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Mid-priced dining options in Berlin?

MC Slim JB May 19, 2008 09:18 PM

Looking for suggestions, nothing Margaux-extravagant, preferably in the Mitte or nearby. €25-30/main isn't pushing my expense account too hard. Something along these lines:

* Turkish. I'm considering Hasir (the one on Oranienburger Strasse), Istanbul in C'burg, and Divan in Kreuzburg, which has the bonus attraction of live music.

* Creative German. I've unearthed no suggestions of my own here, but I'm looking for some bright young chef with ideas; traditional German fare seems pretty easy to find.

Quality/creativity is the top priority, atmosphere a plus. I'd also welcome places that aren't necessarily expensive, but have extraordinary food of their type, like maybe a kneipe that has wonderful food and great atmosphere and doesn't mind non-locals.

N.B.: I had a meal at Cantamaggio the Scheunenviertel that I thought was superb (fantastic pastas, especially). I liked the fact that the place didn't look like much inside or out but really delivered on the plate, quite a bit more refined technique than I anticipated. That worked out to about €50/head inclusive with wine, which I though was pretty fair, though I'd be happy to find something more modest.

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  1. linguafood RE: MC Slim JB May 20, 2008 07:33 AM

    At Hasir, btw, I'd stick with appetizers, as I haven't found their mains to be super interesting. Also, be aware that Oranienburger is THE tourist strip in Mitte, so I'd try to stay clear of that area if/when you can. The original Hasir is located on Adalbertstr. in Kreuzberg, and there is another location near Nollendorfplatz.

    As for creative German, here's a number of places:

    Oderquelle, Oderberger Str. (Prenzlauer Berg)
    Blumberg, Lilienthalstr. (Kreuzberg)
    Horvath, Paul-Lincke-Ufer (Kreuzberg)
    Schneeweiss, Simplonstr. (Friedrichshain)

    Oh, sorry, I just realized you're looking in Mitte...

    Zoe, Fuggerstr. (Mitte)
    Weinhaus Rutz, Chausseestr. (Mitte) -- this one just recently got a Michelin, so you may want to check their prices.

    If you like Italian, give Paparazzi on Husemann/Danziger in P'berg a chance. I love their pasta.

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood
      MC Slim JB RE: linguafood May 20, 2008 07:45 AM

      Those are great suggestions, even the Mitte-adjacent ones. I'd also had my eye on Oderquelle and Schneeweiss, so it's very helpful to get some local validation on those. I hope to return the favor next time you're in Boston!

      1. re: MC Slim JB
        linguafood RE: MC Slim JB May 20, 2008 08:04 AM

        Always happy to help! :-D

    2. b
      bropaul RE: MC Slim JB May 21, 2008 07:28 PM

      I'd try Oderquelle for creative German. I was there not too long ago and the food was very good and very reasonably priced.

      1. schlimmerkerl RE: MC Slim JB May 23, 2008 11:35 AM

        Try KDV (Kah-day-vay-- or something like that). It's the big department store. They have a food floor with many different options of cuisine and service, and our experience was second to none. Cheap too.

        3 Replies
        1. re: schlimmerkerl
          linguafood RE: schlimmerkerl May 23, 2008 02:33 PM

          You mean KaDeWe (= Kaufhaus des Westens) -- yes, their food section is mind-blowing... as a chowhound, it's hard not to go bankrupt there '-)

          Once a year, they have an AYCE evening for 120 or 180€ or so -- which includes oysters and champagne. Unfortunately, I've never been around for that one *sigh*

          1. re: linguafood
            schlimmerkerl RE: linguafood Jun 3, 2008 05:54 AM

            Slight mistake. My wife (who is German) confirms that the short form of Kaufhaus Des Westens, KDW, is pronounced Kah-day-vay.

            1. re: schlimmerkerl
              linguafood RE: schlimmerkerl Jun 3, 2008 07:34 AM

              Hey, bad boy. I'm German as well, and EVERYBODY in Berlin, including the KaDeWe itself, abbreviates it this way. Perhaps your wife isn't from the area.

              The pronunciation you suggest, however, is pretty close -- though given English phonetics, I might suggest *K-uh*-Day-Vay.


        2. b
          bill2p RE: MC Slim JB May 24, 2008 09:18 AM

          For creative dining in a great atmosphere, I highly recommend Maxwell, Bergstr. 22 in Mitte. http://www.mxwl.de/index_gb.htm

          1 Reply
          1. re: bill2p
            bropaul RE: bill2p May 24, 2008 01:19 PM

            Just checked out the website - Maxwell looks quite interesting. Must put it on the list for the next time I'm in Berlin!

          2. MC Slim JB RE: MC Slim JB May 25, 2008 08:27 AM

            Quick follow-up report: as I mentioned before, Cantamaggio was excellent for creative, Central/Northern Italian, though the prices looked like less of a bargain once I'd spend some more time dining out in Berlin. Still would recommend it if you're in the that neighborhood.

            Schneeweiss was terrific, more casual than I expected, with very large portions on what might at first glance look like a small plates menu. Good, friendly service, a nice-looking patio, respectable carafe wines, very good schnitzel, a bargain. Glad I got my crew out to Friedrichshain.

            Oderquelle was my favorite meal of the trip; I sat in the very cool-looking old school bar, had a superb pair of Swabian-style ravioli in broth topped with fried shallots, wow. Amazing entree of smoked ham in a light, mustardy sauce, plus fried kohlrabi and potatoes. I just loved that dish. The barman took great care of me, though he never stopped moving all night, big drafts and wine carafes flying over the counter for two solid hours at the dinner rush. Nice to see a casual place well-stocked with liquors (I was able to get a Cynar and soda before dinner), though the draft beers were excellent, and the wine list quite nice too.

            Got a currywurst at Curry 36 in Kruezberg right before heading for Tegel: very nice for the money, but definitely one of those "Is that all there is?" moments for a non-Berliner. Glad I tried it, sorry I was unable to get a doner kebab before I left (an overscheduled business trip).

            Thanks again for all the great suggestions! Be sure to post to the Boston board and identify yourselves as Berliners next time you're heading my way; I'd be glad to return the favor.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB
              MC Slim JB RE: MC Slim JB May 26, 2008 07:17 AM

              Oh, and I did get by KaDeWe, and the sixth floor was indeed mind-boggling. I don't think I'd ever experienced Stendhal syndrome outside of a museum; I found it a bit overwhelming. I actually left in a daze without buying anything, then didn't have time to get back there.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                linguafood RE: MC Slim JB May 26, 2008 07:35 AM

                Well, hopefully this won't have been your last visit to Berlin...

                There still so much to check out!

                1. re: linguafood
                  MC Slim JB RE: linguafood May 26, 2008 09:15 AM

                  I sure hope I get to go back soon, too: Berlin looks like an amazing city on a lot of levels, not least of which is chow. I don't always have this limited an opportunity to explore when traveling on business; at least my compadres let me choose the restaurants on this trip.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    melitaman6 RE: MC Slim JB Jun 3, 2008 09:41 AM

                    I am going to Berlin and other spots in the Ost in a few weeks. These posts have been a great help. I wish there was a German board instead of having it thrown into International.

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