Great Wall ist not exactly located in an area of Cologne renowned for its cuisine. But this Chinese restaurant is very much an exception to the rule, because even though the décor isn’t anything to write home about, the dishes certainly pack a punch. From fried wan tans, tofu with bacon in a stoneware pot, sweet fried aubergines, Shanghai-style perch fillet or the spicy Szechuan beef with pak choi – we recommend ordering a wide assortment, as is customary in China, and sharing everything. Chinese spices are used to perfection in the complex creations and the spiciness never overpowers the fresh ingredients and flavours. As well as exquisite wines by the glass, Chinese beer and teas, they also serve up more exotic traditional Chinese dishes such as offal, thousand-year-old eggs or jellyfish salad.
Komödienstr. 37, 50667 Cologne, greatwallcologne.de
Bunte Burger Food Bar
Bunte Burger’s popularity doesn’t come as much of a surprise: after all, it takes special care to ensure sustainability throughout its entire production chain and refrains from using artificial or highly processed ingredients wherever possible. And because there’s a lot more to a vegan burger than just the patty, they regularly have plenty of new toppings up their sleeves too: the Bavaria Burger, for example, with caramelised onions and beetroot, or the Persia Burger with dates and falafel. Around once a month, Bunte Burger – which is already pretty chic for a burger joint – switches its attention to gourmet cuisine and cooks up a seasonal five-course meal for €49. You can secure a table by signing up on the restaurant’s website but be sure to do so early because it fills up very fast indeed.
Hospeltstr. 1, 50825 Cologne, bunteburger.de
When this restaurant opened in summer 2020, the sheer number of people trying to get a table suggested that it’s exactly what the city had been waiting for. On the menu here are creative tapas, including plenty of imaginative vegetarian options. Our fried broccoli oozed Asian flavours, while the marinated and grilled portobello mushroom came on a bed of well-seasoned tomato and cucumber salsa. The fish and meat dishes come in larger portions: boar from the nearby Eifel region is cooked in stock with cumin and coriander seeds and served with white cabbage – and all dishes are bursting with flavour. Three tapas portions are usually enough for one person, but to be on the safe side you can also order a Happen (small bite) such as slices of white bread topped with falafel and a creamy paprika spread.
Weißenburgstr. 32, 50670 Cologne, ritterwuelfing.de
Small portions for sharing? Hendrik “Henne” Olfen has them by the dozen! The beef ham from retired Basque dairy cows makes a very flavoursome starter and the modern take on Polish-style cauliflower (€8) isn’t far behind. Expertly smoked mushy peas elevate the wild game sausage from the nearby Bergisches Land region to taste explosion status, while the grilled lettuce heart scales the same heights thanks to its potato and caraway emulsion. With a menu that changes regularly, every visit here is a culinary tour de force that can always take you in a different direction. Which is all well and good – but only half the story, because the exquisite wine pairings by talented sommelier Fabrice Thumm are the ideal accompaniment. A spot of wining and dining here will always save the day!
Pfeilstr. 31, 50672 Cologne, henne-weinbar.de
Capricorn i Aries
This brasserie has been serving up the best French cuisine in the Südstadt, the south part of the city, for many years now. The fairly priced three-course set menu is a good place to start. Our culinary journey began with homemade bread with salted butter and a quark spread with herbs, which went down a treat with the fruity non-alcoholic house aperitif. The first course, a small shellfish soup with complex flavours, was a culinary delight. Somewhat simpler, but just as impressive was the main course: roast deer with savoy cabbage, mashed potato and creamy celery, accompanied by an excellent gravy. The culinary revelations continued all the way to dessert: a citrus fruit ragout, crowned by a forest fruit sorbet and a mango purée. And even the espresso to round off the meal was top-notch.
Alteburger Str. 31, 50678 Cologne, capricorniaries.com