An open, spacious, smart and welcoming restaurant, with superb views. The traditional German menu at Seehof am Aratalsee promised huge portions and delicious food. Forget the German stereotypes, the waiters and staff were funny, friendly and willing to help at all times.
When we were planning our trip to the Harz Mountains, I was in charge of finding the hotels and fun places to visit. Whilst researching, I came across what appeared to be a reservoir with a café. Thinking this would be a pretty place to stop and have a quick bite to eat, we marked it as a waypoint on the Satnav.
Upon arrival, it became rather apparent that this was not your typical English country park café, that serves paninis’, toasties and a very average hot chocolate. The floors were tiled, the staff were in waist coats and the tables were lined in linen; this was a proper restaurant. Personally, I thought we had got the wrong entrance and that the café must be further afield. However, as we entered, the manager warmly greeted and offered us a table, warning us that the food might take a little longer than usual due to them being fully booked. With a huge christening party taking place and it being Easter, the place was packed and there appeared to be a great atmosphere. We were seated on a huge table, which I am sure could have sat 5 people easily, and so were able to take off all our gear and gather refuge from the cold.
The menu arrived in German and not speaking a word of the language, we found ourselves rather stuck. Low and behold, the manager came to the rescue and with great vigour and humour, personally translated the entire menu; starters, sides and desserts included! Incredibly thankful, I went for the lamb with traditional German noodles and roasted vegetables, whilst Iñigo went for the steak and chips. Prepared to wait, due to the huge parties that were commencing, we were terribly surprised at how remarkably quick the food arrived.
What a sight! The food smelt great, the colours were vibrant and the portions were large, filling us both completely. The lamb was tender, juicy and, although it sounds ridiculous, tasted of lamb, something you do not often find nowadays! The sides were equally as delicious. Having stolen a few chips from Iñigo’s plate, I would also recommend them. I felt like I had eaten a proper, nutritious meal that satisfied me fully. Overall, the food was great and far better than the expected toastie.
However, it must be noted that the food was not marvellous and worthy of a 5-star review, nor is it a Michelin star restaurant. In other words, this restaurant is excellent or perfect for a mid-range lunch or dinner where you know you will get quantity and quality, and something more satisfactory than a sandwich- after all, we only paid 40euros for everything (drinks and dessert included). It is also the sort of place where, despite the waiters being dressed smartly, you can turn up in motorcycle gear and not feel out of place. Most of the other guests were dressed in jeans and there was a real friendly family vibe.
Overall, if you get the right table, you can overlook the stunning lake that Seehof am Aratalsee sits on. The restaurant is a jolly place with warm staff who went head over heels to cater for us. The food is of restaurant quality with descent portions- it does not serve your standard café sandwich. Finally, as motorcyclists, there is ample parking too. I guess what I am trying to say, is that this place was a real surprise and bought a touch of luxury to our holiday where most of our lunches had consisted of pastries or sandwiches. Having said all this, Google Maps has alerted us that the cafe we were expecting is only a 2 minute drive from the restaurant; we must have stopped prematurely!