This review is based on four visits I have made to Das Alpen Cafe: first time in March 2011 when still a novelty in Rincon, second and third times in January 2012 and February 2012, and the fourth and last time in January 2014. I always visit on a Sunday or a Thursday ~ never on a busy Friday or Saturday.
I have never needed reservations, and have always been seated immediately (party of two each time) or within a reasonable time after a wait at the bar. The wooden tables are clean, and set with standard cheap stainless utensils, and no tablecloth. The stiff-backed wooden chairs grate on the old bank flooring and the noise of the plates and clicking and clacking of other diners' utensils and glasses are always present. It is a good place for couples - not for children or teens, in my opinion. Low music appropriate to the mood plays quietly. Decor is scant - some scenes of the regions from which the food eminates. The view from the tables near the window in this converted old bank-branch building provide a nice view of lighted trees and the Christmas and Three Kings Day decorations during all of January ~ close to the plaza of downtown Rincon. Food seems locally procured. The beer list is a treat to find in Puerto Rico, and the wine list is simple for the menu offerings. Too bad there is no microbrew selection - it is all imported German and Italian bottled beers. I always enjoy these bottled selections. Parking is on the street - try to get a space nearby where you can view your locked rented car from the restaurant.
The type of cuisine at Das Alpen Cafe is unique to western Puerto Rico, and is, as other reviewers point out, an oasis in a sea of pinchos, pizza, rice and beans and ummmm ... mofongo. Its menu lives up to what’s advertised - but it comes at a price. I always recommend the home-made pasta, The food is authentically prepared and flavored Northerrn Italian/Bavarian fusion. But, be prepared to pay for small portions and typically leisurely service ~ I do not mind because I like to "camp out" for two and a half hours when I eat here so that I may enjoy multiple wonderful weiss biers.
The quality for the price is diminishing, apparently with the economy of the island. I do not feel you get your money’s worth for the entire meal anymore. Portions seem to be getting smaller, especially the salad which is meager, and always served with the same house dressing (I like it though, what of it there is). Our potato dumpling with onion appetiser was ONE small sliced potato dumpling - bland, but the onion pieces are tasty, yet lost on a plate - and for $8 could be slurped down in one mouthful. Take into consideration the scant bread basket (two pieces the size of croutons for two people comes with salad), and the fact that if you ask for more bread, there is a $2 charge put on your tab, and you are NOT told that asking for more is at additonal cost ... you get tiny little nubs of warmed baguette. All the little things that make a meal complete should NOT be itemized on the check for the prices here at Das Alpen Cafe.
I had the sauerbraten with red cabbage and kartoffeln. Good as always! My partner had the home-made tagliatelle with one meatball and one small sausage. Superb ~ what there was of it!
The attention paid and quality of service is variable here. Probably the best so far was our last visit this past January 2014, again visitng upon my birthday (I am of German descent and live in the NJ-NY area where Italian-American food reigns supreme). The table here is never maintained at a good pace. It usually takes a while as the food here is prepared to order, so expect a leisurely wait for each course. I do resent having to call the waitress back to the table when my bier bottle and glass is empty, and the bread and sald has still not arrived. The check delivery was swift, when asked, and given with no farewell. This time, unlike other times, I saw no owner or chef out on the floor chatting with diners. This restaurant has done better ... two years ago. Expect to pay about 85-100 dollars for an appetiser, one drink or galss of wine each, two modestly-priced entrees under 20 dollars each, added taxes and with a 20% tip. It is a shrinking value here. I may have had my last "happy birthday" at Das Alpen Cafe in Rincon.