Alameda >Bars & Clubs > Speisekammer
2424 Lincoln Ave, Alameda, CA | Directions 9450137.766093 -122.240095
Lunch Mon 12pm-3pm, Tue-Thurs 5pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-4pm, 5pm-10pm; Sun 12pm-4pm Sun Dinner 4pm-9pm
Bar: Tue-Wed 4pm-11pm; Thu 4pm-12am
Fri-Sat 12pm-2am; Sun 4pm-9pm
First off, allow me to address you "Culinary experts" on some cultural facts about German food.
1. You need to remember you are in AMERICA not Germany,thinking you can close your eyes and transform an Alameda location into a small town German Gasthaus is delusional at best.
2. Traditionally Europeans shop each day for their dinner menus because A- Their foods, especially meats are not processed and pumped full of hormones,steroids and preservatives. They taste fresh and flavorful and B- Since Germans traditionally consume more veal than Americans they are able to purchase larger cuts of veal that is why their portions are much larger than you find here in America. German women don't walk around holding signs protesting the treatment of baby calves bred for meat and locked in small, cramped cages otherwise veal might become more integrated into our diets.
3. For those of you complaining about costs, im sure during your commercially chaperoned trip to Europe they led you to more tourist friendly commercial establishments where you not only paid much higher prices than smaller Gasthauses but the portions were smaller.
4. Note to person with Austrian Mother- You should know Oktoberfest begins the 3rd week of September and ends the first week of October so moving it back a few weeks isn't soiling on the event, its the experience, NOT the timing which makes the event unique.
5.You all must remember you are in AMERICA NOT GERMANY. EVERYTHING tastes different. If you have every eaten Beef, pork,poultry or seafood in both continents you would know these are raised,farmed, processed and prepared differently and i guarantee if you have ever tried a burrito or Enchilada in France you would know what im talking about. I have yet to find a German Restaurant which even comes close to a REAL German Gasthaus but until im able to go back and load up on their fantastic cuisine ill make do with what these nice people are trying to provide for us here. I spent 6 years in Germany and if any of you know where I may find a steakhouse there which serves up a 24 oz Porterhouse with a loaded baked potato im all ears because you wont find it.
Great German Food – I didn't know what to expect at first. My husband kept talking about this place and how I "NEEDED" to try it. It wasn't a place i'd like to spend the better part of my day but their food was amazing. I'll definitely have my husband bring me some take out from here in the future.
Not much happier place – No follow up care from the waitress.forget water refills. we even had to wait 5 minutes at the register to pay our bill. ambience was stark,as described, and for all this,the price of the meals was on the high side. we expected better service at these prices.and lastly, i saw that about 80% of the entree menu was PORK.nice choices among 8 different pork dinners.so my friend had pork,and um...i guess i'll have the .... pork .the food was tasty.
Great German food – It is possible to eat some great German foods at this establishment - try the salmon in dill sauce if it is on the menu - and drink some excellent German ales on tap. There is a beer garden, most charming during the sunny season, with its views of the oil changing station across the street. Parking is possible (there is small lot next to the restaurant), the waitstaff is quick and friendly and there is live music after 9pm (or is it 8pm) in the corner of the front dining room/bar/lounge area with one or two TV sets. There is an additional dining room in the back and it gets pretty busy in the evening. If you don' t want to have to dodge rugrats, avoid going too early in the evening. Later in the evening is a much better time for DINKS and singles. Speisekammer remains one of my favorite restaurants in the East Bay, and they are very few of them. Prost!
Just Not The Same – I was raised my an Austrian mother, and now live 3000 miles away from her. When Speisekammer first opened, the familiar menu was exciting to me. Although the quality never came close to the home-cooking I came to love, I was thrilled to have a runner-up in the area. My first experience in 2001 (although drunken) was much better than last weekend. Not only was the bratwurst BURNT (traditionally boiled, and lightly browned just to release the juices), but the portions were so NOT German -- really small. In Germany, it's a custom to be presented with a good size portion, to keep you satiated during your "stay". It didn't seem like they were hurting for customers, as the restaurant was pretty full -- so, not sure why they skimped on the meal. Also -- one other thing to note -- they had their Oktoberfest at the beginning of September to avoid other Alameda events, and the chance that the weather might not be great. September = Oktoberfest????
Our waitress was friendly, though -- and the beer was good.
SERVICE! Great food & fun – I can't even express the fun we had with our 2 kids and their Grandparents! It was like our server was psychic!
She appeared promptly at our table with crayons and paper even tho we had obviously brought our own toys. After she went over the beverage menus she offered to get food started for the kids. We opted to wait as their Grandparents had not arrived yet and it was my Dad's restaurant choice.
The deal is that we have not been in a while because the service had been so terrible on several past occasions. We had great fun choosing our beers as the list had changed. Our server was very knowledgeable and brought us tastings so we could decide. By this time the kids were getting a little irritated, so then our Server magically appeared with balloons! What a great touch at just the right time! I opted for a glass of red and she recommended a Cab. by Andrew Lane that was a lovely and perfect choice. By this time we were having such a great time that no matter what we ordered for dinner it would be good (and it was all fabulous). Appetizers and entrees all came promptly, enough so that we actually wanted dessert....and those of you with kids know that if the service is slow there is no time for it due to imminent breakdown. Dad had a dessert cocktail he liked so much he ordered a second!
Changes that have been made at Speisekammer are so notable that if you have had any sort of bad experience you must return and let them know!!!
new manager on duty – After reading some of the previous reviews I had to write in with my 2 cents.
I used to work at speisekammer and still go in there regularly for dinner.
The rude manager guy mentioned in an earlier review is gone now - there is a new floor manager and the general feeling from the staff is much better.
I say, give em another try!
Everything on the menu is made fresh to order and nothing is from a can. All of the sauces are made from scratch. This type of "slow food" tends to be more expensive. Also the fact that most of the menu is meat makes the prices higher. Pasta is cheap to make.
What always amazes me is that people pay the same prices at Applebees or TGI Fridays for processed, frozen food and never complain.
Soooo Good! – I had to rate this place as a possible location for a corporate event. So I brought a friend and between us we sampled quite a good chunk of the menu. I do agree with some of the other comments about the salt, but even with the salt, it was amazing.
We started with the Potato Bacon Soup. Very Rustic, tasty and hardy.
Red Beet Salad, the beets were delicious, but seemed a little salty.
Then on to the real appetizers
Semmelkndel mit Pilzrahmsoe (Poached Bread and ham Dumplings with Mushroom Sauce) These were amazing, they were like stuffing meatballs, so tasty!
Reibekuchen mit hausgemachtem Apfelmus (Potato Pancakes with house made Apple Sauce) Not your ordinary Latka. The potatoes are shredded super thin and then I think deep fried, every little shred was toasty / crispy goodness.
For Dinner we had
Sauerbraten mit Preiselbeerkonfitre, serviert mit Rotkohl und Sptzle
(Braised Beef Tri Tip marinated and aged in Red Wine served with Red Cabbage & Sptzle) This was the other dish that was a little salty. At least the meat tasted like maybe it had been brined in red wine and salt. But as long as you had the meat with the sauce it was beautiful. The Meat was fall apart moist and tender.
My friend had a Rib Eye Steak and German Fries off the special menu which was very tender and cooked perfectly.
We were going to bring left overs to a friend, but decided we would stuff ourselves to bursting and have to come back with said friend some other night!
Speisekammer is mediocre and overpriced – I agree with the guy who wrote a review just before mine. Speisekammer's atmosphere is indifferent. The beer is good but overpriced. The sausages are good. I had the Wienerschnitzel, though, and it was really a disappointment. There was much more bread than veal and it just had no particular flavor. It was like a fast food version of Wienerschnitzel. My friends complained about the mashed potatoes but I didn't have any myself.
In general, a Biergarten in Germany is similar to a pub. Prices should be reasonable. It shouldn't be a big decision to go or a special treat to splurge on after being paid. It should have a neighborhood feel. This place doesn't have that feel and the five of us ended up paying $200 plus tip. We shared two small appetizers, each had a simple pub meal with my Wienerschnitzel being the fanciest choice, and we each had a couple of beers.
It was a somewhat interesting experience but we won't be going back. Also, when I was in Munich in 2005 the prices were better, the beer was better and the food was better. And remember that Germany is supposed to be expensive. You'd think Alameda could beat Munich prices, but no.
Overrated – After 10+ meals at Speisekammer, my girlfriend and I decided not to go back. It was no single problem, but a cumulative effect over time. The pros of this restaurant are the family orientation, the great beer, and the cozy interior. The cons are the food and the staff attitude. If you get the sausage and potatoes, your meal will be very good and you will be happy. If you order anything else, you will pay more than average, and your chances of a tasty, well-prepared meal are about 66%. Someone in our group is always at least mildly disappointed with the meal. (At Suppenkuchen, no one is ever disappointed.) Your chances of having a nice waitress are also about 66%. But the overriding reason that I decided not to go back is that the staff, especially the manager or owner (not sure of his role), never makes us feel welcome. Sometimes the mood of the place is outright indifference. I have heard other people say similar things. Speisekammer is just not the friendly, consistently good neighborhood joint that it presents itself as and which I kept hoping it would turn into. My girlfriend agreed completely. We may go back for beers some evening, but that's it. Speisekammer, Alameda needs a good restaurant, and you can do better.
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