A world-class meeting in a world-class city! - by H. Burkhard Dick

Frankfurt is not only continental Europe‘s financial hub and an economic power house both for Germany and the EU - it is also a metropolitan area with astonishing sites to visit and incredible places to dine, to socialize with colleagues and friends and to enjoy - all, of course, when the sessions, symposia and wetlabs have ended. Or when you are wise enough to add a few days to your travel experience: there is hardly
a city in Europe as perfectly accessible by plane and train or, if you must, by car, as Frankfurt with its huge and (under normal circumstances) highly efficient airport.

A word of advice: please check opening times before you go, whether to a museum or a restaurant.

Sites to see

The cradle of German democracy

Large parts of continental Europe were shaken by the revolution of 1848 – next to France particularly Germany. The events led to the assembly of the first parliament in German history which convened in the  Paulskirche. The assembly worked for only a couple of months but their deliberations led the way to the modern constitution of Germany and its democracy. The former church these days is used for cultural events.


The birthplace of a poet

The Goethe House and Goethe Museum commemorates one of Germany‘s greatest poets – and a true Renaissance Man: Johann Wolfgang was born on 28. August 1749 in a building that stood on its site (it was destroyed in the Second World War) and was a multitalent: among his many writings is one large study that borders ophthalmology: his „Farbenlehre“ (Theory of Colors), a successor to two short essays titled  „Contributions to Optics“.

Großer Hirschgraben 23-25


The cathedral of biodiversity

Speaking of allround-talents who contributed – among other achievements – to ophthalmology: Goethe‘s contemporary Samuel Thomas Soemmering discovered the „maculalutea“ in 1791, introduced the still valid organisation of the cranial nerves from I to XII and was one of the founding fathers of the Senckenberg Museum – one of the largest Natural History Museums in Germany – which exhibits the evolution of life and its biodiversity.

Senckenberganlage 25


The Realm of the Äppelwoi

Just on the other (south) side of the Main River (from the perspective of the venue where ESCRS and DGII meet) lies Old Sachsenhausen, a district full of cobblestone alleys with one pub next to the other. While you certainly can have a beer or a wine, the local specialty is something quite unique and not available in any other major German city: it is a wine made from apples, known as Äppelwoi. You might want to try it – at least once in a lifetime!


The vaunted Bundesliga

Germans are famously obsessed with football – known as soccer to visitors from the U.S. – although their national teams, both men and women, have disappointed lately. The Bundesliga games, usually on the weekends, nevertheless attract huge crowds and mostly stadiums are sold out. The local team, Eintracht Frankfurt, unfortunately has an away-game while we meet in Frankfurt. But just a 20-minute train ride away, another Bundesliga club, Mainz 05, hosts the FC Augsburg on the ESCRS/DGII weekend.


The temple of art...

The Städel Museum is one of Germany‘s oldest art museums and hosts an impressive collection of about 3,100 paintings, 660 sculptures, more than 4,600 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings and prints. Among the artists whose works you can see here are Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso. And to point to something unique: you‘ll find „a Vermeer“ here which is quite sensational since the enigmatic artist from the Netherland‘s Golden Age left only 34 paintings that can be attributed with certainty to him. The Städel Museum owns his equally enigmatic „The Geographer“.

Schaumainkai 63


...and its neighbors

The Städel is not alone on the Main River‘s South Bank but is surrounded by 38 other museums on the Museumsufer or Museum Embankment. Noteworthy are the German Film Museum, the Museum of Communication, the Ethnological Museum and – on the North Bank – the Jewish Museum and the Schirn Kunsthalle which specializes in modern and contemporary art.


Gaining a perspective

Frankfurt has been called „Mainhattan“ since its assembly of skyscapers might remind the visitor of a slightly smaller version of New York City – and since so many high-rises on just a few square miles are unique among German cities. One of them is the Main Tower with an observation platform that provides a spectacular panoramic view of Frankfurt and the surrounding region.

Neue Mainzer Straße 52-58


The Römer

The most famous landmark of Frankfurt ist undoubtedly the Römer or Römerberg. There is no tourist who has not taken a group photo or a selfie in front of these supposedly historic buildings including city hall, lining a square that appears rather moderate. Unfortunately, like most of Frankfurts inner city, the Römer has been destroyed during WWII, but was lovingly rebuilt. Yet the square is perfect as a meeting point from which to explore the surrounding Old Town and its abundance of restaurants and bars.

Sites to enjoy

Frankfurt offers an astonishing abundance of restaurants, pubs, bars – and beyond that, there is a large surrounding area with cities like Mainz, Wiebaden and Darmstadt as well as cozy little villages to explore. Here I focus on venues within the city limits, from gourmet temple to rustic brewery pub. It is just a small sample of the many that you can explore.



Gourmet temple that has consistently earned high praises by restaurant critics for its creative cuisine and its fresh ingredients. Reservations are essential - and don‘t expect to spend less than € 100 per person. At least.
Reuterweg 57 I Restaurant Gustav


The same can be said about this restaurant that is graced with two Michelin stars and located in the Palmengarten. The wine menu alone is the stuff gastronomical legends are made of. Both the chef Andreas Krolick as well as the Chef Sommeliére Alexandra Himmel have received some of the highest awards, among the from Gault & Millau.
Palmengarten 11
I Restaurant Lafleur

Restaurant Villa Merton

The grand mansion from era of the bustling though (unfortunately) short-lived Weimar Republic (it was built in 1927) and the surrouding park take you back to the luxury live of the past – and the creative cuisine of chef Philippe Giar into the present of distinguished dining. Particularly noteworthy are two always changing seven-course dinners from Tuesday to Saturday, one of them vegetarian.
Am Leonardsbrunn 12 I Restarant Villa Merton


This Mediterranean restaurant on a small side street in the center of Frankfurt is one of the best rated in Frankfurt. It is also recommended by the Michelin Guide, which particularly emphasizes the inexpensive, yet excellent lunch menu.
Weißadlergasse 2 I Restaurant Medici

Main Tower Restaurants

Sometimes restaurants with a spectacular view are a let-down, flavour-wise speaking. This is definitely not the case on the 53rd floor of the above mentioned Main Tower where the cuisine is as envigorating as the panorama. A special reservation for the restaurant makes sure you don‘t have to join the line of people who just want to go to the oberservation deck - without landing in the heaven of fine dining.
Neue Mainzer Straße 52-58 I Main Tower Restaurants

Restaurant Opéra

It can‘t get any more cultural than that: in Frankfurt‘s Old Opera building, itself a landmark of the city, in grand staterooms with high ceilings and art deco lamps above your heads. The famous „Fressgass“, a pedestrian zone with an abundance of gourmet food stores, begins just steps from the Opera. You should, however, do your sampling and shopping there before enjoying lunch at this restaurant: the cod with luke-warm potato salad or the Surf and Turf will leave you completely satisfied.
Opernplatz 1 I Restaurant Opéra


Hotel in an almost rural setting, art gallery, remnants of a historic mill and tannery and fine dining with a breathtaking view of the Frankfurt skyline – this place has it all. Frankfurt‘s favorite son, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, spend a lot of time here when it was the country retreat of his friend, the banker, Johann von Willemer. Goethe is said to have been inspired by the ambience and also by von Willemer‘s foster-daughter Marianne. You can be inspired by dishes such as Kidneys in Dijon-mustard sauce and Prime boiled beef with horse radish sauce.
Gerbermühlstraße 105 I Restaurant Gerbermühle


And one again in the city of skyscrapers, we introduce you to a lovely restaurant with a superb view. Franziska sits on top of the „new“ Henninger Turm (its predecessor, a true landmark, had to be demolished in 2013) in charming Sachsenhausen and features floor-to-ceiling glazed panoramic windows that permit guests to enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside and the impressive skyline of the city center. Legendary is the appetizer Russisches Ei (Russian Egg, astonishingly it has not been renamed after current events), an egg on a sweet mustard dill cream. The Falscher Hase (fake hare) is actually a meatloaf with
potatoes and the famous Green Sauce, a Frankfurt specialty.
Hainer Weg 72 I Restaurant Franziska


A local legend for decades - the name translates as megalomania - is a meeting point for journalists, politians, local celebrities and – why not – even some physicians. Dishes are German with Mediterranean inspirations.
Lenaustraße 97 I Cafe Größenwahn

Carmelo Greco

Frankfurt has dozens of Italian restaurants, generally the favorite ethnic cuisine in Germany. Let‘s here name the one that is repeatedly ranked highest by restaurant critics: Carmelo Greco in Sachsenhausen impresses with its house-made pasta and its excellent fish dishes.
Ziegelhüttenweg 1-3 I Restaurant Carmelo Greco

Pasta Davini

And speaking of pasta: both their variety and the quality in this cozy place are unsurpassed, from Tagliatelle to Ravioli to Gnocchi and... and. But: leave some space for the outstanding Tiramisu!
Heiligkreuzgasse 9A I Restaurant Pasta Davini

Chicago Williams BBQ

Just in case American participants of the ESCRS/DGII meeting get homesick: this is the place for excellent ribs, pulled pork and a Phyllie cheesesteak just eight flight hours away from Independence Hall. The restaurant‘s slogan makes it very clear what you can achieve here after a long day at the congress: „Welcome bitches – Get fed up & drunk!“
Mainzer Landstraße 167 I Restaurant Chicago Williams BBQ

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