Das Restaurant "Glück und Seligkeit" in Bielefeld ist in einer früheren Kirche untergebracht., © glückundseligkeit.de

Unusual gastronomic experiences

Whether its old ruins or an industrial backdrop, always new or simply classic

Whether it’s a crime dinner or a knight’s banquet, in many places, eating has become far more than simply enjoying your food; it’s become an event. Naturally, this is also true in NRW. From restaurants in former churches to the spiciest “Currywurst” sausage - we’ve compiled a list of the most unusual gastronomic experiences in Your NRW - in spectacular locations and with very special gastronomic concepts and culinary offers.

Das Qomo im Rheinturm in Düsseldorf bietet in rund 170 Metern Höhe japanische Küche, leckere Cocktails und einen fantastischen Blick über die Stadt und das Umland., © Jens Schwarck

Culinary enjoyment up high

Rheinturm, Düsseldorf
On the Rheinturm tower, at a height of around 170 meters, there is a new Japanese restaurant, the Qomo 2018. Here, you can enjoy not only the finest sushi, but also a fantastic view over the old city, the Rhine and the trendy Medienhafen. In clear weather, you can even see the spires of Cologne Cathedral. The restaurant rotates, enabling you to enjoy the view in all directions. You can also savour a cocktail at sunset up high.

Drehturm Belvedere, Aachen
The Drehturm tower on the Lousberg hill above Aachen is not only a good place for enjoying Sunday brunch and coffee, but also offers a Skydinner once a month. On every first Saturday of the month, the doors are opened from 7pm onwards, and delicious menus are served. Booking required. Enjoy the romantic atmosphere when the sun goes down, the stars come out and you gaze out over Aachen from the hill above.

Ettelsberg cable railway, Willingen
Every spring, during the “Willinger Schlendertagen” festival, the cablecar cabins of the Ettelsberg cable railway in Willingen in the Sauerland region are turned into small gourmet paradises. While the guests are taken slowly up and down the mountain, a five-course meal is served, with the next course being served each time the cabin reaches the valley station. The offer during the “Schlendertage” is also available for groups, with pre-booking required.

Im Besucherbergwerk Ramsbeck im sauerländischen Bestwig können Gäste 300 Meter unter Tage ein Drei-Gänge-Menü genießen., © agentur | roeder

Eating where others used to toil

Zollverein, Essen
The casino at the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site in Essen radiates a very particular kind of charm, since it combines industrial culture with elegant chic. Candelabras with candles hang from the high ceilings of the former compressor hall, which are supported by solid exposed concrete pillars. Wooden floorboards combine with machinery parts and the exposed ventilation system makes its own contribution to the industrial flair of this location. The cuisine is young and creative, with traditional regional influences. Crime dinners are incidentally also organised on a regular basis.

Landscape park, Duisburg
The disused Thyssen smelting works in Duisburg-Meiderich is the spectacular centrepiece of the Duisburg-Nord landscape park. The furnace complex is open to visitors, and for anyone wanting to stop for a break, the Hauptschalthaus, or main transformer building, is the right place to go. Here, under steel girders and among old machinery, cross-over cuisine is served bistro-style, with regional influences such as “Currywurst” sausage. It’s particularly worth visiting during the evening, when the disused furnace is lit up in bright colours.

Mine, Bestwig
In the Ramsbeck adventure mine in Bestwig in the Sauerland region, a “Gruben-Light” pit dinner is served 300 meters under the ground. By candlelight and by the light of the “frogs”, the old miners’ lamps, a three-course menu is served, with miners’ songs as background music. The dinner is offered in combination with a guided tour through the mine by former miners.

Red Wagon, Kleve
In Kleve, right by the handcar station, there is a former railway carriage that has been converted into a small snack bar with a beer garden. The food served in the Red Wagon is generally vegan, and to a large extent also gluten-free. Events are organised there every so often.

Rosenberankte Tür am Schloss Türnich im Rhein-Erft-Kreis, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Eating and drinking in old ruins

Glück und Seligkeit, Bielefeld
There’s probably no other restaurant in Germany with such high ceilings. The “Glück und Seligkeit” in Bielefeld is housed in a former church. When it was opened in 2005, the Martini Church was the first church in Germany to be used in its entirety as a gastronomy venue. The menu contains a broad range of dishes, from tandoori salmon to pizza with Bratwurst sausage and French fries to duck with bread dumplings.

Schloss Türnich, Kerpen
Many palaces in NRW also have restaurants with a special atmosphere. One very special example is Schloss Türnich in Kerpen near Cologne, the only Baroque palace in the Rhineland region that is still fully preserved. Its owner, Severin Graf von Hoensbroech, has taken it upon himself to restore this badly battered jewel to its former glory. In the palace café, home-grown organic ingredients are served, including fruit juices from the palace owner’s own farm. The prizewinning palace park is a good place for a stroll after your delicious meal.

Severinstorburg, Cologne
The Severinstorburg castle on Chlodwigplatz in Cologne used to be a part of the city wall. Today, it is a well-known location used for wedding parties and other events. In a relatively new development, it also offers a wine garden within its old walls. When the weather is fine and temperatures are above 20 degrees, there’s delicious wine on offer here, as well as Kölsch beer.

In der römischen Herberge im Archäologischen Park Xanten kommen altrömische Leckereien auf den Tisch., © Spitzlicht Fotografie/Axel Thünker

Old dishes presented in a new way

Stone Age menu, Mettmann
Guests at the Mettmann in the Neanderland region can enjoy the food of the Neanderthals. The Gut Höhne estate offers a Stone Age menu with Paleo cuisine. Guests use flints as knives, and drink from horns. Tables must be booked three days in advance.

Old Roman dishes, Xanten
In the Xanten LVR Archaeological Park, old Roman delicacies are served in the Roman inn, such as roast piglet or barley soup with flatbread. Food is cooked according to recipes from the famous Roman gourmet Apicius, who lived in what is now Cologne during the time of the birth of Christ.

Auf dem Japantag in Düsseldorf gibt es auch leckere japanische Gerichte., © Düsseldorf Tourismus

Delicious dishes from the Far East and the deep West

Little Tokyo, Düsseldorf
Thanks to the large Japanese community in Düsseldorf, the city has the largest, most authentic culinary offering from the Far East in Germany. Most restaurants, Japanese supermarkets and sake bars are located very close to the main station, all around the Immermannstrasse.

For many people, Currywurst sausage immediately comes to mind when they think of typical food in the Ruhr region. There are particularly spicy versions served in a small snack bar in Wanne-Eickel. The classic sausages are served with a sauce with ten different degrees of spiciness, with the sauce already around two to four times as spicy as Tabasco source at level seven. The sausages are served with standard French fries, with a sweet version also on offer, with Nutella or cinnamon and sugar.

Das Laden ein in Köln ist Deutschlands erstes stationäres Pop-up-Restaurant. Alle zwei Wochen wechseln Köche und Konzepte., © www.laden-ein.com

Always new or entirely in the dark

Laden ein, Cologne
The “Laden ein” offers a very unusual concept in Cologne. Every two weeks, food is prepared by a different cook, with a completely new menu. The Laden ein is Germany’s first stationary pop-up restaurant. The organisers regard themselves above all as being a platform for people wanting to fulfil their dream of becoming self-employed and try out their concept in advance. Some restaurants have in fact become established elsewhere in the long term after their guest appearance in the Laden ein.

Darkness restaurant, Cologne
In the interim, there are now several darkness restaurants in Germany, with the first being the “unsicht-Bar” in Cologne. Here, guests have been able to concentrate fully on their taste experience since 2001. The food and drinks are served by blind and visually impaired waiters, who are well-practised at finding their way around without light.

Das Hansemahl in Münster findet unter freiem Himmel auf dem Prinzipalmarkt statt., © Münster Marketing/Juliane Unkelbach

Enjoyment in the open air

Hansemahl, Münster
With the “Hansemahl”, Münster commemorates the long tradition of the Lower German Hanseatic towns. The centrepiece of the celebrations is the almost 100 meter-long festive table on the Prinzipalmarkt in the middle of the historic old city. Anyone who wants to can sit down here and be served with Hanseatic snacks with coffee, wine or the local Pinkus beer by the merchants. Free guided tours focussing on the 700-year-old Hanseatic tradition are also offered.

Star waiters
Once a year, the stars turn their hands to table waiting in Münster. For the “Promi-Kellner”, or star waiter, event, Leonard Lansink, alias Georg Wilsberg from the ZDF crime series of the same name, puts on an apron and together with a changing supporting cast invites guests to be served by him at the Aaseeterrassen restaurant - and all for a good cause. The proceeds go to the Münsterland region cancer advice service.

You’ll find even more special open-air culinary experiences under www.dein-nrw.de/open-air-genuss.