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In Bavarian style Leavenworth, the hotels look very different on the outside, but are much the same on the inside.

Restaurants vary from Bavarian themed to regular 'normal' style, and even the McDonalds has Bavarian motifs on its exterior.

 
 
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Leavenworth, WA - Where to Stay and Eat

Plenty of Bavarian - and normal - choices
 

Leavenworth's Bavarian theme extends to its food offerings, with a number of German style restaurants, as well as most other types of restaurant too.

You don't have to dress up in lederhosen and trachten to be served, but it might help!

Part two of a three part series on Leavenworth, and part of a larger general series on traveling around the Pacific Northwest.  See the links on the right hand side for other parts of this series.

Also see our article on Wine Trails and Tasting in the Leavenworth area.

 

 

Although Leavenworth is focused primarily on tourism these days, due to its small size, there's not a lot of choices when it comes to finding somewhere to stay, and a reasonable number rather than a vast number of eating alternatives.

Both places to stay and places to eat will fill up during peak festival times.  It pays to book your accommodation well in advance of traveling, and perhaps to reserve tables for dinner when in town.

 

Where to Stay in Leavenworth

You have several different styles of accommodation to choose from in Leavenworth.  Choose from regular type hotels (although nothing reaching up to five stars), a couple of resort type facilities, motels, bed and breakfasts, and home rentals where you can rent an entire house for your stay.

Timing Issues

Leavenworth is usually very quiet mid-week, and variously moderately full or very full at weekends depending on if there's a special festival on or not.

If you're staying for more than one night mid-week, you might want to try and negotiate a special two night rate, because the chances are, wherever you choose to stay will be very pleased to have your business.

And if you're traveling at a busy time of year, be sure to reserve in advance, and recognize that at these times, there is often a two or sometimes even a three night minimum stay requirement.

Location

There are a couple of things to consider when making your choice.  The first might seem obvious - location.  Do you want to be able to walk to downtown or are you okay with driving there?  Parking downtown can be difficult during festivals, so if you are going during a busy festival, you might want to try and find a location close to downtown; but if you're going at a quieter time, you'll have little or no problem parking downtown.

Another aspect of location is view.  Do you want a place with a view?  There are three things you might want to have a view of around Leavenworth - the mountains, the river, or the town itself.  Some people take the point of view that they spend little daylight time in their hotel room and so they don't think it worth spending extra for a nice view.  But if you're willing to pay a bit more, you might want to screen your accommodation choices against the type of view you'll have from your windows.

Air-conditioning

If you're visiting in the summer months, air conditioning is almost a must-have essential.  With temperatures reaching up into the 90s and sometimes beyond, you'll want to be sure you can keep your inside environment at a comfortable temperature.

This is particularly an issue in B&B and home rentals, not so much an issue in the regular hotel style accommodation.

Noise Issues

The idea of having a room right on and overlooking Leavenworth's main street might be appealing, but you'll run the risk of being troubled by street noises.

And if you're staying at one of the larger hotels on Highway 2, rooms overlooking the highway may also have noise issues.

If you're troubled by noise, you might want to ask the place you're choosing for a room on the quiet side.

My favorite place to stay in Leavenworth

Without a doubt, it has to be Mountain Home Lodge.

If you're wanting a lovely relaxing retreat, you actually need to travel slightly out of Leavenworth itself, and head up into the hills above the town.  Mountain Home Lodge is a wonderful resort about 3 miles out of Leavenworth, with an idyllic setting, wonderful food, and friendly excellent service.

The resort offers a range of different activities, including snowmobiling in the winter.  It is easy enough to drive to the lodge during summer, but in winter, most people will choose to leave their car at the bottom of the mountain and be driven up in a Snowcat or other vehicle by Mountain Home Lodge staff (often you'll find the driver is none other than Brad, the owner, himself).

A highly recommended getaway that you're sure to enjoy.

Another resort style lodge

Mountain Springs Lodge has a name only slightly different to Mountain Home Lodge, and offers a vaguely similar outdoor/natural lifestyle experience.  But whereas Mountain Home Lodge is definitely a five star location, Mountain Springs is probably a star lower, and because it is more on the flat, it lacks the gorgeous views that can be had from around Mountain Home Lodge.

However, just because it is not quite up to the standard of Mountain Home Lodge, don't reject Mountain Springs Lodge out of hand.  It too has a lot of delightful charm and ambience, and is worth considering.

A Genteel Resort

With the slightly imposing name of 'Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat', this is a lovely resort that is heavily oriented to green principles - for example, (and while not strictly speaking, green) the resort boasts, on its website 'You'll not find televisions, refrigerators or stocked bars in the rooms' and it explains its choice of coffee served by saying 'This brand was selected for its Fair Trade practices and its shade-growing methods that protect the rainforest and the habitat of migratory birds'.  I'd say the chances are close to 100% that it also has signs in the bathrooms asking guests to reuse their towels so as to save the environment.

But, all joking aside, it is a sensitively built and well cared for resort, and gives yet another type of resort experience, located about 4 miles out of town.

Regular Hotels

The three largest hotels in Leavenworth are the Enzian Inn, Icicle Inn Resort, and Quality Inn and Suites.  They are all located within walking distance of the town center, with the Icicle Inn being the furthest out.

City Center Hotels

The Bavarian Lodge is located directly over the road from the main street in Leavenworth, and so offers the best views of the Bavarian style architecture.

Hotel-Pension Anna is just around the corner from the main street.

The Bavarian Ritz is on the west end of the main street, and the Hotel Edelweiss is in the very center of the main street, overlooking the park on the other side of the road.

Camp Grounds and RV Parks

Maybe you're driving to Leavenworth in an RV or in some other way wish to camp rather than stay in regular style accommodation.

Leavenworth offers a wide range of campgrounds and RV parks within not many miles of town, in a range of appealing settings.  A good resource is the Leavenworth Ranger Station on Hwy 2 in the town; they can be phoned on (509)548-6977.

More Accommodation Choices

Perhaps the best list of Leavenworth accommodation choices, including B&Bs and home rentals, is on the city's Chamber of Commerce website.

Where to Eat in Leavenworth

Most restaurants in Leavenworth are 'middle of the road' in terms of food quality, service, and price.  And - a word of warning - we're not currently aware of any restaurant that accepts new diners after 9pm.  Things close up early in Leavenworth, and you'll want to make sure you're in a restaurant by 9pm accordingly.

On a weekday night, there's seldom any need to book a table, but on Saturdays and sometimes Fridays and Sundays too, you should consider calling ahead, especially if it is a festival weekend with lots of extra people in town.

The most common style of cuisine in Leavenworth is more or less German, with sausages, various types of cabbage (kraut), pork hocks, apple strudel and other food items usually associated with Germany being offered, many times on menus that also have some 'American' items available too.

Here is an alphabetical list of restaurants we've eaten in, and some quick comments about each.  Our three picks for 'best' restaurant in Leavenworth would be Caf Mozart, Caf Christa, and Viscontis.

Alley Cafe

8th St and The Alley; (509)548-6109
A local resident described this as the most romantic restaurant in town, so we went hoping for great things.  We were disappointed.

It is undoubtedly the most pretentious restaurant in town, but the food was disappointing and the service also pretentious but not particularly good.

They provide primarily Italian type food, along with less Italian items such as 'barbequed' ribs (I doubt they ever saw a barbeque and definitely they never saw a smoker), steaks, chicken and fish.  Prices are moderately high.  And not withstanding their claim to carry 'many domestic and foreign beers for your enjoyment' I count a total of only six very disappointing beers.

Cafe Christa or Cafe Mozart both strike us as being considerably more romantic.

Andreas Keller

829 Front St (down in the basement); (509)548-6000
Usually have live music most nights (ie at least an accordion player). Reasonably good food, reasonable prices, friendly staff and nice atmosphere.  Recommended.

Baren Haus

208 9th St (on the corner of Front St); (509)548-4535

I've visited this place three times, each with disappointing results - indeed, on one occasion, after waiting patiently to be seated in a half empty restaurant while servers all ignored me for over five minutes, I simply left.  The other two times were notable also for poor/slow service, and disappointing food, insufficiently cooked (it was cold not hot).  Not recommended.

Caf Christa

801 Front St (upstairs); (509)548-5074
Almost as good as Caf Mozart.  Has a wide range of German type sausages at this restaurant.

Caf Mozart

829 Front St (upstairs above Andreas Keller); (509)548-0600
One of the better ‘white tablecloth’ restaurants in the town. Better food and more gentile atmosphere (eg harp music rather than accordion music).  Owners are related to the people who own Andreas Keller, which is immediately below.  Recommended.

Country Boys Barbeque

400 Aplets Way, Cashmere; (509)782-7427
Located in the next town east of Leavenworth, this is the closest barbeque/smoked meats place you'll find in the area.  Fair to average barbeque food.

Dragonfly

633A Front St; (509)548-7600
Now closed.

Ducks & Drakes Restaurant and Lounge

633 Front St; (509)548-0270
An unpretentious bar and grill with unpretentious food and service.  I like it primarily because it has a good range of micro-brew beers – and after a few of those, who really cares about the food any more!

As a measure of the part of the market it is aiming at, they even have a pool table in the large open area combination lounge/bar/restaurant.

Gustav's

617 Hwy 2; (509)548-4509
This is located on the west end of town, and is a very ordinary restaurant with very ordinary food that almost universally disappoints.  However, they have a good range of beers - 25 or so on tap at any one time, so beer drinkers might choose to visit for the drink and stay for the food.

Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant

220 9th St; (509)548-2230
Note this is inside a small mall, and not visible from the street.  Your standard type Chinese restaurant with typical Chinese food items on its menu.  They boast no MSG use, however, and can also help with Gluten free dietary requirements.

The man who always seems to be the lead server there is an erudite and friendly gentleman, and while the food isn't distinctively great, neither is there anything wrong with it, so if you're wanting some Chinese while in Leavenworth, you can go here with confidence.

Katz Chop House

921 Front St; (509)548-6625
Best known for their Schweinhaxen (bet I didn’t spell that correctly!).  If ordering this dish - perhaps easier said by its English name, 'pork hocks', you should probably request a small sized one - they are sold by the pound, and the big ones are huge and much bigger than most people can eat.

King Ludwig’s

921 Front St; (509)548-6625
Best known for their Schweinhaxen (bet I didn’t spell that correctly!).  If ordering this dish - perhaps easier said by its English name, 'pork hocks', you should probably request a small sized one - they are sold by the pound, and the big ones are huge and much bigger than most people can eat.

Kristall’s

280 Hwy 2; (509)548-5267
Very ordinary generic diner type food and atmosphere. Eat there as a last resort, which is sometimes the case though as it is out of the CBD and sometimes may be open a bit later than other places.

Los Comperos

200 8th St; (509)548-3314
This is the other Mexican restaurant in town, set slightly down a side street from the main street (Front St) and above the Alley Cafe.

There's a nice rooftop patio for good weather dining.  Their guacamole was definitely better than that offered at South (ie no sour cream in it) although a bit suspiciously dark as if it had been made not as recently as one would hope for.  Lunchtime portions were disappointingly small, but tasty, making us definitely wish the portions were more generous.

Another improvement over South is that they do use a blender when mixing Margaritas and other drinks.  Drinks (and food too) were reasonably priced, and service was satisfactory too.

Their menu has traditional Mexican food with nothing original or unusual, whereas South has more innovative cuisine.  But the food offered at Los Comperos is traditional US/Mexican type food, and its similarity and standardness to that offered at many other Mexican restaurants around the country mean that while there'll be no special good surprises, there are unlikely to be any bad ones either.

Mountain Home Lodge

8201 Mountain Home Rd; (509)548-7077
Located  up Mountain Home Rd perhaps three miles from town, on the left, and not accessible by regular car in the winter. If you're not staying at the resort, the least you can do is treat yourself to a meal there.

The Lodge will accept outside diners, but ask for at least 24 hours notice.  Don't just turn up - sometimes the resort is full with a private group, and so doesn't accept other guests at all.

Mountain Springs Lodge

19115 Chiwawa Loop Rd; (509)763-2713
This place is almost 15 miles out of town, but can be easily driven to as it is mainly on flat level road.  They offer a variety of interesting activities in both summer and winter, plus evening dining, including outdoor barbeques in summer.  Probably not worth making a special drive just for a meal, but if you're thinking of going there anyway, why not stay for dinner, too.

O'Grady's Pantry

Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat, 7375 Icicle Rd; (509)548-6344
This place is open for breakfasts and lunches, and offers a range of healthy seeming salads, soups and sandwiches.

Good food and a nice change of pace.  It is about 4 miles out of town though so you'd need to drive there.  A level road that is open year round takes you there.

Pavz

833 Front St; (509)548-2103
This place offers a range of filled crepes; both sweet and savory.  Makes a nice change if you’re wanting something lighter than German sausage, or if you’re seeking a snack during the day.  They have two dining rooms, one looking out on the street and a second one back down a hallway a bit, so don't give up if you see the street-facing dining area full.  There might still be room in the rear dining room.

But, be warned - our last eating experience there (Sept 2010) had extremely disappointing food, with the crepes barely warm rather than freshly hot.

Soup Cellar

815 Front St (downstairs in basement); (509)548-6300
This place turns diners over at a very rapid rate, so don’t be alarmed if there’s a queue stretching up the stairs and onto the street. Very basic food, and disappointing soups. We’ve sometimes lunched there; have never tried a dinner.

South

913 Front St; (509)888-HEAT (888-4328)
South opened in June 2007.  We first visited in September 2007, and the staff were still using the 'we're new' excuse for basic shortfalls, and indeed the experience did need some explaining/excusing.  Food was average to disappointing - particularly disappointing was their guacamole which seemed to have way too much sour cream as an ingredient, something that most guacamole purists would disapprove of.  However, the most original excuse would be the one used to explain why they had no 'frozen' drinks (ie made with ice in a blender).  The reason for not offering, eg, frozen margaritas (surely de rigeur in a Mexican restaurant) was 'the noise of a blender would be too loud'.  Prices were moderately expensive, with ordinary drinks costing up to $11, and dinner for four costing pennies under $100 (plus tip).

A polite request in 2008 by the owners to re-evaluate their restaurant saw us returning in August 08.  Things were very much improved, although they still did not offer blended drinks, with the added explanation now that blended drinks are not truly Mexican.  Of course, not much in a 'Mexican' restaurant on our side of the border is truly Mexican.  On the other hand, they do have 32 different types of tequila on their drinks list, more than enough to truly establish South's Mexican bona fides.

The menu included the usual Mexican things, plus, as an acknowledgement to Bavarian themed Leavenworth, they offer German sausages and fries, and for people with unadventurous appetites, burgers.

I tried the guacamole again - now greatly improved (on a third visit, subsequently, it was again back to an anemic mix of sour cream and avocado).  But be careful if ordering 'mild' sauce with chips - my 'mild' sauce had some chili pepper seeds and one got stuck in my throat; quite a memorable experience.  As well as regular corn chips, they also offer flour chips which seemed to be the preferred favorite among the four of us at the table.

My favorite on the menu were the dishes with Oaxacan Black Mole - a perfectly tangy and chocolatey mole.  Their 'drunken beans' - pinto bean allegedly soaked or cooked in whiskey - were also pleasant, but not too strongly whiskeyish.  A Plato Cubano featured fried plantains for a different style of entree.  And the rice was 'green' rice rather than regular white or Mexican style rice.

All in all, an interesting and imaginative range of food choices, and a much better experience than the first time.  I'm glad to have returned, and will do so again.

Tumwater Inn

219 9th St; (509)548-4232
A friend and I went there one night for drinks and dinner.  We went first to their bar, which was dark, unfriendly, and largely empty.  To my astonishment, the woman working in the bar insisted on seeing our ID before she'd serve us a beer - I'm, ahem, about 50 and my friend was about 40.  We were reasonably well dressed and completely sober but the barmaid refused to serve us if we didn't show official ID proving we were over 21.

She agree we looked over 21, but their policy is that everyone, of any age, will be carded, as was confirmed by an elderly couple in the bar who had also been carded.

We left rather than give in to this mini-tyrant and urge you to stay well away from this unfriendly place as well.  No wonder the place looked close to empty - we'd have thought they'd have eagerly welcomed us and our business rather than turning us away with their unfriendly and uncalled for officiousness.

Uncle Uli’s

corner of 9th & Front Sts; (509)548-7262
It is a while since I last ate here, and I remember being disappointed the few times I have eaten there. In Jan 2006 I decided to give them another try, only to discover signs on their windows proclaiming they don’t take credit cards any more.

A restaurant that doesn’t take credit cards? We turned around and left.

Visconti’s

636 Front Street; (509)548-1213
Formerly the Leavenworth Brewery, but now there’s no remaining trace of the former brewery (sigh). A very good white tablecloth type restaurant with an emphasis on Italian cuisine, offering good food and wine has replaced the brewery, though – progress is a funny thing, isn’t it.

Read more in Parts 1 and 3

Be sure to read the information about Leavenworth in general and what to see and do in Leavenworth, too.  Also see our article on Wine Trails and Tasting in the Leavenworth area.

 

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Originally published 8 Jun 2007, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
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