Wednesday, March 17, 2004

German Top Restaurant "Waldhotel Sonnora"

German Top Restaurant "Waldhotel Sonnora"

Today we visited the charming restaurant and hotel "Waldhotel Sonnora"
just outside the small village of Dreis, Germany. Dreis is near the medium-sized town of Wittlich, in the greater Moselle Valley vacation area, not far from the city of Trier, but also accessible to gourmets from the Rhine and Main River Valley metropolitan areas such as Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Koblenz, Bonn and Köln.

In fact, of course, people come from far and wide to dine exceptionally at the Waldhotel Sonnora. Indeed, many guests who come principally to dine, also overnight at the hotel. Sonnora is not only a highly acclaimed gourmet restaurant, but in past years has unanimously been ranked by the major gourmet guides to be among the best five restaurants in Germany. Do not expect to dine here without a reservation. Sonnora Chef Helmut Thieltges has a tremendous reputation in gourmet circles and was for example Gault-Millau "Chef of the Year" in 1997. The expert gourmets continue to sing his praises in 2004.

See for example also the report The Best of Germany where Thieltges is quoted as saying, "We don't just serve dishes - rather, culinary masterpieces". The reporter, who had eaten there - agreed.

We unexpectedly encountered the Thieltges Sr. today and had some wonderful conversations about the history of the hotel and the restaurant. Particularly interesting were the stories about the origin of the name Sonnora and the architecture of the recent renovation of the hotel. It was a delightful meeting on a delightful spring-like day.

To obtain more information on restaurant ratings in Germany, one should consult, e.g., the 2004 Red Michelin Guide, which rates restaurants in Germany based on reports issued by the guide's testers.

Michelin in 2004 grants its top rating of - three stars - to only five restaurants in Germany. These are:

Residenz Heinz Winkler, Aschau - Chef, Heinz Winkler
Schwarzwaldstube, Baiersbronn - Chef, Harald Wohlfahrt
Dieter Müller, Bergisch Gladbach - Chef, Dieter Müller
Im Schiffchen, Düsseldorf - Chef, Jean-Claude Bourgueil
Waldhotel Sonnora, Wittlich/Dreis (near the Moselle) - Chef, Helmut Thieltges

To show how difficult it is to get three stars from Michelin, one should note that the Michelin Guide grants two stars - the next highest rating - to ONLY thirteen restaurants in Germany in 2004. These are:

Bareiss Restaurant, Baiersbronn - Chef, Claus-Peter Lumpp
Vendôme, Bergisch-Gladbach - Chef, Joachim Wissler
La Table, Dortmund - Chef, Thomas Bühner
Hummerstübchen, Düsseldorf - Chef, Peter Nöthel
Residence, Essen - Chef, Berthold Bühler
Zur Traube, Grevenbroich - Chef, Dieter L. Kaufmann
Tantris, München - Chef, Hans Haas
Steinheuer Restaurant Zur Alten Post, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler - Chef, Hans Stefan Steinheuer
Gourmet-Restaurant Schloss Berg, Perl/Moselle - Chef, Christian Bau
Karl-Rudolf Obauer, Salzburg/Werfen - Chefs, Karl & Rudolf Obauer
Speisemeisterei, Stuttgart - Chef, Martin Öxle
Hirschen, Sulzburg - Chef, Hans-Paul Steiner
Kastell, Wernberg-Köblitz - Chef, Christian Jürgens

176 restaurants in Germany received one star from Michelin.

See also the ranking of restaurants in Germany by major lists, including not only Michelin, but also Gault-Millau, Varta, Aral Schlemmer Atlas, and Der Feinschmecker.

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