Düsseldorf may offer a host of fine-dining options, many world-class and several Michelin-starred – but you won’t find any pretension here. Locals are just as comfortable grabbing a pint of Altbier in a brewery as they are enjoying a meal over a white tablecloth. This Rhineland city is also a home away from home for many business travellers-turned-expats from across Europe and has the continent’s third-largest Japanese community – diversity that’s reflected in the city’s ever-evolving food scene. So whether you’re after a hearty bowl of ramen or a traditional Westphalian Blutwurst (blood sausage), this selection of the best restaurants in Düsseldorf offers something to suit every taste.
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Best restaurants in Düsseldorf
As far as fine dining goes, in Düsseldorf you can’t do better than Im Schiffchen. With two Michelin stars, and having been named in the top 110 German restaurants by Gault & Millau (the respected French restaurant guide), Im Schiffchen is a Düsseldorf institution for a reason. This beautiful, baroque brick building sits in the heart of the Altstadt next to the Rhine. Warm, comfortable and inviting, the interior of the old building sets the stage for a meal you won’t forget in a hurry. Since 1977, chef Jean-Claude Bourgueil has been at the helm of the operation, offering a menu of indulgent French dishes. Be sure to bookend your visit with a picturesque walk through the old city and along the Rhine.
European meets Japanese at this Michelin-starred address. The restaurant’s namesake, Yoshizumi Nagaya, studied at Toshiro Kandagawa in Osaka, the best place to learn how to cook traditional Japanese cuisine. Nagaya and his wife opened the restaurant in 2003 and it has since gained a reputation for what some call the best Japanese food in Germany. Located in Düsseldorf’s Japan quarter, Nagaya’s minimalist, low-lit interior keeps the creatively plated courses in the spotlight. From sushi to Kobe beef to a foie gras terrine roll with octopus tempura, these small plates go a long way. Open for both lunch and dinner, it’s a spot that’s as good for a business lunch as it is for a special date. With a 12-course tasting menu coming in at 170 euros, it’s not cheap, but Nagaya is a must-visit in Düsseldorf.
Slap bang in the middle of the Japan quarter – and just a short stroll from the Hauptbahnhof – you’ll find Na Ni Wa. Two Na Ni Was, to be precise. On one side of the road (Oststraße) is their noodles and soups branch, while on the other (Klosterstraße) is sushi and more. These two modern restaurants are super-popular, so you can expect major queues at lunchtime, and you’ll probably want to book ahead in the evening. Their various ramen bowls (almost a dozen varieties) are tasty and filling, the gyoza is crispy (but not fried to a crisp), and the sushi is fresh and light.
Agata’s is an unassuming and refined Michelin-starred gem. The place is named after its owner, Agata Reul, who is from Poland but has South-East Asian roots. The space features a neutral interior palette of light beiges and whites, letting the food speak for itself, with pops of colour punctuating each plate. Reul brings her diverse cultural background to the table, and the fixed menu is home to German-South Asian fusion dishes like a short-rib Kalbi with mustard miso, alongside more unexpected combinations like the duck liver with maple syrup teriyaki. Agata’s also offers a lunch menu, which is more reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a well thought-out and beautifully executed fine-dining experience, look no further.
Tucked inside the ultra-modern boutique Fritz Hotel in Düsseldorf’s city centre, Fritz’s Frau Franzi tends towards the same minimalist Scandinavian design, embellished with luxe furnishings and place settings. A relative newcomer on the Düsseldorf’s food scene, Fritz’s Frau Franzi touts itself as a ‘world kitchen with an experimental touch’. Its creative menu of locally-sourced small plates varies seasonally and, under the direction of chef Benjamin Kriegel, the spot just won a Michelin star. Standouts include Duroc pork belly, cooked for 36 hours, and a dessert of chocolate ganache, poached pear, pear-liquorice ice cream and salted caramel. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, the extensive wine list and menu of signature cocktails – alongside the restaurant’s buzzy atmosphere and clear attention to detail – make it a place you want to linger.
Legend has it Bob and Mary travelled the world for 18 months in search of the best burger before bringing it back to Düsseldorf. With its two locations – one in the Altstadt and one in the Medienhafen – designed with hip interiors featuring bold green walls and hanging Edison bulbs, Bob & Mary’s is a welcome change of pace from the fancy European/Asian fusion that Düsseldorf does so well. And what about the meat of it? The formula for the perfect burger, they say, comes from the 100 percent German prime beef, and the inclusion of roast beef in the patties, while local, light-as-air brioche buns and an enviable sauce and toppings collection – think Bloody Mary ketchup and homemade chilli chutney – makes this spot an ideal, fresh take on the classic burger joint. If you’re meat-averse, there’s a collection of hearty salads and of course, a veggie burger to keep you satisfied. Top tip: bring cash, as the restaurant doesn’t accept card.
With a spot at the top of the Hyatt Regency hotel, DOX offers spectacular views of the Rhine and the Medienhafen docks. The high ceilings and massive windows make for a light and airy dining space, and perfectly frame the striking panorama. The décor is a minimal kind of elegant, while the menu is rather decadent. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, DOX is pricey, but offers an extravagant dining experience. The menu ranges from seasonal specialities to timeless favourites, like steak with truffle puree. And if sushi’s more your bag, you’ll get on well with DOX’s traditional Japanese dishes.
For old-world elegance with a side of classic continental European cuisine, look no further than Brasserie 1806. This glamorous restaurant is located in the charming Breidenbacher Hof hotel and offers charming views over Düsseldorf’s Altstadt (old city). Designed in a Louis XVI style, this brasserie features all the trappings of old-school luxury, from ornate chandeliers to marble pillars to plush furnishings – though the menu is anything but staid. Chef Philipp Ferber and his team create regional and French specialities, ranging from trout tartare to monkfish ceviche. Be sure to try a regional delicacy, Rheinischer Sauerbraten, a roast marinated in red wine and vinegar for several days, then slowly braised. Brasserie 1806 offers a decadent dining experience through and through, including an extensive wine list paired with impeccable service.
Located in the up-and-coming Medienhafen district, Berens am Kai is an oasis of calm in a light, airy, industrial space and features a lovely outdoor area during summertime. The interior is modern and fresh, while the menu represents a mix of old-school and modern European cuisine – in fact, the seasonally rotating menu is divided into two halves, classics and modern. Chef Holger Berens is a veteran of the Düsseldorf restaurant scene, and with Berens am Kai he brings a palette of decadent and innovative flavours to traditional dishes like the miso and cacao-based venison with braised shiitake mushrooms. The seven-course tasting menu is around 150 euros.
Da Clà gets its name from its owner Claudio, who spent time in Sicily learning the tricks of the island’s gourmet trade before settling in Düsseldorf to bring rustic Italian cuisine to the German masses. The restaurant can be found in the Medienhafen district, overlooking the harbour. With a focus on simple flavours and high-quality ingredients, the seasonal menu features classic Italian dishes with a refined, modern touch. From octopus and prawns to mussels, Da Cla’s focus on frutti di mare does not disappoint. Don’t miss the lobster and truffle spaghetti, and take advantage of the long list of Italian wines. If you can’t get to Sicily, Da Clà is your next best bet for a stellar Italian meal.
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Seven centuries old it may be, but Düsseldorf is a thoroughly modern – and thoroughly happening – German city. With a skyline defined by some of Europe’s most dazzling contemporary architecture, plus some excellent clubs and a booming arts scene, this Westphalian city has fast turned into one of Germany’s liveliest metropolises.