Introduction to Dining in Berlin

Original farmersmarkets2%c2%a9paulsullivan.jpg?1502727706?ixlib=rails 0.3
Introduction to Dining in Berlin
Berlin's dining scene has become increasingly eclectic and international, like the city itself. You can eat your way around the world, from tasty street eats to Middle Eastern and Asian fare, and still find places serving traditional and updated German favorites.
By Paul Sullivan, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Paul Sullivan
  • 1 / 9
    Original farmersmarkets2%c2%a9paulsullivan.jpg?1502727706?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Berlin's Favorite Food Markets
    Join the locals and visit Berlin's Farmers' Markets; you have plenty of choices, especially on Saturday. Prenzlauer Berg’s popular Kollwitzplatz Market (Thursdays noon–7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.–4 p.m.) has an emphasis on ecofriendly and local produce, and it offers a slew of eat-on-the-go options from bio-bratwurst to wok-fried shrimp. Friedrichshain’s Boxhagener Platz Market also takes place on Saturdays. The Saturday Winterfeldtmarkt in Schöneberg has a wonderful selection of stalls, including a riot of flower vendors, while a thriving Turkish market takes place along the Maybachufer in Kreuzberg on Thursdays and Saturdays.
    Photo by Paul Sullivan
  • 2 / 9
    Original img 20170718 130728.jpg?1502728178?ixlib=rails 0.3
    City of Coffee and Cake
    Coffee culture has been a part of German life since the 17th century (Bach even composed a cantata about the beverage), and afternoon coffee and cake is as much a sacred ritual here as elsewhere in Germany. Around the city you can find cafés that still retain their timeless elegance; others reflect a thoroughly modern vibe. For something buzzy yet traditional, head to Prenzlauer Berg and try Café Anna Blume, a 2005 addition with decor that nods to art nouveau and art deco: Its cake selection is famous in the city. Pop in to ABC: Allan's Breakfast Club and Wine Bar for a flat white and a truly international breakfast and brunch menu in a space whimsically decorated with a beach theme.

    Photo by Yashy Murphy, Baby & Life
  • 3 / 9
    Original reinstoff.spitzmorcheln pilznudel und fermentierte schalotten 1%c2%a9food friends.jpg?1502728440?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Fine Dining in Berlin
    Berlin still has a way to go to match cities like Paris and London in terms of fine dining, but there are plenty of sophisticated places to dine in the German capital. Of the 18 Michelin-starred spots, one of the most memorable is Reinstoff, hidden away in a historic Mitte courtyard and ideal for fans of both culinary fireworks and stylish interior design. For unique, top-notch cuisine in a refreshingly informal atmosphere, try West Berlin's Glass, run by an Israeli chef who loves to experiment with Middle Eastern recipes. Vegetarians can also go high-end, thanks to the chic Cookies Cream, which pairs inventive cuisine to a fine wine list.
    Photo by Food & Friends
  • 4 / 9
    Original open uri20160815 3469 zbqs13?1471295827?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Vegetarian and Vegan Cuisine
    It’s no secret that Germany is traditionally a meat-loving nation, but it’s also no surprise that the country's sophisticated capital is plugged into global food trends from pop-up street-food stalls to vegan restaurants to locavore cuisine. Although many restaurants have long offered vegan or vegetarian options, Berlin now has a respectable number of good restaurants dedicated to meat-free cuisine. The iconic Cookies Cream is one of the most innovative, serving up high-end vegetarian fare such as Parmesan dumplings and wild herb salads in a clubby, informal atmosphere. For something more down-to-earth (and cheaper), try the small but tasty international—Mexican, Indian, Californian, Italian—menu at W – Der Imbiss or the delicious hummus dishes at Djimalaya.
    Photo courtesy of Cookies Cream
  • 5 / 9
    Original open uri20160815 3469 yew24w?1471295835?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Berlin’s Beer Gardens
    Germany’s tradition of outdoor beer gardens stretches back centuries and is more or less an obligatory experience during summer. Berlin has lots of neighborhood spots where you can enjoy a cold beer beneath leafy chestnut trees on a hot day, and many of them serve casual snacks such as sausages, pasta, and pizza. Some beer gardens are inside parks, adding to their charm and calm atmosphere and making them perfect destinations by foot or bike. Recommended spots include Café am Neuen See and Schleusenkrug, found at either end of the sprawling Tiergarten; the charismatic Haus Zenner in Treptower Park; and the beer garden at the foot of the Grunewaldturm in the Grunewald, which has great views over the forest and the Havel River. 

    Photo by Arne Trautmann/age fotostock
  • 6 / 9
    Original open uri20160815 3469 iro41s?1471295841?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Classic and Underground Cocktail Bars
    Berlin plays host to some exceptional cocktail bars, ranging from classic Weimar-era style to chic, underground watering holes. One of the most well-established spots is Victoria Bar in Schöneberg, which features authentic art on the walls and even boasts its own cocktail school. Up in Prenzlauer Berg, the dark and mysterious Becketts Kopf—marked by a glowing photo of the eponymous Irish playwright in the window—serves impeccable drinks. Not surprisingly, the bar scene in the city's fine hotels is also strong; of particular note, the rooftop bar at Soho House Berlin offers views of the adjacent pool and Alexanderplatz, the rooftop deck at Hotel de Rome vies with the cocktail bar downstairs for popularity, and Michelberger's bar welcomes guests from its position right beside reception.
    Photo courtesy of Victoria Bar
  • 7 / 9
    Original open uri20160815 3469 7si9zy?1471295846?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Top Spots for German Fare
    Although the food scene in today's strongly international Berlin has more of an emphasis on global rather than national cuisine, there are still some great places to sample traditional German food—and not just currywurst. The charming 3 Schwestern, tucked in a handsome 19th-century hospital building that now serves as an art space, prepares delicious Southern German cuisine such as pork roast with dumplings and schnitzel with asparagus in a whitewashed, high-ceilinged room. For something trendy but still German, Lokal in Mitte serves vegetarian, offal, and game dishes, all immaculately presented and locally sourced, that update traditional offerings.
    Photo by Ashley Ludaescher
  • 8 / 9
    Original open uri20160815 3469 zcgrn4?1471295850?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Traditional Street Eats
    Currywurst, kebabs, and falafel rule Berlin’s streets in terms of cheap and easy dining. Stalls and restaurants selling these traditional meals are found all over the city, from inner-city districts to the outskirts, often magically appearing when you're most needy of sustenance—at 4 a.m. on your way home, for example. The most famous spots include the family-run Konnopke’s Imbiss, which has been doling out currywurst—the beloved pork sausage slathered with a sauce made from ketchup and currry powder—and other sausage-based snacks from a stand beneath Eberswalder Strasse U-Bahn since 1930. Kreuzberg’s Curry 36 also draws the masses on a daily basis with a similar menu, while one of the most popular kebab spots is Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap, which wins praise for its delicious vegetable kebabs as well as chicken ones.
    Photo courtesy of Markthalle IX
  • 9 / 9
    Original general placeholder image.png?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Casual Global Fare
    Berlin's internationalism has encouraged the rise of ever more nuanced food from around the world. Nowadays it's possible to get cheap eats from an array of small, niche spots, whether stands or small restaurants, that may focus on one particular food style or item and do it incredibly well. Tommi's Burger Joint, run by an Icelandic family, is one of the city's most beloved burger spots. The tiny Cocolo Ramen serves up a limited menu of superbly prepared ramen dishes. Dolores, which spearheaded Berlin's Tex-Mex trend, is still supplying hungry crowds with some of the best burritos in town in a cafeteria-style setting. For an audacious but delicious mix of Indian, Italian, and Mexican cuisine, check out the small W – Der Imbiss.