Düsseldorf Food and Travel Guide: what to do, things to see and food to eat
Düsseldorf, which Napoleon called the “Little Paris of Germany”, is nestled on the banks of the Rhine and has always been known for its melting pot of races and cultures that have allowed it, with time, to become one of the most interesting places when it comes to food in Germany. In this food and travel guide to Düsseldorf, I bring you with me to discover things to see and do in Düsseldorf and point out some places where to eat if you’re in town. Find out all about Düsseldorf Airport, what to do in Düsseldorf, where and what to eat in Düsseldorf and where to sleep.
How to get to Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is served by what is considered to be one of the best airports in the world, connecting the city to other European countries as well as to the rest of the world.
Eat and drink in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is characterized by an incredibly varied food and wine offer, ranging from typical specialties to international specialties, which here find ample space to express themselves.
Eat and drink traditionally in Düsseldorf
Among the dishes to be tasted there is Rhine style marinated roast with (Rheinischer Sauerbraten), shin (Haxe), blood sausage (Flönz), pea soup (Ähzezupp), and local cheese served with cumin and rye sandwich (Halve Hahn). The typical beer, the Altbier, the dark beer typical of the city is a must.
International food in Düsseldorf
Always a European hub for international companies of different types, Düsseldorf hosts an incredible expat community. Above all, the Japanese community stands out, the third largest in Europe, which for this reason has allowed the development of a truly Japanese district where to eat typical Japanese food, and make Japanese purchases. Not only Japan but also Latin American and Asian communities, without forgetting Italy, meaning that international cuisine in Düsseldorf is extremely well established.
Where to eat and drink in Düsseldorf
The food and wine experience in Düsseldorf is divided between low-quality premises, mostly dedicated to hit and run tourists that are found in the city, and high-quality places, located in strategic points and far enough away from the most tourist areas, with obvious exceptions.
It is in the MedienHafen area that I advise you to head off to eat something good and not touristy. If you want to go on the safe but expensive, choose Berens am Kai which boasts a Michelin star and offers cuisine with local ingredients and some reinterpretations; it is in this area that you will find many places where to stop to taste the currywurst and accompany it with local beer or, why not, with a cocktail. Another star-studded hotel, the Im Schiffchen, two stars near the old town, with a spectacular view of the Rhine and dishes that are impossible to forget.
Nagaya is considered the best Japanese in Düsseldorf, with its already solid presence in the city and a reputation that precedes the tasting; according to many, it is also the best Japanese restaurant in Germany. It’s definitely not cheap but it’s definitely an experience.
What’s Beef? specializes in meat and hamburgers, all freshly prepared and only with ingredients (almost) at 0 km while Na Ni Wa Noodles & Soups is known for its ramen and noodles and is one of the most popular local people, both at lunch than at dinner. Bob & Mary’s offers fusion cuisine, with 100% German burgers washed down with oriental sauce: the restaurant does not accept credit cards and debit cards.
For beer lovers, do not miss Füchschen, Uerige, Schumacher, three of Düsseldorf’s most famous breweries; all of the Düsseldorf breweries produce on site and serve only local customers, so these beers are not exported outside the city.
For those looking for night-time entertainment, I suggest Squarebar for its cocktails, Bar Alexander for its vintage soul, Pardo Bar for its unique style and location in the museum of contemporary art and finally Eiskeller Winebar for its selection of local and particular wines.
Things to see in Düsseldorf
The city of Düsseldorf can be visited in a couple of days, but obviously, the more time is available the more you can see and experience.
Among the things to see in Düsseldorf I suggest:
Altstadt – Old Town
The old town is relatively small and is a succession of squares, narrow alleys with pebbles, and typical restaurants. It is here that most of the premises are concentrated to the point that this area has also been defined “the bar with the longest counter in the world” since once they put tables outside, the amount of seating and people form a long and large counter where to sit and do party. There are a total of more than 260 bars and places almost aligned, some in the middle of the historic center and others on the riverside that in summer turns into a large beach (no sand) hosting tourists and locals.
St. Andreas is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in the Lower Rhine; every day at 11, 13, 15, 18 and 21 in the nearby Schneider-WibbelGasse the bells mark the time for the whole city. Do not miss a stroll through the market square, where the Rathaus (town hall) and the equestrian statue of prince-elector Jan Wellem, the emblem of Düsseldorf, are located; every day of the week there is a food and wine market with local and international products.
It’s the chic district, where creative people and international workers are concentrated. Here the old buildings and the old structures have been incorporated into the new modern architecture, in a pleasant contrast to see and experience. It is here that the Gehry Buildings are located, three buildings designed by the American architect Frank O. Gehry who contributed to the redefinition of this area of the city that was once abandoned and today is the place par excellence of Düsseldorf. In the Citadellstraße the old classical residences have remained as before and tell of a prosperous and elegant past.
The quintessential walk-in Düsseldorf, dedicated to those who love shopping in luxury stores. Even just walking through the avenues, which are very reminiscent of the Champs Elysees of Paris, is an experience especially when the antique market is held between one lane and another. From here you can admire the Fountain of the Tritons and the ancient moat that characterized the city but also the Kaufhof, one of the first German department stores, built at the beginning of the 20th century. It is also in this area where the “slim Matilde” is located, the watch that is considered one of the favorite meeting points in Düsseldorf.
Located very close to the historic center, it is the place where to make special purchases: emerging artists’ shops, antique dealers, and local artisans are (almost) all located here.
KIT – Kunst im Tunnel
Dedicated to lovers of modern art, it is an unmissable exhibition space on the Rhine promenade and has been created from the union of two motorway underpasses.
Parks and Gardens
In addition to the Rhine that dominates the city, about a fifth of the entire surface of Düsseldorf consists of green spaces. Do not miss Hofgarten, Benrath Park and Südpark (the largest in the city). But above all, the Nordpark with the Japanese garden is unmissable.
Where to sleep in Düsseldorf
The hotel offer, due to the presence of one of the most important exhibition centers in Germany and Europe, is very high in Düsseldorf. There are hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. I have stayed at the 25 Hours Das Tour, belonging to the homonymous chain 25 Hours and characterized by a modern style, with relatively small rooms, equipped with all the comforts (some even with bathtub on the balcony), buffet breakfast with German and French products and a French restaurant overlooking the city. Very nice cocktail bar on the top floor, ideal for after dinner or an aperitif before dinner. On the ground floor, there is a cafeteria, a flower shop and a shop selling various knick-knacks.
The Düsseldorf Carnival
Düsseldorf is famous for its Carnival which begins on November 11th each year, at 11.11 am when the Hoppediz fool is awakened. The real celebrations are held in the classical Carnival period and begin on the fat Thursday with the Altweiberfastnacht, the symbolic seizure of power for a day by women, when the “Möhnen” invade the town hall, tie ties and distribute kisses. Sunday and Monday are dedicated to the parade that runs along 6 Km, hosting more than 1 million people every year in the street and millions of spectators glued to the television.
[This Guide is the result of a trip project with the city of Düsseldorf. The suggestions are our own, with the help of local people. All the pictures have been taken, as usual, by Giuseppe].