It was one of those nights. Gasthof Hackteufel and Zum Roten Oxen. One of those nights that keeps me coming back to Europe.

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Nearby table at Hackteufel

Gastho Hackteufel, an inn with 20 guestrooms, is a longtime Gemütlichkeit favorite whose cozy restaurant serves plentiful and traditional meals. You won't go wrong here.

That's our own advice from a 1995 review in our paid subscription publication, Gemütlichkeit, The Travel Newsletter for Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Seventeen years later it's still right-on. We returned tonight to Hackteufel and found it little changed from our last visit. The moment we walked through the door a young server approached with a smile and a questioning 'table for two?' look on her face. Almost instantly we were looking at menus and two beers. This is not Michelin cuisine but still hearty, tasty stuff served by friendly people in a wonderful room. Hackteufel, steps from Heidelberg's historic bridge across the Neckar, is still a strong recommendation as both a restaurant and hotel.

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Past customer

Zum Roten Oxen is a famed tavern frequented by Heidelberg students for nearly 600-hundred years. We came here Saturday night for a final beer after our dinner at Hackteufel and wound up staying until the piano player's encore, Let It Be, sung in English by the almost all-German patrons. There's hardly space on Roten Oxen's chalkboard ceilings for even one more scrawl, and the imprint of hundreds-of-years-old carved initials on elbows propped up on a Zum Roten Oxen table, makes for a rather powerful sense of history. Touristy, yes, but this is can't miss.