Grub in Germany varies depending on which federal state you’re in; since Frankfurt sits in traditional-minded Hesse, restaurants tend to serve heavy meats and sausages and the region’s famous green sauce with boiled potatoes and eggs—and Apfelwein (apple wine), of course! That’s the sour, fermented liquid that doesn’t taste quite like beer or apple cider, though it looks similar. It’s served cold, and usually in Bembel, the region’s traditional gray-and-blue stoneware jugs.
The fare in Frankfurt goes far beyond the time-honored, however; the city offers a tremendous range of cuisines, from ramen to vegan food, and most venues have a mission to source the freshest local ingredients. What’s more, service is taken seriously in Frankfurt, so kind employees will often make your experience unforgettable. Take your pick from the top restaurants in the city; though keep in mind that the majority of Frankfurt’s restaurants are closed on Mondays, so be sure to double check hours before making the trip. Guten Appetit!
The best Frankfurt restaurants
Emma Metzler’s beautiful decor and design makes it look like an extension of an exhibition space—fitting for a restaurant in the city’s museum embankment (Museumsufer) and on the grounds of the sleek Museum für Angewandte Kunst. The spacious bistro’s sleek lines are softened by colorful artwork on the white walls, lobster-red furniture pieces, 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 like a masterpiece; the French-German menu includes a couscous with beets, yogurt and dukkah (a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices) for lunch or fennel bratwurst for dinner. If the weather is nice, eat outside and take a walk over the Eiserner Steg bridge after your meal, especially at night when you can see Frankfurt’s skyline alit before you. If you visit on the last Saturday of the month, your museum entrance is free.
Only two vegetarian restaurants in Germany have a coveted 2018 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, in fact—that houses it. Considered among the best restaurants in the world, Seven Swans offers a seasonal menu (choose from five or six fixed courses) using regional ingredients like fennel, leeks, pumpkin, apple and asparagus; take a look at the restaurant’s well-curated Instagram page to see the extraordinary attention to detail on every plate. Reservations here are a must, and the intimate candlelight dining, complete with a view of the Main River, is optimal for two people.
Don’t miss this charming café, located on the quiet, eastern end of the busy Zeil shopping promenade close to the city’s zoo. Once you enter beneath the green striped awning you’ll find an eclectic dining space with reclaimed furniture and mirrors, separated into distinctly-decorated rooms (our favorite has red walls and a sofa upholstered in gold velour). In the main dining space, lamps glow just brightly enough to illuminate the stunning, gold floral wallpaper. Maingold’s daily menu includes fresh salads (like one topped with grilled halloumi cheese, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and pomelo), soups and pastas, like penne with marinated chicken or the standout, homemade gnocchi. For dessert, try the brownie-in-a-glass with coffee, and if you’re dining in the summer, try snagging a table on the terrace beneath twinkly string lights. Reservations are strongly recommended by phone; the restaurant’s website is badly outdated, but its Facebook page is updated regularly.
GOOSE’s sweet charm is not just the Citroën food truck it’s housed in, but the owners themselves. The über friendly business partners, Gökhan Kaba and Patrik Bruch, take their truck to locations across Frankfurt, serving up waffle creations for lunch and dessert. Among the available toppings are caramelized goat cheese, beet mousse, grapes confit, vegetable chips, sliced mussels, roasted pine nuts and sweet potatoes. For sweet tooths, Kaba recommends the peanut butter cheesecake with salted caramel or double chocolate brownie. In addition to their mobile efforts, GOOSE also offers a catered dinner for a minimum of ten people at their private restaurant space on Ludwigstraße, close to the central train station—in March 2018 they’ll sell lunch there, too, in a 45-person space open to the public. Check their Facebook page for the truck’s latest location, or send them an email to get details further in advance.
You’ll receive a warm welcome befitting a regular in this old-school establishment low on frills and high on hospitality. 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 hearty local cuisine like grilled pork knuckle with sauerkraut and bread or the region’s specialty dish—cold green sauce, or grüne Soße, made chiefly with local herbs 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. Traditional Bembel pottery hangs above the bar, and specials are written in German on chalkboards along the walls. Be warned: Atschel, located in Sachsenhausen, only takes cash and larger groups should reserve a table in advance.
Mention Ramen Muku to local foodies and you’ll see their eyes light up—it’s a truly legendary Japanese restaurant. Considering Germany’s often cold, gray weather, this place should be on your list. 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 appetizers, a miso vegetarian ramen option and delicious matcha ice cream—plus lots of sake. Muku is in the Sachsenhausen quarter of Frankfurt, a completely non-touristy part of town. Consider a stop here after visiting the Portikus art gallery, located halfway along the Alte Brucke (old bridge).
Frankfurt’s Bahnhofviertel (or train station quarter) is gritty and unappealing, except for excellent restaurants like Walon & Rosetti. Be forewarned: the dining experience at this hip bar and grill is unusual. The music is loud and the space gets dark at night. Decor is sparse—on one side is an austere bar; on the other, wooden tables topped with nothing but candles are lined along green walls. The food is top tier; the menu changes every three months and most portions are enough for two, which explains the steep prices. Dishes cater to vegetarians and carnivores alike—think eggplant with saffron yoghurt, bulgur with dried apricots, grilled octopus salad and tagliata with salsa verde and fries. It gets crowded here, so we suggest arriving on the early side—and remember to bring cash, as credit cards aren’t accepted.
This serene, cash-only café is one of the most comfortable spots in the city, and happens to have an adjoining vinyl record shop, Memphis Records. It’s ideal for breakfast and lunch, though it’s open until 7:30pm. On Thursdays and Fridays, it transforms into a bar and closes at 1am. The quiet space has soft green and white tiles on the walls, wooden small tables and cozy pillows. The cafe has weekly, ever-changing options like zucchini soup and ground meatballs with basmati rice, as well as some permanent sandwiches including salami, tomato, cream cheese and arugula or goat cheese with grilled vegetables. To wash it all down, try the homemade elderberry mint lemonade. The staff here is exceptionally kind, and both kids and dogs are welcome (and spoiled). Lucille’s located north of the city center in the Nordend-Ost quarter, and is a perfect place to rest after touring the Old Jewish Cemetery. Take the walk here to experience the Frankfurt of locals, with its quiet wide streets and lovely architecture.
This oasis escape sits a ten-minute walk from Frankfurt’s central train station. The cash-only restaurant’s two levels allow for a spacious yet intimate dining experience. Patrons can choose a variety of seating arrangements, including standard wooden tables and chairs or rounded wall nooks with cushions and pillows to sit on. The idea is to order a huge platter to share; each comes with salad in the center and Eritrean specialties around it, like chicken or ground chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce, or potatoes and spinach eaten with injera, or baked bread (gluten free corn maize injera is also available). Once it gets dark outside, lights are dimmed and candles flicker; the ambiance is as warm as the friendly staff.
Vegans especially will like this casual spot, though we recommend it for anyone looking to eat a hearty, healthy meal near the central train station or city center. Popular dishes include the falafel burger, protein bowl with lentils, sweet potatoes and beets and fresh smoothies or juices. The café, whose name is a mix of the words “vegetarian,” “vegan” and “yummy,” is a local farm-to-table concept. Once you enter, ascend the spiral staircase and grab a seat at the lovely wooden communal table or, snag an individual table flanked by comfy pillows. After your low-carb meal, you may even feel entitled to some vegan chocolate mousse. This restaurant is cash only and closed on Sundays, but open on Mondays – a rare option in Frankfurt.