Cologne is home to 180 different nations and the tables in this city with a million inhabitants are set just as rich and diverse. We have put together a selection of recommendations: From hip and trendy to high-end. You will find genuine Cologne culinary delights as well as great recommendations for the best pizza in town.
Food and drinks in Cologne
Let's start with one of the highest cultural assets of Cologne, the Kölsch. This can be very confusing, Kölsch means the Cologne dialect and the local beer in a slim glass, the so called "Stange". The best thing to do is going to the Brauhaus, drink Kölsch and get the Kölsch language course at the same time. The waiter Köbese at the Brauhaus Päffgen cultivate the dialect with enthusiasm. Brauhaus Päffgen in the middle of the Friesenviertel is a real Kölsch institution. Wood-paneled, hearty brewery cuisine, with an inner courtyard terrace and more locals than tourists. Friesenstr. 64-66
If you visit the Päffgen, you have to get to know the Früh as well. The traditional Früh breweries at the cathedral (Am Hof 12-18) and the Früh im Veedel in the Südstadt (Chlodwigplatz 28) have an institutional character.
The Kleine Glocke must be mentioned at this point, especially as a Tuesday tip: Then it's "Reibekuchentag" (potato pancakes) in the cozy downtown pub on two floors, which was already considered an artists' meeting place 100 years ago. Kölsch and Reibekuchen go together like knife and fork. Here they are especially good. (Glockengasse 58-60)
On the right bank of the Rhine, in Deutz specifically, the Kölsch institution is called Lommerzheim and has a museum-like character. Even though the old "Lommi" is long dead, the Kölsch pub still resembles a place of pilgrimage. (Siegesstr. 18)
Of course, there are also breweries of a newer design: At Brauhaus Pütz, tradition is still upheld, and the menu includes the typical dish "Himmel und Äd" (potato-apple-mash with black pudding) as well as beef goulash (Engelbertstr. 67).
Brauhaus Johann Schäfer with its brick flair is located in the middle of the Südstadt and is considered to be hip and cool. The modern brewery cuisine is outstanding. Pilsner and wheat beer are home-brewed, Kölsch is supplied by the Mühlen Brauerei. (Elsaßstr.6)
Italy in Cologne
It is always said that Munich is Italy's northernmost city, but in fact it is Cologne. After all, the Romans founded Cologne as city 2000 years ago. Pizza and pasta can be found on every other corner, a few selected addresses can be found here: Rosticceria Massimo is casual, nice and familiar. The restaurant in the Südstadt is hardly bigger than a shoebox, and in summer the dolce vita shifts to the wide curb of Alteburger Straße. Meat, fish and pasta of very good quality. Yes, pizza is also available. (Alteburger Str. 41)
On the Eifelplatz (-square) you'll find two Italian restaurants with character: La Teca and the Casa die Biase lies directly across the street. Both offer fresh, classic traditional cuisine, La Teca is more casual, the Casa di Biase more upscale. In summer, the place to be on both their terraces at the lively square. (Eifelplatz 2 and 4) La Teca und Casa di Biase liegen gegenüber. Frische, klassische Traditionsküche bieten beide, La Teca ist legerer, Casa di Biase gehobener. Im Sommer sind beide Terrassen am quirligen Platz the place to be. (Eifelplatz 2 und 4)
Not long ago, the Pastabar Caruso moved from Barbarossaplatz (-square) to the Agnesviertel (Agnes quarter). The neapolitan couple Anna and Marcello focus on pasta, but they also prepare all sorts of other delicacies from their family cookbook with a certain modern twist. (Kasparstr. 9)
485 degrees: The name says it all, the pizza is baked in a wood-fired oven at exactly that temperature. Otherwise, it's simple but good here: salad, pizza, tiramisu, done - and twice in town. (Kyffhäuserstr. 44 and Bonner Str. 34)
Pizza e basta! At the Antica Pizzeria Nennillo there is pizza – and nothing else. But this pizza is great and you can find it at two locations in the city, Belgisches Viertel (belgian quarter) and the Südstadt. (Limburger Str. 23 and Severinswall 22)
High-end culinary experiences
Luciano is what is classically understood as a fine Italian restaurant. The nice thing about this tried-and-true address is that hardly anything has been changed in terms of both the good cuisine and the stylish interior from 1969. (Marzellenstr. 68-70)
Restaurant Hase: Top restaurant in the middle of the city. The fresh Mediterranean cuisine with a German touch is appreciated not only by the surrounding gallery public. Food, service, atmosphere are always a pleasure. (St.-Apern-Str. 17)
L'imprimerie is definitely worth the trip to Bayenthal. Very good French cuisine with a Cologne touch, created by former patron Gilles Berthier in a former print shop and continued today with love and enthusiasm. (Caesarstr. 58) Patron Gilles Berthier in einer früheren Druckerei kreiert hat und heute mit Liebe und Enthusiasmus weitergeführt wird. (Cäsarstr. 58)
Balthasar is chic and, by Cologne standards, cosmopolitan: top-quality Mediterranean and international cuisine accomanied by cocktails and music. Great! (Aachener Str. 18)
The restaurant La Fonda is located in one of the most beautiful places in Cologne. The restaurant with crossover cuisine is stylish, urban, chic and yet has many cozy corners. A pleasure in summer (terrace) and winter. (Gereonskloster 8)
Salon Schmitz, Metzgerei Schmitz, Bar Schmitz, Coco Schmitz- eating, drinking and enjoying art. Each location of the Schmitz group offers good and fresh quality including a French-Belgian brasserie feeling on a high class level. And in the basement? Clubbing and dancing at Coco Schmitz. (Aachener Str. 28, 30 and 34)
Thinking outside the box – international cuisine
And here are a few special tips on international cuisine in Cologne: Carlos Morfa is the Cologne Cuban in Lindenthal. Whoever suspects beans with rice is completely wrong. Most guests come for prime steaks, prawns, cassava root and many other Latin delicacies with a squeeze of lime. The rum selection is impressive at Carlos. (Dürener Str. 152)
The Belgian quarter might as well be renamed the Asian quarter, given the enormous number of cuisines with a Far Eastern and Southeast Asian twist. In the restaurant Bali – the name gives it away – classy Indonesian cooking is tried and tested, and has been for more than two decades. In summer the tables are set outside on the square. (Brüsseler Square 2)
Of course Persian, Indian and Arabic cuisine is not missing. From the Far East, these two restaurants with Vietnamese cuisine are a good recommendation – and in the immediate vicinity, should one of the two be fully booked. Hanoi September(Aachener Str. 19) and Bonjour Saigon (Richard-Wagner-Str. 24) serve fresh, spicy and authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
At Neni, you can take a stroll through the fresh Israeli and Levantine cuisine with various delicios small plates - and all that in the middle of the "Friesenviertel", right outside the front door, if you are currently at home in the ipartment at Hildeboldplatz. The view from the terrace on the 8th floor is sensational. (Am Klapperhof 22-24)
Ito is a trendy Japanese restaurant in the Belgian quarter, which clearly stands out from the conventional sushi Japanese. Both the plates and the interior convince with their clear structure and freshness. In the evening, a la carte offerings and omakase menu; at lunchtime, it's a bit more affordable. (Antwerpener Str. 15)
Of Cologne's approximately 200,000 foreign residents, the Turkish community still makes up the largest group, and often in the third generation. You will find many Turkish restaurants in the city center, on Eigelstein and in the Weidengasse. In Mülheim, Keupstraße is a hotspot. Turkish bakeries and restaurants are lined up next to each other. And from your ipartment Clevischer Ring, Keupstraße is a stone's throw away. Keupstraße (Mülheim)/ Weidengasse (city center)