One of the world’s key financial centres boasting dynamic industrial and service sectors, Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany and one of the fastest growing in the country. The high purchasing power of its inhabitants, especially banking professionals, is strongly reflected in a considerable high-end restaurant offer.
The large percentage of foreigners (7,000 Spaniards are officially registered as residents) makes it a cosmopolitan city, open to a wide variety of culinary concepts: from traditional places serving Äppelwoi (apple wine) in Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen district to the most avant-garde locales.
Even if beer is Germany’s favourite alcoholic beverage with 106.9 litres per person and year, consumption is gradually in decline each year. By contrast and with 24 litres per capita, wine consumption follows a steady upward trend. Up to 38% of the wine drank in the country is domestic, followed by Italy (21%), Spain (14%) and France (13%). White wine is favored by Germans and clearly dominates in the Frankfurt wine scene given its proximity to the Rheingau wine region.
In terms of premium wines, the Main-Taunus area with cities like Wiesbaden, Mainz or Frankfurt has one of the highest consumption levels in Germany. There are many Spanish restaurants in Frankfurt, some of them established long ago like Vault, Andalusia or the Galician Cultural Center: others have opened more recently such as Destino Bar or Bodega El Amigo. In all cases wine lists are a mixed bag and include different vintages of cult wines like Vega Sicilia or Finca Dofí together with very basic choices intended to be paired with bland tapas.
Most high-end restaurants list Spanish wines but they usually come second to German and French selections. Together with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany or Piedmont, Rioja and Ribera del Duero are the leading Spanish regions. Relatively new restaurants might include wines from Monstant, Bierzo and Galicia.
Despite the white wine category being dominated by German producers, some sommeliers offer Verdejo from Rueda, as well as Godello or Albariño. "More and more sommeliers are asking us for Spanish whites; they say they are tired of German whites and want to have something new to offer to their customers, be it interesting stories, new winemaking methods or biodynamic wines,” says Daniel Varela, manager of Spanish importer Vinibérica. “The numerous steak houses in the city are also serving Spanish reds as an alternative to Chile and Argentina,” he adds.
Here is a selection of the best restaurants and wine stores to buy and enjoy Spanish wines in Frankfurt.
La Bóveda Restaurant
Feldbergstraße 10, 60323 Frankfurt am Main. Tel: +49 69 72 32 20
With almost 40 years serving food, La Bóveda is arguably the best Spanish restaurant in Frankfurt boasting an excellent wine list. Rioja clearly stands out with almost all the region’s heavyweight producers such as Murrieta, Roda, Muga or Remírez de Ganuza. Mallorca, Priorat and whites from Galicia also feature on the list.
Essen & Weine. Berliner Straße 70. 60311 Frankfurt. Tel: +49 69 2975994 In just seven years Heimat has made a name for itself in this big metropolis. Germany leads a 500-strong list followed by France. Spain shares third place with Italy and Austria. The by the glass selection includes Acústic 2012 from Montsant (€9.5 for a 20 cl. glass) or Genio y Figura Albariño 2014 for €8.5/ 20 cl. Oliver Donnecker, sommelier and restaurant manager, explains that many customers choose a Spanish red to match their meat-focused menu.
Füstenbergerstraße179 (Elke Leerbachstraße). 60322 Frankfurt am Main. Tel: +49 69 56 99 80 80
Although it only lists 20 Spanish wines, this Michelin-starred restaurant stocks selections which are difficult to find in Germany like Pujanza Norte, Finca Dofí, Clío and others. All of them are high-quality reds with prices above €50. Sommelier Dietmar Fritz regularly offers wines by the glass from Priorat or Montsant in Catalonia.
Comedor restaurant and wine store
MyZeil Shoppingcentre. Zeil 106. 60313 Frankfurt am Main. Tel: +49 69 21 03 56 47
With a selection of around 120 different wines from across Spain, Comedor is located on the fourth floor of the modern myZeil shopping mall. Wines by the glass can be enjoyed from €3.5 to €6.5.
Weinhalle am Merianplatz
Merianplatz 4, 60316 Frankfurt/Main. Tel: +49 69 494 02 00 This wine store is in the heart of one of the most dynamic and cozy neighborhoods in Frankfurt. It lists around 30 different Spanish wines and according to co-owner Jochen Müller the demand for Spanish wines is overtaking other countries such as Italy. Rioja remains a favourite but wines from Capçanes and other Priorat producers in Catalonia and Bierzo in northwest Spain are starting to be demanded. In terms of whites there is a good deal of Rueda, Godello and Albariño selections.
Friedensstraße 12. 60311 Frankfurt/Main. Tel: +49 69 210 861 46
Located next to the Hotel Frankfurter Hof, in the heart of Frankfurt and not far from the banking district, it boasts more than 600 selections including sparkling, still wines and spirits. Among the 50 or so Spanish choices they list, Ribera del Duero and Rioja are the most requested regions together with Sherry and brandy. They also sell wines from Toro in Castilla y Léon, Levante or La Mancha in Central Spain. Muga and Carmelo Rodero are some of the producers with the highest turnover.