I explored Usedom at the invitation of Usedom Tourism but all opinions are my own. Please note that though the island is divided between Poland and Germany, my post refers only to the German part.
Over the course of my recent three-night stay on the island of Usedom, off Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, I was treated to some excellent regional German food. There was much fish, as you’d probably expect, prepared and served according to the island’s tradition, largely smoked, soused, pickled or fried; but there were regional preparations of meat and vegetables too, which were yet another real lesson to me in how varied the German cuisine is up and down the country. (If you’d like to know more about what to eat on Usedom, I’ve also written a guide to the island’s culinary specialties.)
With a focus as ever on traditional specialties, in this case from both the island and the wider region (it’s part of the federal state of Mecklenburg–Vorpommern), this is my pick of where to eat on Usedom. There are three rustic options that offer consistently good and very traditional snacks and/or plates of fresh and preserved fish; and one rather more refined restaurant that embraces a more modern, creative approach to serving local specialties. What all four restaurants share is a strong focus on traditional ingredients and processes, and high quality ingredients, and I’d happily eat at all of them again if and when I make it back to Germany’s sunniest spot.
Koserower Salzhütte, Koserow
This beautifully preserved complex of historical salt huts (Salzhütte) is positioned just above the beach at Koserow in the Usedom Nature Park, at the start of a hiking trail that heads east along the coastline towards Poland. Originally built as huts for storing tax-free salt for preserving herrings during the early-mid 1800s (those standing today are probably from the late 1800s), the thatched-roof huts are now home to a tiny sandwich shop and cosy Gaststätte (tavern), where locally-caught and Atlantic fishes are served up having been smoked, pickled, soused or cooked on site.
What to order
Join the queue that snakes out of the sandwich hut to purchase a delicious made-to-order herring sandwich to take down to Koserow beach. Choose from Bismarck-style (vinegar-pickled) or Matjes (soused) herring, add lettuce, tomato, pickled cucumbers and/or raw onion, and eat it all sandwiched between two halves of a white crusty bread roll, or Muschelbrötchen, made by a local bakery and so named because of it’s shell (Muschel) shape.
For a more leisurely sit down lunch, take a table at the tavern, either outside on the patio by the fish smokers or inside in the tiny building itself, atmospherically bedecked with fishing artefacts. The house-smoked fish is all excellent – the Atlantic halibut in particular – and the Matjes (soused herring) is both extremely pretty and very moreish. Sides include baked potato with sour cream and spring onions, and Fischtüfte, or mashed potato with fresh herbs.
Address: 17459 Ostseebad Koserow, Usedom
Website: Koserower Salzhütte (German only)
Restaurant Remise am Schloss Stolpe, Stolpe
Restaurant Remise is located in what was once the wagon barn, first mentioned in 1850, for the adjacent Schloss Stolpe (Stolpe Castle, above, which, incidentally, is free and rather fun to visit). After the end of the second world war, the building was used for various purposes including to house a repair workshop for milking machines, but it later fell into a state of disrepair. It wasn’t until 2013 that it was renovated and turned into a light-filled modern restaurant by owner Lars Lindemann, who is passionate about providing a relaxed and memorable dining experience.
Head chef Torsten Schröder, who worked with Lindemann at a previous hotel restaurant, is just as passionate about the venture: for the two of them, the focus is on quality of ingredients, culinary creativity, and an undistracted dining experience. There’s plenty of choice on the menu, but the tapas-style plates of regional food (see below) encourage customers to chat as they share their food, and there’s no phone reception here, meaning diners can truly focus on enjoying what they’re eating – and each other’s company.
What to order
The “Pommern tapas” at Restaurant Remise, small, sharable dishes of (mostly) local delicacies, are a great way of trying a selection of regional German flavours. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally, but with a focus on quality, meaning that some – such as the Thuringian blood sausage – come from further afield. Choose from the seventeen or so tapas options in sets of three (6,90€), six (12,80€) or nine (17,40€); portion-wise, most plates can be easily shared between two or three people.
There’s a small selection of vegetarian options (the potatoes with herbed quark and linseed oil, top left, are good, and there’s a local cheese with fig mustard, too), but the menu is generally rather meat and fish heavy. The rollmops (centre left) and smoked salmon with potatoes (centre middle) are very moreish, but the suckling pig cheeks braised with garlic, star anise and olive oil (top right), black pudding with apple ragout (bottom row, centre), and the head chef’s favourite smoked duck with apple and fennel salad (bottom left) are nothing short of excellent.
Address: Alte Dorfstraße 7, 17406 Stolpe, Usedom
Website: Restaurant Remise(German only)
Uwe’s Fischhalle / Uwe’s Fischerhütte, Heringsdorf
This rustic, welcoming beachside restaurant and sandwich shop are situated a very short walk from each other, right behind the sand dunes between the Heringsdorf promenade and beach. Run by local fisherman Uwe Krüger, who along with his son-in-law Andreas, brings in the daily catch to be gutted, filleted (and in some cases smoked) behind the Fischhütte, where his son Lars is head chef. The restaurant has tables inside; both venues have sheltered outside seating as well as a takeaway cold counter.
What to eat
At the Fischhalle, try any of the house-smoked fish or eel – the vegetable paste-stuffed mackerel rollmop is a messy treat – or pick up a herring sandwich (the fish fried, soused or pickled). If you want to sit down and eat on the terrace, the Soljanke is delicious, a thick, deep red, slightly sour Russian soup made to Uwe’s and his son’s own recipe with ground white fish, vegetables and spices.
At the Fischerhütte, most of the cooked fish dishes are available with the local favourite Pommersche Soße, a thick, roux-based brown sauce made with bacon, onions and vinegar, served with boiled potatoes and the excellent housemade cabbage salad alongside. For those who can’t choose between cod, herring, flounder or plaice, pick Uwes Fischpfanne for a pan-fried selection of the day’s catch served with fried potatoes, herb butter and cabbage salad.
There’s also a good selection of wine here, including an very good Scheurebe from Rheinhessen, and an excellent Grauburgunder (Pinot Grigio) from Baden. Do as we did, and buy a bottle to take down to the beach (they’ll provide plastic glasses if you don’t have reusable ones of your own). Choose a table inside or out, order and pay at the counter, and your food and drink will be brought out when it’s ready.
Address: Uwes Fischhalle, Strandpromenade 12, 17419 Heringsdorf, Usedom and Uwes Fischerhütte, Dünenstraße 57-53, 17419 Heringsdorf, Usedom
Website: Uwes Fischhütte (German only)
I visited Usedom with Joe Baur, who has added Usedom to his guide to Off the Beaten Path guide to Germany.