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Oct 22, 2010 10:00 AM

Halloween for first timer in Berlin - should I be afraid ?

Hello all

Staying in Berlin for three nights from next Saturday, so including Halloween

Staying at Weinmeisterstraße 1, which I think is in Mitte district.

I genuinely have very little idea about the city or German cuisine generally. Would hugely appreciate lunch and evening meal recommendations, ideally of places with local fayre and vibe ( one of our group does speak German ) and cheap to moderate prices including top quality German beers. Three different experiences or types of food would be great on each of the evenings.

One place which does seem to get great reviews is ;

' Schwarzwald Stuben is worth visiting for the Rothaus Pils beer on tap - it's that good. '

Where is that, and what kind of place is it ? Is the beer really that good ? are there any other local brews that must be sampled ? Wheat and dark beers score particularly well with me, in general.

Also any recs of good areas for bars ( or specific bars ) anywhere near where we are staying ? Our group is three straight blokes late thirties/early forties, if that makes any difference.

We also love architecture and art so any places to eat ( or drink ) of particular beauty , style or significance ?

I have seen mention on some threads of waffles - is this really something not to be missed ?

And finally - will there be any Halloween festivities or foodie events we should look out for ?

Thanks for any help you can give to these ( admittedly diverse ) questions.

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  1. I'd suggest that you first look through a bunch of the newer threads on Berlin food, as there are ample suggestions for the area you are staying in. The location of Schwarzwaldstuben escapes me right now, but hey - why not give google a shot? I hear they are pretty damn awesome with their map function and all. Ok, snark off.

    Be aware that you are staying in an area that caters to tourists, for the most part. I'd avoid any place on Oranienburger Str., for that matter, but you'll know what to do when you are approached by waiters every few feet trying to lure you into their traps.

    Best to stay north of Oranienburger - check out Clärchens Ballhaus for a VERY Berlin experience - walk down Torstr, or up Weinbergsweg. There are number of places on Gormannstr, and Alte Schönhauser. Look at the menus. Try things.

    I find Rothaus to be vastly overrated as a beer, but I've only had it from the bottle, so who knows what magical experience it might be from the tap.

    You are very close to Brauerei Lemke, a brewery on Dircksenstr. off of Hackescher Markt, where a variety of house-brews are avaiable, and decent German fare at that. Touristy, but good beer.

    Pretty much right next door is Riva bar, which is both architecturally appealing (as it is beneath the S-Bahn), and offers very good cocktails.

    Not sure if you are interested in any other cuisines or how large your group is, but Cocolo on Gipsstr. offers really good ramen soup. Yam Yam is a Korean place on Alte Schönhauser.

    Nothing special for Halloween is my guess. It's only become "more popular" in recent years, but it's nowhere near the US.

    Feel free to ask follow-up questions - save for addresses. Cause you know where to find those.

    15 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Lingua, you're breaking my heart! I love Rothaus. It's one of my favorite pils - light colour, hoppy taste and the perfect bitter finish. It's a champ!

      With that said, you can do better than Schwartzwaldstube for German food in Berlin, Willowan. Of course, if it's near were you're staying, then it is worth a visit. The food is good, the staff are super friendly, and I like the hipster kitschiness of the dining room.

      Otherwise, visit my favorite place for German food - Markthalle in Kreuzberg. It's schnitzel heaven!

      1. re: S_B_Russell

        Is it better than the schnitzel at jolesch?

        oh, and henne is always a good option if willowan is willing to travel away from mitte.

        1. re: linguafood

          In my opinion, yes, the schnitzel is better at Markthalle. As a bonus, it's also cheaper. It's the best schnitzel I've had outside of Austria. Plus, I love the old Berliner pub atmosphere and the micro brew on tap. It also doesn't hurt that the Privat Klub is behind the restaurant, where there's lots of good indie gigs.

          Willowan, it's easy to get to Kreuzberg from where you are staying. It's only 6 stops from your accommodations via the U8. Lots of awesome places to eat at in Kreuzberg. Yeehaw!

          1. re: S_B_Russell

            true, that. i'd also recommend heading to kreuzberg. much more interesting dining scene, and less touristy.

          1. re: linguafood

            I'm beer crazy, so, yeah, Wernesgruener is a good one, too, but I don't think it finishes as well as Rothaus.

            We'll have to agree to disagree. ;)

            1. re: S_B_Russell


              Thanks for the Markthalle tip. It looks exactly the kind of place I will love - will we need to book at the weekend ?.

              We are absolutely prepared to travel for great chow ( and I love the fact that there is a club attached ! - am I right in assuming U8 is the tube and it runs all night ? - just in case ! ) so

              1. What other places in Kreuzberg are worth checking out ?- I'm open to any cuisine so long as it is a great place to eat . Much prefer locals places to touristy haunts and anywhere unique or atmospheric a real plus.

              2. is K a good area for bar hopping ? we are there Sat/Sun/Mon dont forget !

              3. What other areas / places should we make a special journey to ?

              4. Is Henne an area or a specific place - googled it and no joy. If it is an area - any specific places there ?

              Thanks again.

              1. re: willowan

                For weekends, it's probably a good idea to make a reservation at Markthalle, as it can get pretty busy. Nevertheless, you can always eat at the bar if there are no tables open.

                I know Fridays and Saturdays, the U bahn runs all night. Other nights, it doesn't run between 12:30 am - 4:00 am. So there are night buses, plus the S-Bahn runs all night from the Warschauer Str. station (the northern edge of K-berg) to Hackescher Markt station near where you are staying. Of course, if you're going to clubs, most places don't start filling up until 1 am and don't stop until noon in some cases.

                To answer your other questions

                1. Here are some other places I like in K-berg:

                Maria Peligro (hip Mexican restaurant with awesome enchiladas)

                Spätzle Express (tiny place - good for lunch

                Der Goldener Hahn (tasty Italian place across the street from Markt Halle

                Mercan (a hole in the wall type place serving great Turkish food
                )Wiener Strasse 10 (no website)

                2. Yes. Most definitely. There's an excellent mix of bars and clubs in K-berg. There are lots of places along Schlesische Str, and the streets around that area. There are also lots of places north of the Kotbusser Tor U-bahn station (Oranien Str. as well as Dresdener Str.)

                3. I would visit Prenzlauer Berg. Lots of good restaurants, shopping and bars. Plus, don't miss Friedrichshain. It also has lots of shopping, bars and clubs and some good places to eat at. Consider going for Sunday brunch in F-schain and then visiting the Boxhagener Platz flea market. Most brunch places serve late into the day - perfect if you've been out until 8 am drinking! ;)

                4. I'm assuming Lingua was referring to Die Henne, a classic Berlin chicken restaurant - definitely worth a visit, but make a reservation!

                1. re: S_B_Russell

                  She was indeed.

                  Great Italian is to be had at Noodles & Figli on Skalitzer Str. near the Görlitzer Bahnhof stop (U1).

                  I absolutely hated Goldener Hahn, but tastes differ -- QED with the beer '-)

                  1. re: S_B_Russell

                    Thanks again for those recs. Any stand out places if I can persuade my friends to head over to P. Berg or Fried.schain ?

                    I may have more chance of doing that for dinner and drinks, I think as our days will be filled with the 'big sights ' as we have not been before. Given that it may well be a Sunday and Monday - which areas or places are more likely to be lively and so worth visiting ?

                    In terms of bars etc we are looking less for places where the hip kids hang out and more where the 30's folks will be - or is it all just a wonderful kaleidoscopic mix ?

                    1. re: willowan

                      If you're in your 30s, I'd forego F'hain, unless you like feeling really, really old. It's predominantly a 20s hipster crowd (but maybe you like that).

                      Prenzlauer Berg aka Pregnant Hill is an older crowd, but as the name suggests - not nearly as hopping as it used to be before people started breeding.

                      Your best best really is Xberg - around Wrangelstr., Schlesische Str., and Falckenstein. Bars galore.

                      1. re: willowan

                        In P-Berg, my favorite restaurant is The Bird. It serves great burgers and is always loud and fun.


                        In F-Shain, I like Il Ritrivo for pizza and Lemon Grass for Thai. Both are very inexpensive. I also like Kurhaus Korsakow - I had excellent roast duck there.

                        For bars, I've found most neighborhoods to be a mixed bag as far ages go. I'm in my early thirties and have never felt out of place in any of the above neighborhood bars. The P-berg scene might be more mature, but it's hardly boring.

                        My favorite place in P-berg is Dr. Pong - a dilapidated ping pong bar with cheap beer and a fun mix of people from all walks of life.

                        1. re: S_B_Russell

                          Thanks to one and all for your top tips. Quick report -

                          We ended up eating at

                          Alpenstock - on rec of our hotel - mixed reviews from our group - I thought that despite seeming to be 'the place to be seen ' ( i.e a bit 'up' itself ) it was a lovely room and good food. I had rissotto ( ? sour tomato ?) with chicken which was excellent. One of my companions was less generous - was not keen on his ravioli - which I agreed was not great but too timid a menu choice.on his part. Does this place have a good repuatation ?

                          Henne - fab place - great chicken , great beers, great atmosphere great price.

                          Renger Patszch -picked up from other Linguafood threads - another great 'find' in our book - when we eventually found it ! - another lovely room with amazing tarte flambe/ pizza to share as starter ( apple, onion and blood sausage - lovely stuff ) and the boiled then fried ravioli with meat and lentils for main - perfect autumnal food.

                          Also went to Dr Pong - great place but maxmium age 30 I would say - felt a bit on the aged side as late 30's. Did find great place with honesty wine bar approach though - a brilliant idea, brilliantly executed.

                          So, big thanks to one and all for your help, I think I shall be returning to Berlin soon and the food and beers will be a big draw on that score !

                          1. re: willowan

                            Thanks for reporting back, and very glad to hear you had a good time.

                            The first place you mention must be Alpenstück. I've never been, so I can't say much about it. Not sure it has *that* great of a rep, but I am also not aware that it has a bad one.

                            I'm happy to hear that Renger-Patzsch was a success. I honestly never had a bad experience there, so I will keep recommending it.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Yep, my typo re Alpenstuck. I enjoyed it - just a tad pretentious/ moneyed in clientele but, as I say, a lovely room and I thought the food was reasonably inventive for the money.

                              RP was definitely the consensus favourite though - they have that perfect combination of a great space and atmosphere with unfussy but great cooking -a classic Chowhound recommendation and much appreciated.