Tong King: Nordend: Vietnamese
Wonderful Vietnamese food, beautifully presented, and extremely good value, especially for Frankfurt. The sauces are incredible, the vegetables fresh, and the all the little pots and dishes they serve the food up in is fantastic.
You are offered chop sticks, and it's arguable whether you will look less ungainly fiddling with implements you are not accustomed to, or trying to stick a big fork into a dainty little food dish. I'd recommend chop sticks, personally.
The only downside for me is the choice of vegetables, which felt a bit Europeanised and the location, which is just off one of Frankfurt's busiest roads. The food came quick, and was eaten nearly as fast, so you don't have to hang around too long if the traffic is heavy.
The price is also perfect for a quick lunch. They also have midday specials which work out at about five euros. Amazing enough at that price, but they also include a free bowl of soup.
Update: It's changed it's name to Tong King.
Favorite Dish: The tofu is perfect.
Bonsai Kitchen: Nordend: Vietnamese
A short walk outside the city centre is a small, family run Vietnamese kitchen with good value, freshly made dishes. I'm not an expert on Vietnamese food, but this kitchen seems to be the most authentic looking and tasting menu I've seen in Germany. It's one of my favourites, and I would go there more often if not for the occasional accident in the kitchen leading to smelly clothes in the office for the rest of the afternoon.
Pizzeria Romanella: Westend: Italian
This is a pleasant and traditional Italian restaurant in a quiet spot in the Westend. It's popular with business lunchers in their business suits, but the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is excellent. It's called a pizzeria, but the pasta is also very good. Prices are a little high for the size of the dish, but I think the quality is high enough to be worth the extra.
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Birmingham Pub: British Pub, German Fast Food, Gay Bar
Small British-themed pub which acts as a schnitzel and fries stall and a gay bar at the same time. This strange mix gives the place an unique character and more style than many plastic paddy pubs around Germany. Don't expect something fancy, crazy or exciting but a place where almost everyone is welcome and you can enjoy a pint or two. Football on the telly (mostly German football, but Premier League shown as well)is available, cider, Guinness and Kilkenny too. Bitter is unfortunately missing. Food consist of German fast food like sausages and schnitzel. Kudos for their Christmas 2013 decoration with the silver mannequins on the ceiling.
Birmingham Pub is open from noon until 6am every day/night!
Gino's Caffebar: Sachsenhausen: Eccentric Italian
Nino is a rare find - a restaurant owner as characterful and eccentric as his caffebar. You will be flattered, charmed, entertained and possibly even accidentally insulted as Nino tries his best to be his usual effervescent self with only a limited command of the English language. The place seems full of Nino's extended family - or it could be friends, staff or other customers it's hard to tell; it's all so convivial. You'll need to be comfortable with Nino's larger-than-life presence if you want to enjoy the excellent food.
Don't forget - Gino is the dog and Nino is the owner. Or was it the other way around...
Depot 1899: Sachsenhausen: Brunch
It's a wonderful building - a cavernous interior carved out of the old tram depot that was here until a few years ago. Now it's all polished wood: parquet floors, oak barrels and bamboo curtains. They serve up a killer brunch here, which is especially popular on Sundays. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet of local sausage, freshly squeezed orange juice and waffles straight from the skillet. Best of all its perfect for kids, as they eat free under six, and half price under twelve.
Yours: City: Australian
Having lived in Australia I wasn't really expecting much from an "Australian" food in Germany. My Australian experiences of food consisted of gristly lamb chops, beetroot and cheese sandwiches, and hissing sausage links on a barbie. Sure there are great restaurants in Australia, but the idea of Australian cuisine is something else.
In Germany, though, Australia is an exotic country. So when you enter the restaurant at Yours Australian Bar, you are greeted with murals in the style of Indigenous Aboriginal art, carrying you away to Ayers Rock. The menu didn't have any shrimps or beetroot that I could see, but it did have Tasmanian Chicken Wings and an Aboriginal Burger, whatever that is.
It also had some really exotic plates, like crocodile steak and emu burger. The "ground crocodile meat" was claimed to be "fresh", unlike the kangaroo. I have no idea how - maybe they have one kept in a tank somewhere? There's also a buffet, which in the Paul Hogan style I expected would consist of live snakes and witchetty grubs that you'd have to kill yourself, but it turned out to be much tamer.
The food is actually really good, in a pub grub kind of way. They even managed to have a number of vegetarian options on the menu. So basically a great place to grab a beer and a burger for lunch or before hitting the town.
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Dauth-Schneider: Aebbelwoi, Gri Sos and Handkaes mit Musik
I wish that other places in the world had restaurants which celebrate their traditional food in this way. Dauth-Schneider is not only the place to go in Frankfurt to eat local dishes, but has a long tradition in Frankfurt itself - it began as a pure Aebbelwoi pub in 1849. It is arranged as a typical beer hall with long table and benches, staff members wear traditional clothes and almost all meals are traditional ones. The staff is really friendly and helps you to find your way to taste Frankfurt's regional food.
Favorite Dish: I would recommend the Frankfurter Vorspeisenteller for two (for some reasons, this is not on the English online menu, but on the German one...). It consists of "Schneegestoeber" (a sort of cream cheese), boiled eggs and potatoes with Gruene Sosse (a cold herb sauce, often also called "Gri Sos") and Handkaes mit Musik (hand-made cheese with music, think for yourself where the music comes from).
Further you have to try Aebbelwoi (Apple wine/German cider). The tradtional way is to order a Bembel, a stone jug which has its sizes denominated by the amount of 0,3 l (in other restaurants, this may be 0,25 l) glasses in it. This means, a 4er Bembel has 1,2 l. The glasses have tradtionally a diagonally squared pattern which is said to preserve the cold. These glasses are called "Gerippte". For those who don't like Aebbelwoi, there are also beers and alcohol-free drinks.
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Frankfurter Botschaft: Westhafn: International
The new Westhafn district has grown up along the Main and has turned an crumbling district into a beautiful place to walk, eat and drink. The Frankfurter Botschaft has a prime location, sitting on the harbour underneath the shiny new Westhafn tower. The menu is a wide ranging mix of Korean, Argentine, Italian, Japanese and anything and everything the chef thinks will make a good meal. It's a little pricy for what you get. Service is friendly, but the location is the best part though.
Lohrberg Schanke: Seckbach: German
A little bit out of the way, but possibly the restaurant with some of the best views in Frankfurt. Up on the Lohrberg hill outside the city centre, in the suburb of Seckbach, sits Lohrberg Schanke. If it's food doesn't take you, the view of the city skyline will. It's heavy German dishes will certainly fill a hole once you've walked up the hill to reach it.
Its food is mostly German fare, with lots of pork dishes, but it does have a few specials that are a bit different, and a few vegetarian options in addition to the standard salads. The food is good, but not great, the service indifferent and the prices above average for the area, but the view and the fresh air more than make up for it.
If you take the trip up to the Lohrberg, which you should, it's worth popping in for a schnitzel.
Sandwicher: Westend: Quick Lunches
Since we moved our offices to the center of Frankfurt, this has become a popular lunchtime haunt for me and many of my colleagues. It does great sandwiches, freshly made to order, not like typical German sandwiches that are left to wilt for hours on hot counters to be enjoyed by a dozen wasps and flies before you get your lips around it. They also do very good value daily lunch menus for around 6 euros.
The only downside is that it is small, popular and it's standing room only. Everything is take-away (zum mitnehmen) though - even the lunch specials.
Favorite Dish: The hummus wrap and the pesto panini.
Snack Point: Westend: The Hottest Currywurst in the World
Not only the "Best Worscht in Town", as the quote from the local paper claims, but also the hottest currywurst in the world. According to a newspaper cutting on the extremely popular sausage stall in the south part of Westend, they even have an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. You'll certainly believe it is true once you've tried even one of the milder varieties, so be careful. It's not that they won't warn you, however. It's probably government policy, but they will ask you if you're absolutely sure if you go for anything stronger than a C and don't look like you can handle it.
Currywurst is a modern German institution, and very popular as a snack with young Germans. It basically consists of one of those long curly German sausages chopped up into slices, and smothered in tomato sauce and curry powder. At the Snack Point the spiciness is rated from A through F. I've only tried A and D so far. With an A you can barely taste the curry, but you will be tasting a D for many hours after the last bite. From this, I can pretty much work out that E would be as much as the most hardened curry eater could handle, and F would likely be poison to everyone, and only to be eaten when drunk and trying to impress your other drunken friends.
For the less brave, there are some milder dishes, and even ones without curry. You don't even have to eat pork, as they also have a Rindwurst (beef sausage). Just order the sausage you like, and tell them the level of spiciness you want. Be careful if you are asking for an "A" because in German that is pronounced "Ah". If you ask for an English "A" you will make the sound for a German "E" and your currywurst will be super spicy hot!
Be aware that the place is very popular, and there will likely be a big queue. On busy days it can stretch around the corner.
Bombay Gate: Sachsenhausen: Indian
This isn't even the best Indian restaurant in Frankfurt, according to reputation, but even this is damned good. A little pricy, though, as Indian food often is in Germany, where it's seen as a luxury, rather than a cheap take-away as it often is in England. Still, you won't be spending more than 20-30 Euros for a starter, main dish, and an Indian beer or three.
The service is very friendly, and the owner speaks good English. If he spots you are English he'll immediately offer to up the heat levels. It might be worth asking for it to be a little hotter, because German's don't have the stomach for spices like the English, and probably American, tastes are used to. Be careful, though, as our Australian friend didn't even max out the spiciness in his lamb curry and he looked like his head was going to explode by the end.
Asia Snack: Ostend: Thai
Super fast and cheap Thai Imbiss right next to the Eissporthalle U-Bahn stop in Ostend - just perfect for a quick bite on the way to a game of Ice Hockey, or on the way back from work. Dishes start at around 6 euros, and for Frankfurt Thai that is cheap, and the quality is excellent for the price. It comes highly recommended not just from me, but by local Frankfurt magazines. It's always very busy, but you won't have to wait long, although you might not get a seat if you want to eat there.
The only disappointment is the spiciness. To cater for mass market German taste buds the spice levels have been reduced to something that an Englishman can barely taste. They are very accommodating, though, and if you ask for "pikant" they will make it more spicy for you. If your German can handle it, they'll make other changes too for no extra cost or hassle.
Favorite Dish: The Red Thai curry is excellent.
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Restaurant Opera: City: Classy
You get dressed up to go to the opera in Germany, so when we piled into the Opera Restaurant one lunchtime, dressed in jeans and t-shirts, the maitre-d' obviously thought we were lost or having a laugh. I almost backed out, but goddammit we are media people and we can eat where we like, dressed how we like! I still felt a bit uncomfortable, but the food and the views were worth it.
The opera restaurant has a balcony overlooking Opernplatz, and you get great views of the Frankfurt skyline. It's very popular, especially with the local bankers at lunchtime, so don't expect to get a seat in a prime position. In fact don't expect to get a seat at all sometimes - you are definitely recommended to book ahead.
The service is the only downside. The prices are high, but good for the quality. But the service, while friendly, was a bit unprofessional. From the smug maitre-d', to the waitress who laughed when I only wanted soup (I wasn't hungry) to the incredible wait we had to endure for the food, it was a bit lacking.
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