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Berlin: German comfort food

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Will be in B for five days next month. So, what I'm not looking for is Michelin/G-M restaurants: I've already done the likes of Vau and Margaux. Also, no trendy places serving "modern" food, where they could be plumped down in any old metropole and feel right at home. And no hipster or scene joints. I'd just like your recommendations for plain ole German fare. We'll be staying in Kreuzberg and will have a car, so any relatively central neighborhood is fine.

Price isn't an object, really. Ambience counts, i.e. the less Weinstuben feel, the better. And if someplace serves an updated version of the (ideally) Prussian classics, even better. Also, one dinner will be a "runder Geburtstag" for a neophyte to German cooking.

I realize this question has been asked before, usually buried in a thread. So I've collated restaurants mined from the pertinent threads here and would welcome any input, as well as for any for others that fit the bill:

Henne (www.henne-berlin.de/willkommen.htm) (linguafood, et al): A mosdef. I ate there often in the late 80s and am overjoyed that it's still around

Jolesch (www.jolesch.de) (linguafood): Südtirolische Küche, but a definite maybe (mmm, Reh und Papaya, mmm

)

Wirtshaus zum Mitterhofer (www.wirtshaus-zum-mitterhofer.de) (linguafood): Ditto

Marjellchen (www.marjellchen-berlin.de) (spaetzle, et al): Has been visited often by CHers with good reports back

Leibniz-Klause (www.leibniz-klause.de): (various posters): Could be a solid choice

Schwarzwaldstuben (no website) (S B Russel): A glowing review in one write-up found on the Internets

Renger-Patzsch (www.renger-patzsch.com) (linguafood, et al): Dunno, while modern, it seems a bit Alsace-centric (not on the hunt for flammkuchen), plus I spotted gnocchi on tonight's menu

Brauhaus Südstern (www.brauhaus-suedstern.de) (linguafood): Appears to be a brewpub-cum-sportsbar

Brüninghaus (www.xn--brning-haus-uhb.de/impressum.htm) (S B Russel): Looks a bit schnitzel-heavy for me. Apparently has changed owners

Restauration 1900 (www.restauration-1900.de) (linguafood): Bueller?.... Bueller?

Zum Schusterjungen (crappy website www.zumschusterjungen.com) (no CH visits): "Gets decent reviews", says linguafood.

You guys are lucky to have so many restaurants wth serviceable websites, some of which even post the night's menu. Were it so here in Italy.

Thanks much in advance.

BTW: is the Alt-Berliner Schneckenhaus still around?

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  1. Ciao, Ghiottone. I think you will definitely LOVE Jolesch & Mitterhofer, even tho it's not "true" German food. It's simply outstanding comfort food from a slight bit more south '-)

    I still swoon over the suckling pig roast (SpanferkelKRUSTENbraten -- boy, talk about a serious crust!) I had which was a special that day.

    Südstern has decent beer, but the food is not worth it at all. 1900 is _ok_ for what it is, which is a place situated in an area predominantly populated with tourists. I don't think it's worth it.

    If you want something slightly more festive for the round birthday, check out Horvath, Neubau or ETA Hoffmann -- all more modern German food places, slightly pricier but nothing crazy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Linguafood-

      Your knowledge is amazing, so informative, greatly appreciate this.

      After reading this pick above I just booked an extra night to stay in Berlin. I get one choice, looking at the menu on "Jolesch & Mitterhofer" website looks delicious. Plus you suggest the pig roast which I love!

      Would you say this is a cab ride from my hotel:

      Hotel Berlin Berlin
      Lutzowplatz 17
      10785 Berlin, Germany

      Thank you,

      Stuart

      1. re: Hypnotic23

        I don't know if I understand your question? You can take a cab to any restaurant in the city from your hotel. Why not look into public transportation?

        The BVG website is fairly easy to navigate -- you put in your hotel address and the address of the resto, et voila: connections!

        Enjoy your dinner.

    2. Had a great time in your fair city. Very pleasant going everywhere by bicycle, which enabled us to stumble onto a few unreported places.

      Biking down from Alexanderplatz, we passed by Zur Rippe (www.zur-rippe.de) and decided to stop in for a late lunch. Very, very traditional fare and decor. Sadly, we ate lightly in advance of Henne, but everything was excellent. I had the Berliner Knacker and the schmalz. GF had the Grünkohlsuppe. Excellent beer on tap. Service top-notch. But man was I jonesin’ for just about everything on the menu – from the schnitzel to any of the four preparations with in-season chanterelles. Prices very reasonable.

      Henne is everything I remembered it to be, less the nearby Wall. Not a bad wait for the birds, maybe 45 minutes, but had the potato salad and the Krautsalat to tide us over. Chicken was just perfect. Interesting to watch the techniques employed by neighboring diners as they went about attacking their chickens. And the Landbier – absolutely right with that call, Linguafood.

      On Friday, we were passing through the Wiener Str. and spotted Mercan ... from our bikes. Decided to grab lunch there, reported on the Best Turkish Restaurant thread..

      Dinner was Sol y Sombra (www.solysombra-berlin.de), which we passed by on Oranienplatz the night before on the way home from Henne ... on our bikes. OK, not mind-blowing but nonetheless pretty darn good for people like us who can only dream of eating Spanish food. Had mixed tapas for 3, and the assortment was plentiful and tasty, esp. the boquerones. The only thing I was missing were the bacalao fritters. Extra order of Serrano ham and manchego. A pitcher of sangria and a nice bottle of Corazón Loco. Don’t remember the bill total, but it was very reasonable.

      Saturday, we found ourselves around the Brandenburg Gate about lunchtime, and it being GF’s “round” birthday, I opted for Margaux. I’d been there several times and was never overly impressed, but the chance of sitting in the garden seemed appealing. We had a pleasant time, but the food was, for me, simply OK and waaaay pricey, even for lunch. Pedalling afterward across the Gendarmenmarkt, I did have a “DOH!” moment.

      I chose Jolesch for the round birthday dinner, and it didn’t disappoint. Thanks again, Linguafood. It was just what I was looking for – comfortable atmosphere and elevated traditional cooking. For instance, GF had a champagne-mustard soup with a nice-sized scallop in the middle. I had the “ganzer Kopfsalat”, which was fine but a bit bland. Tirolean all the way for the mains: GF had the Dinkel-Knödel, really tasty and with a modern plating. I went with the schnitzel, and it was really well prepared. One thing I noticed here and elsewhere was dining times. We showed up for our 9 PM reservation, and the place was jammed, with most tables in the process of getting their mains. We were seated promptly, but service was a bit hinky since the staff was a bit in the weeds, though it picked up very nicely once things calmed down. I think only two tables were seated after us. It just struck me as odd that Berliners young and old would sit down for dinner on a Saturday night at 7:30.

      We set out early Sunday morning for Dessau to see the Bauhaus school, stopping on the way back in rainy Potsdam for lunch. I can recommend that brew-Gaststätte (the “Meierei) at Cecilienhof, site of the Potsdam Conference. Tasty trad Prussian fare (schmalz for me again). The pils they brew is nice, albeit a tad bland for me, but I’m not a fan of the seasonal cherry ale they were serving, though the touries were buying plenty of those big, fancy 5-L bottles of it.

      Dinner was at Musashi. Like the tapas place, it was quite acceptable but not mind-blowing. And again, jammed at 8:00 when we showed up, empty at 8:45 when our food was ready. An after-dinner stroll along the canal took us by Horvath, and that’s definitely on the list for my next visit. As is some serious drinking at Ankerklause (corner Maybachufer and Kottbusser Damm), which reminded me of many of my favorite Kneipen in Hamburg. I was roundly chastised by a HH/Berlin friend for skipping it.

      Also gorged myself on Brötchen. Though really a bodega, the Lecker Bachstube in the Fidicinstrasse has very tasty rolls and pastries.

      What with EasyJet having low-price Rome-Berlin service, I’m sure I’ll be returning soon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ghiottone

        Damn, ghiottone, what a nice review. Glad you had a great time in my Heimat, and were fed appropriately.

        Next time, give Mitterhofer a shot -- my man and I STILL talk about the Spanferkelkrustenbraten -- and Felix Austria (Bergmannstr./Marheinekeplatz (NOT Austria), a small Austrian place with more excellent food.

        And brötchen? >sigh< No brötchen where I am these days '-(