For those visiting Berlin, here’s a few all time favorite restaurants of mine. Absolutely personal list, I don’t claim that this is complete by any means. Unless noted otherwise, they’re all pretty much down-to-earth, low-to-mid price restaurants with meal prices ranging from 8-20 Euros. Also, please note that it’s not uncommon for restaurants in Berlin not to accept credit cards, so make sure to bring cash.
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Cocolo Top-notch ramen in Mitte. Never having been to Japan, Cocolo serves hands-down the best ramen I’ve ever had. I’m told it’s also an insider tipp for Japanese expats and travelers. It’s tiny, so expect to be standing in line for a while. Also, after you finished your meal, be fair to the others in the line and give up your table quickly. There’s very decent bars in the neighborhood. [Foursquare link]
Schwarzwaldstuben Quite popular with the tourist crowd but still great, Schwarzwaldstuben serve south German specialties. (Schwarzwald = Black Forest). I grew up in that region and vouch for authenticity. Strangely enough, recently they also started serving Bavarian beer in 1 liter beersteins. That shouldn’t stop you from going. For larger groups make sure to reserve a table. [Foursquare link]
3Schwestern Located in a former hospital-turned-squat-house-turned-art-space-turned-whatever it is it has turned into, and right on the spot where the annual Kreuzberg riots used to start, you’ll find a large restaurant that serves excellent meals – Pan-European maybe? French- or German-inspired? It really depends, but it’s always great. If you plan on spending lunch in a nice garden, or have dinner before going to see a movie in the open air theater next door, this is the place. They also cater to large groups easily. [Foursquare link]
Nansen Located right on the canal in Kreuzkölln (the hip northern tip of Neukölln that probes into Kreuzberg), Nansen serves German food on a high level and a strong focus on organic and vegetarian food. [Nansen]
Santa Maria/Santa Peligro
Until just a few years ago, decent Mexican food was hard to find in this town. The
Santa* Maria mini chain changed that and kicked off a whole wave of Mexican and Californian food. My two faves out of them: Santa Maria for lunch, Santa Peligro for dinner. Don’t miss the Margaritas.
[Foursquare links: Santa Maria, Santa Peligro]
* Thanks for the hint, Parker!
Hot Spot Don’t be deceived by the generic name and awkward location. This place serves fantastic Szechuan food (numbing spice! yum!) and the staff can recommend the perfect German white wine to go with it. I once stumbled upon this place through a New York Times article and I promise: it’s worth the detour. [Foursquare link]
Cookies Cream A tad bit more prices and a lot more stylish, Cookies Cream is a vegetarian-only, absolutely delicious restaurant on top of Cookies, the famous Berlin club. Enter through a hotel backyard among trash cans, this is not a place you’d randomly stumble into. Ring the bell, find your way through the corridors. And you’ll be awarded with fantastic food and great service. [Foursquare link]
Kreuzburger There are many great burger places in Berlin. One of my favorites is Kreuzburger in the heart of Kreuzberg. Serving everything in regular or fair trade, burgers (make sure to add extra bacon, although veggie options are also available) is pretty much a greasy hole in the wall, but in the best sense of the word. It’s tiny, it’s always packed, and it’s yummy. The perfect way to kick of a long night of bar hopping in the hood. [Foursquare link]
Babanbe & Co Co Banh Mi, the Vietnamese flavor of sandwiches, have been going strong in Berlin for the better part of a year. The trend was probably kicked off by Co Co in Mitte, but Babanbe in Kreuzberg is also exquisite. Expect baguette bread with a yummy filling of beef, mushrooms or tofu, served with a variety of sauces. Sandwiches have never been better. [Foursquare links: Babanbe, Co Co]
Kimchi Princess We’ve had many good group dinners at this Korean BBQ place. Expect to leave hours later smelling like someone BBQ’d something in front of you (duh!), stuffed and with a happy, happy glow on your face. If you dare, venture through the fried chicken place next door after dinner (where during the day Angry Angry Chicken Wings are served) and go through the back door to find a well-hidden, slick Korean cocktail bar that transports you straight to the neon-lit back alleys of Seoul where you can indulge in Soju-based cocktails. [Foursquare link]
I missed your fave? Send me more in the comments! Also, any Indian or Sushi places not to be missed?
I’ll be updating and extending this list as I go along.