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Prenzlauer Berg - fun and good restaurants?

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isabelle94 Jan 28, 2010 10:27 AM

I'm off to Berlin and would love to get some recs for restaurants in Prenzlauer Berg. Somewhere with good food, not over the top expensive, and a fun atmosphere. It would be a huge plus if it was near bars and nightlife.

We aren't picky eaters but no gastropub or Indian (we're coming from London and get enough of that here!)

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  1. linguafood Jan 28, 2010 10:47 AM

    The good news first: you're likely to be close to bars and nightlife pretty much ANYWHERE in P'berg, as it is still one of the most popular, young neighborhoods in Berlin.

    That said, here are a few suggestions (random cuisines, since you didn't specify what you ARE interested in):

    Wok Show -- excellent selection of dumplings, prepared fresh daily, good apps. Stear clear of the entrees, they're not worth it.
    The Bird -- best burgers in town, low-key (as in American) atmosphere.
    Maria Bonita -- hole-in-the-wall, VERY good Mexican food.
    Aroma Village -- Sichuan food near the Wasserturm/Kollwitzplatz
    Femmina Morta, Su Mirtu, or Trattoria Paparazzi -- good Italian food.
    Ars Vini -- a fondue resto with a variety of fondues

    Hope this will start you off. Feel free to follow up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood
      i
      isabelle94 Jan 28, 2010 10:54 AM

      Very nice selection! I'm intrigued by the Mexican and Chinese. I'm a huge fan of dumplings (being of Chinese descent) and as a Cali native, miss getting really good Mexican. Do you have any good German recs in the area?

      And as we are speaking about bars/nightlife, do you have any recs on that front? I'm not looking for high end, velvet rope bars. Anything down to earth with good music/crowd/vibes would be great!

      1. re: isabelle94
        ChristinaMason Feb 8, 2010 11:43 PM

        Don't miss Aroma Village (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&sourceid=chrome&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=aroma+village&fb=1&gl=de&hq=aroma+village&hnear=Berlin&cid=7038285519321291429) for great Szechuan food, dumplings, and soups. Pretty much everything there is good, even entrees we think of as being "Americanized," such as cashew (here called "celery") chicken. Highlights are the Szechuan beef and the chicken with broad beans. The won ton soup, with a slick of sesame oil and shrimp dumplings, is also surprisingly good.

        I've heard The Bird is good, but bear in mind, it's incredibly expensive for burgers or steak. A cheaper, but still good, option for burgers is Marienburger (http://www.marienburger-berlin.de/).

        Second the recs. for Gugelhof and Ars Vini. Friends of mine were raving about both. Gugelhof is Alsatian rather than North German/Berliner fare. Also check out Mandelmond, which has well-made Spaetzle, game dishes, and other German classics at very reasonable prices (http://www.mandelmond.net/).

        Looking for tasty Italian made with care? Head to i Due Forni (http://www.qype.co.uk/place/512-Pizzeria-i-Due-Forni-Berlin) or Herr Rossi, where the service is a bit better. i Due Forni is slightly cheaper, and Herr Rossi is slightly more upscale with a nice, non-smoking atmosphere (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&sourceid=chrome&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=herr+rossi+berlin&fb=1&gl=de&hq=herr+rossi&hnear=berlin&cid=15219152881226378785). The risottos and homemade pastas are killer. And be sure to order a Aperol Spritz (white wine spritzer with a shot of Aperol bitters).

        For a nice brunch, lunch, or cake and coffee, check out either Cafe Anna Blum (http://maps.google.de/maps?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&sourceid=chrome&q=anna%20blumes&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl) or the fun, funky, laid-back (and English-speaking) Cafe Hilde (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?cid=3159087697359470395&q=hilde+&hl=en&cd=1&cad=src:pplink&ei=jxpxS57RMM2K_AaplY2VBg&sig2=cdgGqp64dN_nloYGmXV-sg

        )

        Good brunch can also be had at Restaurant Pasternak (http://www.restaurant-pasternak.de/), which has a big brunch buffet on Sundays. Or go for vodka and pelmeni (Russian dumplings) one night. These are not to be missed while you are in Berlin.

        There are good Korean basics at CORE (http://www.qype.co.uk/place/188360-CORE-Berlin), a utlilitarian little cafe with cheap prices and tasty bi bim bap and bulgogi.

        Decent Thai/Vietnamese curries at insanely cheap prices at Minh Quang (http://www.minhquang.de/) and serviceable pho. Even better is the Vietnamese food at Onkel Ho, which has very good daily specials, nice summer rolls, and very cheap wine by the bottle in a romantic atmosphere (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&sourceid=chrome&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=onkel+ho&fb=1&gl=de&hq=onkel+ho&hnear=Berlin&cid=2323737219493313036

        )

        Bars in Prenzlauerberg worth checking out include: Sorsi e Morsi (fantastic, if smoky little wine bar, where you get a small plate of antipasti on the house with your first glass of inexpensive wine - http://www.sorsiemorsi.de/home.html), Fluido (an impressive assortment of wonderful handmade cocktails, happy hour from 8-10pm-- speakeasy atmosphere; ring the doorbell to get in - http://maps.google.de/maps/place?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=fluido+berlin&fb=1&gl=de&hq=fluido&hnear=berlin&cid=7339159344664968877), Perle (big gay scene; Queer Beer Happy Hour from 10PM on Thursdays). Scotch and Sofa has a nice, relaxed atmosphere with old couches and memorabilia, but drinks there are on the expensive side for Berlin (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS337US337&sourceid=chrome&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=scotch+and+sofa+berlin&fb=1&gl=de&hq=scotch+and+sofa&hnear=berlin&cid=4991026170752929097). Hairy Marry is also kind of fun and has English-speaking staff (http://www.toytowngermany.com/berlin/hairy_marys.html). Not too far off in Friedrichshain is Dachkammer, an upstairs bar that opens around 10PM. The front room is non-smoking, has good cheap cocktails, comfy couches and a relaxed vibe. Highly recommend (http://maps.google.de/maps/place?cid=...).

    2. bopuc Feb 8, 2010 02:24 PM

      for posterity, and to add to linguafood's recommendations:

      - Italian: Donath (Schwedter Straße 13) no nonsense, high quality, reasonable. One of my all time favorite italian places.

      - German: Fleisherei (Schönhauser Allee 8, http://www.fleischerei-berlin.com ), Meierei (Kollwitzstraße 42, http://www.meierei.net sorta café-ish) and Gugelhof (Knaackstraße 37, http://www.gugelhof.de ). All excellent. I've had things at these places that taste just like my mom used to make.

      - Mexican: cannot beat Maria Bonita. They will have a proper sit-down resto in Kreuzberg too apparently.

      Bars: Yes Bar, Beckett's Head (old style cocktail bar), Club der Republik... dunno, so many...

      Coffee: Bonanza Coffee Heroes and God Shot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bopuc
        linguafood Feb 9, 2010 06:51 AM

        I would stear clear of the Fleischerei. In my experience, it's mostly a hip hang-out with bad service, and mediocre, over-priced food.

      2. l
        LoteriaSupperClub Feb 9, 2010 02:26 PM

        The best meal I have had in six months of living in Berlin was hands down at Neugrün's Köche in Prenzlauer Berg. They do a four course menu that is either a local Berlin/Brandenburg menu or a southern German inspired menu. It's expensive but completely worth it. Another great place (not in Prenzlauer Berg but with the public transportation here who cares) is La Crapule in Kreuzberg. They do a 9 Euro lunch with three courses. I'd also like to second the vote for Morsi e Sorsi, it is my favorite wine bar in a city with a million of them. For another non-P'Berg recommendation, since I think you have enough of those, hop on the U2 to Schöneberg and go to the Green Door. They have the best cocktails in Berlin and it's a lot of fun. Just ring the bell by the door. Berlin is a great food city, but as a fellow California native I have to say that there are better types of food to focus on while you are here than Mexican. Maria Bonita seems to be the one exception, but I haven't worked up the courage to try it yet since I have been so disappointed by the others.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LoteriaSupperClub
          linguafood Feb 9, 2010 03:31 PM

          Ah yes, I've heard good stuff about Neugrün's, but haven't been there myself.

          Do give Maria Bonita a shot, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Most Americans I know who have been there say it's pretty damn close to the real deal.

          1. re: LoteriaSupperClub
            ChristinaMason Feb 9, 2010 11:14 PM

            I'll second you on the Green Door. That place is an institution for a reason. I love that they make you a perfect cocktail, then set the shaker next to your glass to refill you with what's left once you make room. Two drinks there is...plenty. Too bad it's kind of a haul for me.

          2. b
            bropaul Feb 10, 2010 07:29 AM

            I liked Oderquelle for german food with a modern approach.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bropaul
              i
              isabelle94 Mar 1, 2010 10:26 AM

              Thanks for everyone's recs! We had a great time in Berlin and due to too much meandering, ended up missing most of these great recs!

              However, we did make it to Maria Bonita for Mexican. I was surprised that it was such a hole in the wall (in a good way!) We ordered tacos and flautas, beans and rice. For a Mexican restaurant in Europe, it's pretty good. Good beef tacos were the highlight although they really needed to double up on the miniature tortillas they were served on. Flautas were good too. I'm from California though so it's a bit of a hard benchmark to be judging Mexican by! But the guy from Virginia behind the counter gave us a free shot of tequila after we finished our meal. You don't get that from a taco stand in SoCal!

            2. ChristinaMason Mar 2, 2010 12:15 AM

              For future recommendation-seekers: K. Fröhlich (http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=...) serves delicious mid-priced modern takes on German cuisine. I recently had whole grilled dorado with herbed compound butter, roasted red skin fingerling potatoes, and field greens with shallot vinaigrette.. My husband had the roast venison with pumpkin dumplings. We split the hazelnut mousse and were both very happy. Don't miss the sparkling wine cocktail with elderflower syrup! I hear brunch is also good.

              Entrees are priced in the 7-15 Euro range. Dinner for two with drinks and dessert was 43 Euro, including tip.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ChristinaMason
                linguafood Mar 2, 2010 07:03 AM

                That sounds great! I'll have to check it out come spring!!

                1. re: linguafood
                  ChristinaMason Mar 2, 2010 07:08 AM

                  Great. Hope you like it. Also, you might be interested to hear a new Mexican restaurant opened in Mitte called "Tipica." Tip magazine gave it a glowing review in its latest issue.

                  http://www.tip-berlin.de/essen-und-tr...

                  1. re: ChristinaMason
                    linguafood Mar 2, 2010 07:24 AM

                    That one looks great, too! Thanks for the tip. I just wrote them to see if they'd like an English menu :-D

                    1. re: linguafood
                      ChristinaMason Mar 5, 2010 12:09 AM

                      If you come before the end up June, please look me up! We should go for a bite.

                      1. re: ChristinaMason
                        linguafood Mar 5, 2010 08:23 AM

                        You betcha. We'll be there mid May - mid August (maybe you could fb me again, i can't seem to find you there for some weird reason).

              2. j
                justbecause May 22, 2012 04:44 AM

                Thanks to all for the many recommendations here. Just spent a long weekend in Berlin with my boyfriend, meeting up with some friends of ours, and we all stayed in Prenzlauer Berg. We made liberal use of these suggestions and were the better for it! We loved Berlin, thought the scene was great, the food very good and the prices unbelievably reasonable (we currently live in Paris, so that's our frame of reference.)

                Wanted to pitch in my two cents for anyone looking for a refresh on some of these. My only caveat is that I don't eat meat, so we didn't choose restaurants/cuisines that were meat-intensive.

                Brunches: Anna Blume & Cafe Hilde -- Anna Blume's was the better of the two by far. Charming and cozy, I liked the atmosphere and the casual, communal-style table sharing when things are full up. (Not something that would ever be done in Paris.) The brunch menu had a number of American-style offerings, also a welcome change of pace from Paris, where most everything is fixed menu at brunch. Cafe Hilde had very poor service and a limited, uninteresting menu with bland food. Not recommended.

                Dinner:
                - Italian at Herr Rossi, where the service was relaxed and friendly and the food was very decent. I would recommend the Prosecco Aperol over the Spritz Aperol (too watery). The soup was not the most flavorful, but the salad was really excellent. Risotto & pasta were both very nicely prepared with fresh ingredients. Love the custom of blankets on the outside chairs for keeping warm when needed.

                -Vietnamese at Onkel Ho, where we preferred the curry dish with tofu to prawns in tamarind sauce . The tamarind was too rich and overly sweet, no balance to the dish. The mango lassi was good, though the price for water was truly outrageous (4 Euro!)

                Lastly, outside the neighborhood, but on a bike ride we ended up at Santa Maria Mexican Diner in Kreuzberg. I grew up on the west coast and crave Mexican food ever since living in Paris, where it's just impossible to find it. Very decent Mexican food, I have to say, though the iced tea with mint & lime was by far my favorite feature of the meal.

                Thanks for the many recommendations and great advice -- looking forward to a return trip so that we can continue to explore Berlin's great food scene beyond our little neighborhood!

                2 Replies
                1. re: justbecause
                  linguafood May 22, 2012 04:48 AM

                  So glad to hear you had a good time, and (at least) decent eats.

                  Shoulda gone to Maria Bonita in Pberg instead of Santa Maria -- much better IMNHO. But you'll have some place to go next time :-)

                  1. re: justbecause
                    l
                    lipcan3 Jul 21, 2012 09:23 PM

                    Since I drew heavily from this thread too I thought I'd mention that I posted a report of our activities in Berlin here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857100

                    Thanks for all the great info.

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