Wine Dine and Play: Old Castle Restaurant

Old Castle Restaurant

September 2017 review   /  July 2016 review

Fantastische Deutsche Küche
Ruskin, Florida USA
Cuisine Style: German
Average Price: $$
Overall Rating: 3/5
Dined in: July 2016
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Old Castle Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Executive Chef:
Joe Syed

Bin ich in der Stadt Ruskin oder Berlin?
Simply translated: Am I in the city of Ruskin, or Berlin?

When you visit Old Castle Restaurant Off of I-75 south of Brandon, Florida before Bradenton there is a little town called Ruskin, where my father and stepmother asked my wife and me to meet them for what they said was there new favorite German Restaurant. I didn’t honestly think it would be so good and make me think that I was back in Berlin. They opened in 1999 and this second location that we went was opened in 2006, providing locals with a taste of old world Berlin. The restaurant is decorated with authentic artifacts, shipped straight from Europe, and is designed based on the original "Burg Schanke" in downtown Berlin.

The last time my folks and I went out to eat German, they took me to a small place in Brandon, however they said that in recent years, the service and food quality went down the drain, and they are thankful they found Old Castle Restaurant, even though it is a twenty minute drive away from their house. We sat down, ordered some drinks, and began to look over the menu. Of course, my dad mentioned a few of his favorites. Their beer selections on tap were all German variations of wheat, lager, pilsner, dark, or amber. They came in 11 ounces ($4), 18 ounces ($5.25), and a 36 ounce ($10). You could also order a flight of all five ($8). They offered a German-style sangria using a cabernet-shiraz blend from an unnamed California winery, instead of a wine from the Hessische Bergstraße, Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, or Pfalz, but the lack in a large German wine selection was made up with their food.

    • Starters
    • Salads
    • Soups
    • Sides
    • Sausage Corner
    • Potato Pancake Dishes
    • Entrees
    • Schnitzel Entrees
    • Iron Pan Entrees
    • Dinner for Two
    • Kids menu
    • Desserts
    • Lunch Menu
    • Sandwiches
My wife and I began with the pretzel and dip from the starter menu. This was a large fresh homemade baked pretzel, served with a garlic and herb dipping sauce as well as an orange-garlic dip. Other starters on their list were flammkuchen German flatbreads, gypsy meatballs, and bread dumplings to name a few.

Pretzel and Dip
My stepmother had the schnitzel “a la Vienna” ($15), which was a breaded fried pork with pan-fried potatoes. You could also order chicken or veal if you preferred. This is the most common type of German dish, served with a lite brown sauce, and garnished with lemon. My wife had the veal hunters schnitzel ($16) or more commonly known as jäger-schnitzel served with a mushroom-based ‘hunters sauce’ cooked with white wine and a heavy cream reduction. You could also order this dish with a cutlet of pork or chicken if you don’t prefer veal. 
My father went more towards a German dish with French origins, a schnitzel cordon bleu ($16) aka ‘chicken cordon bleu’ served with mashed potatoes and red cabbage topped with a red wine sauce. This dish was also available with pork or veal steak as well. The cutlet was stuffed with ham and cheese like a traditional French cordon bleu recipe says to do. The schnitzel cordon bleu using veal originated in Switzerland and was first used in a cookbook in 1949, however, according to wise geek the chicken cordon bleu though French-inspired was actually developed in the United States by chefs imitating other stuffed meat dishes from Europe. The name of the dish is clearly of French origin: cordon bleu means “blue ribbon” in French, and in culinary traditions, it is awarded to food or chefs of particularly high quality. 

There were several other schnitzels on the menu, followed by the iron pan recipes, but I decided on a dish from the entrees menu. This portion of the menu had schweinebraten “pork roast”($16), rindsroulade “beef roll” sauerbraten “beef roast”($17.5), and dishes like aus dem hühnerstall “out of the hen house” to name a few. All of these dishes sounded wonderful, so I decided to try the sample platter ($20) which came with one sauerbraten, a slice of schweinebraten, one bratwurst, and one schnitzel, with a side of pan-fried potatoes, spätzle dumplings, sauerkraut, and Apfel-Rotkohl (red cabbage cooked with apples). You are probably wondering how I was able to eat this? Can you say leftover for two more meals? 

After that meal, you think that we wouldn’t have room for any dessert, but my wife and I boxed up our food, to make space, whereas my dad and stepmother ate most of their entrees and were stuffed. We enjoyed the hausgemachter apfelstrudel ($6), a homemade warm apple strudel which originated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, dating back as far as 1696, made from a savory layered pastry stuffed with warm fruit. The dish was served with ice cream, whipped cream, and garnished with mint and powdered sugar. 

hausgemachter apfelstrudel
This was one of five desserts on their menu, which also include potato pancakes and hot berries. When you visit make sure to use the restroom so you can get a laugh out of the pictures hanging up on the wall. You need to be using the restroom anyway to wash your hands before you eat, at least I hope you do!

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Other Noteworthy German Articles and Restaurants:
A Taste of Berlin Relaxed hangout serving German grub in Brandon, Florida
Josty Bistro Eatery serving German regional cuisine at the Potsdamer Platz Sony Center in Berlin, Germany 
Restaurant Mark Brandenburg Sustainable & regional German cuisine at the Hilton in Berlin, Germany

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

A Few Florida Favorites:

Contemporary Twist on American favorites
Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Casual local Chain for traditional meals
Pinellas Park, Florida USA
Ybor City & Sarasota Traditional Spanish & Cuban chain since 1905
Sarasota, Florida, USA
Beachside joint offering casual American eats
Pass-a-Grille / St Pete Beach
Globally accented tapas with innovative American fare
Key West, Florida, USA
A casual spot for classic Vietnamese favorites
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See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Old Castle Restaurant a 3 out of 5 stars, meaning that they exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**

Overall Star Rating:
3 of 5 Stars: 
81% Rating with a 1 point “wow” bonus
Exceeded My Expectations in a Dining Experience
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual dining
Cuisine style:
Austrian, German
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Low Carb, Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Not Required, But Recommended
Dress code:
Casual attire
It’s Florida, everybody wear’s flip-flops
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Private lot
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricy)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

 Alcohol prices:

$25.00 USD

Old Castle Restaurant:

3830 Sun City Center Blvd 
Suite 107
Ruskin, FL 33573

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 813-633-3331
Email Contact:
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)

Daily: Mon-Sun
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Social Media 

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

High-End Japanese Steakhouse
San Francisco, California, USA
Prohibition-themed New American cuisine Restaurant - password required
Tampa, Florida, USA
Bistro w/Southern & Lowcountry cuisine
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Other Pictures:
Dining Room
A taste of Bavaria
Small bar, but full of charm
Beer Steins 
Can't have German food without German beer
schnitzel “a la Vienna”
Chicken Cordon Bleu
sample platter
Bathroom comedy
Dessert picture, different angle

Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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