Auberge de L’Ill

The Haeberlin family and their restaurant Auberge de L’Ill is a culinary monument carrying three stars since 1967. Generations of chefs have been trained by Paul Haeberlin who died last year in May at the age of 84. A big chapeau for his lifework!

Our experience? Well, it was Spring and we had the pleasure to have our champagne outside on the terrace with an amazing view on the Ill. It looks like they have created this postcard romantic especially for the restaurant. Across the river there was a small boat and some fisherman and we really wondered how much they get paid for being so authentic.

On the inside they have modernized the ambience in 2007 – now it is really a benchmark location – just have a look here.

The Menu

I opted for the Menu Haeberlin – six courses for €148 and exchanged the lamb main for ris de veau. As a first course I had Le cocktail de chair de tourteau, guacamole, mousse légère d’oursin et gelée de crabe. This was probably one of the best cold starters I had so far. Different textures, light sweetness (the gucacamole), acidity and amazingly fresh elements and a rich and intense crab gelee on the bottom made this dish really outstanding.

Chair de Touteau, Guacamole, Oursin et Crabe

Chair de Tourteau, Guacamole, Oursin et Crabe

Second course was another benchmark: Le filet de sandra poêlé, risotto de riz rouge aus grenouilles, jus d’herbes à l’oseille. A perfect zander, crisp on the outside and amazingly tender on the inside accompanied with a wonderful risotto of frog’s legs (earthy, meaty) and a fresh jus of herbs (mainly sorrel). So, great cooking does not need modern techniques but outstanding products, utmost care and precision and some idea of creating some suspense on the plate – whether in textures or flavours. Excellent to outstanding.

Le Sandre

Le Sandre

Then, the Asian element: Le foie d’oie chaud mariné au sukiyaki, bouillon de poule corsé, parfumé aux feuilles de shizo. Well, after the bird flu the quality of foie to be served warmed or roasted has deteriorated. Nevertheless, this was a nice modern iluustration of how to treat foie. Crisp, slightly caramellized on the outside and not to fluffy or hard on the interior it was perfect, but the quality itself was not equal to the outstanding roated foie I had at L’Arnsbourg the year before. The pairing itself was sublime and the very good chicken bouillon could stand the strong foie whereas the shizo slightly kissed the whole dish. Excellent.

Foie d'Oie

Foie d'Oie

My main was dissappointing I have to say – I had ris de veau with chantarelles and potato puree. Looking at the plate there was hint about this being served in a three star restaurant. The sweetbread was too well done and the topping (I forgot what it was) almost ruined the dish.

Ris de Veau

Ris de Veau

But my collegue got another benchmark: veal with morels and white asparagus. Woah nelly, this was good. The meat was so tender of an astonishing quality – a classic dish which cannot be made better. Outstanding.

Veal with Morels and Asparagus

Veal with Morels and Asparagus

Dessert were on the lower end – nice in presentation but really at three star level. I experienced that before and a new patissier would do…

Dessert aux Griottes

Dessert aux Griottes


Would I go back? Surely as it created some memorable moments. But, it doesn’t warrant a trip only to this restaurant – if you are around you should go but planning a tour for the Auberge would be too much. Yes, cooking is classic there but I have the feeling that the transition between the more modern dishes and classics is not yet done. So this makes this place to put on the watchlist.



13 thoughts on “Auberge de L’Ill

  1. Thanks for this update. l’Auberge de l’Ill was receiving some pretty rocky reviews when I was in the area last (2005). If I do get back to Strasbourg, my main event will definitely be a reprise of Jean Klein’s cooking at l’Arnsbourg. Perhaps I shall have cause and time to check out l’Auberge as well.

  2. Ulterior – whenever you are planning to come drop me a note as this is very near to me. In contrast to the perceived upwards trend at the Auberge I found Klein a little bit disappointing on my last visit regarding the conceptuality of some dishes and lesser product quality. 2006 and 2007 was much better in my view. But still, Klein is great sport in a magnificent atmosphere – maybe my favourite restaurant in this respect!
    Happy eating

  3. Thanks for sharing your meal in Auberge. I did see the “sandre” on the menu, but it is not my favorite fish ( i don’t like so much river and lake fishes for their strong taste), so i skipped it. The dish in your picture looks wonderful though. The veal looks also very nice.

    To Ulterior Epicure

    Last week i was in Au Crocodile and it was also quite disappointing.(I would give them one star maximum) So i agree with you that the only “worth travelling to” restaurant in Strasbourg region is L’Arnsbourg.

  4. Aiste – the sandre is by far the least strong sweet water fish and I tend to not order it as it is rather a commodity these days and not treated well. This one was different though:-)

    Jung at Crocodile is very old school indeed. Rightly he was stripped from his stars over the years! Have you been to Buerehiesl after Westermann jun. has taken over?

    Indeed Klein is very very good but I found him less outstanding compared to the Wissler, Amador or Bau as they really closed a gap here in the last year. And, as I have written elsewhere the dramaturgy of the menu is somehow repetitive…

  5. Luxeat – yes I have, but not recently. My visit in Oct 07 was just before the third star and Lumpp was not cooking at three star level back then. When he stayed classic it was very good, the more modern (in terms of flavours) dishes failed. It seem like the whole restaurant was under immense pressure to get the third star.

    From what I hear it has improved, Lumpp has freed himself from the pressure and now seems solid three star cooking, yet quite classic french. I will return if I am in the area but not on purpose solely for Lumpp – maybe a combination of Wohlfahrt and Lumpp, hm… Need to think about that…

  6. Great review, great pictures, great blog.

    I visited the restaurant in October 2007 and was truly disappointed. The service was average, the food more 1 star than 3 stars. The close by hotel on the other hand was worth the trip alone. Beautiful.

    Always enjoy reading your blog.

    • You are right – the funny thing is that I was remembering snails not frog’s legs when I wrote the report so didn’t even think about the name on the printed menu – happens when who write a report on a meal some months ago;-) Good catch – thanks.

  7. Pingback: Maison Troisgros « High-End Food

  8. IFS- you seem to have visited all the high end places around Baden/Strasbourg. What can you recommend for up to date reviews of all options? I have a summer trip coming up and only have time for one big meal. Thinking that should be l’Arnsbourg based on what I’m reading, but not convinced. thanks for any suggestions

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