exploring Bahnhofsviertel

Bahnhofsviertel (literally, the train station area) is the first neighbourhood you’ll encounter as you leave the city’s hauptbahnhof (central station). It is the city’s main red light area is and home to a number of the city’s methadone clinics; it’s also an area that is undergoing gentrification. This means it is lively with plenty going on and cafes, bars and restaurants are opening and closing all the time; it can also be a bit grubby, so keep your eyes open and notice what is going on around you. These are some of my favourite eating and drinking spots in the Bahnhofsviertel. If you’d like to find out more about the area, the free alternative walking tour that runs daily is well worth your time.

Bella & Rosa
| Münchener Straße 12, Hinterhof | Mon–Fri: 1100–1800; Sat: 1100–1600 | Bahnhofsviertel |
Klein und Main
| Moselstraße 10 | Mon–Sat: 1100–1800 | Bahnhofsviertel |
Plank Café Bar Studio
| Elbestraße 15 | Mon-Thurs: 1000-0100; Fri: 1000-0200; Sat: 1100-0200 | Bahnhofsviertel |
If I want to meet someone for a coffee and/or a small sweet or savour snack, these are my go-to spots in the area. Bella & Rosa is a courtyard off the main street, where it has outdoor seating and sells seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as deli items. Klein und Main is a bright space that probably has the most seating but is never open as early as I think it is! Plank is more dark and moody and sometimes has delicious Portuguese custard tarts; the temperature of their coffees can be a bit low for my liking.

eatDOORI 
| Kaiserstraße 55 | Mon-Fri: 1130-2300; Sat/Sun: 1200-2300 |
A busy buzzy restaurant that seeks to bring Indian street food to Frankfurt. It’s got a hipster vibe – homemade lemonade and cocktails are served in mason jars and, having filled in your order form, you attach it to a clothes peg that is suspended above the table. You do pay for this fashionable veneer but, having said that, I like the food and have struggled to find Indian food that is much better in Frankfurt. At lunchtimes there is a thali menu which might be better value. A second branch has recently opened in Bockenheim and I expect others will follow.

Im Herzen Afrikas 
| Gutleutstraße 13 | Tues-Fri: 1800-0100; Sat: 1600-0100; Sun: 1600-2200 | Bahnhofsviertel |
In the heart of Bahnhofsviertel, Im Herzen Afrikas serves delicious Eritrean dishes. I like the sharing platters, which comprise various dishes (with or without meat) served on a large traditional injera flatbread, which you tear into pieces and use to scoop up your food (you’ll be eating with our hands). In the restaurant you can eat sitting on the sand-covered floor or at a low tables; next door in the bar you also have the chance to sit in a tree house. There is a sister restaurant in Mainz.

Iroha
| Friedensstraße 6-10 | Mon-Sat: 1200-1500, 1830-2300 | Innenstadt/Bahnhofsviertel|
This is one of my favourite lunch choices, mid-week or on a Saturday, when they offer a great value lunch menu. I rarely have one dish that I default to but here it is the mackerel set lunch – fresh grilled mackerel with rice, miso soup, sashimi scraps, a savoury custard dish and probably more that I can’t remember. Each set lunch (which includes sushi and rice options as well as fish, meat and tempura) has a different selection of sides so check the menu carefully. It gets busy but you can book through their website.

Maxie Eisen 
| Münchener Straße 18 | Kitchen: Mon-Wed: 1130-2300; Thurs-Sat: 1130-2400; Sun: 0200-2000 | Bar: Mon-Wed 1800-0100; Thurs-Sat: 1800-0200 | Bahnhofsviertel |
This was one of the first places I found and loved in Frankfurt, not least for its friendly service. I used to come here every two or three weeks for brunch. I’d start with a coffee while David got his haircut at one of the many Turkish barber shops on this street and then, when he arrived, I’d usually order one of their pastrami sandwiches - I like the Rueben, a large is big enough to share if you’re so inclined. If you’re veggie they do a great mushroom sandwich. The fries are good as are their salads. Mid-week they have a good value lunch menu; this is also a bar and is a buzzing place in the evening.

Pizzeria Montana
| Weserstraße 14 | Mon-Thurs, Sun: 1200-2200; Fri/Sat: 1200-2300 | Bahnhofsviertel |
I think this is, hands down, the best pizza place in Frankfurt. Their wood-fired oven is bright yellow with a smiley face but they take their Neapolitan-style pizza very seriously. The dough has good flavour, their ingredients are organic and carefully sourced, their topping choices good and the chilli sauces they have on the tables pack a punch.

Stanley Diamond
| Ottostraße 16-18 | Tues-Thurs: 1800-2300; Fri/Sat: 1800-2300 | Bahnhofsviertel |
If you want to experience a hint of glamour in Bahnhofsviertel, this is the (stylish) spot for you. The cocktails are great and the food refined. Many of the dishes are modern takes on German classics (including the Frankfurt speciality grüne soße) but the menu also shows the restaurant’s connection with local café Maxie Eisen, which is known for its fabulous pastrami (both places are co-owned by Berlin club promoter Oskar Melzer). This all comes at a price though, so perhaps save it for a date night, celebration or when someone else is paying!