5 hot spots for a romantic dinner
With the evenings growing longer, the wind stronger and the air colder, people are increasingly looking for a culinary experience that makes them feel warm inside, accompanied by good wine and served in a welcoming atmosphere. In short, this is the season of romantic candlelight dinners. The following are some of the nicest places for a dinner date in Cologne.
Brasserie Capricorn (i) Aries
Amuse-bouche, brioche, petit four… It only takes a few words to get your taste buds yearning for France. Luckily, Brasserie Capricorn (i) Aries, in the south of the city, is on hand to help. Candlelight and chansons welcome guests and, along with their choice of crémant or champagne, set the scene for the next hour or two. Then the team start putting together a showcase of French culinary delights. The menu is small with regular changes and dishes that are creative without being pompous, accompanied by palate-pleasing wines. In short, it’s a perfect place for a romantic rendezvous in winter – and in summer when there are tables beneath awnings on the wide pavement outside.
So you think Michelin-starred restaurants are too formal for a date? Think again! Even though a place in the Michelin guide was the last thing on their minds when they opened their first restaurant in Cologne’s “Altstadt” (“old town”), it wasn’t long before Jan Cornelius Maier and Tobias Becker were awarded a Michelin star. Pleased as they were by this turn of events, they still kept to their original plan – to serve up a treat for all their guests, not just the connoisseurs. With food that’s original but by no means weird (“hot & cold soft goat’s cheese, damson, green & white celery and black walnuts”) and very clear ideas about how they put together their popular set menu and excellent complementing wines. Combined with attentive, professional service, a tastefully minimalist interior and views of the Rhine, all of these ingredients guarantee a perfect atmosphere for an evening of first-rate German nouvelle cuisine.
Am Frankenturm 5, 50677 Cologne
Web: www.maibeck.de | www.facebook.com/Maibeck-Für-Dich-Köln-297103523761568
Until Hendrik Olfen (otherwise known as “Henne”) opened his restaurant in April 2018, Cologne didn’t have anywhere that focused on excellent wines accompanied by a small, varying menu. The clientele here is quite mixed: shoppers, a few business people, but most of all, lovers of divine, daring cuisine who come for the unconventional dishes that the young chef conjures up so masterfully. The “celery mousse with lemon grass & apple, pecan nuts and chicken skin” is to die for and not as bizarre as it sounds. With its casual atmosphere, stylish interior and subtle lighting, Henne is also a great place for loved-up couples.
Casa di Biase
With its beautifully restored 19th century houses and its verdant roundabout, nowhere else in Cologne is quite as reminiscent of Paris as Eifelplatz. Yet the atmosphere at Casa di Biase is well and truly Italian. Since the mid-90s Mario di Biase has been putting his own special twist on his home country’s cuisine here: traditional yet contemporary and sometimes even a little trendy. How does this sound, for example: “sautéd baby calamari on wakame” as the antipasti, followed by “truffle-flavoured gnochhetti with butter, parmesan and grated hazelnut” as the first main and “fillet of beef in a red wine sauce with wild sweet and sour onions” as the secondo piatto? The walls are adorned with photos recalling the good old years, the tables bathed in candlelight. Add to this cosy atmosphere the friendly service and a Barolo and the world feels a better place again.
Fancy a complete set menu? That’s what this little place has specialised in. With its exposed brickwork, cosy lighting and welcoming terrace, this place has long been popular with couples. And that hasn’t changed since Sylvain Boudry and Vladimir Banusa took over at the end of 2016. What they have added to the Mediterranean cuisine, however, is a touch of Asia, with dishes such as “cardamom chicken with ginger, red cabbage salad, mango and wonton” or “Thai-style knuckle of lamb with red lentils, coconut and shiitake mushrooms”. It all tastes as exciting as it sounds – as well as looking fantastic. There are two menus to choose from, with three or four courses and names to match the target group: “Liebelein” (a local term for “sweetheart”) or “Amabile” (Italian for “lovable”).