By Keyser Saucey
About four years ago I had the opportunity to visit Germany.
We drove from Berlin down to Munich, stopping for a night or two in a few cities along the way. It was a beautiful country, especially in rural areas. Although the Autobahn, the German highway system that lack’s a speed limit in many parts, was a bit terrifying.
Ironically, I had some difficulty finding traditional German food.
There were a few stands serving currywurst, German bratwurst with a tomato-based curry sauce on top, but beyond that, we found everything but German food. Eventually, we had better luck as we got closer to Munich,
and the schnitzel was worth the wait.
Tourism through food is something that can be done whether you hop on a plane or stay at home, and luckily you don’t have to travel too far to experience some authentic German and Swiss cuisine locally.
The Swiss German Bistro, located in The Prado at Spring Creek, is packed on a Saturday night during season.
Every table is marked with a reservation sign and for good reason. The bistro has had a loyal following since it opened in that location in 2013.
Formerly Stephan’s German Bistro, Swiss German Bistro was bought and renamed by Swiss native Ralf Scheidegger in January of 2017. I’ve had several opportunities to enjoy the food there when Stephan was still the proprietor of the restaurant and this was my first time sampling the menu with the new owner.
If you are a long-time fan of the establishment, you’ll be happy to know that the menu has the same German plates that you’ve loved, while adding some traditional Swiss dishes to the mix.
On the starter menu, you’ll find some European favorites, like Gulasch Soup and oil and vinegar-based potato salad. The star on the appetizer menu is definitely the German Potato Pancakes though.
The fried mixture of potatoes and onions was crunchy and paired well with both the applesauce and sour cream it was served with. It’s an appetizer you can share, but you may not want to.
The menu at Swiss German Bistro includes four varieties of schnitzel. Weiner Schnitzel, Jäger Schnitzel, Chicken Schnitzel, and a Schnitzel Tower. If you’re not familiar with it, schnitzel is a thin piece of pork or other meat that is generally breaded then fried. This time I chose the Weiner Schnitzel with green beans and spaetzle, a type of German pasta. I loved the dumpling-like texture of spaetzle that is finished simply by pan-frying in some butter. It’s a traditional pairing with schnitzel and just really tasty. The fried pork cutlet was flavorful and had a really nice crust.
With the menu now featuring Swiss dishes, I had to try the Züri Gschnätzlets. This dish includes sliced pork in a creamy white sauce with mushrooms and onions, served with Rösti, a type of Swiss hash browns. I added tangy red cabbage to the plate as well. I’ve never had Swiss food, and the Züri Gschnätzlets was delicious.
The white sauce was decadent, and the mushroom and onion flavors diffused a sweetness into the rich gravy. When ordering the Züri Gschnätzlets, do not skip the Rösti; the crunchy hash browns add a salty element to the dish. I dredged everything on that plate through the sauce until there was nothing left.
On the menu of this small establishment, you’ll also find cabbage rolls, variations of bratwurst dishes, and a few other German and Swiss items. Apple strudel is also offered, as well as a selection of German beer and wine.
The casual atmosphere and good food at Swiss German Bistro have remained constant with the new ownership.
The quality and service are on par with what you’ve come to expect throughout the establishment’s history while adding some Swiss flair. The ambiance could be enhanced with some updated décor and it can be difficult to get a table in season at this small restaurant. Overall, I really enjoyed Swiss German Bistro and would say 4/5 Saucey’s on this one.
Swiss German Bistro
25245 Chamber of Commerce Dr
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
In-Season Hours: Monday – Saturday 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Off-Season Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Phone: (239) 949-9990
Keyser Saucey is a pseudonym for Naples Herald and Lee Herald’s food critic. Keyser’s trips to area restaurants are unannounced and anonymous, and are paid for by the company. Yes, the staff is very jealous.
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