Friday, March 21, 2014

Initial Restaurant Review: Haragan Mexikanisches Restaurant

Haragan Mexikanisches Restaurant
Kaiserstrasse 168
Tel: 06372-9957433

Hours: Monday - closed
Tues - Fri 1100-1400 & 1700-2300 
Sat - Sun 1100-2300

Setting: Parking: a few spots are directly in front of the restaurant; otherwise it's street parking. There's a nice outdoor patio with a small amount of seating. The restaurant is quite small, with seating for about 50. The restroom is on the left hand side in the back (it's not super obvious as the door isn't marked but the decorations inside are, interesting).

Menu: the regular menu's appetizers run from 5-7 euros or so and meals cost in the range of 7-14 euros. The children's menu offerings are 4.50 euros and desserts are less than 4 euros.

As are many expat Americans, I'm always on the prowl for good Mexican food, especially near where I live. There were some rumblings online that a new Mexican restaurant would be coming to Bruchmühlbach-Miesau, which is west of Ramstein and Kaiserslautern, just off the A6. Those rumblings grew until word came out that the restaurant was opening today.

Of course I had to visit! I stopped by the restaurant, which seems to be in the lower part of what had been (or still is?) a house. One walks up a few steps and enters a sunroom with tables. Behind that is the main dining room and bar. The restaurant is small and painted a cozy, dark red; it probably seats about 50 people at maximum.

As I was seated, a pleasant waitress came up and handed me a menu, asking if I spoke English or German. I just went with English. She informed me that for this weekend during the opening, they only had a buffet option for 15 euros but starting on Tuesday they would be serving their normal, plated menu. I liked that idea; after all, it's a great way to sample a restaurant's options in a buffet without committing to one dish. She also offered a free glass of champagne or a Corona beer, part of their opening celebration.

I sampled a small amount of everything from the buffet. Meat eaters, I totally took one for the team so give me a virtual high-five because I even sampled a little bit of chicken and beef (I usually don't eat meat, especially those two).

  • Chips: these were the type without salt on them. They were crisp but not super flavorful. 
  • Salsa: made with fresh tomatoes and actually somewhat spicy on the German scale. Made with fresh ingredients, including cilantro. I'd say it's about a spice level similar to medium in commercially prepared American salsa.
  • Green sauce: good, homemade as well.
  • Beef with vegetables (mostly peppers): this might be what's put in fajitas normally. The sauce it was in was too sweet and reminded me of something similar to Chinese food.
  • Rice: had peas, carrots, and (oh no!) corn in it. It was also too sweet and reminded me more of Chinese food. 
  • Refried beans: not super flavorful, but were possibly homemade. 
  • Tamale: not great either. Way too much masa harina in it and formed a thick tamale with too much "dough." Chicken inside; a little heavy on the salt.
  • Pozole soup: the hominy in it seemed a bit chewy and unfortunately, the soup stock seemed a bit greasier and blander than what I've had in the US. 

There is a bar that offers cocktails, a small variety of beers, and alcohol-free drinks too.

As I was eating, I was reminded a bit of US restaurants, but not for a positive thing. The music was blasting quite loud and the diners were even louder as a consequence.

Service: the staff at the bar were wearing t-shirts printed to look like tuxedos. I found this amusing. My waitress was friendly and willing to answer questions. I was impressed that, when I was leaving, she thanked me for my visit and said she hoped I would visit again.

I left the restaurant, happy with the friendly service, but nonplussed by the food, unfortunately. I'm going to visit again once things have calmed down and it's not the opening weekend and will make an update on that experience. I'd say that if one is curious, one should check the place out, but don't expect knock-out Mexican food.


  1. I've heard not to expect much when it comes to Mexican food in the K-Town area. I'm waiting until I go back to Berlin to try my luck. Apparently the capital has some great Tex Mex restaurants.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog a few weeks back! I was out of town for work and missed your comments. We're blogging neighbors!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, bloggy neighbor Megan ;)

    I think it's wise not to expect too much from any German version of Mexican food. I'm happy to have the opportunity to try it but it's just not like at home. I always wonder: do Mexican people in the US eat that version of the food and find it authentic, or off? Hmm...

    The best Mexican food I've had so far in Europe has been Cafe Especial in Cologne. However, the service was not great so it dampened the experience.

    I'm kicking myself because I was in Berlin for a week and only ate at the kebab place pretty much. I didn't have much time because I was in class so I didn't think to really research restaurants to try. Anyway, the blog I'll link is from Americans living in Berlin and they've reviewed some of the Mexican restaurants there:

  3. Hi, people always talk about how bad is the Mexican food in EUROPE, but I also find the Mexican Food served in USA pretty bad, haven't been in a Restaurant that served good Mexican Food outside Mexico, so enjoy what you find and don't complaint of what you could get, all of the restaurant bussines people try their best and if you don't like it just don't go there, don't destroy a bussines with this blogs before You personally visit the place and also don't forget we all have diferent taste.

  4. I ate at the restaurant and the opinions are my own. The point of a review is to give one's honest opinion of something, whether it is a positive or a negative review. I did not find the food to be tasty and was honest about that. It is up to the reader to decide for herself what to do with the information in the review, as in the end, it's just another person's opinion.

  5. I thought the food was the best Mexican in the KL region. I am Mexican American myself and I will tell you the food is not the same as US Mexican food. What most don't realize is that Texmex or Cali Mexican food is different from Mexico Mexican. I spoke to the cook who I found out is a Mexican culinary artist so its probably pretty authentic. There might be some flavor changes due to limited access to all the required ingredients. My rating 8/10 :)

  6. I encourage people who comment on this to use their logins or names (at least a user name, doesn't have to be an actual name). It is somewhat unusual to get all these glowing reviews from anonymous users -- it does make me question who posted this.

    Having said that, I still stand by my review. I just wasn't impressed. I have eaten many different styles of Mexican food, and I did not find the food at Haragan to fit within any of those styles or taste that great, especially for the price.

  7. Just ate at Haragans and......not so great. I read the review that compared it to a taco truck in being from california I had to go test it out. unfortunately it's nothing like California taco trucks and nothing like Mexico Mexican food. I had the tacos plate and the meat was chewy and rough not to mention I also had a long brown hair in my taco.I will not be returning back to this restaurant but feel freeto make your own opinion.

  8. Service wasn't good. By far the worst restaurant I've ever been to. Waited two and a half hours for food. The taco shells they used were bought from the store (I buy the same ones). For what I paid I feel robbed of my money and my time. People from the southwest would cry if they are here.

  9. We were excited to see there was a Mexican restaurant somewhat close to where we live (nearby village) and decided to try it out last Sunday. We were sadly disappointed. The service was slow and we almost left after having waited almost 10 minutes to give our drink orders and get a menu (and there were only 4 tables occupied at the time). Our chips were somewhat stale, and the Guacamole dip had too much lemon and cilantro for us to enjoy it. I ordered the enchilladas and did not like them at all. They had a brown sauce drizzled on them that tasted either like Maggi Wurze or Worcheshire sauce. The rice and beans were o.k but not anything memorable. My husband also ordered a meal he did not enjoy and we ended up leaving the restaurant very disappointed.