Like all good holidays, our trip to Berlin involved a fair amount of eating and drinking, and the incredible array of restaurants and cafés meant we were spoilt for choice. For my final instalment from the city, here’s a round-up of our favourite foodie discoveries…
The Barn Roastery
We only intended to nip into The Barn for a quick lunch after arriving in Berlin; two hours later we were still there, slowly working our way through the impressive espresso menu and huge selection of sandwiches. It has its own on-site roastery and sells various bits of coffee-making kit, as well as serving food and drink. We loved the coffee flights, which allow you to try different beans, or one bean brewed in different ways.
Schönhauser Allee 8, Mitte
This super-friendly restaurant is right next door to Linnen (our B&B), so we headed there on our first night after a crack-of-dawn flight left us too tired to venture far. It serves Spanish-Korean fusion food, which is a bizarre combination but one that really works. We tucked into a delicious spread of Asian-inspired tapas (Korean pancakes with manchego cheese, lobster and cucumber rolls, endamame with paprika), all washed down with a bottle of white Rioja.
Eberswalder Straße 35, Prenzlauer Berg
Spindler‘s leafy terrace, just across the road from a willow-lined canal, provided the perfect spot for a lazy lunch in the sun. The menu mixes German and Mediterranean food, and it’s tasty stuff: feta and watermelon salad, cheese platters, vegetable tartines, fruit smoothies. The restaurant’s interior is cool and cavernous, with whirring ceiling fans, leather chairs, simple wooden tables and exposed-brick walls.
Paul-Lincke-Ufer 42, Kreuzberg
A meal at Pauly Saal was my treat to Chris on his 40th birthday. This Michelin-starred restaurant, set in the gymnasium of a former Jewish school, isn’t exactly cheap, but the modern German food is oh-so-delicious. Every morsel of our six-course tasting menu was fantastic, from the mackerel with strawberries and buttermilk to the beef and leek broth. We ate alfresco in the courtyard but had a quick peek inside the tiled dining room, which is decorated with a hat-sporting taxidermy fox and a replica Cold War missile.
An exhibition in the lobby explains the harrowing history of the building, which was taken over by the Nazis in 1930 and finally restored to the Jewish community in 2010. It now houses galleries and performance spaces alongside the restaurant, and it’s great to see its halls playing host to laughter and smiles once again.
Auguststraße 11-13, Mitte
Even if you’re staying elsewhere, it’s worth heading to the restaurant, bar and café of the Michelberger Hotel, located just around the corner from the East Side Gallery in edgy Freidrichshain. The vibe is laid-back, the food seasonal and organic (and garnished with edible flowers when we visited). But the biggest appeal is the eclectic décor, which encompasses plywood walls, giant lampshades made from magazines, and wire baskets stacked with books.
Warschauer Straße 39-40, Freidrichshain
Chris and I love Italian food, so we made a beeline for this Kreuzberg restaurant and gorged ourselves silly on seafood risotto, spaghettoni (fat spaghetti) and chocolate panna cotta. The interior design is wonderful, with old oil paintings, tiled walls and salvaged chairs; I particularly liked the richly patina’d floor, which reveals layers of history. Note that it’s open from Wednesday to Saturday, for dinner only, so it’s definitely worth booking ahead.
Wrangelstraße 42, Kreuzberg
We finished our trip on a high – quite literally – with dinner at NENI, which is set in a glass box at the top of the 25 Hours Hotel. The Middle Eastern food is delicious, and I loved the exposed pipework, hanging planters and industrial-style lights. But best of all are the views over leafy Tiergarten and the enclosures of Berlin Zoo; even the loos have amazing vistas through floor-to-ceiling glass walls! After a fantastic meal, we headed to the terrace of the adjoining Monkey Bar for cocktails as the setting sun cast a golden glow over the city spread out below: unforgettable.
Budapester Strasse 40, City West
To round things off, here are a few other Berlin spots which we didn’t have time to visit, all highly recommended by various friends:
- House of Small Wonder (Johannisstraße 20, Mitte) – sister property to the famous Brooklyn-based Japanese café of the same name, and reached via a much-Instagram’ed spiral staircase
- Distrikt Coffee (Bergstraße 68, Mitte) – a great option for breakfast (the pancakes are said to be excellent)
- West Berlin (Friedrichstraße 215, near Checkpoint Charlie, between Mitte and Kreuzberg) – a coffee and sandwich stop furnished with a collection of classic Scandinavian chairs
- Lokal (Linienstraße 160, Mitte) – a renowned restaurant with minimalist interiors and a weekly changing menu of inventive seasonal food
Most photography by Abi Dare; images of Pauly Saal and Bosco provided by the respective restaurants