During trade fairs, getting a restaurant table generally requires making reservations a day or more ahead.
While you're in town, be sure to try Frankfurt's distinctive local specialities including Handkäse mit Musik ('hand-cheese with music') and Frankfurter Grüne Sosse (Frankfurt green sauce).
Frankfurt's local delicacies are best experienced in the cosy surrounds of the city’s traditional apple wine taverns.
- Ebbelwei (or Ebbelwoi; Frankfurt dialect for Apfelwein)
Many Frankfurters derive great pleasure from savouring a glass of tangy, slightly carbonated apple wine with the alcohol content of a strong beer. Visitors, though, may find that the tart golden liquid, served straight up or gespritzt (with sparkling water), is something of an acquired taste (that doesn't resemble apples at all). It's traditionally served in a Bembel, a grey earthenware jug painted with cobalt-blue detailing.
- Handkäse mit Musik ('hand-cheese with music')
This opaque cheese, marinated in oil and vinegar with chopped raw onions and cumin seeds, is served with dark bread and butter. As you might imagine, this potent mixture tends to give one a healthy dose of wind – the release of which is the 'music'.
- Frankfurter Grüne Sosse (Frankfurt green sauce)
Made from parsley, sorrel, dill, burnet, borage, chervil and chives mixed with boiled, sieved eggs and sour cream or yoghurt, this delicious green sauce is usually slathered on eggs, boiled potatoes or schnitzel.
Restaurants and cafes immediately surrounding the Römerberg cater mainly to tourists, but nearby you’ll find some very local – and atmospheric – dining options.
The Innenstadt has some of Frankfurt’s best dining options. The pedestrianised avenue linking the Alte Oper and the western end of the Zeil – officially called Kalbächer Gasse and Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse – is dubbed 'Fressgass' ('eat street') because of its gourmet shops and restaurants. Seating spills outside in warm weather.
Messe, Westend & Bockenheim
Few places to eat are located right around the Messe, given this part of the city fluctuates wildly between throngs during fairs and scarcely a soul the rest of the time.
Near the Westend campus of Goethe Universität, you'll find restaurants along Feldbergstrasse, which is lined with impressive Wilhelmian-era buildings.
In Bockenheim, inexpensive eateries and ethnic takeaways line Leipziger Strasse. The streets southwest of Bockenheimer Warte have reasonably priced restaurants and bars.
Nordend & Bornheim
Offering a slice of everyday Frankfurt life, Berger Strasse is home to authentic and atmospheric bars and restaurants, especially around Merianplatz. The stretch of Berger Strasse just north of Rendeler Strasse is known as Alt-Bornheim (old Bornheim).
Sandweg, which runs parallel to Berger Strasse, also has inexpensive restaurants.
Frankfurt’s densest concentration of places to drink and eat is in Alt-Sachsenhausen. Head to bar- and restaurant-packed streets such as Grosse Rittergasse, Kleine Rittergasse, Klappergasse and Wallstrasse. Seven blocks southwest, the southern end of shop-lined Schweizer Strasse also has a string of restaurants.