Köstliche Burger in Köln gibts nicht nur bei Freddy Schilling. Aber hier schmecken sie besonders gut und sehen noch besser aus. Foto: © Freddy Schilling
Köstliche Burger in Köln gibts nicht nur bei Freddy Schilling. Aber hier schmecken sie besonders gut und sehen noch besser aus. Foto: © Freddy Schilling

Burgers in Cologne: vegan wonders and cult classics

You can get a burger on almost every street corner in Cologne but great quality isn't always part of the deal. We've got the lowdown on where to find a really good one.

Like other cities, Cologne has stacks of burger bars. But turning a little burger outfit into an established part of the regional gastro scene takes more than staying power and good marketing. With today’s discerning burger fans, the people behind these places also need to be passionate about what they do. The people of Cologne are extremely fortunate to have some fantastic burger restaurants that have cooked up quite a reputation for themselves both in and beyond the local region. Some of them have enjoyed high-ranking status for many years, some had to fight off fierce competition first. We show you where to find the best burgers in the city. Come with us on a journey into the world of crunchy patties, spluttering deep-fat fryers, unorthodox ingredients and vegan alternatives and people who see burgers as something more than a slab of meat between two halves of a squidgy bun.

Try vegan wonders at Bunte Burger

Die Bunte Burger Grüner Ulrich (links) und Mario (rechts) hocken nebeneinander in einem Beet in einem Gewächshaus. Sie zeigen mit den Zeigefingern in die Kamera und lachen.
Bunte Burger founders (left) Ulrich (left) and Mario (right) have been committed to making burger production more responsible and sustainable for years. Photo: Mirko Polo

When it comes to diverse dining, there’s hardly any other street in Cologne that can hold its own against Venloer Straße in the bustling Ehrenfeld district. Despite the wide range of options, Bunte Burger has managed to secure a position at the table thanks to a concept that works. All of the products are vegan and certified organic and the buns are delivered fresh every day from a local supplier. The spotlight is very much on vegan burgers but you can also get more traditional German dishes – in vegan form, naturally. Vegan doner kebabs, currywurst or schnitzel – at Bunte Burger, the two founders’ vision of a world that cares about the environment and animal welfare becomes a little more feasible and, more importantly, edible.

Hospeltstraße 1, 50825 Cologne www.bunteburger.de

Burger cult at Fette Kuh

In 2011, the minds behind Fette Kuh on Bonner Straße in the Südstadt district created something that has gone on to enjoy cult status beyond the city’s borders. The menu features classic burgers and must-have sides like chili cheese fries. Too boring? Then make way for the “burger of the week”, beefing up the menu with specials that go by names like “truffle volcano” or “spätzle burger”. Enough said? All of the burgers are available as vegan or gluten-free options, of course. If you can still move afterwards, grab an espresso to go from Rösterei Ernst across the street before heading off into the hustle and bustle of the local neighbourhood.

Bonner Str. 43, 50677 Cologne, www.diefettekuh.de

A culinary coup at Marx & Engels

Marx & Engels brings class conflict to your plate but this is no proletarian revolution or workers’ movement. That would be so 1848! No, here it’s truffle fries battling it out against an industrial-flavoured interior. Before moving to their current location on Venloer Straße in the neighbourhood of Ehrenfeld, these burger makers first made a name for themselves in the Belgian Quarter – thanks to their juicy burgers and “putschist” fries variations. Another highlight awaits in the drinks department, which offers more than a liquid sugar shock in black (also known as “coke”) including wine from their own vineyard. In our opinion, one of the best burger bars in Cologne.

Venloer Str. 266, 50823 Cologne, www.marxundengels.de

Double the flavour: Freddy Schilling

Gäste sitzen am Abend draußen unter der Leuchtreklame von "Freddy Schilling" an Tischen. Durch das Schaufenster sieht man weitere Gäste im Ladeninneren und im Eingangsbereich.
The Freddy Schilling burger bar on Kyffhäuserstraße stopped being a secret years ago. Photo: Freddy Schilling

Fette Kuh probably shares joint first place in the burger popularity ratings with this place: Freddy Schilling. Freddy fans have it good as there are two of these cult eateries in Cologne. Located on Kyffhäuser Straße and in the Eigelstein district, they both serve high-quality meat supplied by an association of farmers that use ethical and sustainable methods. All the burgers are available in meat or non-meat versions (practically standard in Cologne now) and have some wonderfully wacky names like Bruno’s Burner or Big Kahuna (Tarantino fans will get it). Even though they’ve been around so long, the business is still incredibly successful. According to Henning from the Freddy team, that’s partly because of their “treat customers like good friends” philosophy, which means, as he puts it, “you go that extra mile.”

Kyffhäuserstrasse 34, 50674 Cologne and Eigelstein 147, 50668 Cologne, www.freddyschilling.de

Paving the way – nose-to-tail dining at Karl Hermann’s

Der Außenbereich des Karl Hermann's mit der Eingangstür auf der Ecke und Tischen und Stühlen ringsherum unter einer halbausgefahrenen Markise.
Karl Hermann’s stylish terrace on Venloer Straße is the perfect spot for some alfresco dining. Photo: Karl Hermann’s

The end of our little tour brings us back to – you’ve guessed it – Venloer Straße. Karl Hermann’s to be precise. The ingredients are regional, the beer comes from small, owner-managed breweries and the coffee is supplied by cult roaster Schamong opposite. “Karl Hermann’s has been practising a nose-to-tail philosophy for eight years in an effort to stop factory farming,” team member Christian tells us. In Cologne, the restaurant is a true pioneer in the concept of making use of all of an animal’s body parts. It isn’t the cheapest of places but we can promise you this: it’s worth it. This is, after all, the only place where you can dig into boeuf de Hohenlohe whilst you look up at the Colonius telecommunications tower.

Venloer Str. 538, 50825 Cologne, www.karlhermanns.de

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