It may be that it’s the writer in me, the foodie, or perhaps that I’m simply nosey, but I read and review restaurants for hours before going somewhere new and embarking on my trip there. Others play games and watch Til Tok; I read menus and look at pictures of food. That is partly how I created this list of six excellent restaurants in Helen, Georgia, the Bavarian capital of the US.
Muller’s Famous Fried Cheese Cafe
After reading every German-inspired menu in town, Muller’s Famous Fried Cheese Cafe was the one that really stood out to me. Not only did they have German food, but Czech, too, which was a bonus. Having been to these countries and tasting authentic dishes, I couldn’t wait to see how Helen measured up. Quite well, I must say.
Muller’s serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and early dinner, with typical German dishes (schnitzels, brats, and egg noodles) but also these delicious-looking grilled cheese entrees that sound and look mind-blowing. I was well on my way to ordering the French Brie stuffed with Ham, but the Hungarian choices tempted me greater. Pictured here is a 10/10 great marinated beef sirloin with creamy sauerbraten sauce that solidified the perfect dish. The beef is served with Czech bread dumplings and cranberries. I would order this time after time.
Smith Creek Tavern
At the Unicoi State Park & Lodge, the dining is quite impressive, as was our meal from Smith Creek Tavern, one of the two restaurants on the property. We had excellent service, picture-perfect plates, and delicious eats. The Onion Rings Basket is a great starter item, or the Jumbo Bavarian Pretzel (with local beer cheese dip) is a crowd-pleaser, too.
My main course was the Pulled Pork BBQ with fries and coleslaw. The slaw was sweet, chopped fine (just how I like it), and a really good recipe. The pulled pork was a pleasant surprise. It was chunks of slow-cooked, tender meat with just a hint of sauce, not smothered like some places. I loved everything about this meal, and the tea was excellent to wash it all down with.
When you see the prettiest, most photographed building in Helen, you know you have arrived at The Heidelberg. This three-floor German restaurant, pub, and music hall are in the back left corner of the highly visited area. We made our way to the second-floor hostess stand and began our wait for a table. There is indoor and outdoor seating—ask for the first available if you want to get seated sooner.
The menu is vast, so I looked ahead to know what I wanted to order to save time. Jägerschnitzel (pork loin) with red cabbage and spätzle was my lunch order, while my husband chose the Bratwurstteller (pork sausages) with German potato salad and mashed potatoes. Our food took nearly an hour to arrive, but it was delicious. The red cabbage was the best I had on the trip, and the schnitzel was perfectly breaded and fried. You can also order any of the schnitzels grilled instead of fried.
Unicoi State Park & Lodge Restaurant
The second restaurant at Unicoi State Park & Lodge is Unicoi Restaurant, also their main dining room. We had both tasty breakfast and dinners there, served on nice dishes, and prepared with quality ingredients and timely. For breakfast, eggs done your way are correct each time and paired wonderfully with my biscuit and gravy (rich, velvety gravy) and sausage patties.
The burger and fries are quite pleasing for dinner and stacked high with freshly sliced vegetables and pickles. The pizza is pretty good, too, and we had enough leftovers for a midnight snack. Unicoi Restaurant is lovely, with polished woodwork, a stunning stone fireplace, and a comfortable setting.
Hofbrauhaus Restaurant & Pub
You’ll see this Bavarian-style restaurant and its enormous patio as you arrive in downtown Helen, sitting along the Chattahoochee River. The landmark building is painted with lively Alpine village scenes that are a part of the Bavarian culture just by visiting. Hofbrauhaus Restaurant has live music on weekends, traditional German cuisine, and a few other American favorites.
While in Helen, we had to have one of our favorite appetizers—potato pancakes. They come with applesauce and sour cream for the perfect accompaniment. I love them both equally. For lunch, we chose currywurst (single) and the wurst platter, with two sausages and a small sampling of red cabbage, sauerkraut, and German potato salad. The sauerkraut was my favorite part of the plate, and I loved the three choices of dipping sauces for my sausages. Yum!
La Cabana Restaurant
When I felt I’d had all the German food I could hold, we turned to Mexican…everybody’s favorite. La Cabana was truly like the TV show Cheers of Helen. The owners and staff seemed to know everyone who walked in the door about their lives. They interacted like old friends—all of them. And they were equally as friendly and hospitable to us. We were greeted at our table with warm tortilla chips and excellent salsa, which they refilled throughout our meal.
My husband and I shared the Chicken Fajitas for two, which came with all the necessary sides and all passed our seal of approval for tasting great. I was in awe of how fresh and fabulous the freshly diced tomatoes were. The chicken had loads of flavor, too. We can easily see why the town loves this restaurant. And you should taste the margaritas!
La Cabana has two locations and is open seven days a week.
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