Otto & Anita’s – Bavarian in Multnomah Village

We love us some schnitzel and spaetzle. We had Otto & Anita’s Schnitzel House on our radar for a long time, but never could quite make it to Multnomah Village to try it. Finally, we both were working on Pill Hill on a Friday, the traffic back to Vancouver was insane, and as we mulled our options we remembered Otto & Anita’s.

Otto and Anita's Atrium
Otto and Anita’s Atrium

They have been slinging schnitzel here for decades. But they are at an odd corner and are easy to overlook. Everything is handmade with their own recipes, and very much old-school. Great, that’s the way we like German food. I’ve tried to like the schmancy Gruner but it just doesn’t satisfy like Rheinlander/Gustav’s.

The decor at O&A is a simple diner, with murals on the walls. A table full of pastries and cookies you can buy to take home greets you in the atrium. The place is cellar-like, which is well-suited to German food for me.

Otto & Anita's sauerbrauten
Otto & Anita’s sauerbrauten

We started off with a good house Riesling from the Mosel, one of our favorite places on earth. They also have beer, but there was no beer menu to choose from. Immediately, fresh hot house-made rolls arrived. I’ve missed the disappearance of bread service from the Portland food scene. Not only was this welcome, they were super rolls and the whipped butter went well on them. Bread and wine on the table, I’m super happy.

Otto & Anita's famous pickle soup
Otto & Anita’s famous pickle soup

Our server spelled out the specials and we chose two that are probably often offered, as the Swiss Chicken appears on their banquet/party menu. It’s a chicken schitzel topped with a cheese fondue sauce and red wine sauce. I had the tri-tip sauerbrauten. It was very good. I’ve had some that was too sour at other places. This rendition allowed the spices to come through, and the sauce was tasty. The spaetzle was soft and flavorful. I really enjoyed the red cabbage, spinach, and cooked carrots as sides.

No review of Otto and Anita’s will omit the dill pickle soup. It was super. It’s a cream soup with onions and dill pickle. They have the recipe for you on cards at the table and on their web site.

I could easily stop in just for soup and bread and be a very happy Bavarian. We didn’t have room for dessert, much to our regret. Next time — soup, bread, wine or beer and dessert.

If you’re looking for homestyle Bavarian food, this is a satisfying stop for lunch or dinner. I would still give the nod to Rheinlander/Gustavs, as they are more convenient for me and their fondue would be my choice as a last meal. In fact, I have it at the airport location before any big trip, just in case the plane goes down.

Mediterranean Exploration Company

Mediterranean Exploration Company
Mediterranean Exploration Company

I had a fantastic preview dinner at John Gorham’s Mediterranean Exploration Company. They have their soft opening next week, starting July 16. Go. Bring friends so you can sample as many dishes as possible. I was really pleased to learn that they will be taking reservations. I’m just not an easy-breezy person who can plan for friends to arrive from all points of the city and not get a seat for two hours. Much as I love Gorham’s Toro Bravo, that keeps me from going back. And I’ve completely written off ever going to Ox.

The food – read my review at Examiner.com, with lots of photos. It’s hard to choose a favorite dish. But if they end up on the menu, don’t miss the radicchio, lamb ragu and lamb chop. Order the bread. Order lots of the bread to sop up the great sauces.

It will also be a very noisy place, so don’t plan any intimate conversations. You will be yelling in each others’ ears rather than whispering sweet nothings. But much as I prefer a quieter setting, I will happily endure this for the fantastic food at MEC.

Review and Photos