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Jun 24, 2008 04:53 AM

New discoveries in Berlin?

Hey you few Berliners on this board... any new discoveries you might feel like sharing? I'll gladly return the favor and share my personal "best of" list if you can excite me about a new place...

Desy? (I had asked in another thread which had been deleted by the high powers, presumably because of the whining for a Germany board. *sigh*).

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  1. we just spent 5 fabulous days in Berlin. Loved our meal at Oxymoron (in a historical courtyard in the Hackisher Tor area) and the the pizza in the 12 Apostles was delicious and a very generous size. If I have more time I´´ll think of some other places but my time is running out at this internet cafe.

    9 Replies
    1. re: finefoodfriend

      Sounds like you had a good time. I actually LIVE in Berlin, so I was hoping to hear from the few usual suspects who post on the international board re: Berlin eats on a not-so-regular basis. I have my own favorites, but was interested to hear about places I may not have been to.

      1. re: linguafood

        Only lived there 6 months, but my favorites were those I posted on the "Berlin for the 1st time" thread. If you haven't tried all of them, I highly recommend them.

        I really also enjoyed the Rostbratwurst at a random tram stop on Bornholmerstrasse, immediately after you pass the Labyrinth Kindermuseum (that's where I worked, so I was a regular at this place).

        1. re: linguafood

          I have 4 days left in Berlin! Gah! But then Italy, so all is not lost. These are not new discoveries, but a list of regular places that I enjoy. Maybe there will be something on this list new for you.

          Anyway, here goes:
          In my hood:
          -Defne, for sit down turkish, with view of canal.
          -Imren!!! On Bopstrasse- best döner ever! Real, savory, lamb, not that pressed meat paste you can get everywhere. Also, when you order lahmacun they roll out the dough and bake it for you fresh. It's right across from a huge playground, so if you have kids, this is ideal. When I lust for meat, I lust over this place
          -Pane e Vino, Erkelenzdamm 61 / 10999 Berlin (Kreuzberg). Husband and wife team. Simple Italian. Closed Mon, Tues. Tiny, so reserve.
          -Il Casolare, Plan Ufer. Best pizza in the city. Hands down. Attitude, though.
          - Cafe Jacques- Maybach Ufer. The mediterranean Vorspeisentellers are good, but I am not super keen on the main dishes. This place is about the atmosphere and music and neighborly-ness inside. Nice in winter.
          -La Raclette, also save for winter, for when you need to build up your Speckmantel. Very cozy and romantic.
          -Kirk Royal, for steak frites. You know this from me already, of course.

          In P-berg:
          -Oderquelle is a staple.
          -WOK SHOW! Incredibly cheap (8 euro fro 40 pieces) handmade dumplings. Get the "traditional sides" of beef with coriander and soft tofu with green onions and tiny crunchy fried fish strewn on top. With drinks, dessert and 3 sides, we got out of there for 33 euro. Greifenhagener Str. 31.
          -Omoni for decent sushi and korean.

          -Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle Auguststr. 34 / 10178 Berlin. Small, romantic italian. Not cheap.
          -Sale e Tabacchi- best fancy italian. Also not cheap. Go here instead of Bucco di Bacco. That place pissed me off.
          -Anne Koschke- a bar only, but every Friday night in the summer in the Hinterhof they do the traditional Berlin chanson/ Witze thing that is really charming.

          Tonight we are going to Pata Negra now that I'm on some kind of Spanish kick. I will also regret not getting to Bandol sur Mer. Maybe next time.

          Also, you should read this:
          and this:

          Would love to hear your picks.

          1. re: desylicious

            Oh no! You're leaving... that's a bummer. The Berlin culinary community on CHOW will now be even smaller. Dang.

            Anywhos. I'd be VERY interested in how you like Pata Negra, as I am hoping to go there sometime soon. The chef is one of my customers, and I figured I should stop by there .... also, the food sounds interesting.

            I've been to most of the places you mention, 'cept for the döner place & Defne.

            My "bread & butter" places in Berlin are, in no particular order:

            Sushi: Mr. Hai Kabuki (Wilmersdorf, Olivaer Platz). to die for. I go there once a week, and dream of it during long winter months...

            Italian: Paparazzi (P'berg, Danziger Ecke Husemann) -- their pappardelle with summer truffles .... *sigh*; Trattoria Noi Quattro (Südstern); never gone to BoDiBa -- sounded too much like an Italian Borchardt -- I have heard good things about San Nicci, though.

            German: Henne. Best Damn Fried Chicken in Town. Oderquelle. Hartmanns. Blumberg.

            Greek: Ousies/Grunewaldstr. Schöneberg

            French: La Cocotte / Schöneberg

            Burger, The Best Ever Anywhere -- The Bird/Falkplatz/Pberg

            Really. Too bad you're leaving. Where in Italy are you headed?

            1. re: linguafood

              The boyfriend's kids have been asking to go back to the Henne, but it seems that it hasn't been as good as when we first went in the winter- maybe this is a "diminishing returns" phenomenon that occurs if you go there too often.

              I was going to write a post called "Pata Negra- why is this place empty?" I thought it was excellent, overall, and should be just as full as Borchardts or other chic but mediocre places like that. When we went there, there were three couples there total (including us). It's under the Instituto de Cervantes, which has been surrounded by Baustelle for three years now (as far as I can remember). We started with a 6 course Überraschungs menu, but upgraded to 8 after we had the first two. I thought it was quite nice, and did a fine job of convincing the BF that there was something more to Spanish food than what he found in Benidorm. It didn't feel too "Shiro i Shiro" tasteless foam on everything annoying trendiness, but it did have its fair share of espumas and airs and nitrogen sorbets.

              Particularly yummy was an early course with pata negra, simply dressed lettuces, and an espuma of chick peas. I had a course with scallops on sea beans that was fantastic. We ended up doing the 8 courses with wine pairings (essential), and at the end weren't suffering from too much food or drink, nor did we break the bank. There were a few missteps (a plate decorated with tiny beautiful watermelon-looking cucumbers that were tasteless, but could have easily been more liberally seasoned- or better- brined!) and the waiter (Carlos) did this weird thing where when he took our plates away between courses would mutter loudly under his breath and shake his head as he walked to the kitchen. WTF? Also, what do you do that he's a customer of yours?

              It's definitely worth going to, and getting Chowhounders to support it, so it doesn't bite the dust like I'm afraid it will.

              As for Italy, we are road tripping to Tuscany, then Rome for a couple, then finishing up in Elba, cause we can't get enough of vacationing Germans. Then back to Santa Barbara, where I will slit my wrists out of culinary boredom. The end.

              1. re: desylicious

                Sounds like I do have to make that trip to Pata Negra! I translate the menus for the owner, that's how he's a customer. A customer who needs to be reminded on occasion to pay his bills, but a regular, so I give him a break. Plus I think we're about the same age (not sure why that matters to me). So I am quite familiar with his espumas and have thought to myself on many occasions that he sure charges a lot for "garlic air"


                Never having had molecular cuisine OR jamon ibérico, I should go. Wouldn't hurt to introduce myself either, and guilting him into paying on time...

                Your Italy trip sounds nice. Not sure if Santa Barbara is a place for suicidal thoughts, though. Try central PA in the winter.

              2. re: linguafood

                CHOW's Berlin culinary community will continue to shrink if you keep up the gate-tending. Even tourists have tastebuds--how'd you know that poster hadn't stumbled ontto something delightful the rest of us wanted to hear about (ooops--guess I shouldn't say "us" and assume I'm in the clique, just cause I lived there for 3 years and have back to visit a couple times since)
                Seriously, if there's a group of folks you know and want to communicate with, you shouldn't do it on such open airspace. Make an email list or get your own myspace acct. already!

                1. re: saacnmama

                  I'm sorry, but I have trouble understanding the gist of your post?
                  Have I been secretive about restaurant discoveries towards "non-clique-members" -- whatever the hell that would mean? Demeaning to "just tourists" visiting and seeking advice? Do check my effing posting history, and point out any sort of insiderism to me if you so feel inclined.

                  I happen to have enjoyed desylicious posts while I was stranded in Central PA for the winter, and it's a bummer she has moved on.

                  I am too old for myspace, sackmomma. Why don't YOU go rant somewhere else about perceived snubbery.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I was referring to your post at 4:45 a.m. on June 28.
                    I won't argue with you re: who's older.

        2. For Chinese I've been going to Good Friends. The Dim Sum platter is outstanding, although a little expensive. However, the last 2 times I've been there the main dish wasn't as good as it has been and the waiter doesn't seem to understand that I want it Asien Scharf nicht Deutschen Scharf. He did bring me the small containers of chilis/chili sauce when I asked. I tried Aroma down the street (they're both on Kantstr.), but it wasn't as good. They do have some good Dim Sum offerings, but they were greasy.

          Maredo and Block House are both good for steaks. I had the pork steaks last time at Maredo on Unter den Linden and they were excellent.

          Do you know any good Arab/Moroccan/N. African/Lebanese restaurants in Berlin for my birthday next Sunday?

          I'm taking Anne out for her birthday Tuesday and she wants German. Since she lives in Zehlendorf, we'll probably go someplace around Wannsee. I'll let you know what we find.

          3 Replies
          1. re: RevImmigrant

            There are several beef restaurants that are - in my opinion - better than Maredo and Block House. I like Maredo's salad bar, and their steaks are *OK*, but not more than that. The Bird in Falkplatz (not far from the Max Schmelling Halle in P-Berg) has really great steaks and the atmosphere is *almost* like in a real American restaurant; Kirk Royal was also recommended here as a source for good steaks; and I liked - if you prefer Argentinian over American - San Diego on Karl-Marx-Allee (which is in addition, remarkably cheap in comparison with Block House).

            The best Arabic food is in Neukoelln, especially in "Little Beirut" on Sonnenallee. However, I am not so sure it is for everybody - it is all very authentic, might be too authentic for some - you will feel like eating with Hasan Nasrallah and his wives...

            I ate at a great Libanese in Prenzlauer Berg on the border with Friedrichshain (on Am Volkspark Friedrichshain), but I don't remember the name.

            North African cuisine is notably different than Lebanese cuisine and you shouldn't mix the two, but I don't know any good Moroccan restaurant in Berlin (a start-up idea?).

            1. re: polyg

              You must be talking about Qadmous, near Volkspark F'hain. That's a very nice Lebanese place with meze-style small dishes (liver in pomegranate jus, for example), and not too expensive.

              Then there's Massai (?), an African place on Dunckerstr.

              1. re: polyg

                I am reminded of another really nice Arab restaurant that I ate at, about a year ago - It is called Casalot - on Claire-Waldoff-Str. 5 (which is just behind the FDP centre and the Deutsche Theater, which means that the restaurant is filled with the unappealing combination of politicians and aspiring actresses - but you sometimes have to suffer for food, and most suprisingly in Berlin, cordial service with a smile! <==== maybe the waitress is sick or something??? Why was she smiling?

                In any case, naturally, this kind of area, while being more expensive than Sonnenallee, also lacked dodgy guys with beards and bearded women with headscarfs (near the Deutsche Theater and Guido Westerwelle's office, it is more likely to be dodgy women, who might be vulgarly called "birds", and clean shaven guys with headscarfs)

            2. Just got back from 23 days in eastern Germany last week. While in Berlin we ate - three nights in a row - at Lutter and Wegner on the Charlottenstrasse. Traditional German and a bit expensive. Our three meals were 110, 110 and 95 Euros. But we loved the food. There are several locations in Berlin, but the Charlottenstrasse location, which was two blocks up the street from our hotel, seems to be the flagshop spot.

              Expensive, but good.


                1. re: Marc

                  Restaurant Margaux next to the French consulate close to Brandenburg Gate. I have been in Berlin only 3 times but that was the best meal (a bit pricy and no relation to Chateau Margaux).

                  1. re: makotot

                    Just read the this thread and felt I had to, though I'm sure they don't need my jumping in, say that I have found linguafood to be most supportive of this tourist and I am deighted to have that level of interest shown.