Don’t know anything about German cuisine other than beer and bratwurst? Never fear — this week, On the Menu takes you on a tour of Germany from Berlin to the Alps without ever leaving Santa Barbara.
149 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta
Price: Under $10
If you’re hoping to find a slice of Germany just a few blocks from Isla Vista, start saying danke schön for the incredibly convenient and absolutely delicious European Deli. Located in the Fairview Center, European Deli offers hearty dishes perfect to dig into while taking a break from shopping or classes.
Owner Gisela Neumann, who can often be seen greeting customers in a traditional dirndl, said the deli has been serving patrons a taste of Germany for about five years, but noted that she has been perfecting her style of cuisine for a very long time.
“I had a restaurant 31 years ago in town and I opened up here and had business right away,” Neumann said. “Everything is from scratch.”
While many recipes have been handed down for generations, Neumann said she and her team are always interested in innovations in traditional German cuisine.
Neumann, who owns the restaurant with her son Andre, said some of the most popular dishes are specialty plates of grilled sausages and wiener schnitzels. While of course you can eat at the deli, patrons also frequently come in to grab items for picnics, she said.
“Everything we have is delicious and the jäger schnitzel is always very favorable with customers,” Neumann said. “People also come in and take food out as we serve it.”
Although the takeaway option is quite common, the restaurant’s delightful ambiance will likely convince you not to leave until you’ve scraped the last bit of sauerkraut off of your plate.
Order at the counter – the Nürnburger bratwurst is a fantastic option, bursting with flavor and with delicious sides of the potato salad and sauerkraut – and take a seat in the Alps-esque dining area, or wander outside to the patio.
The walls are decorated with an assortment of German trinkets, and you may even find yourself gazing at the mural of the Alps for the entirety of your meal as German songs echo through the deli.
The outdoor patio is the perfect place to spend the hours of a beautiful day, and you may even feel like you’ve been transported to a Biergarten. Speaking of beer, European Deli carries it on tap and also stocks assorted bottled beers. Organic wines by the glass are also available to complement your meal.
The European Deli is also a great place to stock up on your favorite German snacks and treats. The store keeps a ready supply of meats, cheeses, baking goods, chocolates, pickles and candies for those craving a chance to take some Germany back into Isla Vista.
For anyone in the mood for a quick trip to Heimat, come in to European Deli Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Brummis – The German Taste
3130 State St., Santa Barbara
Open the door to Brummis on upper State Street and – thanks to the warm greetings, imported beers and amazing family recipes – prepare for a truly authentic taste of Germany.
Brummis, Santa Barbara’s newest German establishment, is a family-owned restaurant run by mother-daughter team Veronika and Manuela Brumm.
“We’ve been open for six months,” Manuela Brumm said. “We’re pretty new. We just came to the States. We didn’t have a restaurant back in Germany – we had a big insurance agency – but it’s in our blood and our family tradition.”
Manuela said Brummis is a popular spot for locals and a great place to practice your rusty German language skills.
“We have a lot of young people here, a lot of young Germans,” she said.
The restaurant takes a more modern approach to cuisine and decor than one commonly finds at German establishments — don’t expect just Bavarian dishes or a traditional Alps motif in this eatery. Instead, German history buffs will certainly find enough to entertain themselves for the whole meal due to the array of photographs and memorabilia of Berlin on display. And since the Brumms hail from the north of Germany, there are many dishes on the menu beyond just your standard fare of bratwursts.
So, what will it be – or better yet, “Was darf’s sein”? At Brummis, popular dishes include huge portions of classic schnitzel, as well as the sauerbraten, a German roast. Be sure to try the fantastic German potato salad and save room to finish off your meal with the apple fritters for a delicious dessert.
Of course, as Veronika added, you can’t forget to order a true German beer to wash it all down with. The restaurant stocks five bottled beers – such as the excellent Franziskaner Weissbier – and one on tap.
“You all should come to have a German beer, prost!” Veronika said.
The restaurant’s family atmosphere offers the closest feeling to gemütlich this side of an $800 plane ticket, and the service is exceptional.
“We’re nice, funny people,” Manuela said. “We can tell people a lot about Germany, the real Germany.”
Stop by Brummis for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Monday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. for friendly conversation and a delectable home-cooked German meal. Get ready to dig in – reinhauen!
Dutch Garden Restaurant
4203 State St., Santa Barbara
A little off the beaten path lies a delicious Santa Barbara secret – Dutch Garden Restaurant. While the name may suggest otherwise, Dutch Garden Restaurant offers a genuine German experience replete with classic dishes, a massive selection of beers and two outdoor Biergartens to explore.
The eatery, owned and operated by Ken and Laurie Luetjen, features a counter-bar and dining room, as well as the two aforementioned patios. The ambiance is Old-World and the walls are decorated with beer steins and memorabilia.
“It’s a homey, very relaxed atmosphere,” Ken said.
It’s also a great place to try one – or, let’s be honest, many – of the 28 bottled beers available. With the best selection of German beers in town, patrons should seek out some of the rare options on hand such as Spaten, Aventinus, Paulaner and Kostritzer.
According to Ken, the restaurant is a hit with locals and, due to its hard-to-find location, sees very few tourists. While it may not be the easiest place to reach, the food is well worth the drive.
“The items at dinner are a couple kinds of fresh fish from the area,” he said. “The meat special in the evening ranges from traditional sauerbraten with potato pancakes and red cabbage, to, such as tonight, a seven-bone rack of lamb.”
The schnitzel – made from pork tenderloin – is the most popular item at the restaurant, Ken said, and features several different garnishes to choose from. He also recommended trying the duck, which is crusted and served with Santa Rosa plum chilies, olive and ginger.
The restaurant, which has been in Santa Barbara since 1926, also offers patrons a more continental lunch menu with salads and sandwiches.
When you’re in the mood for a taste of Germany from Dutch Garden, make sure to check the date before heading out because it’s only guten appetite four days a week – Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.