We've been in Germany for four years now. I know this because every May around this time, the Ausländerbehörde (the office for registering foreigners) schedules an appointment for us to come in and have our passports re-stamped to certify that we can stay here. In order to celebrate the event this year, we decided to take advantage of the morning off and go out for lunch at OGGI, a Mediterranean restaurant downtown for which I've had a long neglected gift card.
We arrived at their location just behind the Cube a bit after noon before the lunch rush hour. There were only two or three other tables seated, and even without a reservation, we were able to get a table for two with no problem. The servers were friendly, and, after seating us, were quick to bring us the wine list and menus in addition to a basket of bread to start nibbling on. We ordered a glass of red Nero d'Avola for Matt and a glass of white Gavi di Gavi for me, because we had a gift certificate and we were treating ourselves! Soon after that, the place really started to fill up with the usual lunchtime office crowd, and I felt lucky to have snagged a table when we did.
One of the features I like about OGGI's menu is that they have daily three-course lunch specials for around 14€. Though I was temped by the deal, I wasn't really craving a fish filet for lunch, and decided instead to try their Calamari Fritti with salad. I love freshly fried calamari (if our recent trip to Italy was any indication), and look for it in most places I go to satisfy my craving. The truth is, I'm trying to recreate the calamari that I loved from two of the restaurants at which I worked in my late teens in Maryland and Virginia. They featured fresh-fried calamari, both the rings and tentacles (which seem to be rarer in this part of Europe), served with a delicious garlic aioli.
Just as listed, my calamari came out freshly fried, with a soft, not chewy, texture that was leaps and bounds above most of the simple rings I've gotten around Germany. It was close to what I was looking for, and reminded me quite a lot of our trip to Italy. If you're looking for fried calamari in Stuttgart, in fact, I'd venture to say it's the best I've had yet.
However, I think the real winner at lunch was Matt's Pizza Calabrese, a thin-crust pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and spicy sausage. I will admit that the pizza options are not as extensive as some other pizza places around town, but the thin crust was excellent and definitely worth a return trip. And while I initially felt that the restaurant was too fancy for an everyday meal, the pizzas were just 6-11€ a piece and filled the plate, making them a rather easy downtown lunch even without a gift card.
The only thing that was missing from our experience that day was the patio. OGGI appears to have a gorgeous patio outside that, although the weather had cleared up and was sunny and warm, sadly wasn't open on our visit. No matter: it's just another reason to go again for pizza and wine this summer!
OGGI is located at Kleiner Schlossplatz 11 just behind the Cube downtown. It's just a 3-5 minute walk from the Schlossplatz U-bahn station, and is open for lunch and dinner daily from 12:00-24:00 (22:00 on Sundays).
Have you been to OGGI before? What was your impression?