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Weekend in Cologne and Dusseldorf

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I'd like some suggestions on where to eat in either Cologne or Dusseldorf. I love trying local food but I don't really have the budget to go all out either. However, if it's worth it, I welcome all suggestions!

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  1. Whatever you do don't order a Kolsch in Dusseldorf or an Alt in Cologne;]

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chinon00

      Beat me to it. That weird city rivalry.

      1. re: Chinon00

        I'm glad you told me--I knew about Kolsch and thought it would be available in all the cities in that area of Germany.

        1. re: bartholomeu

          Oh, it's available for sure. Perhaps you'd be luckier ordering Kölsch in Düsseldorf than ordering Alt in Köln. The latter might get you in trouble :-D

      2. when? soon? is kölsch bier legal for sale at that time? very summery, but only has a brief window in summer (very strict laws on beer)

        9 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          I will be there the 2nd weekend in July. I know there's going to be a festival in Cologne on the 13th, and I thought it'd be a good time to see the city. Is the beer only available at certain times of the year? I've never heard of that.

          1. re: bartholomeu

            I've been in Cologne in all seasons, but mostly in the winter, when I can assure you the Koelsch flows as freely as it does in the summer.

            Fruh (next to the cathedral) is overtouristed, with ho-hum food and high prices.

            Head around the corner to the other Koelsch houses -- Sion is traditional bier hall, with pork-and-potatoes fare and brusque waiters, but the food's quite good.

            Peters has excellent ambiance -- all wood and stained glass -- possibly too warm an ambiance for the summer, but they have tables set up on the main platz and have a good selection of cool salads.

            Gaffel is somewhat more upscale (fabric tablecloths and attentive service) -- and has the bonus of being right ON the river, which is a distinct advantage on a long, warm summer evening.

            the local specialty is schweinhaxe -- a roasted pork knuckle -- you can order it braised or oven roasted. (I like the oven-roasted better, because it has a lovely brown crispy crust) It's a heavy meal for summer, but no arguing how amazing it is.

            1. re: sunshine842

              really? wow shows out of date I am, I thought it was a 2 month long thing. or maybe it used to be.

              BUT and I'm sure this part doesn't change, if the weather is decent (ha) the sun stays up gloriously late. eat and drink outdoors when possible.

              1. re: hill food

                it's been year-round for at least the last 20 years....

                perhaps you're thinking of weizen? That's much more a Bavarian creation, but most definitely a summer bier.

              2. re: sunshine842

                Don't forget Himmel un Ääd -- pan-fried blood sausage with mashed potatoes and apple sauce. Delicious.

                For lighter fare, have a Halver Hahn which, despite its name, is not half a chicken, but thick-sliced gouda on dark bread with onion slices and paprika. Yumboski.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  That schweinhaxe sounds delicious. I'm a sucker for crispy crusts as well. :-)

              3. re: hill food

                I have never, ever heard of that. Kölsch is available year round. Of course, Düsseldorf makes Altbier.

                1. re: linguafood

                  I coulda sworn my host parents said it was only available at certain times and served at certain temps...

                  I've been wrong before and I may very well be confusing it with something else.

                  the old center of Köln IS beautiful. on that I AM certain and will not back down. (hrumph). Dusseldorf is nice too, just doesn't have that Döm.

                  1. re: hill food

                    and in the summer, the restaurants along the river are the place to be -- watching the ships up and down, enjoying the late evenings with a Koelsch in your hand....good stuff.

                    Hill, it's time to go back. :)