that’s it)
This restaurant does one thing, and they do it really well. They have the best fresh pasta ever. Unfortunately, their specialty is also their downfall — my husband is gluten-sensitive, and they don’t have any dishes that he can eat. So I don’t get to eat here nearly as often as I would like.
Bagels & Beans (Cafe)
Real bagels! Need I say more? Yes? Well, how about the fact that they also have free wifi and plenty of seating? It’s refreshing to know that when I want to set up in a coffee shop, I don’t have to turn to Starbucks. And seriously … bagels! (They even have a page on their website that explains what a bagel is.)
This is a tough one for me to put on this list. Lemongrass probably has the best sushi I’ve had in Aachen, but it really doesn’t compare to the choices in San Diego, where we used to live. Still, it can satisfy my sushi cravings and they also offer some Thai and Vietnamese dishes if you’re looking for something a little different.
So that’s my list! There are also a whole host of student-oriented restaurants on Pontstraße, which generally means lower prices and younger crowds. There are also still some places on my list to try, so maybe soon I’ll even have a favorite Chinese or Mediterranean restaurant. I’m not holding my breath for good Spanish or Mexican food, though …