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Food Restaurant

A Michelin-star restaurant in Alsace: La Merise

After a 30-minute drive from Strasbourg, we arrive in Laubach, a tiny village with a population of only 300. In the middle of the Alsatian countryside, this is where Cédric and Christelle Deckert have chosen to establish their gourmet restaurant (2 Michelin stars) – La Merise.

Nestled in a peaceful and pastoral environment, this building in the traditional Alsatian style is surrounded by an orchard, an herb garden, and several beehives.

The decoration is classic and subtle, with a harmonious combination of high-quality materials. The atmosphere is both calming and bright.

We happily follow the instructions and advice from the kind and attentive staff, as well as the sommelier, who is the guardian of a wine cellar containing over 5000 bottles.

The cuisine at La Merise aims for authenticity, precision, and most importantly, intelligibility. The latter pursuit becomes obvious as soon as we read the descriptions on the menu, which are all clear and easily understandable.

Each dish is carefully and skillfully prepared, with ingredients picked out by the chef for each season, which he then showcases and sublimates. The presentations are tasteful, elegant, and graphic. Every dish in the Menu Découverte (Discovery Menu) are served at an agreeable pace, allowing us to fully enjoy the experience.

The chef subtly reinterprets French classics, as well as dishes from his childhood, by incorporating a wide range of influences. The flavors are clear-cut, without any garish blends. As a result, everything is balanced to perfection.

Having quickly become one of the places to go for fine dining in Alsace, La Merise has gone from one distinction to the next since it first opened in 2016. The restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in 2018, and a second star in 2021. It recently also became a member of the prestigious restaurant association les Grandes Tables du Monde.

We particularly enjoyed how every ingredient was cooked with such precision, and the sauces were silky and flavorful. Another highlight was the bold and inventive combinations, the balance of seasonings, and the sweet nostalgia of the desserts. From the Menu Découverte, we’d especially like to mention the enticing and delicately scented red mullet with Madras curry (which instantly transported us to a spice market in southern India), blending with the freshness of the coconut soup; the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the roast pigeon breast, and the subtle and full-bodied flavor of the reduced jus with ginger.

La Merise
📍7 rue d’Eschbach, 67580 Laubach

Categories
Food Restaurant

A Michelin-star restaurant in Alsace: Auberge de l’Ill

L’Auberge de l’Ill is a two-star Michelin restaurant nestled in the heart of an Alsatian village near Colmar and the Route des Vins, less than an hour’s drive from Strasbourg. Trying to pronounce “Illhaeusern” (Illhoyzern) is a journey in itself.

As soon as we arrive, we are shown to our table in the elegant and subtly decorated pièce alsacienne (Alsatian room), where we eagerly await our four-course symphony. A full wall of marquetry work, depicting a landscape from the Ried area, with bulrushes, reeds, storks, and herons, echoes the scenery of the nearby river meadow.

The waitstaff are attentive and discreet, with everyone collaborating smoothly in a well-choreographed dance.

Everything is elegantly plated and presented. The restaurant’s delicate, generous, and flavorful cuisine is imbued with the culinary tradition carried by the Haeberlin family through 150 years. Our meal is balanced and subtle. We take the time to savor every mouthful, every note of flavor. The score is played to perfection by chef Marc Haeberlin and his team.

We particularly appreciated the many little kindnesses from the team and carefully planned details throughout the meal, the inspiration drawn from local delicacies, and the Haeberlin family history, which is their great pride. As for the food, we loved trying their beurre Bordier, the famous butter from Saint-Malo, as well as the freshly baked bread, the pan-seared seabass in a mussel nage (which made Stéphanie like bouchot mussels!), and the richness of the chocolate dessert with Piedmont hazelnuts and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.

L’Auberge de l’Ill
📍2 rue de Collonges au Mont d’Or, 68970 Illhaeusern