Apfelwein Solzer (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Well, three days after I arrived, my conference concluded and I found myself faced with my last evening in Frankfurt. While I enjoyed some of the tourist destination in Frankfurt (Römerberg and Sachsenhausen were both fairly pleasant), I wanted to try and find a more relaxing and less touristy area to explore and have my dinner. So I decided to walk from downtown northeast to Bornheim, which is one of Frankfurt’s older neighborhoods. It also has a nice “village” atmosphere, and a nice boulevard, Berger Straße, lined with several restaurants and apfelweinwirtschafts. After looking at several of these, I decided to try out one of the, Apfelwein Solzer, for dinner.

Solzer is one of the true older-style apfelweinwirtschafts. The place itself has been there since the 16th century, and in it’s modern form since the late 1800s (although the current name dates from the 1960s). And it’s laid out like a lot of the older apfelweinwirtschafts, with a surprisingly small storefront that belies the spacious dining areas: while there are a handful of small rooms with bench seating at the front of Solzer, as you go back through the restaurant you’ll find a large bar area, and then a very spacious outdoor seating area (half of it sheltered and heated) that holds several hundred people. On a given busy evening, such as the Friday night I went to Solzer, between all the various seating areas, there were probably five hundred people there.

Finding a seat was a challenge (much like the previous night’s visit to Adolf Wagner), but I was soon able to score a rather nice seat at the bar, watching all the food come out from the kitchen, and watching the staff pour out bembel after bembel of apfelwein to the thirsty patrons.

Like a few of the other best apfelweinwirtschafts I went to around Frankfurt, Solzer makes its own apfelwein, using their own recipe, and it again shows in the quality: the apfelwein here had a distinctly pleasant earthy and yeasty note I like in a good cider. And the staff here was very pleasant, frequently replacing my empty schoppen with a fresh new one.

As far as the food menu, Solzer has a rather extensive menu of German pub food, with an entire half-page of Frankfurt specialties, including the ever-present schnitzels (including krüstchenschnitzel, schnitzel wrapped in pastry instead of breaded), markklößchen suppe (bone marrow soup), all sorts of dishes featuring the cold herb grüne soße (green sauce), and one of my particular German favorites, kartoffelkloß (potato dumpling, typically filled with sausage). I ended up going for the kartoffelkloß, which came out of the kitchen as a rather impressively large dumping, filled with a delicious liver sausage blend, and served up with a rich and flavorful bacon, onion, and chive sauce. The dumpling was perfectly done, with a nice texture that reminds me of a good gnocchi. The sausage blend in the middle was had all the nice flavor notes of a good liver sausage, with a nice, coarse grind. The sauce was rich and a nice complement to the dumpling, albeit a bit saltier than I might have preferred. But the best part? This veritable feast of excellent kartoffelkloß was only 7.90 Euro.

It was a bit out of the way, but Solzer ended up being one of my favorite apfelweinwirtschafts. The apfelwein was great, the food menu extensive and well-prepared, the ambiance very pleasant, and the staff very friendly. I’m definitely putting them on the list for a return trip at some point.

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