A couple of weekends ago I found myself in Frankfurt am Main visiting with friends. Frankfurt has the biggest international airport in this part of the country, so we make it there somewhat regularly either to see friends arrive or leave from the airport, to go on our own adventures, or to visit our friends who live there. On this occasion, we had a couple of meals from some past favorites, but we also tried brunch at a our favorite Frankfurt bakery for the first time and loved it!
If you're ever in Frankfurt, here are three places that I recommend you try:
The Market at Konstablerwache -- On Thursdays and Saturdays, the square at the Konstablerwache u-bahn station turns into a lively market with lots of stalls selling meats, cheese, bread, and many other specialties. If you only have one weekend in the city, I highly recommend the market as it's a great place to try some truly traditional Frankfurt cuisine. On our visit, we went so that my best friend could try some Apfelwein and German food before leaving the country. Apfelwein (apple wine) is served two ways -- suß (sweet) with lemonade or sauer (sour) with mineral water -- and comes in a large, iconic grey and blue pitcher called a Bembel. The taste is a bit like cider (hard cider in American English) but lighter, almost like it's been watered-down. I find it very refreshing in the summertime, but I know that for many it's an acquired taste.
After our Apfelwein, we ran into some of our Frankfurt friends by coincidence and joined them for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the stall where we got food, just that it's back to the right behind the Apfelwein and wine stands with a green awning (perhaps my picture will help you find it). There we had Röstis mit Grüne Soße (potato pancakes with green sauce), a white asparagus salad, and Handkäse mit Musik (hand cheese with music). The "green sauce" is a Frankfurt speciality; it's a mix of herbs like chives, sorrel, parsley, and a few others that I don't think we have in the States. It's light and creamy and paired well with the fried Rösti. White asparagus is in season now, and in the salad we bought, it had been lightly marinated in vinegar and served with strawberries -- delicious! The Handkäse mit Musik is another local speciality, and its name comes from the way the balls of sour milk cheese are formed by hand. I'm not sure where the "music" came from, but it just means that the cheese is topped with onions. The cheese is cold, translucent, and smelly, and the texture reminds me somewhat of lard, making it also an acquired taste, but one I've grown to like.
Burger Baby -- After our traditional lunch, we decided to try a more modern meal of burgers. I really, really liked Burger Baby on our last visit, and wanted to go back again for more. We ordered a few dishes to share, including a regular-sized burger with my choice of toppings (gouda, avocado, and chipotle sauce), a round of sliders (including bacon-barbeque, chipotle-cheddar, and a plain burger), a Philly cheesesteak, and a basket of fries. If you've been following my quest to find a good burger, then you'll know that loosely packed meat patties are the only ones I like, and Burger Baby's fit the bill perfectly! Not only that, but they only cook them to about medium without you even asking, so they're perfectly juicy and soft. Surprisingly, the cheesesteak was my favorite on this visit. It was an absolute mess of chopped meat, onions, mushrooms, and cheese, but so good that we ended up ordering another one to go.
Iimori Pâtisserie -- This bakery is my favorite in Frankfurt because it's the closest place where I've found real Japanese melon pan. However, I hadn't tried their brunch until now. We made an early reservation at 11 am, and it was a good thing, too, as the restaurant (above the bakery) quickly filled up. The room we were in was like a cross between a tearoom in Versailles and a very modern (and very red) kitchen. The food was served on the kitchen island, and they had everything from the more traditional German breakfast of rolls and cold meats to a full-on culinary tour of Japan, including fresh sushi, edamame, cucumber salad, spring rolls, miso soup, make-your own ramen, okonomiyaki, salmon tonkatsu in a curry sauce, baked chicken, lettuce wraps, calamari rings, and tofu. My favorite was probably the super fresh sushi and the okonomiyaki, which was apparently everyone else's favorite, too, because it went fast! The dessert array was equally impressive with tiers of pastries including bites of chocolate cake, green tea and red bean cake, a cheesecake that would have made New York blush, pear and almond cake, and mango and raspberry puddings. I wouldn't have expected anything less from my favorite bakery, and I can't wait to go back again.
Other good eats: Of course, I should note that after our dinner at Burger Baby, we returned to Mint., the delicious ice cream place we went to on our Nordend food tour in Frankfurt last August. The dolce de leche and lemon-lime-mint were just as delicious! We also stopped by a great local brewery called Braustil on recommendation from my Frankfurt friends. The brewery is small, but they have a great outdoor patio and serve flights of their beer, including a delicious pale ale.
And lastly, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my husband loves our weekend trips to Frankfurt because it's the one place where he can get a Chipotle burrito in Germany. In fact it's one of the few locations in Europe. So if, like us, you are expats craving a taste of the southwestern U.S., then make sure you leave yourself a little extra time at the end of your trip for a stop by Chipotle at the Skyline Plaza in Frankfurt (just a 10-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof).
Have you been to Frankfurt recently? What are your favorite eats there?