Bei Otto (official website) is a German institution in the heart of Bangkok. If you’re a fan of German cuisine you’ve probably heard of it. Mr. Otto Duffner opened this small restaurant in 1984. After 35 years it’s evolved to a large Black Forest getaway for diners and beer hall enthusiasts with an onsite bakery and deli shop.
Under new management since August, 2017, their new chef has recently revamped their menu to focus on traditional Bavarian cuisine. The new owner has redesigned the restaurant to make it feel more like a Bavarian pub.
But let me get straight to the food so I can show you what these changes look like!
Off to a great start(er)!
A quick word of warning, if you visit Bei Otto, go HUNGRY. The portions are “traditional size“. This means the portions are meant for someone who’s been working hard all day, needs the calories, and will be burning them off. Throw any diet plans out the window. These meat and cheese starters were meant to be shared for 2 persons. It was plenty for 4 of us!
A meat feast!
A serious cheese platter…
Again these portions are meant for sharing. The more people you have, the merrier you will be!
Time for soups…
Deftige Gulaschsuppe (225 baht) is a hearty goulash soup. Now don’t you judge me but this was an awakening for me. In America my mother always made goulash with macaroni pasta in it so this was very different for me. I’m sorry, Momma, but I really like this version. This soup is very thick, filled with chunks of tender braised beef, with a herbal rich broth that has a bit of smokiness from the smoked paprika in it. Yum!
The Kartoffel Suppe (200 baht) is a delicious potato and leek soup with crispy diced bacon, served in rye bread bowl. The soup itself is tasty but what I really enjoyed was this rye bread bowl. The bread has a nice chew and since it’s thick the soup doesn’t make it soggy. If you ate both this would be a meal in itself!
Now we’re talking!
I love spätzle. Theirs are seasoned with a hint of nutmeg. No delicious pasta strand was wasted in the making of this review…
Braised is good…
At Bei Otto you simply can’t go wrong ordering any of the braised dishes. There’s a lot of care and tradition that goes into the making. As an example, the meat in their Sauerbraten (450 baht) dish undergoes a full week of marination in vinegar, red wine, veggies, and herbs.
The result is a very tender, intensely flavorful dish that is accompanied with a homemade red cabbage that compliments the sourness of the sauce with pure sweetness. The large bread dumpling is perfect for mopping up that sauce!
A new menu item!
The new owner invested a lot in the new design of the restaurant. But one great investment they made was in purchasing an outside rotisserie oven. Customers can witness these yard birds slowly rotating for 1 1/2 hours until they are grilled to perfect color, texture, and juiciness. The 1/2 Grilled Chicken with Potato Salad (380 baht) dish is simple but oh so tasty!
Their are several options for the potato salad. We had the Bavarian style which was light, sweet, and complimented the juicy well seasoned chicken nicely. Currently this dish is only available after 6 pm for dinner, but in November there are plans to make it available for lunch patrons, too.
A seasonal treat!
Bei Otto has a changing seasonal menu of chef recommended dishes that use ingredients that are only available for a limited time. The Wildschwein-Schulter (1,095 baht) dish is on the pricier scale of what I’m used to, but what a treat! The dish consists of a generous portion of imported braised wild boar shoulder in a rich gravy.
Like the Sauerbraten dish, it also comes with the homemade red cabbage and a bread dumpling (though you can also substitute for a potato dumpling). If you want to pamper yourself with an amazing meal I recommend this dish while it lasts!
Save room for dessert…
One of the benefits of having an onsite bakery is you can get fresh German desserts and pastries. This Black Forest Cherry Cake (150 baht) is a great dessert that’s very rarely seen on menus in Bangkok. If you’re a fan of juicy plump cherries you won’t be disappointed with this cake.
My personal favorite dessert was the Apple Strudel with Ice Cream and Vanilla Sauce (225 baht). This dessert is made by hand from layered crepes which are layered with fillings of apple slices, raisons, almonds, cinnamon, and dusted with powdered sugar. If you’ve had a heavy meal, and odds are you have, enjoy this with a strong coffee!
Speaking of drinks…
You may have noticed in many of the food pictures in the article that there were also beers in the background. Bei Otto is a German restaurant so it shouldn’t surprise you that beer is a staple beverage with these heavy dishes.
What is surprising though is that Bei Otto offers on draft 3 types of Munich’s famous Hofbräu beers on tap (.3L for 160 baht, .5L for 240 baht, and the impressive 1L glasses for 460 baht) as well as Warsteiner Premium Pils (.3L for 170 baht and .5L for 240 baht). For the budget conscious they offer Singha draft beers (.3L for 110 baht and .5 for 160 baht). This is a safe place. You will not be judged.
They also offer several different bottled beers, wines, and spirits on their menu. I highly recommend finishing off the meal with a nice shot of schnaps!
A chat with the manager…
My visit to Bei Otto was at the invitation of General Manager, Horst Wiezorrek. He was looking for ways to get the word out about what the new Bei Otto had to offer, especially their new traditional menu from their new chef. I was honored to be invited.
Horst has been living in Bangkok for 12 years. During that time he was an avid patron of Bei Otto. After the founder retired and the new owner was looking for a new manager, Horst was thrilled to take the position in January, 2018.
It was important to Horst that Bei Otto retain its history. Here history covers the walls. Rows and rows of pictures of happy customers decorate the walls along with Black Forest decorum that transports patrons to Germany for their dining experience.
Even I can afford free…
A new addition to the restaurant is a Bavarian themed event room with a private audio system. Amazingly this space is available as a venue for private parties and public events for the low low price of FREE. Guests simply pay for what they eat and drink from the restaurant. So if you’re in the market for a venue this works for ANY budget.
Their contact information is here.
A beer garden that feels like Germany…
Horst is happy with how the outside seating area has been transformed into a festive beer garden. In rainy weather they have a large canopy that can cover the entire area.
And if you’re partial to Munich there’s a little hideaway outside where you can enjoy your sausages and beer (and watch chicken being cooked to perfection!).
Speaking of sausages…
One thing that Horst is proud of are the events that Bei Otto hosts for its customers. Every first Sunday of they month they have a “Bavarian Morning Menu”. The menu is filled with white Bavarian sausage dishes the most popular being a dish which is just sausages, a big pretzel, and mustard. I’ve marked my calendar.
Check out this YouTube clip for more info (and a how to guide for eating the sausages….
You can also check out their Facebook page to see what special events they have planned. I will be anxiously awaiting their announcement for Oktoberfest.
A chat with the new chef…
Chef Pierro is Bei Otto’s newest chef. Born in a small town near Munich he spent 14 years working his way to the Executive Chef level in Munich. During a trip to Thailand he fell in love with Bangkok and was looking for opportunities so that he could stay. It was a happy coincidence that Bei Otto just so happened to be looking for a new chef. Chef Pierro took the reigns in September, 2017.
Chef Pierro considers himself a traditionalist in the kitchen. He is passionate about bringing truly authentic Bavarian flavors to the table. His theory is that many of the customers that frequent Bei Otto come “when they miss something from home.” Chef Pierro prides in overseeing a kitchen that keeps with the traditional ways of cooking and preparation so that that taste of home is consistently delivered.
It takes a team…
Chef Pierro is very proud of the new menu he’s crafted for Bei Otto. He’s also very humble and recognizes that the success of the kitchen is shared with the entire team. The whole staff is hardworking and cheerful. It’s probably why they’ve been able to retain some members for such a long time. As an example, pictured next to Chef Pierro is Khun Banjha who has been with Bei Otto since it opened its doors in 1984.
If good food is made with love then you’re in for a treat because they love cooking it!
I’m hungry! Where is it?
Bei Otto is house #1 on Sukhumvit Soi 20. It’s not the first house on the soi. But it used to be…35 years ago. Regardless, in Bangkok it retains the original address which is a funny quirk when navigating around this city.
It’s an easy walking distance from the Asok BTS or the Sukhumvit MRT station.
If you go I’d love to hear your feedback!
WAIT!!!! There’s more…
As I mentioned earlier in the article, Bei Otto also operates a delicatessen shop filled with daily baked goods, meats, wines, spirits, beers, candies, and other German imported goods. After a visit you should check it out. Or if you don’t have time to dine pop in to shop.
All the ingredients to make the bread come from Germany with one exception, some of the malt bread contains fresh malt grains from a local brewer. If you want German style baked goods this is the place for you.
They’ve also got a nice selection of candies, meats, and cheeses.
This is now my one stop shop for sandwich meats! It’s a little more pricey than what you’d get at a 7-11 but far cheaper than a Gourmet Market deli, and I’ve tried these meats on their starter platter. It’s amazing!