Belle Époque Vibes at Hotel du Parc in Thann

I don’t often review the restaurant of my travel accommodation, as it’s actually quite rare for me not to venture out for dinner, wherever I’m staying. But after a 30-minute nap that accidentally turned into a 2-hour snooze at the Hotel du Parc in Thann, nothing in the quaint Alsatian town seemed open to take reservations. So, I slapped on some lipstick and rushed down to reception around 9 pm to ask whether it would be possible to accommodate two more for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Following a long, cold day of sight-seeing in Riquewihr and Colmar, we were craving something hearty and warm. The maître growled something under his breath about the kitchen getting ready to close, but then showed us to our table in a room surprisingly packed with guests. As we quickly ordered wine and nodded “yes” to the set dinner menu, we began looking around the lavishly decorated dining room, which I had on first glance deemed quite kitsch, but which I was slowly realizing was actually an authentic late 19th century look with serious Wes Anderson vibes. Textured floral wallpaper, an ornate royal red rug with gold detail, crystal chandelier and centuries-old paintings in thick frames on the wall… The service was wonderful, the tableware proper, the bread rolls fresh and warm. Ben took the main course and dessert, I chose just the main.

It was a gorgeous dish of sautéed veal and chanterelle mushrooms in a delicious creme sauce, accompanied by fluffy mashed potatoes and a “fantaisie” of vegetables, among them finely diced red and yellow peppers, onion and zucchini. The meat, first of all, was perfectly cooked and tender without the chewy bits that so often ruin good bites of carelessly handled veal. The chanterelles were also wonderfully tender but still with a bounce, offering plenty of earthy flavor to the meat and to the smooth sauce coating the latter. The mashed were great – not too starchy, but buttery, smooth and served at the right temperature (still warm, often not the case at restaurants). The diced veg added a nice texture, as did the single plump cherry tomato on the side of the plate. This was one of those dishes which brought it all together – color, texture, flavor, ingredient quality and portioning – to create something truly satisfying, especially paired with a chilled glass of Alsatian Pinot Noir. Definitely more than I was expecting from a last-minute desperation-booking at the hotel restaurant.

With dinner I also enjoyed the Roger Kuehn Cremant d’Alsace, whose fresh white fruit notes were balanced by a creamy, toasty, buttery character.

For those doing the Alsace Wine Route, I highly recommend one night at Hotel du Parc (maybe towards the end of the trip, if you’re starting in Strasbourg). The hotel itself is a historical building with a gorgeous yellow and white facade and a beautifully decorated interior. During the summertime, there is also an open-air pool available for guests in the back, along with the spa + sauna situation available year round. I particularly recommend taking a break from the fervent TripAdvisor-ing to find the #bestchoucrouteofalsace and to spend at least one evening enjoying the convenience of a dinner at the hotel restaurant. Breakfast the following morning was equally impressive, taking place in another dining room with views of the leafy green backyard through huge glass windows. The service was fantastic and food options were quite varied, even including a soft boiled egg station and a particularly delicious homemade tarte aux pommes.

We left Hotel du Parc that morning in a very good mood, with plenty of energy to explore the charming town of Thann, nestled in the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mountains.

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