FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Frankfurt: Main Event

Jul 1, 2012
2012 / July 2012

There’s a zing to Frankfurt — a sophisticated vibrancy reflected not only in the efficiency of how business is conducted but also in its cordial, welcoming atmosphere. The city’s singular energy can most strongly be felt in the financial district amid an impressive parade of skyscrapers extending heavenward. Despite its distinctly modern edge, the skyline still somehow manages to provide a unifying element to the collection of varied architecture spread along the banks of the River Main.

The largest city in the German state of Hesse, Frankfurt’s combination of skyline and river earned it the nickname of “Mainhattan.” Getting a wide-angle view of the city is an excellent way to acclimate. There’s no better place to do this than from Frankfurt’s only observation deck, located on the 53rd and 54th floors of the colossal Main Tower, home to the Hesse-Thuringia State Bank and notable as Europe’s first high-rise featuring an entirely glass façade. The Main Tower Restaurant & Bar, located on the 53rd floor, has a cool steel minimalist décor — clever, when you consider no amount of decorating could have as much impact as the unparalleled views available from the semi-circular windows. Lunch focuses on Continental cuisine, and you can show off your city knowledge by identifying a few of the numerous city icons visible from here, including Norman Foster’s Commerzbank Tower and the elegant twin towers that are the headquarters of Deutsche Bank (often referred to as “Debit” and “Credit”).

Local business executives know one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in town can be found on the seventh floor of Fleming’s Deluxe Hotel Frankfurt City. One option for reaching the tables at Fleming’s Club is to ride the hotel’s historic paternoster lift with its ever-looping chain of open compartments. Stepping on and off can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, but the ride’s well worth it. The restaurant’s excellent wine list accompanies inspired meat and seafood dishes, and there’s a fabulous Sunday brunch with especially good views available from tables on the wide sun terrace.

Long a Frankfurt landmark, the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof has multiple dining options that provide excellent food and absolute elegance on a classic scale. Make an impact on clients with your insider knowledge by scheduling a meeting over Royal High Tea in the Autorenbar, fresh sushi and creative Japanese fare in Iroha, a light lunch on the courtyard terrace bordering the Kaiserplatz, Michelin-starred meal at Restaurant Français, or the extensive breakfast and lunch menu at the enduringly popular Café-Bar Oscar*s.

Up your city credit with business associates by heading to the historic Zum Gemalten Haus in the Sachsenhausen district, located on the river’s south bank across from the Altstadt (Old Town). One of Frankfurt’s most historic cider houses, it faces Schweizer Strasse, the area’s main street. Don’t expect a menu featuring German beers — rather, this cozy, beamed restaurant produces its own potent version of traditional Apfelwein, served in big stoneware jugs called Bembeln. Practically every fish, potato and egg dish that leaves the kitchen is served with Frankfurt’s signature green sauce. Something of an acquired taste, the sauce is a blend of sour cream or yogurt and pungent herbs that usually include chives, borage, sorrel, chervil, parsley, salad burnet and cress. Though there’s absolutely no evidence to support it, locals love the legend that the mother of one of Frankfurt’s most loved sons, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first created the sauce.

Lunch engagements with associates who have particular food requirements — gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, lactose-free or nut-free — can be stylishly and deliciously accommodated at the Schlosshotel Kronberg’s elegant dining room, the Castle- Restaurant. Located in a grand castle surrounded by glorious parkland on the outer edge of the city and known as one of the loveliest dining venues in all of the state of Hesse, the restaurant is under the direction of one of Europe’s young star chefs, Oliver Preding. Just let the kitchen know your dining needs when you book your table, and Preding will ensure there’s no awkward dithering over menu ingredients. You’ll just be left with the task of choosing between a table in the ornately paneled dining room with its splendid antiques and marble fireplace or one on the grand terrace with views of the superb grounds. Don’t skip the wine menu, which includes selections from Prince von Hessen’s vineyard.

Restaurant Gusto at the Villa Kennedy, closer to city center on a small street near the museum embankment, offers the option of private dining rooms where the only distraction will be the kitchen’s creatively prepared classic dishes. Signature selections include the calamari risotto. When the weather’s fine, seating is also available on the outdoor terrace.

Germany’s undisputed financial center, Frankfurt is also the country’s main transportation hub, which translates to excellent, comprehensive public transportation. Frankfurt Airport — Germany’s busiest passenger airport, ranking third overall in Europe for passenger volume — is located at a key nexus that includes a major rail station, multiple metro lines and the intersection of two of Germany’s main motorways, the A3 and A5. Easily the most efficient way to move around the city is to utilize the U-Bahn underground train system. Purchase your ticket at one of the automatic, trackside machines (English-language screens available) prior to boarding. There’s no gate system to negotiate before boarding, and day-long tickets also give you access to the historic, light-rail trams and wider-reaching commuter trains, designated as the S-Bahn. Several excellent apps are currently obtainable that explain routes and lines.

The opening of the new Hilton Frankfurt Airport Hotel has given some serious panache to meetings on the fly. It’s located in the atrium lobby of The Square, Hilton’s two-hotel courtyard complex, connected to Terminal 1 via a pedestrian skywalk. With a special emphasis on business guests, both of the hotel’s restaurants provide an excellent and convenient setting for entertaining clients. Rise, overlooking the city forest, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, each showcasing a bread selection worthy of the country’s world-class baking tradition. Baked goods are also a focus at The Fifth Lounge & Bar. Open from 9 a.m. weekdays and noon on weekends, it’s got a more casual ambience and serves light meals, signature cocktails and a selection of cakes and pastries prepared by European confectioner and World Pastry Champion Bernd Siefert.

Weblinks

Castle-Restaurant
Fleming’s Deluxe Hotel Frankfurt City
Frankfurt Tourist+Congress Board
Hilton Frankfurt Airport Hotel
Restaurant Gusto
The Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof

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