- Fabio Marcato
After my post on my favorite places to eat in Berlin I thought it would make sense to make a similar one about Cologne, a city where I lived for several years and that I know very well.
Why eat in Cologne?
Founded as a Roman colony on the Rhine, Köln is one of the German cities that was most destroyed by the war and is not well-known for its tourist spots. Cologne is, however, located in an essential hub of Europe, quite in the center of it all and at the gate of Benelux area. Cologne is part of the most populous German state in North Rhine-Westphalia with its nearly 18 million inhabitants (though it is not its capital, which is Düsseldorf).
The must-do in this city is to visit the gothic UNESCO heritage cathedral and climb the 280 steps of the bell tower. The second must do is to drink the local Kölsch beer. It is usually served in minuscule 20ml glasses, but if you take it in a bar, once you've finished, it will be replaced with another full one until you say stop (if you ever say stop). This beer is one of my favorites and for me it goes down like water.
Cologne also has many fairs: the most famous being the FIBO (fitness fair) and Gamescom (videogames). In addition, the city is very populated during Christmas market season, the crazy cologne carnival and pride.
Whatever the reason you are visiting this interesting city, most important is always food, so here are my expert tips on the best eats this city has to offer:
Pizza's winner in Colonia
There are really many Italian restaurants and pizzerias in Cologne. Unfortunately, many of these don't do real Italian cuisine. In fact, one of the most important things in Italian cuisine is the choice and quality of the ingredients. Unfortunately, it seems that many restaurants are hastily sourcing ingredients from lower-middle-range supermarkets. If you want to eat a real Neapolitan pizza in Cologne there are two places that do it equally well. Made in Napoli in Ehrenfeld and Totò e Peppino close to Ebertplatz. I can't tell which one makes the best pizza. Sometimes it just depends on the flavor of pizza you choose. These pizzerias put selected ingredients (such as burrata and Friarielli) and you can order other equally very good dishes (such as parmigiana). Notice that these are Neapolitan pizzas; the dough and the leavening is what makes them thicker and chewy.
Touch of middle-east on your lips.
Ehrenfeld is the most vibrant and populated district of Cologne, famous for its graffiti, clubs and of course, several places to eat and drink. Throughout Venloerstr., the main street is dotted with Turkish restaurants. They are all good or bad to try for one dish or another. If you want to eat something sweet I recommend Damla -- home of the best Kunafa I've ever eaten. For the İskender kebap go to Mecnun Restaurant & Lounge. Not as famous as the very popular and near Kebabland but at least you don't have to wait in a queue which can compete with the one of Berghain in Berlin.
Kunafa heaven from Damla
I won't bother going into too much details on these, but if you are craving some German eats, go no further than one of these three:
- Gilden im Zims
- FRÜH am Dom, die FRÜH Lounge
- Haus Scholzen
For other palates:
Thai Haus, Vegetarian
Masala Empire, Indian
Habibi Köln, Lebanese
Die Fett Kuh, Grilled Burger
As per usual, in a food coma, and it is only 9am