L’Arnsbourg – Back on the Block

I must admit, for me, L’Arnsbourg is a special place. Memories from absolutely stunning meals (I still remember the roasted foie gras with Wakamé tee and lemon structures from 2007), a beautiful interior in a quite remote almost enchanted location and a warm-hearted special, almost family-like service. But, in 2008 I (and several other frequent visitors) had the impression that Jean-Georges Klein did struggle and couldn’t live up to his previous performance. The always delightful blue lobster showed up in rather mediocre quailty and the whole menu dramaturgy (one of the key points in Klein’s cuisine) wasn’t that convincing anymore, coupled with some quite questionable dishes. So, it was time to revisit…


Located in Baerenthal in Alsace, L’Arnsbourg is a family business. Back in 1900 the Arnsbourg was a restaurant and hostel for forestry workers. Klein’s grandmother then turned it into a small boarding house, his mother into a gourmet restaurant winning its first Michelin star in 1989. After Jean-Georges got back from hotel management school he worked about 20 years in the dining room before succeeding his mother at the age of 37(!). Remarkably, he is a self-tought three star chef (since 2002), an autodidact who, very similar to Michel Bras, has found his own way of cooking: innovative, but not technique-obsessed, always interested in creating unique dishes and composing harmonious menus in an opera-like dramaturgy. His sister, Kathy oversees the service brigade and his wife, Nicole, joined them to open the beautiful Hôtel K in 2006, newly built across the street.

Jean-Georges Klein (©Arnsbourg)

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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

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