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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Urban kitchen goes for the inner city rustic look and charm with all wooden furniture and contrasts that with a very modern menu that spans several continents: Italian, Indian, American, Thai, Middle Eastern. It's hard not to find something you can eat, but on the other hand they stretch their culinary expertise so far you might not get the consistency you are looking for. It's the perfect place for a lunch with people whose tastes you can't predict.
Best Bakery ever! It is extremely difficult to resist the sight of the crisp bread and other bakery delights when you walk by it at the Kleinmarkthalle.
Delicious breads of all kind, adorable little tarts such as rhubarb crumble, Linzer tort. Make sure not to miss the iced lemon cake, the super-sweet and delicious carrot cake or the delicious Marzipantaschen (marzipan-filled pastries)
Favorite Dish: Iced lemon cake, Käse-Schinken Stange,
Leonhard's is a rooftop terrace cafeteria in the Galeria Kaufhof department store. When the weather is nice it's good it's the best place to eat lunch or have a dessert where you can have a great view of the Hauptwache plaza, Dom (cathedral) and the Zeil.
It's a typical cafeteria style eateries but with good food and alcoholic drinks or coffee and espressos.
Favorite Dish: Cake
Most popular lunch spot on the Fressgass, you order your food from the window of this butcher deli. They have a large selection of soups, sausages and salads to go.
Line ups a long but worth it.
Favorite Dish: Rostbratwurst im Brötchen
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