Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Ultimate Foodie Guide of Buckow

After almost 3 years, I am back again in the bucolic Buckow in the Märkische Schweiz, for three weeks of rest and relaxation. For me, it is my first such experience of full immersion into the German countryside - that I will detail in upcoming posts - in a place famous for its quietness and slow life, surrounded by an impressive natural surrounding. No wonder that Buckow was considered inspiring for famous literary personalities such as Bertold Brecht and Helene Weigel whose house overviews a green esmerald lake. The perfect creativity boost.


When I am about to spend almost one month in a place, finding out about the food options is one of the most important things to consider for making my stay enjoyable. Especially if there is no big supermarket - there is only a small EDEKA store which is also open on Sunday for a couple of hours - and there is no food market to refuel with regional purchases. Situated in an area with orchards and where vegetables and food processing is one of the main industries, Buckow has also a cuisine rich in fish generously available from the lakes around and potatoes. Typical dishes are simple, made of few ingredients, and you need a rich salad to get more taste to your meal. 
When it comes to the food options, given its touristic status, Buckow invites the guests to a couple - less than 10 - restaurants, eateries and pastry shops, with delicious and mid-range priced meals, sometimes offering card payment and with acceptable customer service.
During my three weeks here, I've visited more than once its top foodie places and here is my ultimate foodie guide generously recommended to the food lovers paying a visit to this idyllic place.

Berendt Bakery, Werderstraße 38


A 3rd generation family bakery, Berendt was my favorite place to spend outdoors with a coffee and one of the pastry of the day. When walking the streets around late in the evening, you couldn't ignore the smell of freshly baked goodies which made my curious every day to come over and over again to check what's new. Their offer of puff pastry which is pure delish - no memory of flour or other ingredients it was made, just pastry waiting for the perfect sugar or jam match to get complete - and I can only regret that during my stay the marzipan croissant was only produced once. Their trademark are the Pfannkuchen - glazed donuts called in the rest of Germany, except some stubborn part of Bavaria, Berliner (although the Berendt Bakery in the neighbouring Müncheberg is selling them as Berliner) - filled with plum sauce. 
Low prices, friendly customer service and excellent quality. If you are in Buckow and you want to have one single stop, here is the right place to be. They also have sandwiches, drinks and coffee.

Café am Markt, Am Markt 4


Part of the same business, Café am Markt is only a couple of minutes away and serves a higher range of dishes. Their outdoor view offers an overview of the old square and is situated close to all the main touristic attractions, including the Schlosspark. Their cakes are out of this world, with fine layers filled with fine cream and topped with fresh fruits, but unfortunatelly every time I've been there the service was highly disappointing. The prices are mid-range and there are also savory dishes, but their selection of cakes is all you may need for breakfast - it opens at 11.30 - lunch and dinner. No credit card payments.

Icecream Parlours



The choice no.1 when it comes to icecreams is Eiskörbchen. Open daily from 11 to 18.00 o'clock, it serves handmade icecream for 1 Euro the scoop. It doesn't have an outdoor space of itself and do not allows credit card payments, but it has a DDR-kitsch interior where you can take a seat at the table and eventually order a more sophisticated icecream meal accompanied by a cocktail. Very friendly customer service and their icecream - pineapple, rhubarb or strawberries, to mention some of my favorites - is the very definition of delicious.
An Indian-Italian eatery, Mondo Mangiare is neighbouring Café am Markt. I didn't tried their meals - it is the only place where you can try some non-European dishes, as you will not find any Asian fast food in Buckow - but their middle-range icecream creations are worth trying. My favorite was banana split, served in a generous banana shaped bowl, overloaded with icecream, banana and whipped cream.
Friendly customer service and credit card payment possible.

Lokal, Königstraße 4


Lokal is more than a hipster, alternative place where you can taste some homemade cookies in an exquisite youngish ambiance. I had the chance to spend some good hour here during the White Night of Buckow - Lange Nacht - at the beginning of this July where concerts and cultural events and sightseeings took place all over this 1,700-inhabitant place. Lokal is a local connector of various generations with a cultural and community touch.
Besides the cakes and the classical coffee choices, they also have nice fancy cocktails and homemade bretzels.
Mid-range prices, no credit card payment and friendly hip service.

Buckower Köstlichkeiten, Am Markt 8


A small local store displaying local products - I can't wait to try my honey infused with rose petals - Buckower Köstlichkeiten doesn't offer a big range of goodies on their menu - every time I went there they have the same quiche and cheesecake, but it is recommended for a quick treat before exploring more of Buckow. The drinks offered are from the Bio category.
Small prices, credit card payments and acceptable customer service. 

What about when you are really hungry and you want some serious dishes? I tried - also more than once - the following three restaurants, with different results.

Strandhotel, Wriezenerstraße 28


Before and after going to the beach or taking a round-tour of Scharmützelsee, Strandhotel offers not only a diverse menu - written in Polish, German and English - and children-friendly options, but also beautiful lake views and the option of booking a hotel room if you are convinced that you need more time to explore Buckow. 


Let's talk food though. Not too impressed. Some things served are basic, some may need a good healthy touch - my champignons heads were way too oily and the coating turned them into self-defense weapons. Another day I ordered the goat cheese with tomatoes salad and was a blessing that the cheese was salty enough to bring taste to the rest of the dish, as otherwise everything was a tasteless blend.


The pike perched fillet was relatively fine, but the vegetable rice was almost cold and the veggies were obviously from the frozen bag, and not warmed enough. Deeply disappointed. My friend had some pfifferlinge mushrooms with potatoes and was relatively happy with it. The children meals are just fine, with the classical French fries with fish fingers or spaghetti with tomato sauce.


At least the cakes do well, pretty well. I never got disappointed and the cappuccino one, for instance, is really outstanding: tasty and creamy and discretelly sweet.
The service is fast, but not outstanding helping. The last time I've been here, the beautiful terrasse overlooking the river was open, this time it was impossible to get a place there, even in the weekend.
Price range moderate and credit card payments are possible.

Castello Angelo, Wriezenerstr. 59

Back on the main road, you have Castello Angelo, the only place in Buckow where you can have great pizza, but only during the weekend, as the place is open only from Friday afternoon to Sunday, when tourists are usually around.
The outside space overviews the main avenue, and inside looks elegant. The customer service though is a disaster and I am not the only one to say so. Went there first and asked if credit card payments are possible and was automatically told to check the ATM on the other side of the corner where a 4 EUR. fee applies if you don't own a card from the bank owning it. Then, the waiter spilled some salt on a table where I wanted to eat and didn't clean it so I left. Or, a next time I ordered a Mimosa and the waiter looked as me as I asked her if she serves elephant and concluded that they don't have and changed her mind only when I showed that the drink is in their menu. The service is slow, highly unprofessional and you need to be fully Zen to do not get nervous after the first 10 minutes.
Card payments only for orders of over 20 EUR.


Despite the customer service deep disappointment, the food was always good. Crispy pizza dough with fresh vegetables served warm from the oven, or the delicious penne calabrese with homemade pesto and pistachio were always for the win. They can also make small pizza portions for children.

Hotel Strobbermühle, Wriezenerstr. 2


My favorite place so far for a lavish lunch in Buckow was always at the restaurant of Hotel Strobbermühle, a hotel with a romantic touch on the main road. The prices are mid- to high range but they deserve every single cent, plus generous tips. The service was always excellent and the food never disappointed.


You can wait your meals while relaxing with the Stöbb river background sound, while sipping a glass from their excellent selection of wines.


The children meals are not only delicious, but they include some healthy snacks besides the classical French fries and fish fingers, such as broccoli or cauliflower and some slices of carrot.


I had at least five meals by them and everything is homemade and added a fresh touch of veggies. The taste of the cheese-filled slightly peppered ravioli is balanced by the rucola and pine seeds and the fresh tomatoes, and their gnocchi soaked in red sauce are velvety and made from a dense dough. My only regret is that I didn't taste their truffle fish, but most probably I am just waiting for the right opportunity for coming back for another lavish dinner. The dessert is not their strong point, but they have a small selection of plates which includes an icecream scoop and some pastry and creams which match very well together.
In the evening of 11 August they offer a special tasting and gourmet evening and if stars align I may be there again for some exquisite taste impressions.


My foodie list doesn't cover all the restaurants and eateries in Buckow, but only those that I visited and tried myself. Some are situated too remotely, some are closed in the summer or some do have a menu which did not appeal too much to my tastebuds. All I can do to do full justice to them all is to keep returning to Buckow as often as possible to update the list.
And, as I will show in my next posts, there is more than one reason to do so. To be continued...


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