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Handmade noodles at Nobiko
Practising the craft: Handmade noodles at Nobiko

Eating out in Cologne: Dinner restaurants

created by Tagnacht – Cologne gastro guide | |   food

Metropolitan vibes, vegan Japanese food and a modern take on hearty beer hall fare – our top tips for dining out


Luis Dias

Mediterranean. This restaurant is all about the finest ingredients, intense flavours and unusual combinations. Burrata is served on a slightly sweet cucumber essence with a hint of mint, while the lightly seared quail comes on a bed of carpaccio with three different creams. The jet-black risotto with bright orange Breton lobster is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds alike. And the melt-in-the-mouth veal tenderloin is perfectly accompanied by a dark soy jus and crunchy vegetables. The restaurant’s very own ­cuvée from Portugal has a full-bodied taste and pairs well with many dishes, as does the intense Pinot Blanc Salwey. Julia Uehren

Wilhelmstr. 35 a, 50996 Cologne, outside seating

Chum Chay

South-East Asian. At this restaurant, Cologne feels a lot more metropolitan than it does elsewhere. The clientele seems quite young, the walls have a metallic sheen, diners sit at wooden tables and benches and the menu is completely meat-free. All dishes are light and digestible, which is why Chum Chay is also an ideal choice for lunch. As well as classic Vietnamese dishes like phô soup, the menu includes the glass noodle salad mien tron with organic tofu, soybean sprouts and fried onions, striking the perfect balance between sour and spicy. Their tangy homemade lime lemonade is a firm favourite among guests, but beer and wine are also served. But one aspect that takes away from the urban vibe is the fact that the restaurant doesn’t accept card payments. Fabian Elsäßer

Friesenwall 29, 50672 Cologne, outside seating


Spanish. The staff are warm and welcoming, guests are always in the best of spirits and the murmur of chitchat fills the air. It’s best to visit this small, somewhat hidden restaurant in a larger group so you can sample as many different tapas as possible. From the list of around 20, you can choose three, five or seven, and you can also opt for larger portions, or “raciones” as they say in Spain. Some of the delicious options include the juicy and tender gambas with garlic and the boquerones en vinagre, which taste wonderfully fresh thanks to the marinated lemons. The octopus in a warm tomato sauce is buttery soft and tender. And the wines also come from Spain, such as the barrel-aged, aromatic Mecenas Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the perfect accompaniment to many of the menu’s culinary delights. Julia Uehren

Lintgasse 10–12, 50667 Cologne, outside seating

Johann Schäfer

Brewery. A whole new take on the Brauhaus (or beer hall) concept was unveiled in the south of Cologne five years ago. Even leaving aside the cool, modern interior, the menu concept isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a brewery either. You can put together your own dish as you prefer, which is why the menu is divided up into different categories, such as Am Knochen (On the Bone), Alte Schule (Old School) or Jemös (Vegetables). And the dishes they serve up never fail to hit the spot. The menu’s modular system makes the classic three-component dishes slightly more expensive, but this is more than justified by the higher quality of regional ingredients. As well as the local Kölsch beer, you can try Johann Schäfer’s own homebrew, such as their unfiltered and extremely quaffable Südstadt Pils. Julia Uehren

Elsassstr. 6, 50667 Cologne, outside seating


Japanese. The vegan address for Japanese food on the right-hand side of the Rhine. Here the focus is on homemade udon noodles, which are thick, al dente and really soak up the sauce. Seaweed is used in many of the dishes. For the ultimate sea breeze, opt for the kitsune udon with wakame seaweed. Here, the bowl is garnished with thinly sliced fried tofu in a firm breadcrumb coating, providing a gentle umami experience. The green tea is served either cold or hot and can also be flavoured with toasted rice, which adds a smoky, nutty touch. But whatever you decide to order, make sure you leave some room for a slice of vegan cake from the delicious variety on offer at the cake counter.  Tobias Pastoors

Josephskirchstrasse 25, 51103 Cologne, outside seating

(by Tagnacht – Cologne gastro guide)