Savoir vivre in the Belgian quarter. In this authentic bistro with French flair and exquisite food, you’ll feel like you’re in Paris. The bistro serves everything that the country of gourmets has to offer from café au lait at breakfast to Provencal vegetable pastries in the evening.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Aachener Str. 21, Tel. 2 58 92 19, www.bartabac.de
Come to the Belgischer Hof and you’ll leave Cologne and find yourself in Provence or the Latin Quarter of Paris. The brasserie serves classics such as coq au vin, crispy tartes flambée and prawns covered in honey and chilli. The cozy Franz bar is inviting for a late-night glass of wine or a pastis liqueur.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Brüsseler Str. 54, Tel. 54 81 70 17, www.belgischer-hof.de
Violette Horst from Strasbourg serves her customers all kinds of thin and crispy tartes flambée and other classics of Alsace cuisine. In this “little France’’ the owner personally looks after her customers’ needs, creating a pleasant place to spend a few hours eating and drinking.
›› Sülz, Berrenrather Str. 221, Tel. 4 20 27 20, www.berrenrather-hof.de
Capricorn i Aries
This gourmet restaurant in Cologne’s south has just four tables. The mainly white interior is very elegant and not at all cold, exactly the right surroundings to enjoy luxurious food such as fresh Dover sole, Beluga caviar and raspberry crème brûlée. Wonderful place for a very special evening.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Alteburger Str. 31, Tel. 32 31 82, www.capricorniaries.com
The tasty buckwheat pancakes sell like hot cakes in this authentic Breton crêperie. But Cologne people also like the other dishes such as mushrooms in cider sauce or the classic ratatouille. Those still not full after their main course can try the sweet crêpes with home-made chocolate or caramel sauce.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Karl-Berbuer-Platz 7, Tel. 8 01 67 74, www.lagalette.de
La Societé offers excellent fine dining by candlelight in a nice atmosphere. It’s not snooty like many such restaurants but does its job in a relaxed and charming manner. Head chef Mario Kotaska, a popular TV cook, always creates surprises with his French inspired creative cuisine. Not only customers think that – the restaurant was awarded 16 coveted points by the influential Gault Millau guide.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Kyffhäuser Str. 53, Tel. 23 24 64, www.lasociete.info
Le Moissonnier attracts gourmets from far and wide with its exquisite, award winning cuisine and French flair. The delicious dishes conjured up by Eric Menchon and his kitchen crew are among the best in the city. Delicacies such as scallop hors d’oeuvres, the finest unpasteurized cheese and Breton sole with truffle sauce melt in the mouth and will soon make you forget the rather steep prices. Treat yourself!
›› Neustadt-Nord, Krefelder Str. 25, Tel. 72 94 79, www.lemoissonnier.de
The kitchen staff give their all to ensure customers leave full and refreshed and the results can be seen on the plate. The unostentatious restaurant serves only French regional food that is very satisfying. Hearty food is on the menu here, not haute cuisine.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Im Ferkulum 32, Tel. 9 32 89 96, www.maisonblue.de
If you can’t say yes to this question after visiting this nice, authentic French bistro, you have only yourself to blame. Here you can eat food fit for a king with tasty, native cuisine with delicious daily specials such as fresh quiche, onion soup, served in a harmonious ambience. Recommended for lovers of French cooking are the cookery courses, which provide an initiation into the fine cuisine of different regions of France.
›› Sülz, Sülzburger Str. 172, Tel. 48 53 50 39, www.parlez-gourmet.de
Romain Wack pampers customers in his cozy wine bar with culinary delights from Alsace, naturally including classic dishes such as tartes flambée, filet mignon with black truffle sauce and hot chocolate cake with orange sorbet, along with Muscat and Pinot Blanc white wines.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Benesisstr. 59, Tel. 2 57 34 56, www.wackes-weinstube.de
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, welcomes her guests in a restaurant with a lovely bright ambience and many country-typical details such as pillars and sculptures. In summer there’s a nice outdoor dining area. It doesn’t take long before you forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and, with fresh fish specialties and a glass of Chalkidiki wine, start to think relaxing thoughts.
›› Müngersdorf, Aachener Str. 698, Tel. 49 33 31, www.aphroditerestaurant.de
The food in this small restaurant isn’t hearty Greek home-style cooking such as Gyros but instead haute cuisine such as stuffed octopus with lemon cream sauce. The dishes are prepared with attention to detail and are served by friendly staff.
›› Lindenthal, Bachemer Str. 236, Tel. 43 42 19
With its bar decorated in blue and the large outdoor terrace, Lamini has a maritime charm, which is strengthened by its top location in the Rheinauhafen. With a lovely view of the Pollerwiesen park, you can cruise through the menu and get to know the wide range of Greek mezedes appetizers. Especially recommended are the wines from Santorini and Attica that taste like summer and are the perfect accompaniment to exquisite dishes such as the heavenly breast of duck with honey, ginger and ouzo sauce.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Agrippinawerft 6, Tel. 719 05 90, www.limanicologne.de
The perfect summer evening starts here where you can sit by the Rhine with not only an excellent view of Cologne’s old city but also be spoilt by the attentive waiting staff with Mediterranean food specialties and wines. Recommended for a gourmet evening for two is the mixed plate of appetizers, which is traditionally drunk with Greek ouzo on the rocks.
›› Deutz, Kennedy-Ufer 1, Tel. 81 44 41, www.restaurantoasis.de
There’s nothing left to show that the chic Ouzeria was once a bog-standard sausage snack bar, although you will find classic home-made sausage and curry sauce on the menu! You can also satisfy your hunger with many tasty Greek snack dishes with vegetables, fish or meat, garnished with Aioili garlic olive oil or tzatziki.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Brüsseler Str. 68, Tel. 51 39 98, www.ouzeria-koeln.de
Plomari will convince you that there’s more to Greek food than gyros and tzatziki. In this family-run and very popular restaurant there’s an enormous choice of dishes waiting to be discovered and devoured by lovers of Greek cuisine – especially the mezedes appetizers, which suit every taste. Naturally there’s full-bodied Greek wine. The good atmosphere comes with no extra charge.
›› Sülz, Sülzgürtel 96, Tel. 44 86 89, www.mezedopolio-plomari.de
The rule also applies at Sophia’s – if you’re expecting the usual popular dishes such as gyros and souvlaki, better quickly turn around at the door. If on the other hand, you’re looking for a Greek restaurant that conjures stifado, lamb and potatoes or simply delicious Mezedes appetizers such as taramosalata or dolmadakia onto the plate perfectly prepared, then this is exactly the right place.
›› Klettenberg, Luxemburger Str. 289, Tel. 16 94 88 24
Excellent pizza cooked in a brick oven and a midday business lunch attract young and old to a meeting with the 12 Apostles, who have now also set up home in Cologne. Open all day, best to reserve a table.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Heumarkt 68-72, Tel. 25 08 30 20, www.12-apostel.com
Buongiorno! This restaurant exudes an Italian attitude to life right when you step through the door with its bright yellow decor and lots of fresh flowers, even though the exterior doesn’t appear too inviting at first. It’s always worth coming for the traditional Italian home-style cooking, which is not way rough but is laced with many fine taste nuances that will please even jaded palates. The desserts “as delicate as flowers’’ and wines from various Italian provinces are popular.
›› Bayenthal, Bonner Str. 328, Tel. 38 70 68, www.bellini-restaurant.de
Boccalino’s staff know what their customers like, whether it’s pizza from a brick oven or upscale Italian cuisine. You’ll see monkfish in saffron sauce with polenta on the menu as well as pasta with porcino mushrooms. Diners who still have a hankering for something sweet can choose from the tasty home-made desserts.
›› Sülz, Sülzburg Str. 170, Tel. 44 64 44, www.boccalino.de
This cellar restaurant serves giant, thin-crust brick-oven pizzas that many consider the best in the southern part of the city, as well as the usual suspects such as salads, pasta and fish dishes. Tip – it’s best to come early because the place gets jam-packed.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Eifelstr. 36, Tel. 3 10 46 64, www.gourmetguide.com/caminetto
It’s best to be doubly sure, so there are two Culinarius restaurants in Cologne. The eatery in Lindenthaler welcomes diners who prefer a relaxed atmosphere and a mixed clientele. The specialty here is the seafood bar that has lots of delicacies from the ocean. The smaller Culinarius has its own special charm. It has 40 seats and is a popular meeting place for a glass of Prosecco wine or an Italian snack.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Apostelnstr. 50, Tel. 2 58-69 49
›› Lindenthal, Dürener Str. 193-197, Tel. 4 06 13 48
An extra-special restaurant where discerning diners will feel at home. Damiano places a lot of value on the choice quality and freshness of ingredients, which, combined with the creativity of the kitchen staff, ensures that only dishes that delight the palate are served. Vegetarians can be happy here too. Dishes such as lamb’s lettuce with fried Shiitake mushrooms and the delicious pasta creations are well worth trying.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Marzellenstr. 66, Tel. 12 36 62, www.da-damiano.de
Diners are welcomed with Italian charm in this bright and snugly designed restaurant. The menu has everything that will delight an Italian gourmet’s heart – antipasti, delicate pasta, vegetable, seafood, fish and meat dishes, not forgetting the delicious wines and dolci (sweets). Just reading the menu makes your mouth water.
›› Sülz, Gottesweg 108, Tel. 42 86 18, www.filippo-nisi.de
A restaurant that opened only recently and convinces with its concept and quality. It has a tasteful decor in natural colors with a wooden floor, obliging but relaxed waiting staff, and above all an excellent and imaginative menu. That also applies to the daily specials, which are mostly harmonized with what’s in season. The gourmets’ choice is Pizza Tartufata and the inimitable pistachio cake.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Weißenburgerstr. 30, Tel. 37 99 59 19, www.fioretto-koeln.de
You’ll search in vain for a menu here. The idea is “all in one’’ and diners are served a seven-course surprise menu. You’ll get to know and love the variety of North Italian culinary skills in just one evening and you can also broaden your horizons into the inexhaustible world of wine. The wine list has 60 choices from all over Europe.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Elsaßstr. 4, Tel. 3 10 44 91, www.lacena.de
Is it time for a short break in Sardinia? Yes please! Such a dream will come quickly true in the L’Asinara restaurant, at least from a culinary viewpoint. Authentic Sardinian food specialties and wines are on the menu here, served up with the original simplicity of the Mediterranean island in the form of grilled sardines, polenta or ratatouille.
›› Nippes, Florastr. 95-97, Tel. 2 77 10 51, www.lasinara.de
An excellent place for a romantic evening meal for two. The Ristorante Italiano offers everything to warm the heart – a wonderful ambience with nicely decorated tables, an idyllic summer garden and a head chef who knows how to conjure up exquisite Mediterranean food from always fresh ingredients with a lot of finesse.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Magnusstr. 3, Tel. 9 25 77 40, www.lavita-koeln.de
This once prominent Italian restaurant doesn’t appear particularly inviting at first sight and the wooden tables in the dining area are not to everyone’s taste. But it’s a good place to come to if you like a sophisticated, lightly conservative style. The classic Italian food fits in with the solid backdrop and is served in respectable portions without fuss. Special plus points for the waiting staff, who are always alert and very proper, and now and then even make a witty remark.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Marzellenstr. 68-70, Tel. 13 54 53, www.ristorante-luciano.de
Mario’s has what it takes to be a popular Italian restaurant – that’s proved by the many regular customers who are attracted by the good value for money and hearty, tasty specialties from Italy. The nice serving staff do their jobs well and will gladly help you to choose a wine. On warm summer evenings the pretty terrace with shady trees offers an idyllic haven in the lively Belgian quarter.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Lütticher Str. 12, Tel. 52 54 53, www.marios-trattoria.de
Of course it’s fun to cook Italian but it’s even more fun to have the cooking done for you in this authentic trattoria and eat your fill from the giant antipasti portions and the delicious home-made pasta. The many regular customers know that, so you need to reserve early.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Bremer Str. 5, Tel. 1 39 94 74, www.mercato-deluxe.de
Pane e vino
A meal in Pane e vino is special, particularly in winter if you manage to get a table by the crackling fireplace and make yourself really comfortable. Served are lots of pane e vino (bread and wine), as well as excellent home-made pasta and fresh fish. As a finale the seductive dolci (sweets) round off the meal in harmonious style.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Eifelstr. 18, Tel. 9 31 13 11, www.ristorante-paneevino.de
Stylish lounge-restaurant in Cologne’s Radisson Hotel with a show kitchen that enables curious diners to watch the legendary crispy pizzas being baked.
›› Deutz, Radisson SAS, Messe Kreisel 3, Tel. 2 77 20 34 63, www.paparazzilounge.de
When the curtains come down at the next-door opera house, it gets busy here. One reason is the fine Italian cooking, which impresses with its persuasive simplicity, pure aromas and modern interpretation. The other is that the restaurant is itself a stage. Every Friday the charming maestro Roberto Canturan delights diners after a six-course meal with opera arias with piano accompaniment. Bravissimo!
›› Altstadt-Nord, Tunisstr. 3, Tel. 2 57 73 80, www.ristorante-alfredo.com
A cozy neighborhood Italian restaurant that has attracted diners for more than 30 years with its warm and friendly atmosphere. It has a Mediterranean flair and an animated atmosphere especially in summer when the window is opened on the street. The authentic Sicilian cuisine comes up trumps with an enormous choice of pizzas as well as fish and pasta dishes. The dolci (sweets) are pure poetry. The daily specials are also recommended.
›› Sülz, Sülzburgstr. 90-92, Tel. 44 99 26, www.siciliana-koeln.de
Stylish and innovative self-service restaurant in a central location where the various pizza and pasta dishes are freshly prepared at different counters. Customers get a card that records their orders for later payment. A portable beeper sounds when a dish is ready to be picked up. Hot food until just before midnight. Also good as a lounge bar to chill out in.
›› Deutz, Constantin-Str. 83-85, Tel. 8 00 88 33, www.vapiano.de
The large glass facade of this chic Italian invites the curious to look inside. If you manage to get a free table you’ll enjoy an authentic Italian evening with lots of Mediterranean flair. After detailed consideration you might choose the seductively sounding guinea fowl panzerotti with truffle butter, followed by chocolate soufflé with vanilla custard. It’s worth more than one visit!
›› Altstadt-Nord, Benesisstr. 60, Tel. 2 57 81 66, www.viabene.com
Via Sistina is named after a grand avenue in Rome and is especially popular with wedding parties, which is no wonder because of its location near the historic city hall. But those newly in love will always find a table in this inviting eatery. White table covers, candles and gentle piano music create the necessary romantic ambience. Classic pasta dishes and grilled fish with fresh herbs add a final touch of Mediterranean sparkle.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Marspfortengasse 6, Tel. 2 57 88 30, www.viasistina.de
The Portuguese word “saudade’’ means melancholia or world weariness but you don’t see much sign of those emotions in this small wine bar where people meet to pass the time in chatty groups or cozy twosomes and enjoy life. The wine list has some good choices to help the evening pass pleasantly. Land-typical food specialties such as Bacalhau and a plate of Serrano ham are excellent accompaniments.
›› Ehrenfeld, Wahlenstr. 2, Tel. 5 79 64 76, www.wein-saudade.de
The fishing nets on the ceiling, bull’s head and postcards from home on the walls here may not be to everyone’s taste, but the result is somehow charming and gets you in the mood for a Portuguese vacation. The generous portions with all kinds of delicious food from the Iberian peninsula top it all off.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Im Dau 6, Tel. 31 31 87, www.restaurants-koeln.de
In this small, authentic neighborhood restaurant everyone gets a heartfelt welcome whether they are long-time regulars or newcomers. The family-run eatery brings a touch of sunshine and cookery skills of Andalucia to the Rhine and focuses on authentic Spanish cuisine with lots of fresh fish, seafood, paella and naturally tapas. With all that and a dark red Rioja, a summer evening is perfect.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Gladbacher Str. 16, Tel. 5 10 50 10, www.al-andalus-koeln.de
Tapas, tapas and more tapas! The little delicacies are served here in countless variations – pickled olives, fried boquerones, stuffed peppers, Serrano ham... and lots more. Tip – the patatas bravas (thick potato wedges with spicy sauce) taste so good you won’t want to stop eating.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Lindenstr. 8, Tel. 8 01 75 76, www.boquerones.net
Congratulations! Caña was a worthy winner of the 2009 Gastro Award for its excellent Spanish cuisine, proving that paella and tapas don’t taste the same in every restaurant you eat in. You’ll taste the subtle difference here, whether you eat your way through the extensive tapas menu or choose a fish dish from the daily specials. In summer the many sidewalk tables create a Mediterranean ambience.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Merowinger Str. 31, Tel. 2 58 55 88, www.la-cana-koeln.de
This fiery bodega on Friesenstraße has become a very trendy place, surely because of its great tapas dishes or the recognition that it’s a good place for flirting. Especially in summer sitting in the snug inner courtyard tickling your taste buds with a delicious cocktail, you’ll get in a vacation mood and feel like you’re in a small oasis in the middle of the big city.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Friesenstr. 51, Tel. 2 57 36 10, www.la-bodega-koeln.de
Word of the outstanding tapas served here spread around Cologne so fast that it was bursting at the seams soon after it opened. Delicious wines from the different regions of Spain round off the taste sensation in a nice way. This is also a place where you absolutely must reserve in the evening.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Severinstr. 41, Tel. 869 68 40, www.laesquina.de
You can easily forget in this tapas bar that you’re eating in Cologne and not in the Spanish sunshine. It’s mostly the tasty tapas dishes and wine that create a Mediterranean flair here, but the often crazy gestures of the customers also add to the Southern European atmosphere. Unfortunately the place is often full to overflowing.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Maybachstr. 22, Tel. 1 68 88 46, www.lapatata.de
An authentic Spanish neighborhood restaurant with a lot of flair and a very extensive menu. Head chef Antonio Maza and his team serve up the fiery temperament of his native Andalucia right onto plates of diners, many of whom have been coming here for over 25 years. A popular dish is Paelle los Flamencos for two, but the fish and meat dishes, tapas and sweets are just as good, which doesn’t make the choice any easier.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Brabanter Str. 1, Tel. 51 41 14, www.los-flamencos.de
Pepe promises “Cologne’s Way of Life with Mediterranean Flair,’’ which tempts the curious already in the Belgian Quarter to pay a visit. And in reality the southern European charm of a Spanish restaurant is combined with a trendy Cologne bar. You’ll feel at home straight away and it doesn’t take long before all kinds of delicious food piles up in front of you such as king prawns grilled Mediterranean style or the most spectacular dessert on the menu – chocolate ginger ice cream with mildly spiced fried pineapple.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Antwerpener Str. 63, Tel. 5 10 14 14, www.pepe.de
Popular Spanish appetizers are now served where plump Peking Duck used to be roasted. Brick walls, warm lighting and naturally the many different tapas dishes ensure that customers in this nice bar feel like they are in España.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Steinfelder Gasse, Tel. 16 83 63 00, www.tapas-madrid.de