The restaurant’s name in German (old waiting hall) sounds like a drafty railway waiting hall but on closer inspection the place turns out to be a true palace of good taste – and double so because diners eat surrounded by marble, stucco plaster work and neoclassical columns while attentive waiters bring exquisite food to the table. The kitchen staff conjure up imaginative dishes, which bewitch the taste buds and also look very appetizing.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Johannisstr. 11, Tel. 9 12 88 50, www.wartesaal.de
This eatery is named after the herb basil, and you can find the seasoning in many of the dishes, such as halibut with basil coating or orange tart with basil sorbet. But all the food tastes good whether it comes with or without the tender green additive. The wooden tables, many candles and green plants also give the restaurant a nice ambience. A must for all foodies is the sea bass on a bed of mango risotto with wasabi sauce and cashew and herb salad.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Am Weidenbach 33, Tel. 32 35 55, www.basilicum.org
This is the right place to satisfy an addiction to tasty but healthy delicacies in a pleasant setting – at any time of the day because the breakfasts and brunches are also good here. The eatery serves small meals to hungry office workers and in the evening it’s a very comfortable place to eat thanks to the homelike furnishings with sofas and pastel-colored walls. All the food is certified as organic and the changing evening menu also has vegetarian options. Tip – the salmon filet in filo pastry with Thai glass noodles and curry sauce is simply delicious.
›› Ehrenfeld, Körnerstr. 67, Tel. 52 83 47, www.sehnsucht-koeln.de
If you sail around this Cap (cape), you’ll dive into a world of very varied taste sensations, such as blue white fish with saffron risotto or grilled prawn skewers with mango chilli dressing.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Hohenzollernring 94, Tel. 1 30 10 72, www.cap-royal.de
The name suggests a classy, upmarket but somewhat stiff French restaurant, but in reality it’s a quite unaffected eatery with a cool ambience. Gourmet cuisine with a Mediterranean leaning is served although it doesn’t come cheap. The Mediapark is just around the corner, so at lunchtime you will find the place often frequented by a colorful clientele of creative types.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Spichernstr. 77, Tel. 6 50 36 50, www.chez-chef.de
In a historic former garage for fire department vehicles, there’s a new gastronomic concept that combines a restaurant, bar and café in one. A morning coffee here tastes just as good as head chef Lars Wolf’s unbeatable prime boiled beef. Naturally, you can also drink great cocktails or hold a grandiose party here – the imposing architecture is impressive at all times of the day.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Vondelstr. 4-6, Tel. 35 55 89 10, www.comedia-wagenhalle.de
Die Zeit der Kirschen
The restaurant’s poetic name (time of the cherries) suits the nostalgic atmosphere, both inside and especially in the enchanted garden. No wonder that couples newly in love come here to get closer to each other over a romantic dinner and the culinary delights.
›› Ehrenfeld, Venloer Str. 399, Tel. 9 54 19 06, www.dzdk.de
The Feldküche (field kitchen) has pitched its tent in the former Tavernaki restaurant – with great success so far. That might be partly due to the offbeat and easy-going styling of its interior, which nevertheless still has a welcoming atmosphere. Mostly, for sure, it’s the no less offbeat menu. From the evergreen English-style fish and chips to duck and sauerkraut or saltimbocca, there are quite a few international dishes to try out.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Alteburger Str. 87, Tel. 376 14 97, www.feldkueche-koeln.de
Beneath a gorgeous heaven of Renaissance paintings adorning the ceiling of this charming café-restaurant, food is served that’s just as heavenly. Noteworthy is that all the ingredients are from certified organic sources and are always crispy fresh, starting with the breakfast creations right the way through to the evening menu that changes daily. After you’ve washed down a fine meal with a fruit schnapps, you’ll agree that you’ve landed in seventh heaven.
›› Neustadt-Süd, Rathenauplatz 7, Tel. 2 40 92 10, www.cafe-feynsinn.de
Artichoke hearts au gratin, Asian noodles or home-pickled Caipirinha salmon –Klaus Enders, owner and head chef, offers diners culinary delights of crossover cuisine. Cooking in a modern way with vitality is the focus here. Everything is freshly cooked and there’s a touch of the exotic in every dish. If you’re looking for an especially relaxing summer midday break, you should make the sun terrace with its deck chairs your summer refuge.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Hans-Böckler Platz 1-3, Tel. 94 65 78 78, www.goldschlaeger.com
A small oasis amid the shopping hustle and bustle of Cologne’s center. People visiting, living or working in the city center meet here for lunch or a cozy dinner or they come to attend a cookery course. The food is diverse, offering lots of delicious and mainly Mediterranean dishes. There are some surprises such as “Cologne Tapas’’ as well as a carefully selected wine list.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Neumarktpassage 18a, Tel. 4 20 77 56, www.hofer-essbar.de
The restaurant’s name means “little black dress’’ but that’s not what’s meant here. This is a new secret gastronomic tip in the Ehrenfeld district. The small, charming restaurant has a stylish interior and attracts mainly fans of French Mediterranean cuisine. With its small tables and flattering light from lots of candles, the Kleines Schwarzes is a good place for an informal romantic date, during which you can also enjoy dishes such as mint pea soup with chorizo and red gnocchi with Roquefort cheese and cream. To finish off, you could choose the white chocolate truffle parfait with a glass of champagne.
›› Ehrenfeld, Klarastr. 2, Tel. 5 62 60 65, www.kleinesschwarzes-koeln.de
Head chef Gaber Eltahan skillfully creates delicious dishes from the best of French, Mediterranean and Oriental cuisine. French classics such as coq au vin and confit du canard are highly recommended and, along with the excellent service and value for money, this place has it all.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Hansaring 131, Tel. 73 17 56, www.ladifference.de
The Mediterranean French gastronomic concept works like a charm at the Bistrot. Head chef Gregor Gehrmann has already rattled the pots and pans at La Vision and so quality is guaranteed here. That also applies of course to the fresh daily oysters and – if ordered in advance – the lobster.
›› Junkersdorf, Aachener Str. 1002, Tel. 17 04 43 92, www.lebistrot99.com
The name is a play on the German words “sehen (to see),’’ “Meer (sea)’’ and “mehr (more).’’ You don’t need to travel to the seaside to see the ocean – the sea is projected onto large screens in this Ehrenfeld restaurant. There’s even more to see and taste, for example the wonderfully arranged plates of food full of delicacies from crossover cuisine such as prawn and lemongrass skewers with vegetable couscous curry – simply delicious.
›› Ehrenfeld, Philippstr. 1, Tel. 9 92 31 49, www.meersehenkoeln.de
A gastronomic heaven opens when you step into the Osman 30 restaurant on the 30th floor of the Köln Turm. Customers eat in a cool and geometrically designed dining area 108 meters above the city. The view is overwhelming by day or night. But diners are not just spoilt visually. The international cuisine, which is served only as three-course menus, is well worth seeing. Great place to eat, and not just for special occasions.
›› Neustadt-Nord, Im Mediapark 8 (im Köln Turm), Tel. 50 05 20 80, www.osman30.de
Great place to enjoy the Cologne lifestyle as well as good food during the summer. Diners sit right on the lively Rhine promenade and take in the riverside view. If you look inside in the show kitchen, you’ll soon surmise that experts are at work here. The tartes flambee smell great and the rest of the menu sounds tempting. The Mediterranean specialties and classics such as marinated beef or beef olives should offer something for every taste.
›› Altstadt-Nord, Große Neugasse 42, Tel. 94 64 53 26, www.rheinzeit.de
Everything you eat here is organically sourced, whether it’s meat, fish, vegetarian or even vegan. Tasty soups, small bites such as quiches and salads, business lunches as well as a richly varied evening menu and award-winning organic wine delight the palates of the foodies who enjoy leisurely hours here. The friendly and colorfully outfitted restaurant has an easy-going atmosphere and when an organic brunch is served from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday, the place is bursting at the seams.
›› Altstadt-Süd, Apostelnstr. 19, Tel. 99 87 89 54, www.souppresso-bio.de