I have to share one of my favorite places in San Diego with everyone, Kaiserhof Restaurant & Biergarten. The owners opened their first restaurant in New Jersey in 1969. After the family moved to San Diego in 1979, they opened The Kaiserhof shortly after. They’ve been in their current location since 1992. The father and son are responsible for the butchering and cooking, and they do an awesome job! I’ve been to Germany 3 times, I have a German mother-in-law who knows how to cook, and I’m from Cleveland, so I’ve grown up with the food of that region. This family knows what they are doing!
You can sit inside the restaurant for a more formal dining experience, or you can sit in a covered patio section known as the Biergarten (which I prefer). I recommend going for their Happy Hour (Tuesday through Friday between 4-7p). Grab a table “outside”, order some delicious German beer (pitchers are a good deal), get some plates of free appetizers (located by the bar inside), and order a pretzel. That’s one option. If you can eat a lot, order an entrée. They have a special “Sunset Dinner Menu” from 5-6:30p, and the prices are a little less. If you can’t eat a lot, order an entrée anyways and take the leftovers home. The only drawback to this area is that since it’s considered “outside” (even though it is completely enclosed), smoking is allowed.
One of the best entrees on the menu is Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle). It is priced by weight. When I went recently, I had a huge portion and it was about $22. It is pricey, but it’s so worth it. The meat is full of flavor, and the crispy skin is decadent and delicious. It comes with 2 sides and a salad, and it’s hard to choose. I went with the bread dumpling, sauerkraut, and a cucumber salad. Perfect combination of flavors: roasted pork, rich demi-glace, taste of caraway in the sauerkraut, freshness of the cucumbers and dill, and the dumpling brings it all together. That just gave me an idea: this would make a great sandwich except instead of bread, thick slices of bread dumpling! Yes, it would be messy. Just let me dream!
On this particular night, my husband had the Beef Goulash which was on the Sunset Dinner Menu. The paprika sauce was awesome, the meat was tender, and the spaetzle was perfect! Basically, it seems you can’t go wrong with ordering anything on the menu.
As a side note, I watched the Germany v. Argentina World Cup Soccer at Kaiserhof (2010). Their Biergarten had some extra televisions set up, and the place was packed. Franz and I arrived right before the start time (around 6am, I believe?), and we managed to grab a small table with a partial view of the game. It was a blast! Many people were speaking German, and everyone was in a great mood throughout the match.
I hope you get a chance to check this place out! You won’t be disappointed!
Take Care and Happy Eating!