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Jun 7, 2010 11:35 AM

Please advice on my Berlin list

I am going to Berlin with my husband for 8 days at the end of this month. I have looked at other posts here, and would appreciate suggestions/comments on my list. Some general info: we would like to do a combination of some nicer, more expensive meals with other cheap ones- so we can't afford Ma, but we also don't want to eat pizza and doner every day. We would like, naturally, to sample a good amount of German cuisine, but its not our favorite, so suggestions for places with more "modern", simple food would be appreciated. Also, we will be staying in Schöneberg, but obviously will be exploring as much as we can of the city. I haven't plotted this on a map, but if you feel the below are places that a) are worth going out of our way to, b) are in an interesting area so we should definitively explore, or c) are in the middle of nowhere and not good enough, please note. Also, if you are feeling generous and would like to rank the places in each category, you would be my heroes! Finally, we like long leisurely lunches, so if you know of any of the better places that we could try for lunch for less money, that would also be great. I am listing them in order of vague preference.

For our anniversary we have settled, we think, on Reinstoff.

Some good, nice meals (are these all in the same price range?)
Le Cochon Bourgeois
Weinbar Rutz
Tratorria Paparazzi
Sale e Tabacchi

German Food:

Cafes/Lighter fare:
Literaturhaus (this seems very nice- are there others smilar)?
Cafe einstein
Doner: Imren Doner
Schawarma: Maroush
Currywurst: Petri's Imbiss


Napoljonska and Glucklich

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  1. I too have decided on Reinstoff for my 'special' dinner in August. Have you looked at Fishers Fritz for LUNCH - particularly if you like fish, the menu seems to offer very good value for the class of establishment. Hope you report back on your trip!

    1. Specific thoughts on some of the places from your list at which I've eaten:

      Cochon Bourgeois is good, but in my opinion pretty expensive for what it is: solid French middle class cooking which is (much) better in Paris for (much) less money; a fine choice if you absolutely have to eat French; otherwise, if you're going to leave the very very center of Berlin, I'd encourage Hartmann's (same street, more interesting food, significantly better atmosphere).

      Sale e Tabacchi is not as good as it should be for the prices, nor as good as all the guide books say it is. It is, however, a perfectly decent choice if the location is your primary consideration. Do not go out of your way to eat here.

      Schwarzwaldstuben: quite good, and pretty inexpensive. Very central. There are better choices for similar cuisine (all the others on your list, plus Weinstein, in Prenzlauerberg), but they are not all as conveniently located.

      Engelbecken is lovely, inside and out. Very good food, great desserts, properly Bavarian beer options, pretty space.

      As far as your lighter fare list goes: Imren Döner is indeed very good. The döner at Imren 2 (just down the street), however, is the same, plus you can sit down and try very good versions of a couple other Turkish specialties. Good stuff at "the other" Imren: lentil soup, yogurt soup, lahmacun (otherwise known as Turkish pizza), corban salatisi (the Turk's version of "Greek" salad), adana kebab, white beans with rice, and ayran (the Turkish yogurt drink; they usually make it themselves here--you have to ask for the "fresh" ayran--and it's great). Love this place. It's as close as I've found in Berlin to the kind of cafeteria-style lunch places that feed practically all Istanbul's working folk.

      If you should happen to be still hungry after Imren(!), one of the very best falafel places in Berlin is just a block or two away. It's called King of Falafel, in the Graefestr. Expect to wait a bit--they're slow and popular--but the wait is worth it. I get mine with "Nusspaste," a delicious homemade pinenut paste they'll slather on if you ask.

      General thoughts: you don't have much in the way of Berlin-specific eating on your list. In my opinion--and assuming you like fried chicken--it would be a crying shame to spend time in Berlin without experiencing either Zur Henne or Zur kleinen Markthalle (across the street from one another). Fantastic, Berlin-style fried chicken, beer, and potato salad in two of the oldest, most traditional restaurants Berlin has to offer.

      The Berlin brunch tradition seems like it might deserve some representation as well, particularly for people who really like leisurely lunches. The best ones are all you can eat buffets with a mind-boggling assortment of fresh and delicious salads, meat and cheese platters, egg dishes, crepes, etc. The idea is to sit around eating and reading the paper until you are in danger of falling off your chair. Then you head home and take a nap. To my knowledge, this is a more or less Berlin-specific phenomenon. Saturdays and Sundays only. We go to Cafe Morgenland, because it's walking distance from our apartment and fantastic, but there are surely many other wonderful brunch options out there about which I know nothing, and which would not require Sunday morning transportation to Kreuzberg.

      1. sm's made some excellent points, and i am tempted to only write 'what she said'.

        i do have some things to add. morgenland might indeed be a bit of a haul from schöneberg, so i'd suggest tomasa near the rathaus schöneberg for brunch. while they don't offer a buffet, they have a huge selection of breakfast a la carte to order from. jules verne in charlottenburg might also be closer than morgenland.

        not sure if you're interested, but one of the best greek places is located in schöneberg: berkis. excellent souvlaki and meze, and the meat is happy meat (organic, humanely raised). plus it's much cheaper than ousies. it's small, so make a rez.

        renger-patzsch is very good german food at very decent prices.

        skip marheinekehalle, that place is NOT worth the trip. bergmannstr. might be worth a stroll, tho, as there are many non-food shops.

        my favorite currywurst is bier's, they have one on kudamm as far as i know, and one under the friedrichstr. s-bahn stop. i don't eat currywurst unless i am drunk, so this might also not be worth a special trip unless you *really* dig that stuff.

        habibi on winterfeldtmarkt has excellent falafel, too.

        dolce pizza on maaßenstr in schöneberg has fantastic foccacie.

        henne or kleine markthalle is an absolute must if you like fried chicken, henne has the better beer (mönchshof landbier) and a nicer atmo IMO. you HAVE to get a rez, tho, and i recommend caling a few days ahead. that place is VERY popular.

        also, there's a big new korean wave, so if you're interested in any of that at all (not knowing where you're traveling from), yam yam in mitte gets shout-outs, and kimchi princess in xberg is supposed to be good. i haven't been to either but plan to.

        winterfeldtmarkt is a must as well, and if you like grilled fish, check out the steckerlfisch stand. delicious grilled whole trout, mackerel, pike perch, and squid, but you can also just get a filet. there's a stand for hot-smoked salmon that is out of this world, but it's expensive. then there's a thai cart with delicious spicy dumplings, a great wonton soup and curries. at w-markt, you won't go hungry!

        paparazzi remains my favorite italian place, even tho it's a bit of a hike for you. they currently have the pappardelle with fresh summer truffles, which are fantastic, and their vitello tonnato and tuna carpaccio are great.

        hope this helps. you can also check out my blog for some things i may have forgotten. a lot of entries are in german, but there are quite a bunch in english, too.

        7 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          Thanks very much for this. I was almost completly decided on Cochon, so thanks for letting me know. I had no idea Berlin was famous for the fried chicken, which we do like, so I'll add that. Also, great brunch suggestions- i will explore the ones you suggest but any others you can think of, please sned our way.
          We are coming fron NY, so maybe I would skip any pizza or mexican- otherwise, we are open to anything. And we are not at all opposed to traveling distances to eat, as really there is no better way to see a city. Is there one particular day when winterfeldtmarkt is best to go? Or is itthe same every day?

          1. re: adamandeve

            Yah, Hartmanns is definitely better than Cochon.

            Berlin's not famous for fried chicken per se, but Henne Wirtshaus is. It's a true Berlin institution.

            If you're willing to go all out for brunch.... Brasserie Desbrosses offers an AYCE & D (Champagne, that is) for the friendly price of 78 € per person. Never been, as it's a bit too rich for my blood, and we tend to have good breakfast stuff at home...

            Winterfeldtmarkt is only on Weds and Sats, with Sat being the busier day. Both the grilled fish and the Thai stand are around on Weds, a lot of the other stands aren't.

            Any particular cuisines you are interested in, other than the ones you mentioned?

          2. re: linguafood


            Thanks so much for the Winterfeldmarkt rec. The concierge at the Hilton and our cab driver never heard of the place (!), but we presevered and were rewarded by the best damned piece of smoke salmon either of us had ever eaten!

            If you are still living in Berlin, I have a request: There is a cart at the WFM that sells a variety of "salads." It looks kind of like a gelato cart, with individual trays, each hold a creamy, rich "salad" (e.g., tuna, egg, leek, "dry tomato," etc.) They are delicious, and I've never had anything like them before. If you could find out where these dishes are from, and how to go about making them, I'd be forever in your debt.

            BTW, we had a scrumptious meal at Aigner, on the Gendarmenplatz. We're currently on the Elbe, nearing Meissen, where we hope to score some more great food.

            1. re: pikawicca

              Glad you enjoyed the market. I can't believe the concierge and the cabbie wouldn't know about it! That's crazy.

              There are a bunch of (Middle Eastern and/or Greek) stands at the market that sell those kinds of things. Most of them are probably homemade, some of them might be bought at actual Middle Eastern stores - Knofi comes to mind, a local 2-store "chain" that prepares all kinds of pastes, feta mixes, and salads.

              But maybe I'm on the wrong track here.... do you remember whereabouts on the market this particular cart was parked? I know WFM pretty well, so might be able to figure it out. Was it across from a stand selling herbs, by any chance? Or near an egg cart? Then it might be Vorkauf, a place that also sells Italian styley country bread, hams, pastrami, vitello tonnato and other (very expensive) stuff.

              And I'll be back there on Saturday for whole grilled mackerel!!! Yowzah.

              1. re: linguafood

                As far as I recall, these creamy salads were the only thing they sold, but I'm not certain. I believe the cart was parallel to and facing the smoked fish cart, but one row over. (If that makes any sense.) I really thin it's the only cart that's selling tons of this stuff. Enjoy your mackerel!

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    Well, I went.... and didn't find anything that fits that description. I'll keep my eyes peeled next time.

            2. My favorite place for German is called Welt Restaurant Markthalle in Kreuzberg. It has classic Berlin pub atmosphere and the food is absolutely fantastic. Plus, it's inexpensive and the service is friendly.


              I've been to a lot of different places for brunch in Berlin, and most have been good. It's definitely something that you should do while you're there. The best brunch I've had was at Schneeweiss in Friedrichshain - lots of choice with an "alpen" focus. Skip it for dinner, though.


              2 Replies
              1. re: S_B_Russell

                Approximately how much is the brunch at Schneeweiss? Should I go for my last brunch in Berlin this coming weekend? Thanks! :)

              2. Sorry Linguafood, I would still say, drop by the Marheinikehalle if you are in the area. I eat my currywurst when I am sober (well, sometimes...), and Petri's in the Marheinikehalle is the only currywurst place I would recommend to anyone.The Bergmannstraße/Chamissoplatz area is worth a visit anyway for a glimpse of what Berlin used to look like (many movies are filmed around Chamissoplatz), and yes, there are many places to eat on and around Bergmannstraße. I always enjoy stopping in at Knofi for an Empanada and a coffee...
                And of course, every expat American in Berlin eventually goes to Barcomi's across the street from the Marheinikehalle:

                4 Replies
                1. re: Doggnose

                  Sorry Doggnose. If someone is visiting Berlin, and mentions KaDeWe, Winterfeldtmarkt, and Marheinekehalle in one breath, you have to let them know there will be a serious letdown. A culinary wonderland it's not, and it's lost all of its old "charm" after the renovation.

                  It most certainly isn't worth a special trip, but if you're in the area (which I recommended), obviously you can stick your head in and go 'meh', 's all.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Wow, passions run high when you get to discussing currywurst...

                    1. re: Doggnose

                      Ha. Not really - I have no horse in that particular race. For me it remains drunk food only, and I prefer döner, falafel, or shwarma over currywurst any time.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        after trying:
                        Literaturhaus, Curry 36, Hasir, Mustafas Gemuse Kebab, Renger-Patzsch, Dolce Pizza, Guggelhof, Frischer's Fritz, Guy, KaDeWe, Monsieur Vuong, I would add Guy to you lunch list.
                        of course, doner kebab is tasty, and try iskender kebab (less fatty) at Hasir with kunefe for dessert
                        Reinstoff for a michelin meal