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“Not really fit for Europeans”
Review of Essen Haus

Essen Haus
Ranked #109 of 990 Restaurants in Madison
Price range: $15 - $25
Cuisines: German
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: The Essen Haus invites you to take a trip to Germany without ever leaving Madison. Experience German food, bier and culture from the time you arrive until the time you say Auf Wiedersehen. Essen Haus proudly features 16 rotating German tap bier selections, a wide variety of bottled imports, traditional German entrees, live oompah music and a friendly staff dressed in Old-World German attire. A perfect location for banquets, holiday parties, special events or simply a fun night out.
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
303 reviews
292 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Not really fit for Europeans”
Reviewed July 1, 2014 via mobile

If you are from Europe, especially Northern Europe, this place has little to offer as to food. The beers are OK. And the Servive is fine.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Herman S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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201 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2014

As someone else recently commented, maybe this should just limit itself to being a bar. It surely reeked of stale beer (and a little bit of spew). I guess it would need to change its name, though. I visited the Essen Haus in Madison in mid June, 2014, and I surely will select among the other options in town in the future.

The starter pretzels were served with a bowl of unappealing mustard sauce, and the pretzels themselves were clearly microwaved, as they were gummy and grew rubbery and tough as they cooled. The green salad was nothing special at all, with dressing from a jar. My special bleucheese-stuffed pork loin was dry and not very flavorful, and the "German potatoes" are an insult to Germans, as they were non-uniformly cooked, lacking flavor or savor, and had the taste of being a re-heated afterthought. The sauce served with the pork was mediocre in flavor, but inadequate in quantity, and lacking in piquancy. The vegetable of the day was steamed broccoli, which was perfectly cooked, but had no sauce, no herbs, no butter, no nothing: just plain, dry broccoli. The platter looked impressive as it was being served, but just didn't deliver on flavor. The iced tea was nothing special.

The service was haphazard, and seemed unprepared for our 5:20 PM arrival, despite a decent crowd at the bar and on the patio. Menu options were not clearly explained to us, and the daily special soup (liver meatball) was only offered to some of us (though it was enjoyed). The restaurant interior was… dirty. And smelly. I don't believe it is typical of real Germans.

The cost was modest, running about $21 per person without alcohol.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank TeaEarleGreyHot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Surprisingly Good German Food”
Reviewed June 4, 2014

My husband and I enjoy German food and finally got a chance to visit Essen Haus since recently moving to Madison. We visited the restaurant on a Friday night which was nice as the weather was perfect to sit outside. I ordered Sauerbraten and my husband ordered a Sauerbraten sandwich. The waitress was busy but she took good care of us and brought pretzels and dip to start. When my meal arrived it was accompanied with red cabbage and also a German potato salad. My husband's sandwich came with a cup of soup. My Sauerbraten was incredibly tender and flavorful. My husband's sandwich was huge and also delicious. The only thing I didn't love was the potato salad. The food is a little overpriced in my opinion but it's nice to at least find a good place to get authentic German food. The restaurant is also close to Lake Monona which is nice if you want to take an after dinner walk.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank LauraM_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed March 22, 2014 via mobile

Great beer and service, but food was a real let down. Wiener schnitzel was pretty disappointing--lacked seasoning and flavor plus it was expensive. Would not return.

Thank cweed38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Warm Beer And OK Food”
Reviewed March 17, 2014 via mobile

They have German beer. But, the beer isn't cold. They have German food but, it's nothing to write home about.
Their staff for the most part is made up of College kids. Their staff wears authentic German clothes. They also wear tennis shoes and have spiked haircuts.
Something tells me that the owners of this restaurant don't care or aren't paying attention.

Visited March 2014
Thank Rogerandphyllis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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