Going to Berlin for Wiener Schnitzel and Tafelspitz
When we were in Vienna a few years ago, we really enjoyed the Wiener Schnitzel from Figlmuller and tafelspitz (boiled meat in beef broth) from Plachutta.
My husband and I will be visiting Berlin late next week. Since Germany is quite close to Austria, I wonder what is typical of German cuisine?
We will be staying at a hotel in west Berlin near Ku’Damm, Gedächtniskirche, Kurfürstendamm.
Would anyone know any restaurants that serve great Viennese cuisine?
Thank you in advance.
A couple of Berlin traditions are Achsenschwanzsuppe (ox-tail soup) and Goulaschsuppe (need I translate?), both of which make a nice lunch with a Broetchen (little round roll) or two and a locally-brewed Schultheiss beer. Another tradition is Currywurst -- curry-sausage -- from one of the stands that are pretty much all over the city: a sausage served on a Broetchen, dusted with a kind of spicy curry powder and squirted with a kind of semi-spicy ketchup. Cheap and good. And if your trip to Berlin is during warm weather -- late spring or summer -- don't fail to sit at an outdoor cafe and have a Berliner Weisse (a relatively mild, almost clear beer usually served in a "schooner" glass with a squirt of sweet red or green syrup and often drunk through a straw). Since you are staying near the Ku'damm, you should find lots of cafes on or right off that boulevard where you can sip a Weisse and watch the very interesting Berlin world stroll by.
For excellent Austrian cuisine and a fantastic selection of Austrian wines, I can highly recommend the restaurant Ottenthal at Kantstrasse 153, which can be reached easily on foot from the Bahnhof Zoo, Gedächtniskirche area. Their food is a nice mix between classic Austrian and slightly creative cuisine, dishes like the Wienerschnitzel or Tafelspitz are prepared traditionally.
Service is very friendly, crowd is suprisingly young but everybody is welcome of course. They currently have lots of asparagus on their menu, in this weather, reserving a table outside is a good idea even though the tables will be out to the busy Kantstrasse.
I’ve been meaning to write this review since I got back from Berlin. I was there for a week in March and want to report on a few places. Berlin offers an incredible array of dining possibilities, but I wanted typical German food, since it is so hard to find here. I also speak German, so it’s easier for me to wander off the tourist track.
Around the corner from my hotel was Mittmann’s - a bar/restaurant with very good food. It’s very much a locals place. The menu is written on a chalkboard in German script, not so easy to decipher. I never heard any language other than German spoken, so I don’t know how you’d make out in English. My first night was cold and damp and I was pretty hungry. I started out with a Steinpilzsuppe – a mushroom soup – that was delicious. That was followed by lamb filets (pan cooked, and delicious) over green beans (overcooked) served with a baked potato accompanied by herbed cottage cheese – excellent! Portions were extremely generous and I was stuffed! I ate there another night and had a delicious pork schnitzel served with warm potato salad – also wonderfully herbed. The chef has a very deft hand with herbs.
Mittmans’s, Rungestrasse,11, Berlin- Mitte. www.mittmanns.de
Another find was Sophieneck. This is another bar/restaurant I had read about on another website. I stumbled upon it at lunch time while I was exploring the area around the Haekischer Markt area. It was almost deserted at 1:00 p.m. and I was a little nervous. The menu was quite extensive, but I opted for lighter fare (hah!) a bratwurst with pan fried potatoes and sauerkraut. Wow! Everything tasted so fresh and clean. Very pleasant service and extremely reasonable. I wanted to go back for dinner, but never made it.
Sophieneck, Grosse Hamburger Strasse 37. www.sophieneck-berlin.de
The most interesting meal I had was at Oderquelle in Prenzlauer Berg. I had read about it here and on another Berlin site. The menu changes daily and features traditional German food revisited in modern terms, with an emphasis on local products. I arrived on a Saturday night without a reservation but they were able to accommodate me in the bar section. The menu was intriguing, but I opted for the game burgers served in a salsify sauce together with warm potato salad. It was sooooo good. The only problem was the smoke of the other patrons. As a newly ex-smoker, it was a real trial. For the quality, it was a steal. With 2 glass of wine and my meal it was less than 20€.
Oderquelle, Oderberger Strasse 27. www.oderquelle.de
Finally also near my hotel was Marinehaus, another bar/restaurant specializing in seafood. It was like going back in time. Lot’s of dark wood paneling and maritime gear. It was dark and cozy. The food was uneven, but they tried hard. I tried both seafood and meat on two different occasions. The seafood was slightly more successful. The menu is not very extensive, but reasonably priced.
Marinehaus, Märkisches Ufer, 48
One note, most of these places do not accept credit cards.
Wiener Schnitzel is available in nearly every restaurant (it simply means schnitzel in the Viennese style). My favorite is Zigeuner Schnitzel (schnitzel in the gypsy style), which is schnitzel with a yummy red pepper sauce on it. Most people in the US are familiar with the Jäger Schnitzel (schnitzel in the hunter style), which is schnitzel with a mushroom sauce on it.
Due to their history there are a lot of similarities between German and Austrian food. But I'm with Phoenikia - go for local food and don't try to recreate your Austrian experience.
Rouladen is a definite must-try; it is pounded beef rolled up with onions, pickle and mustard on the inside, and usually served with a brown gravy. Sounds a bit odd, but quite yummy.
It is currently asparagus (spargel) season in Germany. Germans favor white asparagus, and it is often served with a cream sauce (which is fine by me since I find the flavor of white aspragus a bit bland compared to the green I grew up on). But since white asparagus is HUGE in Germany, it is worth trying while you are here.
Döner Kebab stands are a great place to stop for a quick and inexpensive lunch. They aren't what we think of as kebabs in the U.S., but are more of a Turkish version of a gyro. Another quick and inexpensive lunch spot would be a bakery (Bäckerei) or butcher shop (Metzgerei) wince many of them offer sandwiches to go.
I'm not sure if you are wine drinkers, but German wine is quite good.
And don't forget the German tradition of coffee and cake (Kaffee und Kuchen) in the afternoon, which is actually very similar to the Vienesse tradition (though in Vienna you get a little glass of mineral water with your coffee).
re: Foodie in Friedberg
Thank you all. We will be in Berlin for 3 days. I just want to have one Viennese meal to reminisce our good times there. We will definitely go to Lutter and Wegner.
I was going to place another post for Berlin cuisine but you guys have saved me the trouble. Eisbein, wild boar, rouladen, schnitzels and asparagus all sound delicious.
Would you be so kind as to suggest some restuarants with great German fare? We have the Top 10 book with us and in Chowhound forum, people seem to like Vau. Are there other less expensive places that serve great German cuisine , but I guess it's all relative?
In Berlin, it's been my experience that most independant restaurants serve good quality German cuisine.
Many small, neighbourhood restaurants will have seasonal menus, featuring asparagus, wild mushrooms or game.
Just so you are not surprised by what you receive if you happen to order these dishes, Frikadelle is basically a hamburger sans bun, and Konigsberger Klopse are beef meatballs in sauce.
Try to find places that are busy, and full of locals, rather than full of tourists. The only disappointing meal I have had in Berlin, over the course of about 4 trips in the past 7 years, was a meal at Zur Letzen Instanz- Berlin's oldest restaurant which is currently a bit of a tourist trap in Mitte.
I liked Marjellchen on my last trip to Berlin. http://www.marjellchen-berlin.de/ The rest of the restaurants I visited were restaurants I just happened to walk past, and I can't remember having any disappointing meals.
I haven't been to Vau http://www.vau-berlin.de/menues/speis... , but there are certainly many places where you'll find great German cuisine at reasonable prices.
A traditional German meal in a traditional restaurant is more likely to cost you somewhere between 12 and 30 Euros, a person instead of 85- 120 Euros a person you could spend at Vau for a contemporary German dinner. If you go to Vau, you might want to go at lunch time, when you can get a meal for considerably less.
"The rest of the restaurants I visited were restaurants I just happened to walk past, and I can't remember having any disappointing meals."
I was in Berlin a few weeks ago, visiting relatives who were staying there for a year. They said that food standards are very high in Berlin, and it's hard to find bad food. You might not be astounded, but at the least, the food won't be bad.
Of the various places we ate (in keeping with the above, all good. Some were recommended to us, some we just walked by and dropped in), Alsatian specialist Storch on Wartburgstrasse in Schoneberg was probably our favorite. The menu was handwritten in German, but a friendly man whom I can only assume is the owner actually sat down with us and went over the menu. The food was excellent and they have a good beer and wine list, too.
re: Foodie in Friedberg
After a few months here, I've cracked the Schnitzel code. Wiener Schnitzel, is, as phoenikia says, schnitzel in the Vienna style, which is to say, a piece of veal, pounded thin, coated and fried. It's hard to find in Berlin. Whaa? Really.
What is more common is Schnitzel "Wiener Art". This is an important distinction. This dish is prepared just like Wiener Schnitzel, but made from pork.
You can find Wiener Schnitzel, but it will take some work and you will pay more for it.
Here is a very comprehensive thread on Berlin: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361187
You'll be able to find good Wiener Schnitzel, as well as many other types of schnitzels in Berlin. Lutter and Wegner, one of Berlin's top high end restaurants, serves Tafelspitz: http://www.lutter-wegner-gendarmenmarkt.de/index1.html .
I believe Cafe Einstein also serves Tafelspitz: http://www.cafeeinstein.com/ .
I would stick to Berlin or German specialites like Eisbein, wild boar, rouladen, schnitzels, etc, rather than trying to specifically seek out "Viennese cuisine" in Berlin, which is a little like seeking out Parisian food when you are in Brussels or vice versa.