Cologne, or Köln in German, is a cultural centre and historical city with an Old Town nestled in its heart. Brewing parallel to this antique character is a hip side too. Amid its cathedral-dotted squares lie a variety of inviting restaurants and effervescent bars. Its eclectic food scene covers both local and international flavours. You will find everything from charming al-fresco to fine dining in the city.
Read my travel guide for Cologne if you are planning your trip to visit Cologne Germany. On my recent trip to Cologne, I made the most of their gastronomical scene, which entailed eating and more eating with some beer drinking intermissions in-between to help me put together this comprehensive list of best places to eat in Cologne, Germany.
Best Places to Eat in Cologne, Germany
HANSE STUBE | LOOKING FOR PLACES TO EAT IN COLOGNE NEAR CATHEDRAL
Tucked in the Excelsior Hotel Ernst sitting next to the Cologne Cathedral, Hanse Stube enjoys an extraordinary location. Nestled in the Old Town’s traditional-looking hotel, the restaurant exudes a different, contemporary vibe. The interior, here, is decorated with mahogany panels and niche tables. There is a Mediterranean Patio extension for open-affair dining during summer.
Served in its elegant atmosphere is traditional French cuisine, reinvented with a regional influence. Alongside a well-curated main course, guests are offered an equally impressive wine menu to go with every dish. A unique, pre-curated luncheon is offered within 59 minutes by the restaurant for those who are in a rush. In short, the chef and staff consider their guest’s needs in every way. This is what makes Hanse Stube the best restaurants in Cologne Old Town.
CAFÉ HINZ UND KUNZ
Pegged in the Lindenthal neighbourhood, the Hinz und Kunz or Hinz & Kunz Café is a chic eatery that falls in the list of trendy restaurants in Cologne. Come here for a healthy and wholesome breakfast with scrambled eggs, Parisienne, cereal in a mason jar, and pancakes. During the noon, the menu changes to fancier options like tartes and soup. The beverages in the café include everything from coffee, tea, juices, soft drink, to beers and wines.
Those allergic or intolerant to any ingredients used in the kitchen can communicate it with the staff and get the order prepared accordingly. Since the café is famous for serving freshly-prepared food, there might be long waiting times. However, given its delicious menu and drinks selection, it will be worth it. It’s also one of the cool places to eat in Cologne.
BRAUEREI ZUR MALZMÜHLE
Established 160 years ago, the Brauerei zur Malzmühle is an earthy brewery, perfect for all kinds of tourists – solo, couples, friends, groups, or even families. Currently run by the fifth generation in the family, it is no less than a landmark in the city. Tucked in the Old Town, the brewery now serves an array of delectable dishes that revolve around salad, poultry, red meat, veggies, and fish. There is a separate speciality menu that covers Himmel un Äd pudding and minced beef Mühlen Burger. Too busy to drink inside? Take your beverage out as you explore the gorgeous city. Make sure to reserve a table beforehand, and the famous brewery is often jam-packed.
When wondering where to eat in Cologne Germany, the answer can seldom get better than Le Moissonnier. The eatery is a charming concoction of a classy restaurant serving creative French cuisine and a weinladen with a complementing selection of vintage French wines. Its European charm comes from the understated, unpretentious interior which makes the restaurant almost casual. With its history rooted in the late 1980s, it becomes another popular dining option for the culturally-curious.
It comes as no surprise that Le Moissonnier, with its wide-ranging menus, has been accolated with two Michelin Stars. Another notch proving it as one of the top restaurants in Cologne.
Husarenquatier or Herbert Brockel im Husarenquatier has recently found a new home in the Nideggen Castle Restaurant. Its new interior boasts a perfect mélange of professional and casual ambience. The wooden panels, sleek office-inspired furniture, and quirky decorations add a modern flair to the eatery. A welcoming contrast against the ancient castle walls! The menu here graces 3-6 course meals that revolve around local flavours fused in international cuisines. An equally brimming selection of wines is offered here to go with whichever dish you order.
Reserve a table beforehand to skip the waiting time.
FRÜH AM DOM FOR HEALTHY FOOD IN COLOGNE
Tipple German beer while admiring the Cologne Cathedral at FRÜH Am Dom brewery. Running since 1904, it is an excellent place to enjoy the typical Cologne atmosphere. Experience the rustic vibe of Germany here! Another historical highlight of the brewery is its awe-inspiring medieval vaults that act as the cellar. Designed in a Romanesque fashion with high arches, it transports you into a more carefree era.
Sitting next to the beer-brimming is an Early Shop which makes a tempting place for souvenirs, especially like the Litterflasch. Nestled in the heart of Sunnesching is the open-air Beer Garden – a famous meeting point in the city. It’s stocked with a healthy breakfast menu. Do not miss touring and tasting at the FRÜH Early Lounge. Its ornate interior will make your camera flash feel dull.
PLOMARI RESTAURANT COLOGNE
Plomari is not just your usual best restaurant in Cologne, but the best Greek-cuisine-serving restaurant. It serves the most delicious mezes as appetizers with ouzo, keeping up with the Greek tradition to eat while you drink. Do not let the simple façade fool you, Plomari has many gastronomic tricks up its sleeves that you’d expect. In addition to the appetizers, the eatery serves a variety of speciality seafood ranging from sautéed prawns to fried octopus.
In fact, the popularity of the restaurant is so much, it almost imperative to book reservations beforehand.
Housed in an olde-worlde building, the Lommerzheim is a quirky restaurant and a cult bar that has its very own fanbase. Its fame has earned the founder Hans Lommerzheim his own memorial fountain in the beer garden. The best reason to walk into this quaint pub is its succulent pork chops that are served with sides of your choice. Order fries or potato salad to quaff the strong German beer with. It’s on the list of Cologne best restaurants, so you won’t be disappointed.
BEI OMA KLEINMANN | BEST SCHNITZEL IN COLOGNE
There may be many inviting Cologne restaurants near Cathedral, but none is quite like Bei Oma Kleinmann or Grandma Kleinmann. Described as “ordinary” by Gustav Kleinmann, the restaurant is anything but that! Housed in an inconspicuously extravagant edifice, it screams style. Pegged in the historic square of the city, it serves delicious meals that complement the regalia of the eatery. The menu is largely based on a variety of Schnitzel, some even vegetarian.
Walk inside to witness its cosy ambience completed with old wooden furnishings and an old bar serving Kölsch beer. During summer, the restaurant extends to outdoor seating and is a great place to grab German cuisine. Making reservations is not mandatory, but recommended.
The ambience at Amabile is best described as romantic, but it doesn’t mean the experience is restricted to couples. Candlelit tables with flower arrangements are a frequent sight here. With exposed brickwork, cosy lighting, and a dreamy terrace, Amabile is a complete show-off. Its two menus, Liebelein (sweetheart) and Amabile (lovable) take inspiration from French and Mediterranean cuisine but also have a touch of Asian flavours. Cooked in the kitchen of the restaurants, these dishes use fresh, seasonal produce for preparation. Here, you will also find local specialities with a creative twist.
Accompanying the main menu is an almost-overwhelming selection of aperitifs and wines to go with any dish you order.
Peters Brauhaus tops the list of best German restaurants in Cologne when it comes to authenticity. First established as Zum Kranz, the brewery is so old that its origins date more than five centuries back. Needless to say, the ingenuity has made it a historical landmark in the city.
Today, it resides in an elegant, post-war restored building just off the Alter Market. Past the grand entrance of Peters Brauhaus is a cosy den of six rooms. One of them boasts a stained-glass ceiling, creating a sight for sore eyes! The eclectic German menu is replete with specialities; be warned the portions are generous. One of the most celebrated dishes served here is the Himmel und Erde. The name of the dish aptly translates to Heaven and Earth and is recommended by six food critics.
DIE FETTE KUH
Die Fette Kuh or The Fat Cow is a casual eatery with its menu teeming with juicy burgers, heavenly steaks, dripping hot dogs, and other grilled goods. The presentation of the food here is something to drool over. Those on a diet have no chance of keeping the commitment once they are inside this meat-loaded restaurant. The sides and snacks here are also about gastronomical pleasures. Even the plates of French fries with dips are far from mundane.
Vegetarians do not need to avert their eyes and skip The Fat Cow either. The restaurant has a vegetarian counterpart for all its dishes, even the 200-gram meat burger. In short, when in doubt about what to eat in Cologne Germany, head to Die Fette Kuh® for a delicious, homestyle meal.
Want to know what it feels like to bask in Italian hospitality or missing the good ol’ pasta and caramel noodles? Head straight to Da Damiano restaurant to sate the desire. With modern art, framed mirrors, warm lighting, and covered tables, Da Damiano flaunts contemporary interior. Although casual, a hint of formal sophistication may be felt inside the restaurant. In a fine diner as such, expecting nothing short of three extensive menus that entail pasta, poultry, seafood, as well as red meat. From red wine-dipped lamb to cod fillet “Loins”, you will find all kinds of exotic dishes here.
Craving for a parfait, soufflé, or cheese plate? Wait until the dessert menu arrives to satiate the sweet tooth with that so much more.
Again, a reservation is recommended since the restaurant can get pretty packed.
KONRAD RESTAURANT COLOGNE
Stuck in an endless loop of what to eat in Cologne, Germany? Why not let the restaurant decide and you just enjoy it! The breakfast buffet and cross-culture haute cuisine, served here will give you a fresh choice every time you visit. The buffet at Konrad restaurant is a Surf n Turf affair with highlights including Boston Market’s fresh fishes and juicy beef carpaccio.
Á la carte is always on the menu. You can order an array of dishes from Cologne-style potato fritters to lava-grilled steaks. Fresh fruits and backed goods sprinkle flavoursome seasoning on the menu. Tucked inside Hilton Cologne, the restaurant shares the chic vibe and boasts modern décor of mahogany accents and metallic furniture. Housed in the hotel, next to the restaurant, is the Lobby Caffe & Bar where you can wander off for a cocktail or cup of coffee. Snacks, cakes, and traditional Cologne cuisine are also available.
MAX STARK COLOGNE
Max Stark is a fusion of German and Central European cuisine, generous portions, and modern interior. When famished from touring the city, come straight to this restaurant for a wholesome meal. Upon entering the restaurant, you will instantly feel the charming European vibe expected off Parisian streets. Keeping it simple and casual, the furnishing is all wooden with accented pillars supporting the ceiling. The menu at Max Stark encompasses a variety of snacks, stews, seafood, and main courses. They range from a simple potato omelette with a salad to a grand plate of Sauerbraten marinated horse meat with potato dumplings and stewed apples.
Making the selection kid-friendly is a separate dedicated section that includes snacks like French fries, noodles, and kid’s pancakes. Beverages also include soft drinks like Kid’s Bluna, which is the orange soda, making the menu interesting for the little ones too. For the grownups, the restaurant provides a wide selection of beers, spirits, and wines. Max Stark is great if you’re looking for good restaurants in Cologne.
WRAPPING UP WHERE TO EAT IN COLOGNE
Showing off an effervescent food scene, Germany is bound to win a gourmet’s heart. Its lively and energetic character reflects in the many breweries that dot the streets of Cologne. Given the long list of eateries, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the ever-miffing question – where to eat in cologne. To answer the question and help you get the best taste of this historic city, I have curated this list of best places to eat in Cologne. It has everything from fancy to casual, exotic to homestyle, and restaurants to breweries.
The list is bound to wake up your inner gourmet.