Cheap but special places in Berlin outside of the 'Mitte' zone
Lots of threads asking for restaurants in Mitte nearish various hotels, so I thought the board could use a post of some places a bit more focused on budget-minded eaters and outside of the central, tourist zone.
I'm living in Neukolln for a few months on a limited budget and working my way through places that I think offer something a little special/local to curious eaters.
Here's what I've found so far:
1. Bully's Bakery on Weserstrasse
THE place to try Flammkuchen - kind of like a super thin, German pizza without tomato sauce. Served on a slab of wood with a pizza wheel for you to attack - these babies are between 3.50 and 5 Euros and come in 4 flavours: traditional (onion and bacon), gratinee (onion, bacon + gruyere), plus two 'off-piste' versions, one with pear, radicchio and gorgonzola and another with chorizo and goat-cheese. They also do a weekly special - this week was Aubergine, goat cheese, walnuts and honey. Crazy delicious! Good coffee (that makes you feel a bit drunk - no idea why!)) and homemade croissants too.
2. Mo's Felafel (aka the King of Felafel) on Graefestrasse
I found this place because of the huge queue outside. Its an elderly husband and wife team basically frying up big felafels fresh to order for 3 Euros a shot. Probably the most lovingly made imbiss food you'll find in Berlin. Ask for the 'nut paste' (pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts and pumpkin seeds) and chili sauce inside. Better still, the corner shop next door sells a good range of beers and Fritz Kolas - so you can buy a bottle, open it with the bottle opener at the counter and then park yourself on a bench outside with your Felafel and soak up the buzz of Graefestrasse al fresco.
3. Little Otik on Graefestrasse
Not a budget place, but if you want to treat yourself to one special meal, I'd choose this place. Very indie locavore vibe, run by two guys from the US who found it cheaper to open the kind of restaurant they wanted in Berlin than in New York. All the food comes from local farmers and the small menu changes regularly.
4. Bayerischer Leberkäse inside Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse
Ok so yes this is Bavarian food, but its so addictive (and cheap) I'll mention it anyway. This little lunch place inside the concourse of the Friedrichstrasse station sells thick slices of Leberkase, Pigs Knuckles and other Roast Meat, shoved into a floury roll with crunchy cabbage salad and your choice of sweet or spicy mustard for 2.50. I've only ever had the Leberkase, and its damned good.
5. Knoedel stall at Kollwitzplatz Market
This stall at the Saturday market makes two kinds of knoedel or dumplings - a spinach one and strawberry one with vanilla sauce. Worth dodging all the prams and moms wearing organic cotton yoga pants to get your hands on one of these chewy beauties. The market also has a few other stalls that I haven't tried yet: sausages, oysters, a felafel stall, and a couple of wine stalls.
6. Quark Stall at the Tuesday and Friday Maybachufer Markt
A food truck selling about 15 different kinds of quark (German curd cheese - I think this is called 'Farmer's Cheese in the US?) with different flavours and poppyseed toppings for 2 Euros for a large cup.
That's it so far. Its my first Chowhound post so please don't slam me if you don't agree with my suggestions, just post your own suggestions as a comment!
Damn. My summer in Berlin is coming to an end, and I never did make it over to Little Otik (staying in Mitte and it's a bit of a haul -- also, if one lives in a good neighborhood for going out, one rarely strays into other hoods....).
While I would disagree that most information on Berlin here is for high-end, Mitte-based restos, those are some very neat suggestions!
I personally was not impressed with Mo's Falafel (save for all the crazy shit posted to his walls which is worth a giggle or two), and prefer Habibi on Akazienstr. or Winterfeldtplatz. I found Mo's to be bland, and the owner obnoxious, to say the least.
NK is definitely the most budget-friendly area in town these days, if one can handle the density of Williamsburg transplants :-)
I left Berlin nearly two months ago - but wanted to add one more great place to my list.
7. Steckerlfisch - (http://steckerlfisch.com/) Barbecued fish and beer stall at 3 different outdoor market locations in Berlin depending on the day of the week
This place is the bomb! You rock up (or this being Berlin probably cycle up) ask Jurgen the grillmeister (he speaks English) what fish he has that day (he usually has Mackerel, Trout, Perch, Char) and whether you want a fillet (€3.50) or a whole fish (€6) and hang back and watch while he turns your fish on the barbecue. He also has a cooler stocked with half litre bottles of dark Zwick'l Kellerbier that you can guzzle while you wait.
The fish are served on torn sheets of paper onto which his trusty assistant will pile on dill and chopped red onions, horseradish, homemade remoulade, lemon and lime wedges and a few red chilies. Best of all no one seems to expect you to use cutlery - so you can start ripping that mackerel (or whatever) apart with your hands.
I went here at least 3 times when they were at Winterfeldtplatz and it quickly became one of my favourite places to eat lunch.
According to their website they are here on the following days:
Wednesday: 10-14 clock Winterfeldtplatz
Thursday: 12-17 clock Breslauerplatz
Friday: 12-19 clock Arkonaplatz
Saturday: 10-16 clock Winterfeldtplatz
8 - last one I promise) Also at Winterfeldtplatz is a guy with a kind of Russian food stall selling dumplings in soup with tons of dill and really delicious blinis (stuffed rolled crepes fried in butter) for €1 a pop. A good way to sober up after your half litre of strong ale at Steckerlfisch is so have eat a cherry blini with creme fraiche on top, preferably with your fingers.
Oh hellz yeah!!!
Jürgen working his magic at the grill has been touted on this board before (likely in the Winterfeldtmarkt context), and he's a character at that. His fish rocks, and I look forward to it all winter... >sigh<
Never have tried the blini stand.... I'm usually too full from having devoured a few dumplings at the Thai stand plus an entire mackerel :-)
Yeah - I miss that guy. I'll never forget the first time I went there and I didn't know he also had drinks so I told him that I was going to go buy a beer and come back while he cooked my fish. He looked at me and said (I kid you not!) 'Bier ist hier'.
Is there no more perfect sentence in the world - spoken while the oily stench of grilling mackerel is in the air?
There isn't. The past two summers we were staying in a pad in Mitte, so Arkonaplatz was easier for us to get to than Winterfeldtmarkt (I have a vespa in Berlin, but still).
Really, one of my favorite lunches in town! Did you have a chance to try the Thai stand at Winterfeldtmarkt? They make some killer dumplings ("tim sum" - sic) and a really wonderful wonton soup.