Although several highly rated restaurants have established themselves here in recent years, Cologne is not a city particularly known for its gourmet dining. Rather, it’s a place for conversation and drinking, generally over enormous portions of typical Rhineland fare in crowded restaurants that are gemütlich (cozy) rather than elegant.

To eat and drink as the Kölner do, visit one of the city’s old tavern-restaurants. Local dishes generally include Halver Hahn (a rye bread roll with Dutch cheese), Tatar (finely minced raw beef mixed with egg yolk, onions, and spices and served on bread or a roll), Kölsch Kaviar (smoked blood sausage served with raw onion rings), Matjesfilet mit grünen Bohnen (herring served with green butter beans and potatoes), Hämchen (cured pork knuckle cooked in vegetable broth), Himmel und Äd (apples and potatoes boiled and mashed together and served with fried blood sausage), and Speckpfannekuchen (pancakes fried in smoked bacon fat).

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