Berlin Recommendations Please
Heading to Berlin next week for 5 nights and looking for recommendations. Nothing terribly fancy. I live in New York City, so I'm really looking for food I can't get (easily) here, which I imagine would be German and Turkish -- maybe Austrian? Eastern European?.
I'd especially like to know of any markets or bakeries or other kind of specialty food store or food product I could make a special trip to see. I already know about the top floor of the department store and will definitely be checking that out.
They have these ground beef things - boulettes or something like that that can be okay and are definitely local. Go for either Turkish or German food. Try a sausage from one of the street vendors outside of the train stations. They are cheap and pretty good.
It's been a very long time but this was my favorite falafel place ever. Baharat at Winterfeldplatz, near Nollendorfplatz.
And this was my favorite cafe - very cozy in the winter. I still dream of Apfelkuchen mit Streussel und Sahne
Berliner boulette are typically made from pork or pork and veal, and while you are at it have a slice of the ham and crispy skin attached with some hot mustard on a roll. My favorite fresh falafel place in Winterfeldplatz is Habibi- open till wee morning hours. Cafe Einstein for breakfast or afternoon kaffee und kuchen since you are in the neighborhood. Awesome struedel and lovely atmosphere.
In Mitte: More steet food turkish style- doener kebap mit salat complet, Shark Doener in Mitte is fresh and easy to access, I like the veal better than the chicken. Cafe Altes Europa is nice for low key glass of wine and soups, salads, charcuterie with good german bread. Great local atmosphere and my old stammtisch. Schnitzel with potato salad, an onion tarte, soljanka, beer at Sophien Eck, at the corner of Sophienstrasse and Gross Hamburgerstrasse (?). Gallerie Lafayette has a gourmet bottom floor but it is not as good as KaDeWe.
In Prenzlauerberg: I second the currywurst idea (mit pommes at that stand under the Eberswaldestrasse U-Bahn station U2). Praeter Garten on Kastanienalle (great shopping street) is Berlin's first biergarten. Also in Prenzlauerberg hit the chocolate shop on Helmholtzplatz and pick up some dark Berliner chocolate. Stop by funky cafe/bar Wohnzimmer for a coffee while you are there. Kollwitzplatz has a good farmers market on Saturday or Sunday morning. Find the smoked fish lady and buy some mackerel- very northern german. Also a good place for sausages. Do you want a taste of the former East Berlin? Find someplace that serves Koeningsberger Klopse. There is a touristy place in Potsdammerplatz that serves it if you can't find it in the neighborhoods.
At this time of the year, definitely apple strudel with warm vanilla sauce. Also, hit the Christmas markets and have the Glühwein. Yum.
Have a good trip and report back!
I'd love to see what kind of places you discover, Joseph... I'll be in Berlin visting my parents for four days right at Christmas (and possibly moving there next year).
The Falafel place at Winterfeldplatz is indeed great, and if you are there on a Saturday, then go to the market... it's well worth a stroll around depending on the weather. You could just buy good food at the market and do everything al fresco, though in December that's a bit daunting.
If you want really good, but expensive hot chocolate and coffee, Café Einstein is very worthwhile... it's a teensy bit snooty, but fun. Two locations: one near Nollendorfplatz and one on Unter den Linden in Berlin-Mitte.
Here's market info: