Does anyone have any experience with Kosher restaurants in Berlin? Shamash lists five places: Beth Cafe, Bleibergs, Gabriel's , Kaedtler's and LeChaim. Any of them Chow-worthy?
Also-- do supermarkets carry kosher food? If so- are there hashgachas on the packages, or is there a list?
Any information would be appreciated!
Here's a report on our trip to Berlin:
We stayed in the western part of the city, not too far from the synagogue on Joachimstaler Strasse where we went on Friday night and Saturday (synagogues are well guarded and you need your passport). We pre-paid for a meal at Gabriel’s, at the Jewish community center. On Friday night we had a lovely Shabbat meal there in a peaceful, unhurried atmosphere. The meal was relatively simple from a culinary standpoint but tasty and made with fresh ingredients. There was chicken soup (vegetarian available), a choice of a chopped liver or fish appetizer, a chicken dish with side vegetables (fish available), and tea and cake for dessert. The room was quiet and tastefully decorated and the waiters were friendly.
Platzl was a wonderful Israeli grocery store with an assortment of meats and cheeses, and great kosher wines. The proprietor was extremely friendly and helpful. We took food out on Friday and had Shabbat lunch in our hotel room.
Bleiberg’s was a bakery and vegetarian restaurant with sandwiches, pastries, and cakes. The breads were delicious and the sandwiches (assorted cheese, lox, tuna) were tasty.
Over on the eastern side of town, near the Neu synagogue, there was a place called Beth Café, a small coffee-house type of restaurant with assorted vegetarian dishes and desserts. It seemed popular with tourists.
There is a list at the web site as noted by evengold of all the kosher items in Germany, in case you want to buy at a grocery store. We used it to identify a couple of small things we kept in our room such as kosher mustard and jelly.
The city itself and the synagogues are not to be missed- a really great experience. It’s definitely an easy city from a kashrut perspective.
I don't know how things work in Berlin, but when I've dealt with this issue elsewhere (Amsterdam, Costa Rica, and Peru), I've brought my passport over to the shul before Shabbos, so that they can make a copy of the page with my photo and information. This copy is kept by the security people at the entrance, such that when I arrive on Shabbos without my passport, they can check the copy instead.
It's better to arrange ahead when they say passports required. But I have never been turned away for failing ot have ID. I'm not saying that it couldn't happen. Only that what I have experienced is that the security guards are usually Israelis and they ask you questions that a Shomer Shabbat Jew would know the answer to, other people wouldn't. This is not really unfair to the non shomer shabbat, since they are probably carrying ID.
One question has been particularly popular recently. but I hate to post it online. You'd know the answer, though , Zsero.
Problem is, arrangements are not always that easy to make ahead. Not all small communities keep office hours, sometimes even when they do the phone is answered by a local secretary who speaks a language you don't know, sometimes you get by with your so-so skills in whatever language the person at the other end of hte phone speaks, and fax them your passport and when you show up on Shabbat at the shul they never heard of you. Or the fax machine in your hotel will be fixed mañana, or.... Berlin should be OK. Germans are efficient.