Düsseldorfers have a reputation for not being easily deterred, once they have decided to do something. Covid 19 may have created some hiccups, but new restaurants and wine bars have established themselves in the past two years, some were delayed; others on schedule. Some that opened just before the pandemic, have managed to build their reputations desoite it.
Gastronomy in Düsseldorf is much more relaxed than it was in recent years. The French bistro style of the eighties and nineties has made a comeback, and the large Japanese community happily recognizes that sushi and other Japanese specialties can be combined not only with sake, but also with Riesling and Champagne.
Fritz's Frau Franzi (FFF): New Start
In the restaurant business, personnel changes always mean a lot of work and uncertainty, but sometimes they are also an opportunity. This was the case at Fritz's Frau Franzi at The Fritz Hotel, which had to restructure at the end of last year. The chef and sommelière left and both can now be found at the Pink Pepper. A new chef was quickly appointed in the shape of Tobias Rocholl who previously cooked at Brogsitters Gasthaus Sanct Peter on the Ahr river. Working alongside him is Eva Herrmann, the hotel manager, who recently took on the role of wine manager using her extensive academy training in the subject. FFF, as fans and staff like to call the restaurant, now not only has an extensive list and its own wine label, but also a very individual range of wine by the glass: unusual selections such as an Assyrtiko from Santorini or a 20-year-old Spätlese from Wegeler in the Rheingau.
- Adersstraße 8, 40215 Düsseldorf (District Friedrichstadt)
- Phone +49 211 370750, www.fritzs-frau-franzi.de
- Wednesday to Saturday 19–23 p.m., (reservations for 19–20.30 p.m.), for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday
- Menu from 134 € (five courses)
Pink Pepper: Ambitious Start
From Fritz's Frau Franzi, chef Benjamin Kriegel and his wife Ramona went straight to Pink Pepper, which opened in early 2022 and already has ambitions for a Michelin star. Don't be fooled by the playful name of the restaurant, located in the newly spruced-up Steigenberger Parkhotel. Things are very sophisticated here in terms of ambience: soft hues, elegantly set tables, and a fairly pricy menu that eloquently combines regional ingredients (asparagus from the Lower Rhine) and international fare. The wine list, curated by restaurant manager and sommelière Ramona Kriegel, is similarly well-conceived. Sparkling wine from Krack in the Pfalz or Pet-Nat from Agnès Paquet in Bourgogne? Chasselas from Ziereisen or red wine from Viña Tondonia in Spain? All are to be found along wirth well chosen wines from Lebanon, Georgia and Greece.
- Königsallee 1a / (GPS: Ludwig-Zimmermann-Straße), 40212 Düsseldorf (District Stadtmitte)
- Phone +49 211 1381611, www.steigenberger.com
- Tuesday to Saturday 18.30–23 p.m., Kitchen open 19–20.30 p.m., for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday
- Menu from 139 € (five courses)
Roku: Japan and Champagne
Inconspicuous from the outside, superbly set up within. To get to the new Roku, you don't have to dive into Düsseldorf's Little Tokyo near the main train station; instead, you should get off the subway at at the Victoriaplatz/Klever Straße station. That none other than Yoshizumi Nagaya, the city's best Japanese chef, is behind Roku is not surprising. He was already focusing on Japanese cuisine with French influences, great wines and sake for years at his award-winning star-rated restaurant Nagaya. At Roku, things are a bit simpler, but here, too, you find everything that the wine-savvy gourmet needs. Riesling from the Künstler or von Hövel wineries, plenty of Champagne (from Michel Gonet or Larmandier-Bernier) and, of course, a range of sake right up to the finest Junmai. General manager Kojun Shuham also looks after the outstanding range of Japanese whiskies. Those who don't want to take the set menu (perhaps with a matching wine accompaniment) can order dishes such as salmon sashimi fried in sesame oil with yuzu or salt-grilled hamachi cheek from the à la carte:
- Schwerinstraße 34, 40477 Düsseldorf (District Pempelfort)
- Phone +49 211 15812444, www.restaurant-roku.de
- Tuesday to Saturday 18–22 p.m., for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday
- Menu from 79 € (four courses)
The Paradise Now: A Touch of New York
People walking past this new hotspot in the afternoon will often be surprised at how quiet it is. Come evening, things look different, because the mix of restaurants, bars and clubs that is currently so popular with Düsseldorfers could just as well be in New York or Singapore. The food is up to the minute: ceviche, scallops or entrecote; pasta like the pappardelle with rabbit ragout are particularly recommended. As for the wines: they are well selected, as the Quarz of Cantina Terlan or the Ungeheuer Riesling of Reichsrat von Buhl prove. The wines by the glass are of better quality than one would expect in such a trendy location. On the other hand, after a full day of wine tastings, a cocktail may be in order. The selection is impressive and priced fairly by Düsseldorf standards. Note: Table reservations can only be made online and are strictly divided into time slots. Very New York!
- Hammer Straße 27, 40219 Düsseldorf (District Hafen)
- Phone +49 173 7637964, www.the-paradise-now.de
- Tuesday to Thursday 12. –22 p.m., Friday until 3 a.m., Saturday 18 p.m.–3 a.m. (Kitchen 12-14pm and from 18 pm),
- Sunday and Monday closed, cash is not accepted, online reservation only, main courses between 18 and 35 €
Friedrich Wine Bar: Tips from the Top Sommelier
There's not much to eat in this relatively new venue, which is situated in the heart of Düsseldorf's old town. But you don't come here to eat, rather to drink the delicacies on offer. Responsibility for the wine selection lies with Sven Oetzel, an experienced sommelier (La Vie and Vendome) who also looks after the Friedrich restaurant in Osnabrück. When it comes to advice and service, these are handled by Kemal Islak, who once delighted guests at the Victorian. Bottles have two prices: one for drinking onsite, one for taking away. Because the margins are modest, it is also worth ordering better bottles such as a 2012 Hengst from Josmeyer in Alsace, perhaps, or the top wines of Franz-Josef Eifel from the Mosel. These are accompanied by olives, ciabatta or the large selection of cheeses at 24 €.
- Akademiestraße 22, 40213 Düsseldorf (District Carlstadt)
- Phone +49 211 86327059, www.friedrich-wein.com
- Tuesday to Friday from 16 p.m., for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday, no online reservations
- Snacks between €3.50 and €24
Herr Noil: Carpaccio with Riesling
Tim and Nadine Blumhoff opened the wine bar in mid-2019 and saw it through the difficult months of the pandemic. Since then, Herr Noil has established itself well, partly because of the exciting tastings that regularly take place here and because of the originality of the program.n. About 200 wines are on hand, 85 percent of them from Germany, some even from Blumhoff's own parcels from the Mosel. He produces them - Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Rosé - together with a local winemaker. There's plenty to eat, too, especially cheese, ham and so on, but also carpaccio variations and popular gravlax salmon and prawn tapas.
- Wissmannstraße 1, 40219 Düsseldorf (District Unterbilk)
- Phone +49 152 22734579, www.herrnoilweinbar.de
- Tuesday to Saturday from 18 p.m., for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday, but closed for private event, no online reservations
- Food between €4.50 and €26
Chez Lio: Galettes in Oberkassel
Barbarossaplatz is best known for its celebration of Italian gastronomy: The Saitta family has several outlets that are dedicated to Mediterranean wine and food.
Chez Lio, on the other hand, is a brand new French bistro where you can get coffee, croissants and brioche in the morning, and Breton-style galettes from noon to evening,as well as more sophisticated dishes such as crab with homemade mayonnaise, fried foie gras with glazed pearl onions, or fried scallops. Those who know Dusseldorf and are reminded of Robert Hülsmann's famous bistro at the harbour are right: Jenny Hülsmann is the daughter of the legendary restaurateur, who died last year. Niw she works here together with her mother Doris. Chez Lio is not as well positioned in terms of wines as the wine bars Friedrich and Herr Noil, but it does have a lot to offer: Riesling from Nik Weis, Assyrtiko from Greece, and of course Crémant from France. And above all: a laidback atmosphere!
- Barbarossaplatz 4, 40545 Düsseldorf (District Oberkassel)
- Phone +49 211 52293630
- Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m., closed Monday to Wednesday. Hot food 12. to 22 p.m., Sunday until 21 p.m., wine pairings until midnight, on Sunday until 21 p.m
- No online reservation, Breton galettes from €7.50, other dishes from €8.50
Weinhaus Tante Anna: Full of Ideas
This is not a new address, but one that has been under new management since mid-2019. Myriam Oxenfort runs the classic Tante Anna that some tourists still mistake for a run-of-the-mill wine bar, but in fact offers ambitious cuisine. Simon Nauels, the chef, presents a four- to five-course menu, but also offers à la carte choices: a terrine of Oldenburg veal, Lower Rhine asparagus and, of course, the indestructible classic, Düsseldorf mustard roast. Restaurant manager and sommelier Thomas Bergk knows what wine to recommend to accompany these perfectly. He has an excellent by-the-glass lineup particularly from German producers, and an even better range by the bottle, which also includes older vintages. Anna Oxenfort, the legendary landlady after whom the house was once named, would be proud of her successors.
- Andreasstraße 2, 40213 Düsseldorf (District Altstadt)
- Phone +49 211 131163, www.tanteanna.de
- Tuesday to Saturday from 18 p.m., food until 21.30 p.m., for ProWein: open Sunday and Monday
- Menu from 61€ (four courses vegetarian), main courses from 27€
Zero Banchi: Cuisine from Hokkaidō
Every fan of Japanese cuisine has his or her own favorite in Little Tokyo, that unofficial Düsseldorf neighborhood dominated by Asian delis, gastropubs committed to manga culture and authentic Japanese isakayas. Among the new tips is a small, rather inconspicuous establishment that is committed to the specialties of the island of Hokkaidō. Here you can get sea bass pickled in kombu as sashimi, fried oysters or dough rolls filled with edamame. For dessert, perhaps baked sweet potatoes with cream and, in the end, the realization that Japanese cuisine is more diverse than most outsiders believe. The wine selection is quite modest, so maybe go for the Kirin beer on tap or the great range of Hokkaidō sake. Insider tip: the sake cocktails!
- Immermannstraße 34, 40210 Düsseldorf (District Stadtmitte)
- Phone +49 211 36776630
- Wednesday to Sunday 17 to 21 p.m., closed Monday & Tuesday
- No online reservation, main courses between €17 and €26
Classics à la Dusseldorf
Old-timers will still remember the good old days, the very first wine fairs on the Rhine. At the very beginning, they were cosy and charming, with cheese buffet in the middle of the room. Düsseldorf's gastronomy at that time consisted of the triumvirate of restaurants: Im Schiffchen, Hummerstübchen and Victorian. What has remained is the Schiffchen, where Jean-Claude Bourgueil and his team are still dedicated to classic cooking. Great wines from France are still plentiful there, and dishes such as loup de mer with broad beans are considered iconic. A slice of the good old days!
Also classic is the pizza served at nineOfive – light, fluffy, Neapolitan, with original toppings. Sebastian Georgi, manager and sommelier, is always good for presenting unexpected wines. Where else can you get Julian Haart's Moselkabinett by the glass? Occhipinti's Sicilian Nero d'Avola, however, goes a bit better with the so-called Speckenwolf pizza, another classic. By the bottle, it gets much more exciting - even on a Sunday and Monday, when many other restaurants are closed.
- Ackerstraße 181, 40233 Düsseldorf (District Flingern-Nord)
- Phone +49 211 94218181, www.nineofive.de
- Monday to Thursday 17 - 22 p.m., Friday to Sunday 12 - 22.30 p.m.
- Pizza from 9,50 €
- Kaiserswerther Markt 9, 40489 Düsseldorf (District Kaiserswerth)
- Phone +49 211 401050, www.im-schiffchen.de
- Tuesday to Saturday and for ProWein: Sunday and Monday from 19 p.m.
- No online reservation, menu from 113 €
New in Cologne, Duisburg and Erkelenz
A quick trip from Düsseldorf to Cologne? No problem, because ICE and IC trains can take you there in no time - and it's only a stone's throw to Prunier Cologne in the shadow of the cathedral. In this recently-opened restaurant, sommelière Ronja Morgenstern recommends great Champagnes by the glass and bottle, first-class Burgundies, excellent Rieslings. There is caviar in different varieties, Balik salmon and fine oysters. Chef Enrico Hirschfeld's creative menus go far beyond serving cold delicacies.
It's even faster to get from Düsseldorf to Duisburg, where Sven Nöthel, an established restaurateur, opened Mod last year. It's a restaurant with an affinity for wine, where you can find good bottles to go with order Wagyu short rib or char with almond and elderberry.
Those who want to travel to the new Troyka, on the other hand, should make sure their GPS is up to date, or rely on Google Maps. Neu-Immerath, which belongs to Erkelenz, is a recently settled village created as a consequence of lignite mining. Chefs Alexander Wulf and Marcel Kokot showcase their talents in an ultra-modern restaurant that could easily be located in the big city, yet is here set amidst the flat countryside. Norway lobster with calf's head and black radish or lamb in a nettle crust are on the current menu, accompanied by sommelier Ronny Schreiber’s unique wine recommendations.
- Am Hof 48, 50667 Köln (District Innenstadt)
- Phone +49 221 71595520, www.prunier-cologne.de
- Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. –23 p.m., food 12 - 21.30 p.m.
- Menu from 79 € (four courses)
Mod by Sven Nöthel
- Grafschafter Straße 197, 47199 Duisburg (District Baerl)
- Phone +49 176 23557864, www.mod-dining.com
- Tuesday to Saturday from 18 p.m., Sunday 12 - 14 p.m., closed on Sunday evening and Monday
- Menu from 85 € (four courses), main courses 37–38 € (Fridays/Saturdays no food à la carte)
- Rurstraße 19, 41812 Erkelenz (District Neu-Immerath)
- Phone +49 2431 9455355, www.troyka.de
- Thursday to Sunday from 18 p.m., Sunday also during lunch time, closed Monday to Wednesday
- Menu at 139 €