Recently my Northern Italian-born spouse took me to Frankfurt and, naturally, wanted to show me some of his favorite restaurants. We dined in 3 similar restaurants. All were excellent experiences and for anyone looking, these are worthy of a visit (I start with number three and work up to my favorite):
Casa Isoletta, Babenhauser Landstasse 1, Frankfurt - The setting was the most elaborate of the group, and on a Saturday evening, was packed. A sophisticated crowd, plenty of high-roller type autos in the lot, etc. Rugula (arugula) salad with shaved parmesan appeared on all Italian menus I dine from, and here it was fresh. Spouse had excellent Vitello tonnato and a succulent Filet with Gorgonzola Sauce. Of all three nights, the main course here was my least favorite: a pasta featuring pork resembling osso buco in its "stringiness". I had the Cassatta which, like the Rugula salad, seems to appear on all Italian restaurant menus, making me wonder whether most of the chefs are Sicilian. Spouse enjoyed a chocolate "tartufo" style sweet with ice cream inside. Cost: about 140 Euros (note: my apertif is always Punt e Mes, spouse's Campari Soda. Wine by the glass standard for us. Finishing a bottle is a little too hard for us anymore.)
La Tavola, Bad Homburg -- First, I adored Bad Homburg itself. The Steinberger Hotel with its Art Deco styling and ties to the old turn-of-the-century Prussia is wonderfully located. The Kur Haus in the park across the street is a magnificent experience, newly renovated and opened to the public in November. The mud bath was exquisite! On to the chow:
La Tavola, down the street from Steigenberger gave me a more interesting appetizer, an Eggplant in Tomato Sauce. Wonderful. Spouse had prosciutto (just the meat -- go figure -- a Piedmontese who eschewed the melon -- Italians are like that). Both main courses excellent: Osso Buco for him, Veal Scallopine with White Wine for her. Mind you, I make these dishes at home, but they did shine here. Deserts: his Tiramisu, and I selected a desert that everyone else seemed to be ordering, Zabaglione, served in a large glass. About 104 Euros.
Finally, the best restaurant, La Rosa, a little further down from Tavola at Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade 45. Service was outstanding and extremely personal (of course, spouse had been here a few days earlier while I was in Warsaw). Husband again had Vitello Tonnato, but I had the special, a Pasta with Lobster in appetizer portion. Phenomenal, with a good deal of sweet, succulent lobster. Spouse chose Veal Chop and requested a little Bearnaise Sauce (this was not on the menu, but Italian waiters love to accomodate their countrymen dining abroad) and I was able to choose from a plate of 3 fish the type I wanted (Dorade, I believe). Divine. Finally, my beloved had his beloved Profiterole and I had Cassatta once again. Their serving trumped Isolettas. The crowd here also seemed somewhat flashy (the "ageing model" look and good jewelry.) About 115 Euros.
All in all, these venues give me, in my own kitchen, a good measure of competition.
One excellent spot is Charly's at the Steigenberger. I needed to grab a quick lunch and nothing beat their simple salad. Quiche was great, too!