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“Verstecktes Juwel / Hidden Gem!!”
Review of The Rathskeller - CLOSED

The Rathskeller
Cuisines: German
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed February 15, 2014

My husband wanted to plan a special evening for Valentine's day and made reservations in advance. We were a little surprised when he called to confirm they were open - big snowstorm this week - and they asked if he was Mr. Caudill. Were we the only ones with reservations on Valentine's day? Hmmm, Not a good sign. We arrived early. The hostess sat us at a small table. The menu confirmed we were at Hazel River (not Rathskeller). We moved downstairs to find they had a table set, waiting for us. There was another couple in front of the fireplace and a few folks at the bar. It was warmer downstairs, but the lack of customers caused us to wonder if we'd made a huge mistake.

Our fears were quickly relieved when our server, Christian, greeted us. You can't miss Christian, he's 6' 8" tall.. Christian reviewed the specials and suggested one of the wheat beers. It was delicious. He brought us a small plate of thinly sliced rye bread and some sort of spread while we waited for our appetizer. We were hungry and it was delicious. We had Alt Deutscen Kartoffel Salat Mit Speck (German potato salad) for an appetizer. We topped with some homemade mustard and it was out of this world. Next came our entrees. I had one of the specials - don't recall the name. It came with 2 nice sized sausages, green beans, and sauerkraut. It was wonderful. My husband ordered Hausegeraucherte Kasseler Mit Apfel Sauerkraut (smoked pork). The smokey flavor really came through on the pork and we enjoyed the 2 types of sauerkraut. For dessert, we ordered German chocolate cake and a baked apple dumpling, stuffed with raisins. While the apple could have been a little softer, it was very good.

Despite other reviews, we found the portions to be adequate and a great value for the price. The pace was relaxed, i.e., we spent 3 hours over dinner - comparable to what we've experienced in European restaurants where meals are something to savor. Christian entertained us with stories of his life in Germany and ghostly encounters in the restaurant. Although we tried, the only spirits we conjured arrived in glasses (Crystal wheat beer).

In summary, we really enjoyed the Rathskeller. Our server was fabulous, the food was great, and the setting - quintessential old world charm. If I had any suggestions for the owners it would be -- keep Christian (he is amazing) and replace the plastic flowers with real ones, like you have upstairs. For folks looking for a casual relaxed dining experience -- with great food and prices - you may not need reservations -- but you simply can't beat Rathskeller in Culpeper.

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1  Thank TJCaudill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (20)
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13 - 17 of 20 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2014

It took three tries but we finally made it when the Rathskeller was open. This quaint German restaurant in the basement of the Hazel River Inn in Culpeper opens at 4pm on most days. However, this weekend, our persistence paid off! It was a chilly Sunday afternoon and we got a table right in front of the fireplace. I enjoyed a fine German hefeweisen on tap with a traditional herring salad appetizer that was quite tasty. My wiener schnitzel was very good with the breading done just right. I thought the rot kraut could have been cooked a bit longer to yield a more tender red cabbage but the taste was very good. I wasn't a fan of their version of spaetzle. The addition of bacon was okay but the onion was overpowering. My wife really enjoyed the hausegeraucherte kasseler or smoked pork. If your looking for good, old fashioned German comfort food and excellent beer, you will really like this place. The waitress was attentive and the atmosphere, including the German pub songs, was great!

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Thank Tim W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2013

It's a quaint place, but it was cold and damp inside and there was no fire in the fireplace. Our tablecloth had crumbs all over it and I had to send back my silverware for a clean set. Guess we were off to a bad start. My husband's soup was lukewarm and he hesitated to send it back, because, as at all restaurants, if you send something back, you end up waiting and eating by yourself later. I had the Jager Schnitzel and it was delicious. Our friends also liked their meals, but we all thought the food was overpriced-including the desserts. I doubt whether any of us would go there again.

Thank Cindy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

We split an osso bucco which was very yummy. Chocolate mousse was yummy. Appetizers were good but portions were a little small. Good selection of German beers.

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Thank aquinas212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

We were visiting nearby and decided to stop by and eat in downtown Culpepper. We found this cool place while enjoying our walk. The atmosphere is interesting since this used to be an old jail and we felt very comfortable eating here. The beer was cold and delicious, the food good and the service prompt and friendly! If you are in the area, give this hidden gem a try!

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Thank Robertoisfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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