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Photograph: Seven Swans© Seven Swans

The 11 best Frankfurt restaurants

Whether fine dining or boutique vegetarian is more your vibe, the best restaurants in Frankfurt are absolutely delicious

Written by
Veronica Zaragovia
&
Florian Siebeck
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You can’t make money on an empty stomach, right? Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany, but it also happens to be making a confident dash for the role of foodie capital. This overlooked metropolis in the belly of Germany is full of great things to do, and filling the tummy is right up there with the museums, bars and the rest.

Traditional restaurants dominate the landscape, but the immense diversity of the city has made its way onto the menus of Frankfurt. Innovation is never far away in this buzzing city. Enjoy the best restaurants in Frankfurt, the foodie haven you didn’t realise you needed until now.

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Best Frankfurt restaurants

Emma Metzler
  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • price 3 of 4

Emma Metzler’s beautiful design and décor make it look more like an art gallery – somewhat fitting for a restaurant in the city’s Museum Embankment (Museumsufer) and on the grounds of the sleek Museum Angewandte Kunst. The spacious bistro’s sleek lines are softened by colourful artwork on the white walls, lobster-red furniture, a wall of glass blocks and thick, navy-blue curtains. Flower arrangements adorn the tables, and strings of lightbulbs hang from above. The service is impeccable, and the food comes served as a masterpiece. If the weather’s nice, eat outside and walk over the Eiserner Steg bridge after your meal – at night, you can gaze over Frankfurt’s sparkling skyline.

Price: Mid-range

In this restaurant by adventurous chef Dennis Aukili, guests don’t only sit on design classics from the 1960s through to the 1980s – they can also buy them. And when it comes to the food, Chairs offers playful yet ambitious haute cuisine at surprisingly affordable prices. Think refined dishes like salt-baked young onion with cranberries and mornay sauce, and roasted beetroot with blood sausage and sour berries. Our favourite is the classic (and much less refined) Viennese schnitzel with potato salad. Wines are mainly young and organic.

Price: Mid-range

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If you fancy some top-notch Italian classics, look no further than No. 16, a homey Sardinian spot that’s become a true cult favourite. Founded in 1977, the restaurant is run by four siblings who took over the place from their parents, serving hefty plates of pasta alongside first-rate meat dishes and a seafood salad that’s gained almost legendary status. Everything is meant for sharing, so be prepared to leave with a full stomach and new acquaintances – other guests may join your table unexpectedly.

Price: Mid-range

Atschel
  • Restaurants
  • German

You’ll receive a hearty welcome befitting a regular at this old-school establishment. Founded in 1849, today’s Atschel seats patrons at communal wooden tables, beer hall-style. The walls are adorned with framed vintage drawings of apples, and art nouveau ball lamps emit a warm light for a homey feel. Feast on local delicacies like grilled pork knuckle with sauerkraut and bread or the region’s speciality – cold green sauce, or Grüne Soße, made with seven local herbs, yoghurt and sour cream and served with boiled eggs and potatoes. Don’t leave without tasting Frankfurt’s quintessential drink, refreshing Apfelwein (apple wine), which is more sour than sweet, but be aware that it’s frowned upon to ask for a shot of sweet lemonade in it (Süßgespritzter). Traditional Bembel pottery hangs above the bar, and specials are written in German on chalkboards along the walls.

Price: Budget

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Ramen Muku
  • Restaurants
  • Central Asian
  • price 2 of 4

Mention Ramen Muku to local foodies, and you’ll see their eyes light up – it’s a legendary Japanese restaurant (meaning bookings are essential). The noodles are homemade, as is the broth, and you can see through to the kitchen where the staff are hard at work. The menu has plenty of appetisers, a veggie ramen option, delish matcha ice cream, plus lots of sake. Muku is in the Sachsenhausen quarter of Frankfurt – consider stopping here after visiting the Portikus art gallery halfway down the Alte Brücke (old bridge).

Price: Mid-range

Vevay
  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • price 2 of 4

Those looking for a slap-up – but somewhat healthy – meal in the city centre will rejoice at this vegan-vegetarian joint. It’s decked out in a light, airy and modern way, giving off the feel of a grown-up living room (think scattered cushions, lots of pictures on the wall). Popular dishes include the falafel burger, the protein bowl with lentils, sweet potatoes and beets, and fresh smoothies and juices. The café, whose name is a mix of the words ‘vegetarian’, ‘vegan’ and ‘yummy’, takes its farm-to-table credentials very seriously.

Price: Mid-range

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Im Herzen Afrikas
  • Restaurants
  • Pan-African
  • price 2 of 4

This dinky Eritrean restaurant combines style and substance. Settle into the plump cushions scattered among benches or take a pew outside. Everything is made of wood, and the walls are either exposed brick or casually plastered. There’s even a traditional Eritrean hut in the centre of the room. The menu comprises East African grub of all stripes – we recommend ordering a sharing platter. Expect flatbreads, chickpeas, potatoes, salads, sauces and lots and lots of hummus. The vibe is laid-back and often candlelit, so perfect for dates.

Price: Mid-range

Nestled in the 25hours Hotel, Bar Shuka is possibly the best place to sample Israeli cuisine in Germany. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneurs David and James Ardinast, who have helped turn Frankfurt’s once dodgy Bahnhofsviertel (the area around the central station) into a culinary haven. Chefs Stephan Kaiser and Yossi Elad (formerly of London’s the Palomar) serve sharing plates spiced with house-made harissa and za’atar and the freshest pitta in town. Their signature dish is a Tel Aviv classic: blanched, roasted cauliflower with salsa and almonds. A back door leads to a quiet, velvet-lined speakeasy, while the playlist turns up a notch as the night goes on. No, you’re not hallucinating: punters have been known to dance on the tables.

Price: Mid-range

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European

Not many vegetarian restaurants in Germany have a coveted Michelin star, and Seven Swans is one of them. Don’t rush down the Mainkai, or you’ll miss the narrow building – Frankfurt’s narrowest – that houses it. Considered among the best restaurants in the world, Seven Swans offers a seasonal menu with 10 courses using regional ingredients like fennel, leeks, pumpkin, apple and asparagus. Most ingredients are grown just outside of town in ‘Braumannswiesen’, the restaurant’s own permaculture farm. Reservations are a must, and the intimate candlelit setting, complete with views of the Main river, is ideal for couples.

Price: High-end

Café Maingold
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • price 2 of 4

Don’t miss this charming café tucked away on the quiet, eastern end of the busy Zeil shopping promenade. Beneath the green, striped awning, you’ll find an eclectic dining space filled with reclaimed furniture and mirrors and split into distinctly decorated rooms (our favourite has red walls and a sofa upholstered in gold velour). In the main dining space, lamps glow brightly enough to illuminate the striking gold floral wallpaper. Maingold’s daily menu includes fresh salads (like one topped with grilled halloumi, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and pomelo), soups and pasta, like penne with marinated chicken or the standout, homemade pumpkin gnocchi in autumn. For dessert, try the brownie-in-a-glass with coffee, and if you’re dining in summer, try snagging a table on the terrace beneath the twinkly string lights.

Price: Budget

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Lucille Kaffeehaus
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • price 1 of 4

This serene café is one of the city’s comfiest lunch spots and happens to have an adjoining record store, Memphis Records. It’s ideal for breakfast and lunch, though it’s open until 6.00 pm. On Thursdays and Fridays, it transforms into a bar and closes at 1.30 am. The quiet space has soft green and white tiles on the walls, small wooden tables and cosy pillows. The café has weekly-changing options spanning curries, pasta dishes, and a selection of homemade bread with avocado, fresh cheese, rocket, chilli and fried egg, or baked feta with olives, onions and tomatoes. To drink, try the homemade elderberry and mint lemonade. The staff here are exceptionally kind, and both kids and dogs are welcome (and spoiled). Lucille is located north of the city centre in the Nordend-Ost quarter and is a perfect place to rest after touring the Old Jewish Cemetery.

Price: Budget

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