best traditional German… Deutsche
This is obviously a tricky post to write, not least as I’m not a big fan of German food, including the main Frankfurt speciality dishes. However, if you’re looking for something traditional, these are places I enjoy and have also been recommended/ tested with German friends, so hopefully they will keep everyone happy.
| Wallstraße 5 | Mon-Sat: 1700-2400; Sun: 1600-2400 | Sachsenhausen |
Apfelwein (also known as ebbelwoi) is the drink of Frankfurt and is taken very seriously here, so you should know how to order it – it is usually served individually in a geripptes, diamond-patterned glass, or in a bembel, a blue and grey ceramic jug, which usually comes in a sharing sizes. You then need to decide whether you will drink it pur (pure), sauer (sour, with sparkling water added) or süß (sweet, with lemonade added). The general advice is either of the first two options are acceptable. I’m not a fan of this sour cider, so avoid it entirely! However, Fichtekränzi is one of Frankfurt’s oldest apple wine taverns (founded in 1849) and is a great place to try the local tipple. The food is good and generously portioned (I find most German portions large) and while they serve traditional choices such as schnitzel (with many different sauces including the Frankfurt grüne soße) and schweinshaxe with sauerkraut, they also have lighter options including vegetarian dishes. Expect to share a table and if you haven’t booked (they keep half their tables for early walk-ins) and there is no space, try nearby Atschel, Zum Gemalten Haus or Apfelwein Wagner which I’ve not tried but are often recommended. Cash only.
| Sachsenhäuser Landwehrweg 371 | Wed-Sat: 1730-2400; Sun: 1730-2300 | the outer edge of Sachsenhausen |
This small restaurant on Frankfurt’s southern edge really charmed me. It is very cosy with its traditional dark wood décor (plus an amazing-looking tiled stove) but it’s also obvious that food is at its heart, with homemade bread that awaits your arrival plus a regularly changing menu that reflects the season – I visited during spargelzeit (asparagus season) so spargel was everywhere on the menu. They also serve homemade drinks – I tried their quince gin, before switching to a reisling. Do go, expect to see several dogs sprawled on the floor, and plan a small walk on your way home as portions are large and you will want to finish the delicious food that you’re served (the picture above is from my walk to the restaurant, in the spring).
| Alt-Heddernheim 41 | daily from 1700 in summer, from 1800 in winter; Sunday: 1130-1430 | Heddernheim |
Again, a little way out of town but this time to the north of the city, this is a great place to visit, both in summer when you can sit outside in their large courtyard area, and winter, when you’re in a cosy dining room with traditional touches. This is also one of the most recommended places to visit (in winter) for goose, served with red cabbage, potato dumplings, chestnuts and gravy; I had some last week and it was delicious. If that doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other classics on the menu – tafelspitz, veal or pork schnitzel, veal cordon bleu plus the Frankfurt dish, handkäs mit musik (this pungent regional sour milk cheese is traditionally served with raw chopped onion and caraway seeds; the music comes after you eat the dish and is a euphemism for the flatulence it often produces!).