Located on the banks of the Main River, just East of the Rhine, and close to the geographical centre of Europe; Frankfurt am Main, or “Mainhattan” as it is often dubbed, mixes an international beat with that quintessential German culture.
Scratch beneath the surface of the modern architecture, and steel and glass skyline and you will find the core of German food culture; markets, where locals, having picked up their weekly produce, share long tables with tourists sampling local delicacies over a lunchtime drink and Frankfurter sausage.
While the city may have given its name to that very traditional sausage, thanks to its international reputation, and its status as a business hub, Frankfurt has a diverse and interesting dining scene.
Follow this food and drink guide to Frankfurt and taste the two sides of the foodie coin of Germany’s banking capital.
Kleinmarkethalle, Hasengasse 5, 60311
A thriving indoor market hall with permanent stalls and small restaurants, located just off Hauptwache. It has an incredibly wide selection, from sushi to tapas, and everything in between. “Metzgerei Schreiber” is a renowned butcher in the hall, selling a variety of sausages, which is rarely seen without a queue, and certainly worth a look in. Similarly, on Saturdays, the wine terrace by the Western entrance is a great spot to have a glass of Riesling and mingle with the locals.
Bauernmarkt Konstablerwache, Konstablerwache, 60313
This farmer’s style market runs all day every Thursday and Saturday on the Eastern end of the main shopping street (Hauptwahce). It offers the perfect opportunity to try the local produce, especially the Frankfurter sausages.
Oosten, Mayfarthstraße 4 60314
One of the best brunch spots in Frankfurt, and by that I mean one of the best locations. The restaurant is built around a refurbished loading crane on the banks of the Main River with spectacular views of the Frankfurt skyline. And while it is great for any meal, I am a particular fan of the weekend brunch menu. Expect all the usually brunch classics done well but for the German flare try the “curried-scrambled-eggs” or “eggs and asparagus”.
Lokalbahnhof, Darmstädter Landstraße 14, 60594
A deliberately modern German restaurant located in the trendy Sachsenhausen neighbourhood south of the river. Lokalbahnhof (also the name of the nearby train station) offers an exciting update on German cuisine. The Schnitzel and salads are well worth a look. Grüne Sosse (green sauce), which is a Frankfurt specialty made of sour cream with an assortment of herbs, compliments the Schnitzel perfectly.
Baby Burger, Höhenstraße 24, 60385
The ideal spot for getting that burger fix. Located at the top of Berger Strasse, a street known for its restaurants, this is a simple no nonsense high quality beef burger joint.
Langosch am Main, Fahrgasse 3, 60311
This self-professed experimentierfreudig (“happily experimental”) restaurant is a culinary treat. It casually mixes a relaxed dining experience with an eclectic menu, which is sure to excite and satisfy all palates.
Dauth Schneider (Apfelwein), Neuer Wall 5, 60594
This is a popular traditional German restaurant and bar in Sachsenhausen, and the perfect place to sample Apfelwein. Served by the Bembel (jug), Apfelwein translates to cider but tastes how it sounds, like a mixture of apple juice and white wine. It is available all over Frankfurt, and well worth a try.
Sonamu, Berger Str. 184, 60385
An authentic and impressively styled Korean restaurant on Berger Strasse, where the food will draw you in and the drinks will keep you there. Book ahead at weekends.
Seven Swans (& The Tiny Cup), Mainkai 4, 60311
Located in the narrowest building in Frankfurt, this Michelin star fine dining restaurant offers a unique styled dining room on each floor. The Tiny Cup, the accompanying aperitif bar, sits just 16 on a first come first serve basis.
Naïv, Fahrgasse 4, 60311
Germany has been doing craft beers since before it was cool, most towns have a local beer. Naïv trips over itself to tell you how much it loves beer, and has a huge offering of German, European and American beers. And what’s more, it has a great grub. The Flammkuchen (a specialty in this neck of the woods) is as good as you’ll get; thin rectangular and pizza like with the tomato sauce swapped out for crème fraîche and topped to your liking.
Die Rote Bar, Mainkai 7, 60311
Discreet, chic and with a touch of class; you may need to ring the door bell to get in but Die Rote Bar is more private members club than speakeasy. Some of the best (and well priced) cocktails you’ll have this side of the Rhine.
Sullivan, Kaiserstraße 12, 60311
This is a very trendy bar in the shadow of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers, and a short walk from the main shopping street (Hauptwache). Cocktails how you like, and well priced. Smoking bar upstairs, non-smoking down stairs.
22nd Bar and Lounge, Neue Mainzer Str. 66, 60311
Not the best bar in Frankfurt by any means, but possibly the best view. Located on the 22nd floor of the Eurotheum tower in the heart of the skyscraper district.
Hailing from Cork City, having lived in London and Frankfurt, Chris now calls Dublin home. A lawyer by trade, Chris is a self-professed lover of food and is keen to share his discoveries. When he can, Chris tries to get down to West Cork (as he puts it) to enjoy the best food Ireland has to offer.