Gastronomy in Frankfurt

cuisine in Frankfurt
Updated 2022-11-05 02:40

Frankfurt cuisine is specific and different from other parts of Germany as it is associated with the centuries-old recipes of the region of Hesse. The food in this area is the result of a fusion between the gastronomy of the North and the South of the country mixed with Turkish elements due to the large Turkish communities in Germany.

The typical German food in Frankfurt generally relies on pork sausages, sauerkraut (i.e., raw cabbage salad), and the local cheese called handkäse (the literal translation is shaped by hands), which has a protected designation origin. Unlike other parts of Germany, where food is accompanied by beer, in Frankfurt, the protagonists are wine or cider (äppelwoi). Frankfurters are proud of their cuisine and maintain it as part of their culture and tradition. Hence, to feel like a local, it is a good idea to start trying new flavors, socializing in restaurants and gastro pubs, and making up your own mind about the local specialties. 

Popular dishes in Frankfurt

Some of the most popular dishes in Frankfurt are the Frankfurter würstchen (i.e., boiled pork sausages), the low-fat sour milk cheese (i.e., handkäse), the green herb sauce called grüne soße, and the cured Frankfurter rippchen (i.e., pork cutlets). Even though vegetarianism has been gaining ground in Germany over the past years, the country's traditional diet is based on meat (pork in particular), and German people tend to be suspicious of matters of veganism. For example, according to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), in spite of the health benefits, veganism is not recommended for children between six and 18 years old, as it deprives them of certain nutrients that are essential for their health needs during this time of growth. 

But let's see in more detail what dishes you will come across in Frankfurt and what is their cultural meaning.  

  • Grüne Soße, or green sauce, is a paste made of spices such as borage, chives, and chervil mixed with quark, yogurt, or sour cream and served with boiled eggs, pork, or veal. Some say that it was the favorite dish of the German author Goethe. Grüne Soße is fresh and cold and the secret of the recipe is that all herbs have to be grown in specific places so that the dish has the best taste.
  • Frankfurter Rippchen is a specialty of cured cutlet served with sauerkraut (i.e., cabbage), potato puree, and mustard. This dish can be found in most of the restaurants in Frankfurt. The tradition says that the dish was made by people who didn't have enough food. Today, however, it is a specialty that proudly represents the Frankfurt culture.
  • Frankfurter Würst and Fleishwürst are soft sausages, famous as street snacks. These Würstel are usually made from smoked pork and are eaten with mustard, bread, and sauerkraut (i.e., finely cut raw cabbage).
  • Döner Kebab is one of the most famous Turkish dishes in the world, but over centuries it has become so important to the German culture that it has transformed into a typical German dish. This delicacy made of meat and vegetables in a wrap is the favorite street food in every German city, including Frankfurt.
  • Handkäse is a cheese made from sour milk, served with vinegar and onions. Germans have a joke about this dish and say that it comes “with music”, implying that the onions are difficult to digest.
  • Frankfurter Kranz is one of the few typical sweet dishes of Frankfurt. This specialty is made of buttercream coated with crunchy crumbs and a cherry on the top.
  • Bethmännchen is a Hessian pastry made from almonds, which is typical of the region during the winter holidays and Christmas time and available throughout the year in most bakeries and patisseries.

Good to know: 

According to the European Vegetarian Union, nearly ten percent of Germany's population has gone meatless, and about one million people have given up on the consumption of all animal products. 

Popular drinks in Frankfurt

The ever-present expected beer can be found all over Germany. However, in Frankfurt, the tradition is slightly tilted, and the most important drink (served with the typical dishes of the region) is Äpfelwein. This alcoholic drink is made of apple cider and comes under the names Ebbelwoi, Äppler, Stöffsche, and Apfelmost. Also, Frankfurt may not compete with France or Spain when it comes to wine; nevertheless, the Rheingau region produces very aromatic Riesling, which is a white grape variety originating in the Rhine region. Just a short drive away from Frankfurt, you can spend the weekend visiting several wineries and vineyards amid medieval villages and castles.   

The best places to eat out in Frankfurt

Being a lively city, Frankfurt has a very vibrant food scene, and no matter where you are in the city, you will always find interesting dining options. However, some of the best places to try traditional cuisine are Atschel in Sachsenhausen-Nord, which is great for home-cooked comfort food and typical recipes served with Äpfelwein; Kosterhof in Innenstadt has great typical food but also charmingly depicts the German tradition in its ambiance; Zum Gemalten Haus, meaning “To the Painted House” is a beautiful place in Sachsenhausen-Nord filled with handpainted frescos and serves some of the best sausage plates in the city; Äpfelwein Wagner in Sachsenhausen is a modern place with old-time favourite food, and last but not least, Zum Schwarzer Stern or “To the Black Star” in Alstadt offers a fantastic 15-century setting and a great view while serving classical dishes, fresh fish, and the Bavarian specialty käsespetzle (i.e., fresh pasta with cheese). 

Now, if you are craving something more international and affordable, here are some recommendations from our seasoned expats in Frankfurt: Pizzeria da Cimino Frankfurt in Bockenheim is a very famous restaurant for delicious Italian pizzas and pasta; IIMORI Patisserie in Alstadt is a very cozy place, offering a tasty breakfast buffet and great brunch options; Dönerboot Meral's Imbiss is an absolute must-visit as it is on a boat. Besides the kebabs, you can eat fish and some tasty Turkish delicacies. Falafel and Shawarma snack bar Aroma in Innenstadt III is excellent for good quality Arabic food, and Marjan in Sachsenhausen-Nord is a Croatian restaurant following the Balkan standards, which are large portions with a lot of good quality meat. 

Good to know: 

Frankfurt has several restaurants serving Japanese, Italian, French, and vegetarian cuisine, the chefs holding one or two Michelin stars.

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