The German city of Dusseldorf might not immediately spring to mind when planning a foodie trip in Europe. This remarkably under-the-radar city surprisingly boasts a diverse and delicious selection of restaurants, markets, cafes, coffee shops and cookery classes. I’ve created a Foodies guide to Dusseldorf so that you can discover the top places for food travellers and the most Instgrammable dishes in Dusseldorf!The remarkable and under-the-radar city of Dusseldorf boasts a diverse and delicious selection of restaurants, markets, cafes, coffee shops and cookery classes. Click To Tweet
There are many traditional German dishes to be found in Dusseldorf, with many restaurants serving up the various specialities of the state of North Rhine Westphalia. Typical local dishes include Dusseldorf include ‘Himmel and Erde’, a dish made from black pudding, potatoes and applesauce and ‘Rheinischer Döbbekooche’, which is Dusseldorf’s take on a potato cake. Dusseldorf is so much more than traditional German fayre though, my foodies guide to Dusseldorf looks at what you can expect from the city beyond currywurst. Dusseldorf is also really convenient to get to with connections from many European airports. You can use the Skyscanner app to search for the cheapest flight deals.
Discover Dusseldorf’s Japanese Quarter
The term ‘Japanese Quarter’ might well conjure up images of flashing neon signs, ostentatious manga shops and throngs of tourists. The Japanese quarter of Düsseldorf could not be further from this stereotype. Wander along “Immermannstraße”, the main street and you will find understated Asian influences. There are sushi restaurants, Japanese bookshops, a Japanese hairdresser, a Japanese hotel as well Korean owned supermarkets in this practical and reserved part of the city.
Dusseldorf has the biggest Japanese community in Germany and one of the largest in Europe, so the quarter was borne out of necessity, rather than being a mere tourist attraction. You can spend an entire afternoon seeking out Japanese gifts and groceries, having a drink in the Hotel Nikko bar or seeking out some seriously good sushi.
Sushi lovers should head to Takumi, located atImmermannstraße. 28. This is a very popular place for locals and noodle enthusiasts. Expect to see all the seats and tables filled up by noon, with queues of ramen lovers waiting outside. Another popular place is Naniwa, serving up ramen, sushi and Yaki Soba. There’s normally a large queue but it is totally worth the wait!
If you don’t fancy queuing up for your sushi, head to Natsu, to pick up a box of takeaway Sushi. These guys sell Sushi, salad and sandwiches inside luxury supermarket ‘Edeka-Zurheide’.
Natsu specialises in super fresh sushi creations, poké boxes and desserts. You can pick up a sushi platter to go or individually wrapped sushi such as maki and California rolls.
Go wine tasting at Eiskeller
Sip a range of local wines at award-winning bar Eiskeller and watch those hours whizz by! There is a huge selection of wines in this cosy and stylishly decorated wine cellar. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through your wine tasting experience as you feast upon cheese plates and cold cuts.
Despite the expert knowledge and impressive wine list, there’s no snobbery here, just an enthusiasm and passion for quality wine and producers. It’s the sort of relaxed atmosphere where I felt bold enough to proclaim that my favourite wine is ‘whatever is on offer in Aldi’ without feeling judged.
Have a fancy dinner
There are many fine dining and upscale restaurants in Dusseldorf including ‘L’Arte in Cucina’ and Brasserie 1806. If you are wanting fine foods with a view then I would head to The Paris Club Restaurant at the 25hours hotel. The Paris Club Restaurant is located on the 17th floor and offers fabulous views of Dusseldorf along with Modern French cuisine. You’ll be totally convinced you are dining out in Paris [especially after a few French wines].
Typical menu offerings include ‘Boudin Noir’ – French blood sausage with apple, calvados and creamed potatoes, steak frites, tartare and escargots. Almost all of the products on offer are sourced in France and waiting staff will advise you on menu choices and provide wine recommendations. This is a truly wonderful dining space with huge glass windows, high ceilings and stylish decor.
Steak lovers should check out MASH in the Old Town, this newly opened restaurant is located inside the historic building ‘Andreas Quartier’. MASH is an impressive, upmarket steakhouse that has a distinctive ‘New York steakhouse’ vibe with modern furnishing, exquisite lighting and beautifully prepared steaks.
Their selection of steaks includes Australian, German and Uruguayan steaks, as well as 90-day Danish dry aged and Japanese Wagyu from Kobe. There is also an award-winning wine list and a swanky bar serving superbly shaken old-fashioned cocktails. It’s pricey here but well worth the cost.
Experience a tea ceremony
Why have a bog standard brew when you can have one poured for you by a tea master? Manager and tea master of Shennong Lounge, Justus Hopmann, will demonstrate how to pour the perfect tea using Taiwan tea ceremony techniques that he learnt from Taiwan.
The ceremony has several stages, pot and cups are warmed first, then the tea leaves are washed and rinsed, water is then poured from a specific height and the tea is brewed for a specified period of time. The tricky part is putting the tea into a small cup, and then quickly flipping it over into the drinking cup. If you have ‘butterfingers’ like me, perhaps find a responsible adult to do it for you!
If you simply wish to relax with a tea, then why not kick back and sip through a huge range of herbal teas including black, green, white and fruit and herbal teas. Coffee fans can also order cappuccinos and matcha latte!
Take a culinary tour of Dusseldorf’s old town
Experience the culinary diversity of the Düsseldorf Altstadt (Old Town) and eat your way around this historic part of the city. The old town is home to food markets, breweries, spice shops, bakeries, bars and restaurants. Have a knowledgeable guide lead you around and discover the foodie delights of the city.
In the old town, you will find the iconic Uerige microbrewery that has been brewing since 1862. Their ‘Uerige beer’ is made from several malts including barley malt, caramel malt, roasted malt and is served in dinky, 200ml glasses that are quickly refilled by eagle-eyed bar staff. Dusseldorf has managed to retain four historic pub breweries that are popular with locals and with visitors. Make sure to have a pickled egg with your beer and eat it ‘Dusseldorf style’ by removing the shell, cutting your egg in half and adding salt, pepper and vinegar before eating in one gulp. Trust me, you’ll need some stodge after a morning of beer sampling.
Seek out the Carlsplatz market when in the old town for foodie finds, wine stalls, fresh fruit and vegetables. You can sample olive oils, wines and cheese from all over the world and chat with friendly stall holders about their wares.
Gin tasting at Schmittmann distillery
Gin lovers can partake in a guided tour and tasting session at the historic Schmittmann distillery. Schmittmann has been distilling gin since 1818 and sells a range of high-end booze including snaps and flavoured gins. Their famous 1818 Finest Dry Gin includes botanicals such as Juniper berries, peel of citrus fruits and herbs and spices and is utterly divine.
During the tour, you can sample several different types of gin [and leave the tour rather squiffy as a result] and learn more about the distilling process and the history of the Schmittmann distillery. It is a ‘must do’ activity for gin enthusiasts visiting the city, especially as you can buy a few bottles to take home from their on-site shop.
Learn to bake cake pops
Try your hand at baking at the Sugarbird Cupcakes bakehouse and prepare to get covered in frosting! Sugarbird has a very popular cafe in Dusseldorf selling delicious cupcakes. You can visit their actual bakehouse location where you can learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to creating colourful cake pops.
Enjoy a glass of fizz and a selection of highly Instagrammable Sugarbird cupcakes as you ‘apron up’ and start to prepare for your cake pop class, led by a professional cake pop maker, which is frankly a job title that I would kill for.
During the class, we were shown the two different ways cake pops can be made, either by rolling the mixture with your hands or, the lazy baker way, with the cake pop maker. The balls are then baked and then the fun part really begins, dipping them and decorating them! If you are an enthusiastic, rather than skilled baker like me, you might want to prepare for mixture to end up on your face/in your hair/up the walls.
During the decorating process, you can keep it simple with some sprinkles or unleash your creative streak and start creating elaborate fondant decorations on the cake pops. All the ingredients and tools in the bakery are available during the class, so you can really go to town on the decorations.
The best part is, you can take your creations away with you, to Instagram and of course, eat later. The classes cost 89 euros per person and include all materials, drinks and a special ‘Sugarbird Cupcakes’ apron to take home with you.
Go shopping for local produce
When on a foodie trip to Dusseldorf it is imperative to bring a large suitcase with you so that you can fill it to the brim with local produce. There are many food speciality shops, market stalls and traders in Düsseldorf Altstadt [Old Town], selling an array of products. If you are looking to stock up on your spices then make sure you visit Gewürzhaus Vogel, a spice shop institution in Dusseldorf. This wonderfully retro store has spices from A to Z, herbs and ‘ABB Mostert’, the oldest Düsseldorf mustard.
Mustard fans can also buy mustard from the Löwensenf mustard shop in the old town. Löwensenf was founded in 1903 and makes the most incredible mustard. The shop has mustard products to purchase, as well as the opportunity to taste mustard and learn more about how it is produced.
Whilst out and about in the old town, why not get a traditional tipple and hunt down some Killepitsch herb liqueur? This unique herbal liqueur was developed by the Busch family in Dusseldorf and has grown in popularity with liqueur fans. Killepitsch is red in colour and is flavoured with fruits, berries, herbs and spices. You can find Killepitsch at Et Kabüffke, a cosy and little bar situated at the heart of the ‘Altstadt’.
Those with a sweet tooth can find the most amazing cakes and pastries at ‘Pure Pastry pâtisserie’ located at the Carlsplatz market. Tim Tegtmeier is the chief pastry chef and cook here and has been awarded the accolade of Pâtissier of the Year.
You can choose from breakfast pastries, desserts and dessert components, tarts, chocolates, ice cream and macarons at Pure Pastry. You can either buy to take away or you can sit and enjoy your sweet treats in the market in the open air!
Another great place for sweet treats is the wildly popular Hinkel bakery, founded in 1891 by Jean Hinkel, it is still operational today. Here you can buy fresh bread, sandwiches and homemade gingerbread! There’s normally a large queue inside but if you are lucky, you can catch one of the staff outside giving out totally moreish samples!
Spend a morning coffee tasting
Consider yourself a coffee snob? It’s time to put your latte where your face is [that’s an expression right?] and give your expert opinion on the coffee at ‘Rösterei Vier’. This uber hipster coffee shop is the embodiment of coffee culture with a stripped back, almost Scandi-cool design and impossibly good-looking staff preparing pour over coffee.
During your coffee tasting you’ll be guided through the sourcing and roasting techniques as well as learning about the coffee farmers, blends and what makes a great cup of coffee. You will then be invited to taste coffee using a teaspoon and to discuss your thoughts on the various blends. A word of warning, after you have sampled around 8 cups of coffee, there’s the possibility you might start to get rather excitable. Perhaps remind yourself to use an ‘indoor voice’ for the sake of other customers.
Take an Asian cookery class
Who knew you could spend an evening in Dusseldorf learning how to cook Filipino street food? If you want to expand your culinary skills whilst in Dusseldorf then you should book a street food class with Maite, a wonderful Filipino born, German resident who teaches a class inside the Tains – mein-asiamarkt on Immermannstraße 50-52.
In Maites Filipino cookery class, you will learn to create traditional street food recipes from the Phillippines. The venue at Tains Mein Asiamarkt manages to recreate a lively Streetfood style atmosphere, making it the perfect setting for the class. With a complimentary cocktail in hand, you will learn techniques in Asian cookery using a variety Asian ingredients and products. The classes are in English and cost €65 per person.
The mobile kitchen work tables can accommodate up to 12 participants, meaning that the cookery space is not too overcrowded and everyone will get a chance to chop, sizzle, stir and take those snaps for the gram! We learnt how to create Chicken Binakol, a kind of Chicken broth served in hollowed out coconuts. Abodo flakes on salad leaves, which is spicy, shredded belly pork served on salad leaves and Taho, a tofu-based dish.
After the cooking session, everyone can join together to eat the dishes you have all created on a long table. This cookery class is a brilliant way of learning new kitchen skills and bonding with the other participants. I, in particular, learnt that I like to be addressed as ‘chef’ in the kitchen.
Overall, Dusseldorf is a very surprising foodie destination. This under-the-radar city has so many places to eat and so many interactive food experiences for one city. What do you think of my foodies guide to Dusseldorf? Do you agree that these are some of the top places for food travellers? Let me know in the comments below!
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Many thanks to Dusseldorf Tourism for organising and supporting my visit.