Blick auf die Rodenkirchen Promenade in Köln
"Cologne's riviera" – the name locals give to this stretch of riverbank in the Rodenkirchen district. Photo:Jann Höfer

Dolce vita in “Italy’s northernmost city”

It's said that Cologne is Italy's northernmost city. And a stroll through Cologne does take you to lots of lovely places that will give your heart - and your stomach - that dolce vita feeling.

Enjoy a little dolce vita at Brauhaus Quetsch on Cologne’s “riviera”

Blick auf ein Restaurant am Rhein, das von Booten umgeben ist
Sweeten your day with some dolce vita on the banks of the Rhine. Photo: Jann Höfer

This is Cologne’s take on la dolce vita: Brauhaus Quetsch on the “riviera” in the Rodenkirchen district with its glorious view of the Rhine from the large terrace. The food is mainly down-to-earth, honest, regional cuisine though international classics like schnitzel, tartes flambées and burgers get a look-in too. If you’re here on a Friday, make sure you try the scrumptious potato fritters with Schwarzbrot bread and butter, which come with apple sauce, smoked salmon or fresh tartare.

Hauptstraße 7, 50996 Cologne; opening hours: Sunday–Thursday 12-9pm, Friday and Saturday 12-10pm

Dolce vita feeling at Lapidarium

With so many pubs and restaurants around the Eigelstein Gate tower, it’s difficult to know where to start! Photo: Jann Höfer

Lapidarium is a cult pub at the foot of the Eigelstein Gate tower. This quaint place has a large selection of beers and a small menu featuring dishes such as game specialities. It’s also popular with fans of Cologne’s 1. FC football club as they show all the matches on two screens.

Eigelstein 118, 50668 Cologne; opening hours: Monday–Sunday: 4pm–1am 

Inventive, eastern cuisine at Núria

With its opulent yet cosy style, Núria is a feel-good haven. They serve fresh eastern soul food here every day, with dishes including creamy hummus, falafels, kofta and aushak dumplings filled with leek, mint and coriander. In the summer, you can sit on the large terrace and watch the busy goings-on around the Eigelstein Gate. Good food combined with a good view – that’s la dolce vita…

Lübecker Str. 2, 50668 Cologne; opening hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 5pm–11pm 

Cologne positivity and homemade burgers at the Eigelstein branch of Freddy Schilling

The Eigelstein district is about as Cologne as you can get and an ideal area to experience the positive cheer the locals are known for. In between all the pubs and restaurants, you’ll also find the Freddy Schilling hamburger bar. Their meat is ethically produced using environmentally friendly methods and you can taste the goodness. The beef is minced fresh every day and the fries are homemade and really crunchy. Customers can choose from a whole range of Freddy Schilling sauces plus sides including fried red onions and jalapeños.

Eigelstein 147, 50668 Cologne, opening hours: Monday–Sunday: 12–10pm

Traditional pizza and pasta at Rossini

Blick auf die leere Terrasse des Restaurants Rossini in Köln
A bit like being on holiday – Rossini serves authentic Italian pizza and pasta. Photo: Jann Höfer

Could it be amore? Rossini brings a touch of Naples to Cologne with homemade pasta, authentic Italian pizzas, fresh fish and exquisite wines. What better spot to wait for your next summer holiday to come around?

Eigelstein 143, 50668 Cologne; opening hours: Monday–Saturday 11:30am–11pm

After-work drinks at The Bronxx 

Just a few minutes’ walk away from the Eigelstein Gate you’ll find Ebertplatz – a square that’s been undergoing radical change for some time now. Apart from small boutiques and a few cultural offerings, the newer arrivals include a number of eateries, including The Bronxx, which is housed in an old shipping container. With its comfy deckchairs, view of the fountain and cool drinks, this is an excellent place to enjoy an after-work drink. Small snacks, such as baguettes or tartes flambées, are available here too.

Ebertplatz, 50668 Cologne; opening hours in good weather: Monday–Friday 3pm–11pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm–11pm  

A picnic at Dank Augusta in the botanical gardens

For a while, you forget you’re actually in Cologne here! Dank Augusta is situated on the southern terrace of Cologne’s Flora botanical garden. Surrounded by green, this is the spot to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine or a mouth-watering picnic. Pre-filled picnic bags, full of your choice of lots of yummy things, are available from the bar.

Am Botanischen Garten 1a, 50735 Cologne; opening hours: re-opens in spring 2023

Eat & Meet – A new food market concept on Rudolfplatz

Belebter Marktplatz auf dem Rudolfplatz
The Eat & Meet market on Cologne’s lively Rudolfplatz square. Photo: Jann Höfer

Every Thursday, between 4pm and 9pm, pots simmer away at this market on Rudolfplatz square. “Eat & Meet” is a fusion of cuisines, with food trucks serving Italian, Asian, Peruvian, Brazilian, Turkish, French, Austrian, Swabian, American, Tunisian, Spanish and local dishes and lots more culinary temptations. Thursday evenings just got a whole lot tastier!

Rudolfplatz, 50674 Cologne; opening hours: Thursday 4pm-9pm  

Dive in to the dolce vita vibe at Rhein-Sommergarten am Schwimmbad

Blick auf die leere Terrasse des Sommergarten-Restaurants in Köln
Rhein-Sommergarten am Schwimmbad is considered one of the nicest beer gardens on the Rhine. Photo: Jann Höfer

If you’re yearning for a slice of Italy, Rhein-Sommergarten is the place for you. Up until 1986, there was a swimming pool here (hence the Schwimmbad in the name) but now it’s a vast park with a “summer garden restaurant” that ranks among the nicest beer gardens on the Rhine. There’s ample space for the kids to play ball games here and ample choice (20 types) for beer drinkers.

An der Schanz 2a, 50735 Cologne; opening hours: Monday, from 3pm, Tuesday–Sunday, from 12 noon

A glass of wine at Morio 

Mit Efeu bewachsenes Eckhaus am Schillplatz in Köln
How about a glass of wine as you watch the sun go down? Photo: Jann Höfer

What would la dolce vita in Cologne be without a glass of superb wine? With its romantic atmosphere, the Morio wine bar on Schillplatz square is the ideal place to round off the night, especially in the summer. The wines are delicious and there’s a range of light food options to accompany them – be it hummus, olive bruschetta or a fine tabouleh salad with a yoghurt and mint dip. All dishes are freshly prepared and go extremely well with the wine.

Schillstraße 12, 50733 Cologne; opening hours: Monday–Friday: 12 noon–11pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon–12pm 

Italian holiday feeling at Gernot’s

Passanten auf einer Straße vor dem Restaurant Genbot's in Köln
Gernot’s on Schillplatz square is the ideal place to soak up some Italian holiday feeling. Photo: Jann Höfer

Gernot’s is a real institution in Nippes. With its lovely terrace, it really feels like you’re on holiday here – especially in the summer. Besides pasta, salads and freshly made meat dishes, the menu includes an excellent range of breakfast options. For the sweet-toothed, there are delicious cakes to go with your coffee as well as traditional desserts like Italian zabaglione and French mousse au chocolat.

Mauenheimer Straße 32, 50733 Cologne; opening hours: Tuesday-Friday: 12 noon–midnight, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am–midnight 

La dolce vita on Schillplatz with British specialities from Tasty Pasty 

Sadly, Tasty Pasty had to close their fabulous café on Schillplatz but that doesn’t mean customers have to go without the delicious delicacies and specialties that British cuisine has to offer. You can order scones, cream teas, brownies and, of course, pasties (also available in vegetarian and vegan versions) from the Tasty Pasty online shop. Once you’re sorted, look for a cosy spot on the square and get your evening off to a scrumptious start as you watch the sun set.

Tasty Pasty online shop:

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