Berlin For the First Time
I am planning a trip to Berlin towards the end of July and am in search of can't miss restaurants. I have never been to Germany so am looking for really anything that is worth going, not something available everywhere. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Im really not sure what I am looking for, a range in price thats for sure... cheaper lunch spots maybe and then moderate dinner prices... the euro/dollar for me isn't that wonderful so probably nothing near the 100 euro per person range, anyhthing below that though I am interested in. I would like a typical Berlin experience as well as other great places people love to go. I will be there about a week I am planning. Thanks for the help!
There are almost no places in Berlin that are more expensive than 100 EUR p.p, so this wasn't much help in narrowing down the wide array of Berlin restaurants.
I'll tell you some of my favourites, but mind you that for me, 100 EUR is something to feed my whole family for a week on:
Asian: I like Monsieur Voung (Vietnamese); "Good Friends" (Chinese, I think Cantonese but not really sure); Ashai and Ishin Sushi. There is a Korean I really want to try, called Maru, in the squatti area of Friedrichshain.
Middle Eastern: Berlin is a good place to try Turkish food, if you haven't yet. It has nice, "respectable" Turkish restaurant like the Hasir chain, and also Doener Kebap stands in every corner (I especially recommend Didim on Erkstrasse and Kotbusser Tor; but I am not so sure these are the first places I would send a tourist to...). I also like the many Hummus places on Sonnenallee, but again not so sure I'd send a tourist there...
European: Ottenthal is a great Austrian on Kantstrasse; I haven't been to, but everybody's praising Grill Royale (French and meat) and Brandol Sur Mer (French and seafood); Still looking for a good British restaurant in Berlin. Also - Gabriel's, the restaurant at the Jewish Community Centre (which is naturally Kosher) is not bad at all IMHO, but quite expensive for what they give.
Italian: Again - my own budget sends me to good, but not so fancy, Italian restaurants across town. I like Due Forni despite the slow service (in general, as Linguafood suggested, don't expect good service in Berlin). Bocca di Bacco is supposed to be amazing, but I haven't been there; also try Via Condotti.
German: Weihenstephaner may not be the "best" or the most authentic German restaurant in town (it is actually Bavarian, which most Germans would not qualify as part of Germany), but it is a good restaurant; you will find plenty of Berlin-style raunchy places in Nikolai Quarter; and Oderquelle in Prenzlauer Berg also comes up high. For a beer-garden experience, consider spending an evening in the Prater.
Some fancy chef restaurants: except for the unique chocolate/cocoa restaurant of Fassbender and Rausch, I haven't been to, but again heard good things about: Borchardt, Fischer Fritz, Facil, Hugo's, Vau, Refugium, Shiro i Shiro.
Deserts: I have already mentioned chocoholic heaven (or hell, depending how you look at it) Fassbender & Rausch. You should also try the cakes in the Operpalais.
I will probably remember more restaurants, as if this list is not enough for 10 years in Berlin.
My wife and I visited Berlin this past July. We stayed in the Mitte - just inside the old Soviet sector off the Gendarmenmarkt. We found a place we really liked just a few blocks from our hotel. Lutter and Wegner. Traditional German food. Founded in 1811 I think. they have several places in Berlin. Go to the spot on the Charlottenstrasse at # 56. Try the Tafelspitz. We liked it so much we ate there three nights in a row. A bit pricey, 105 Euros, 105 Euros and 95 Euros (cheap date the last night)
Actually, polyg, there are quite a number of places where one can easily spend 100 €/person and more -- Ana e Bruno, Margaux, Facil, Lorenz Adlon, First Floor, Fischers Fritz.... but I wouldn't say that any of those are places uniquely Berlin.
Monsieur Vuong, despite its lasting popularity, is as good as it was on the first day (presumably, I haven't been in a year).
The best sushi place is on Olivaer Platz: Mr. Hai's Kabuki Kaiten Sushi Bar. I go there at least once a week to get my sushi fix -- they have an excellent lunch offer for 9.50€.
I would stay FAR, FAR away from Grill Royal. The service is absolutely abysmal. If you like to pay through your nose for horrific service and average food, go ahead.
For a cheap & excellent Berlin experience, head over to Kreuzberg to the Gasthaus Henne. Best damn fried chicken in town.
Berlin's oldest and, imo, prettiest beergarden, the Prater has already been mentioned.
polyg is right that you should definitely get some Turkish food, be it a sit-down place (don't go to Hasir, then) or just a döner to go. It is THE street food in Berlin, and your stay would be nothing without it.
For a relic of the early 90s, check out Tacheles on Oranienburger. Other than that, stay clear of Oranienburger, it's practically Berlin's Times Square.
Zwiebelfisch in Savignyplatz is my favorite restaurant/bar. Their soups (the onion soup and the chilli) are amazing.
For lunch on a Sunday, the market at Winterfeldplatz (take the U-bahn to Nollendorfplatz) is fantastic. The waffle stand there serves the most delicious waffles I've ever tasted.
Curry 36 is supposed to have the best currywurst in Berlin. Whether there or somewhere else, make sure you try some.
Also, I don't remember the name, but right outside the Oranienburger Strasse Ubhf is a place that serves just french fries, but with any topping you could imagine. It's amazing. :D
For Biergartens, my favorite is the Fischerhuette, all the way in the south (near Krumme Lanke U-bhf)
Konnopke in Prenzlauer Berg and Krasselt's in Steglitz have the best currywurst, and obscure neighborhoods like Alt Moabit/Turmstrasse also have really cheap ethnic eateries, almost all Turkish and Lebanese, as well as one of the relic Markthalle locations.
Alter Krug is a beautiful beer garden in Dahlem.
Replace Bocco di Bacco with Sale e Tabachi. BdiB is overpriced, snobby, and the food is not that great. S&T is far better in that general price range.
I second Oderquelle, Prater, Henne (beer and fried chicken and great schnapps selection) as great German and Berlin-ish experiences.
Imren is the best for döner if you are in Kreuzberg. Real lamb. Not meatpaste. Defne for sit-down Turkish.
You should really do a search here- there are lots of great suggestions in the archives.