BERLIN. It’s hip and fashion-forward. Energetic and gritty. Berlin’s style and eclectic persona can’t be denied, but what about the city’s culinary arena? You guessed it – there’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants in Berlin, and the scene has become especially hot over the past decade due to the scores of immigrants who have opened eateries around town. As a result, Berlin’s eats are is as diverse as the locals themselves.
When I visited Berlin last summer, food and drink played an essential role in my trip, and I explored a variety of cuisine types and wasn’t disappointed anywhere. Meanwhile, by the end of my stay, I had little appetite left! (A novelty coming from someone who has an ongoing love affair with edibles and rarely turns down food.)
If I return to Berlin, and I hope to one day, I’ll go back with the intention of seeing more of this wonderful city, and leave completely sated (and five pounds heavier) once again. Planning a trip to the German capital? Here’s a list of restaurants in Berlin to get you started.
Käfer Dachgarten-Restaurant at the German Bundestag, Platz der Republik 1, 11011
This elegant white-tablecloth dining room sits atop the historic Reichstag. Yes, it’s touristy, but the restaurant space and view are both stunning (there’s a terrace with seating for less gusty days), and the seasonal menu is interesting yet approachable. You’ll find a selection of meat, poultry, and fish dishes, as well as pasta and vegetarian options – all with German influence but a modern twist. Instagram-worthy plates come flawlessly presented, and almost too pretty to eat. Although attentive, service can be slow, so Käfer isn’t a place for an in-and-out meal. For security reasons, be sure to call with your personal information at least 24 hours in advance, and carry proof of identification with you.
Fes Turkish BBQ, Hasenheide 58, 10967
I’ve eaten barbecue and I’ve eaten Turkish food, but for my first “Turkish BBQ” experience, Fes delivered. I shared a medley of small plates with my colleagues, and I could’ve easily grazed at Fes for several hours had we not had additional stops on a food tour. Carnivores can cook their protein (chicken, lamb, or beef) on the tabletop grill, and vegetarians will delight in the many mezze choices on the menu. Service is exceptionally friendly – owner Cem Tanriverdi makes sure that your experience is nothing short of stellar. Be sure to try Raki or Lion’s Milk – the national drink of Turkey – made from aniseed and twice-distilled grapes. The spirit is a great pairing with both hot and cold mezze dishes.
Mädchenitaliener, Alte Schönhauser Str. 12 10119
Yes, there’s tasty Italian food in Berlin, and I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled upon this cute spot on my final day in town. Though the menu is somewhat limited, what Mädchenitaliener does, it does well. Expect decadent pasta dishes (the truffle is a house favorite), fresh salads, antipasto plates, and Italian wines – but all reasonably priced. The café is small but quaint and comfy with sidewalk seating, ideal for warmer days and people-watching. I opted for the fettuccine with tomatoes, topped with Parma, while my travel partner ordered the fig pasta, also a frontrunner. We finished our lunch off with a few glasses of dry rosé. Splendid.
Laden at Buchholz Berlin, Joachimstraße 20, 10119
What do you get when you combine the stylish and modern home furnishings shop, Buchholz, with locally-sourced, organic fare from Lokal, also one of Mitte’s most talked about eateries? Laden. The design store meets lunch and dinner spot is perfect for a casual meal with friends, as well as browsing, buying, and getting inspired. (Yes, you really do need that new dining table.) Menu highlights include the flatbreads, soups of the day, hearty salads, as well as main course specials. Many of the ingredients are grown on-site in the backyard garden, also a lovely respite from Mitte and pleasant place for a bite or glass of wine.
Lode & Stijn, Lausitzer Str. 25, 10999
Taken from the names of Dutch owners and chefs Lode van Zuylen and Stijn Remi, this contemporary bistro idyllically located near the canal in Kreuzberg, was one of my favorite restaurants in Berlin. Rumored to be serving the best sourdough bread in town (I haven’t eaten other sourdough in Berlin, but this bread is incredibly divine and rivals the best in NYC), Lode & Stijn puts out simple plates of food consisting of only two to four ingredients. Flavors are pure while the presentation is no fuss. Small dishes for sharing work nicely, lending the option of tasting multiple dishes in one sitting. The decadent bitterballen (deep-fried croquettes of beef and veal) is what everyone’s talking about, but the simplicity of grilled radicchio and a crisp romaine salad with old Gouda had my fork returning for more. Lode & Stijn’s menu changes daily.
Oh, Berlin – if only my stomach could’ve handled more because there was so much to taste!
Want to take a food-focused trip? Go to Berlin. Eat at as many spots as possible (also one of my favorite pastimes). The good news is – you won’t go broke dining in Berlin because most restaurants are reasonably priced as compared to those in the US. Happy eating!
Do you have any favorite restaurants in Berlin? Please share.