Have you ever been to an Italian Restaurant? You did. Let me ask you the question once more? Have you ever been to an excellent Italian Restaurant in Germany? You didn't. Ok then. Here is my story I hope that you will find interesting.
We had an appointment with a reputable big German contractor company. They were big, big, very big company in the long past, but due to inability they could not meet with new world order, they were supposed to get smaller at this time. We had partners whom worked in the same company in the past as site constructors, then decided to leave the company and started to work as subcontractors for the same big company at site activities.
Meeting was at 10 o'clock in the morning. We got train, fast efficient European train from Vienna, to Stuttgard one day earlier, spend that night in Hotel Ibis in downtown Stuttgard. Our colleagues came to breakfast. We had our strong breakfast as usual, in Hotel Ibis together with our local partners. Our local partners were from rural east Turkey, however they were born and educated in the efficient German system. Although it is apparent that they are not German, but they were more German than anyone on the street, fluent German language, a reputable engineering degree from German high education system.
We arrived to the offices in Heidelberg. That big big company was in one floor. Other floors were rented to new technologies. We were invited to a small office. Gentlemen who accepted us to meet in his office could not speak English. His superior joined us. He could not speak English either. Neither his staff. Our local partners could speak, but no way. You could never make business if you can not speak the same language. It is English, French, Russian, Swahili, whatever, but you should speak the same language direct and without assistance of any interpreter.
We concluded our meeting with no result. Either they will learn English, or we should make more practises in German. I can speak German, but that is only survival German. I have a few survival words and expressions in German, to ask road, to make shopping, to answer customs officers, to reserve a room in a hotel.
Since our meeting has ended with some sour feelings, they could not invite us to their company canteen for short and obviously cheap lunch. Anyhow that is also an indication of their purchasing power in the company.
We left the company head office. We were in Neustadt, wine country of Germany. It was about 14 hours in the afternoon. You may know or you may not know, restaurants are closed in Germany between 14 and 17 hours.
Our colleagues said, "Let us go to an Italian restaurant. They know us. They serve us now even at this inconvenient time". So we went to city centre, Altstadt, and walked down to the restaurant. It was " Italienishe Restaurant, AMBIENTE" with pizza, pasta, steak, and salad, all with Italian wine. We entered the restaurant. We were saluted with "Bon Journo" together with smiling faces. We were invited to a long table. All waiters were available for us. No one else in the restaurant. A stiff, strong Italian environment all around. Italian pictures, Roma Colosseum, Florence Ufficci, Milano Doumo, a low volume Italian opera at the background, LaBohema by Puccini. We got menus. All items were in Italian language.
We chose pasta to start, then salad, then an Italian steak. We chose dry, dense, dark red, Chianti classico wine, and then Grappa liquor. Then expresso with no sugar. We had wonderful Italian lunch. I said "Gracia Mille"- thank you, and they were responding "Prego" -you're welcome.
We were very happy with lunch, hospitality and environment. We ended our lunch. Thanked in Italian again to the owner of the restaurant, and we were about to leave.
Owner of the restaurant leaned on my ear and asked in stiff eastern local dialect of Turkish,
"Sir where do you come from?"
He is son of an immigrant from the east end of Asia Minor, born and raised in Germany, started as an apprentice in this restaurant in early 1970s, worked for the original Italian owner for last 30 years. When Italian owner decided to go home at retirement age, he received the ownership of the restaurant since then. That is the best Italian restaurant in the city. Ambiente im Herzstuk von Neustadt, Germany.