Restaurant Review – The Berghoff Restaurant

The Berghoff Restaurant, (translation: ‘mountain farm’) Chicago’s pre-eminent purveyor of hearty German fare and house-brewed beers, has been an institution since 1898. 

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a business that has stayed in a family for four generations, weathering the storms of Prohibition, two World Wars, the Great Depression, two pandemics, and scads of changes in the American diet. Yet, The Berghoff has survived…even thrived.

What’s the secret? “The menus remain relevant,” says The Berghoff, on its website. After all, they developed a ‘near-beer’ and their signature root beer during Prohibition. Today, chefs Matt Reichel and Javier Avalos adapt and create to today’s palate. There are gluten-free options and lighter, German-inspired fare alongside creamed spinach and Bavarian pretzels.

Start your feast with appetizers like Gretchen’s Potato Pancakes, with Landjager sausage, Brie cheese, and apples over potato pancakes, drizzled with a fig marmalade and topped with bacon. Their Bavarian Pretzel is served with beer cheddar cheese dipping sauce and sweet mustard. Potato Pierogies are sauteed dumplings topped with a beurre blanc, served with a side of sour cream and a quinoa and arugula salad. Or, try Alsatian Onion and Apple Soup, which pairs beef broth with Granny Smith apples, and onions, rye crostini and baked Muenster cheese.

Dinner-sized salads include a flavorful Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese Salad, with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, peppers, onions and fried leeks, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Or, try a Grilled Octopus Salad, made with grilled octopus, mixed greens, arugula, peppers, roasted fingerling potatoes, herb vinaigrette and roasted red pepper coulis.

Burgers and sandwiches are fresh and delicious. Grilled Lamb Burger is a lamb patty, infused with roasted garlic, fresh mint and lemon, topped with feta cheese, arugula, tomato, fried onions, and garlic aioli, on a house-made Kaiser bun, served with sweet potato fries. Bratwurst is made with grilled veal, topped with sauerkraut, and served on a Bavarian pretzel roll.

Entrees include traditional German fare such as Wiener Schnitzel, a breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet, served with Berghoff’s famous creamed spinach and house-made spätzle, and Sauerbraten, which is marinated roasted sirloin of beef, topped with sweet and sour gravy, served with a melange of vegetables and buttermilk whipped potatoes. The Berghoff’s Sausage Trio pairs bratwurst, knockwurst, and smoked Thuringer sausage, served with sauerkraut and German potato salad. Jäger Schnitzel has pork cutlets, topped with mushrooms, bacon and a Jägermeister-infused sauce, served with caramelized root vegetables and house-made spätzel.

But…save room for dessert! Don’t miss their Apple Strudel (apfelstrudel) prepared with Granny Smith apples, pecans, and golden raisins, surrounded by a flaky strudel crust, and topped with caramel sauce and powdered sugar, or the luscious, and rarely seen Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtort) layering chocolate and yellow cakes, sour cherries, raspberry preserve, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and garnished with chocolate shavings.

All of The Berghoff’s sumptuous fare can be accompanied by their craft brews and non-alcoholic root beer, made fresh at their Adams Street Brewery.

As one Google reviewer wrote: “This place was amazing. Food was delicious….had a lamb burger with string sweet potato fries. The burger had a nice brioche bun and complemented the lamb with feta cheese. Service was excellent…no wait..server checked in just the right amount. Dishes were cleared in a timely manner. Overall great experience!”

The Berghoff is located at 17 W. Adams Street. They are open Tuesday- Saturday, 12pm-7:30pm, and closed Sunday and Monday. Reservations are recommended. Click here for more information. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago