RESTAURANT ETZENRATHER MÜHLE | Gangelt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

It was so out of the way not even our satnav could see it.
It was time to bid Vaals and South Limburg adieu and head on back to Amsterdam in this the end of our week-long holiday road trip. It was goodbye for now to short trips across the border, delicious schnitzel, and German cakes that oddly can’t be found anywhere here in neighboring Netherlands. I wanted to stretch our holiday just a bit longer with a lunch stop along the way preferably further up Limburg just across the border, an interesting-looking 17th century inn, in particular. There are very few such places and I always find it fascinating these still exist, however, this first choice proved to be a bust when we discovered they were only open at dinnertime. Why they don’t state this in their website is a mystery – but my plan B, a family-run half-millennium old mill turned restaurant, even more mysteriously had an address that couldn’t be located by our in-car navigation. I could, luckily, get directions on my phone so after calling them to see if a table was available, off we went to parts yet to be known.
All we could do was follow the lefts and rights that Google maps was saying and once we got off the highway and onto narrow country roads, to the tiny Dutch border-town of Etzenrade, crossed over to the German side and proceeded another 10 meters, there she was, right across a busy parking lot of 9 Dutch cars versus 1 German. Very odd place to have a restaurant and even odder that they were busy, but it was a welcome sight when we found it.

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Intrigued by the menu section called Carlas Happas, where Carla the proprietor had a selection of small plates on offer, I got four dishes from the list and ended up gorging on a tender lamb mini-burger , cheesy mushrooms, juicy sautéed shrimp, and so-so sardines. Along with a glass of wine and Teko’s tuna sandwich and drink, the damage was very polite, meaning it was much lower than what we would have paid for across the border.
And so surrounded by forests and in the middle of nowhere, a highly-regarded, 520-year old former corn mill turned eating establishment not only exuded character, it was a great place for an affordable lunch. It may have been hard to find but this one will be hard to forget.

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