I have been away for almost a month, but even a travel food blogger has to take a break. Rejuvenized, I’m back and ready to review my most recent ventures in the city of Mannheim.
While visiting Mannheim, I went on an eating adventure. As I foraged through the food landscape, I hit some incredible highs and lows. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon one place where all three members of my party, including myself, agreed that the food was a miss. Of course, I left this establishment off my list, but I had to mention it to illustrate that not every Travel for Food moment ends in culinary bliss. I am unsure if we will ever re-visit that establishment, but when traveling for food, one has to expect that there will be a few hits and misses.
Welcome to my first installment of Travel for Food in Europe, starting off with Germany in the city of Mannheim.
El Cid II
For all the history buffs out there, this name might sound familiar as El Cid was a historical figure of Spanish descent who was mythologized as a warrior from the village of Vivar del Cid near Burgos. Cid whose birth name was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight and warlord who fought fiercely against the Moors. He was nobility raised in the court of Ferdinand the Great and became one of the leading knights and commanders, but was well-known for conquering Valencia.
El Cid II (the restaurant) specializes in Spanish food and is known for its Tapas and Paella dishes. Paella is a rice-based dish and is one of the signature dishes of Spain.
An interesting fact about this dish is that the name paella is the name of the shallow pan used to cook the paella in, and another interesting fact is that we didn’t have paella on this visit to El Cid II. Instead, we started and ended our meal with the Tapas. Tapas are small dishes that can be combined to make large meals.
At El Cid II, we had two types of Tapas: seafood and meats.
Tapas is another Spanish tradition that is said to be due to the large lunch Spaniards raditionally have. They eat large meals at lunch, then take a siesta for a few hours. Dinner or meals around the evening time frame would consist of smaller dishes known as Tapas. Back then, Tapas were often paired with beer or wine, and consisted of olives, olive oils, fish, cheeses, meats, and pasties.
El Cid II’s Website: http://elcid2.de/
ROOF BAR Mannheim
The ROOF BAR is located in Mannheim in the quadrants area Q6 / Q7 on the 6th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel. It is very close to a modern indoor mall called Mannheim Mall Q6 Q7. The bar has inside and outside seating with a healthy view of the city coupled with the most delightful treats
ROOF BAR also has lots of drinks made to perfection by their bartenders in a perfectly curated bar.
The bar also has an extensive drink menu with gin, tonic, whiskey, wine, and several other mixed drinks. In addition, their menu provides small but refined meals such as burgers, pasta, salads, and desserts.
When I visited, I had a Hugo and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and berries.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ROOF-Bar-Mannheim-698658463616015/
Com Chay is located in Heinrich Vetter Passage in Mannheim and was the first vegan-only restaurant I had ever visited. Com Chay style is southeastern Asian and is 100% vegan dishes that do not skimp on the flavor.
On my first visit, I had the spring rolls and the imitation duck with jasmine rice. It was delicious, and I couldn’t even tell that it was all vegan, which is good and makes me feel happy that there are so many edible options for those who do not eat meat, dairy, fish, or poultry.
Bodhi is another vegan restaurant that is light and fresh and has a mix of Palestinian and Persian foods. When we visited, we had the Gemischter Teller Falafel with the hummus, rice, eggplant, parsley, fried vegetables, cauliflower, salad, potatoes, zucchini, and pepper paste.
I had the Bodhi hummus with creamy chickpeas paste and pomegranate. It was a delightful place painted in purple with outdoor seating where you can eat and people watch.
This is another 100% vegan restaurant in Mannheim located on Beilstraße 1. A co-worker was raving about this place for weeks, and I finally got to see and taste what he was raving about.
Since I spent a significant amount of time in California, my love for Mexican food was reignited, but I am also very cautious and know that all Mexican food isn’t the same. While it has become my new favorite genre in food, I also know that in the wrong hands, it can be disrespected when a person don’t stick with the basics and doesn’t show it the respect it demands.
Inspired by the Mexican street kitchens and bars, we bring you the best that Mexico has to offer culinary in the Jungbusch. With us you can enjoy the Vida Mexicana to the fullest.
The location of Lucha Libre reminded me of the Village in New York. It had a fresh young crowd and several other restaurants in the area. This place also had a lovely outdoor space, and it comes in handy during this time of COVID when most places are outdoor dining.
Binekol Café is another Mannheim sweetheart located very close to the shopping center of the city. One of the closest landmarks is the Mannheim Mall Q6 Q7, a modern indoor mall similar to those in Dubai or America. It is also very close to Mannheimer Wasserturm.
It’s coined as a fantastic hidden gem nestled on a street corner that offers ample outdoor space for dining, talking, smokers, and people watching.
The restaurant sets on a corner, looking towards a street and walkway section sheltered by trees.
I have visited Binekol Cafe before and both times enjoyed the flammkuchen which is a speaciality in France on the Rhine River plain and an area bordering Germany and Switzerland. Its known as the German pizza made with bread dough rolled thinly into a rectangle or oval with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, onions, and lardons.
Check out what Restaurant Guru had to say about it! https://restaurantguru.com/Binokel-Mannheim
House of India
I found this restaurant on a food delivery app called Lieferando.de. Food delivery has become the new way to dine out that became more popular after the lockdown in 2020. Just order what you want, and the food comes right to you. After a long day, this is a service that really comes in handy.
This app reminded me of Talabat, another food delivery app. I first encountered it in 2016; because it was common for people in Kuwait to order food and have it delivered. They had every restaurant from Cheesecake Factory to Starbucks delivering to commercial and residential areas. Before going to Kuwait, I had never seen this service outside of pizza or Chinese food delivery. Those services were always owned by the establishment who actually paid people to deliver food. When I got to Kuwait in 2016, I discovered that they had been doing this style of food delivery for over 12 years. Talabat started in Kuwait in 2004 and basically took over the middle eastern market operating in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt. This wasn’t a unique idea, as I discovered that many Asian countries already started doing the same thing long before Talabat, Uber Eats, and Grub Hub. While I am on the topic of Talabat, let me take the time to thank them for keeping me feed in Kuwait. Thank you, Talabat!
House of India is the second Indian restaurant I had ever tried while in Germany. Coming from the Middle East and working with many Indians, I learned quickly what good Indian food was. The second I tasted House of India’s chicken biryani, I was hooked.
I have ordered from this place more than 4 times already, and I cannot wait to go to this place in person.
I spent a significant amount of time working with many Indians while in Afghanistan and Kuwait. I watched them prepare biryani and many other dishes; there is a specific flavor and essence in this dish that is common throughout. The House of India’s flavors made me look back at the moments I spent assisting my friends in procuring spices and meats for their biryani.
Paşam Taş Firin Restaurant
I visited the Paşam Taş Firin Restaurant in an area of Mannheim that has many Turkish restaurants. The reason for our visit was the sample a popular dessert called Kanafeh. This dish appeared on this blog before when I tried it in Dubai at a Lebanese restaurant.
This is a Middle Eastern dessert made with cheese and shredded filo pastry soaked in a sugar syrup, sometimes made with rose water. It is often severed with pistachio, cream, or vanilla ice cream.
This Kanafeh tasted very similar to the one I tried in Dubai. Both times I tried this dessert, I have found the flavors interesting and one that grows on you as you eat it. I had Turkish tea with it this time around, and I found this pairing of tea and Kanafeh made this treat even more delightful.
While at Paşam, we also tried Lokma, another popular Turkish dessert also found in Cypress, Greece, and Egypt.
The casual viewer might think that this is simply doughnut balls, but this treat has a different consistency and is more complex than doughnut balls. Like Kanafeh, Lokma has a unique flavor, but it’s marvelous when paired with Turkish tea.
This is the start of my journey in Europe, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed even when a meal isn’t my cup of tea. Dining in Mannheim is unique, creative, and unpretentious, inviting anyone to its table. Walking around the quadrants, you can find family ran establishments with a food history built into the infrastructure of the city. Then within a stone’s throw a way, you can find chic and hip crowds gathered at a sushi bar or pub yearning to escape confined spaces and talks about the climate we now find ourselves living in. Mannheim has such a world of possibilities with endless options and hidden gems nestled down every narrow winding streets.