Culinary gems – The restaurant scene in Ehrenfeld
One of my favourite parts of Cologne is Ehrenfeld. I actually lived there for two years though that was ten years ago. But I still go back regularly to admire the street art, browse in the little shops in the side streets – and to dine out. The gastro scene in this colourful, lively district is diverse, international and modern. It might not seem that way in the centre of Ehrenfeld, near the main crossroads on Venloer Straße, where there’s a concentration of kebab shops, cheap pizza places, McDonalds and similar outlets. But there are culinary gems scattered all over the district – you just have to know about them.
This restaurant has a Polish-sounding name and there are some typical Polish dishes on the menu: a type of sauerkraut ravioli, for example. But there are also oriental dishes (such as lemon chicken) and Asian specialities (like Thai curry). International classics, reinterpreted – that sums up the cuisine at Wallczka. The restaurant is also well known for its large selection of mezze: small portions of a variety of dishes that guests can combine however they please. On top of that, the interior has a lovely romantic feel – especially in the evening when they dim the lights in favour of candlelight.
Subbelrather Straße 295
Jaely’s, on Ehrenfeld’s main thoroughfare, Venloer Straße, is a bright and colourful place with deep blue walls and tables and fun wall decorations. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – you can get it all here. Whatever time of day you come, you can be sure of a good meal. The lunch deals are particularly good with different pasta dishes, pizza or salads every day between 12 noon and 3 pm for less than 7 euros. If the weather’s good, you can also sit outside and watch the hustle and bustle on Venloer Straße – guaranteed to keep you entertained for an hour or two.
Venloer Straße 252
Café Sehnsucht, with its cosy yet contemporary interior, was opened way back in 1982, long before Ehrenfeld had become hip and trendy. Sustainability features strongly at this combined café and restaurant, meaning that they really think about what products they use and where they come from. Sehnsucht is now certified as an organic restaurant and uses regional products as far as possible. You can enjoy a good meal almost any time of the day here because they do breakfast, lunch and dinner – with an evening menu that changes every month. The food is seasonal with lots of pumpkin, turnip and sweet potatoes in autumn and asparagus and strawberries taking a starring role in spring – in line with the principle of sustainability.
Secco is a wine bar in the heart of Ehrenfeld, on Simrockstraße, where the focus is on good wines (mostly from Germany), sourced straight from the vineyard. The fresh and flavoursome food they serve with the wine comes in generous portions both at lunchtime and in the evening. Incidentally, there’s a vegetarian set menu too, which sets my vegetarian heart beating faster of course. Besides the culinary delights, visitors to Secco can also feast their eyes on the artwork exhibited on the walls.
Traubenzeit is located between Simarplatz and Lenauplatz in a historic building with an idyllic little courtyard where you can while away the hours in good weather. The delicious food they serve in this restaurant is international though many of the dishes have a hint of the Mediterranean: a pinch of France, a little bit of Italy. They also have an impressive wine list with something to complement any of the vegetarian, meat or fish dishes.