Daniel’s Reviews – Hacienda Alemana
In reminiscing about our honeymoon, Corinne and I wanted to share a restaurant we found. We were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and we had taken a taxi from our cruise ship way out of the normal tourist areas to the back roads of Puerto Vallarta in order to take a dune buggy tour through the jungle. While we were waiting for the tour to start we took a walk. Just a block down the road we came across a restaurant called Hacienda Alemana. I did a double take – a German restaurant in Mexico? Of course we went right in and had a beer.
Being a German restaurant they actually had good beer! For four days I had been drinking Becks on the ship and Pacifico on land (pretty good… but not my style) so I was in heaven when I saw they had Mönschoff Schwarzbier. My beliefs are that a good beer is one that is so dark you can not see through it. The Mönschoff definitely fit that description. The restaurant says they have biergarten and while it is outside, as a normal biergarten would be, it reminded me more of a Spanish style courtyard… either way it was a beautiful dining area. After a couple beers we left to go on the dune buggy tour, after which we worked up quite an appetite (and thirst of course!) and decided to try out dinner at the Hacienda Alemana. (The only downside was that they don’t take plastic so we had to walk around to find an ATM. We found one a block down the street at a drug store. It was kind of funny because back in that area of Puerto Vallarta I saw very few tourists, but apparently they were all in the drugstore waiting to use the ATM too!)
When we got back to the restaurant we ordered a couple more beers and checked out the menu. They have a very good menu that is in English, German, and Spanish. Corinne chose the Späetzle (noodles) and I had the Schnitzel with Mushroom sauce, which was basically unbreaded Jägerschnitzel. The presentation of the dishes was beautiful and the taste was amazing. I have had many schnitzels at many restaurants in the states but none compared to this one. The veal was perfectly cooked and incredibly tender and the mushroom sauce was creamy and well balanced. I especially liked the red cabbage that came with our meal. It was sweet and flavored with a hint of clove.
After the meal, the owner, Mike, came and talked to us for a little while. He told us that he came from Bonn, Germany twelve years ago and opened up this restaurant. After a little small talk we went back to our meal, or more correctly, our drinks. I ordered a Calvados, which is sort of like an apple-brandy. Not many places carry it in the U.S. so I was again very pleased with the restaurant. Corinne ordered one of the specialty coffees. With all the excitement neither one of us is sure which one it was but we are thinking it was the Café Italiano. The server brought out a table and poured the alcohol into a metal serving dish, lit it on fire, and proceeded to pull the flaming liquid through the air from one dish to the next. After four or five times he poured it into what appeared to be a wine glass half full of coffee and ice cream that was placed in front of Corinne. The blue flame from the burning alcohol gave a beautiful glow to the coffee for a moment before it was extinguished.
As Corinne enjoyed her coffee and I enjoyed my Calvados we knew we had found a 1st class restaurant. A diamond in the rough you could say. But that wasn’t the end of it yet, when the server brought our bill he presented me with a shot of honey tequila and for Corinne he placed a small glass of champagne with a strawberry slice floating on top. We found this to be a very nice addition to the meal and spoke volumes about the level of service that Mike provides to his guests. The final touch was when Mike walked us outside the restaurant and flagged us a cab. You just don’t find that kind of old world hospitality and service anywhere these days. Needless to say, next time we are in Puerto Vallarta (which will be near the end of this year) we have a whole day planned around going to Hacienda Alemana.