I share a favorite pastime with nearly 4,000,000 other Berliners: I love to eat! Fortunately for every one of us, Berlin, as one of the world's great cosmopolitan cities, has food to suit every palate, and what seems like a Berlin restaurant on every block.
If you're planning your first trip to Germany, you'll probably be interested in tackling some German dishes. But don't stop there. I put together a list of what I think are the Top Twenty Berlin restaurants and one of them is sure to whet your appetite no matter what kind of food is your favorite!
I have yet to find a restaurant better at satisfying my cravings for big servings of traditional German cuisine. The Prater Garten is designed like an old-fashioned German beer hall, with lots of dark wood, but you can also enjoy its outdoor terrace during warm weather.
My favorite dishes are Wiener Schnitzel with buttered potatoes and cucumber salad, but in the winter I can't resist the roast goose with cabbage! Try washing your meal down with a Prater Lager Schwarz!
The Prater Garten is located in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg in the Kastanienallee 7 – 9.
This Berlin restaurant is where you'll want to go to enjoy lighter German fare which isn't accompanied by those scrumptious sauces or gravies. The Altes Zollhaus is in a lovely spot (which once served as a border crossing) along the Landwehrkanal. Come when the wild mushrooms are in season for some delightful vegetarian dishes!
You'll find the Altes Zollhaus in Berlin-Kreuzberg; Carl-Herz-Ufer 30.
For a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, Facil on Potsdammer Straße 3 (near Potsdamer Platz) has surprisingly affordable Michelin-starred French and German food. Order the seven course dinner and enjoy the elegance of the rooftop dining area.
Located at Kurfürstenstraße 58 in the former house of a German film celebrity as well as at Unter den Linden 20, Café Einstein provides Austrian charm with its black-suited waiters, and some of the best Wiener Schnitzel and Gulasch in all of Germany! ;-)
When you've had my fill of German food, head for Kreuzbergstraße 71 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and the best brick oven pizzas around (but still not quite as good as Osteria'soutstanding selection of pastas!), in the Osteria N°1 a.k.a Osteria Uno.
The thin crust pizzas at i due Forni in Prenzlauer Berg (Schönhauser Allee 12) with their outstanding fresh toppings are delivered by unexpectedly "different" servers against the background of revolutionary decor. Every time a fun experience; this I guarantee you!
If you're a film buff like I am, you'll love the idea of dining where Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have been known to enjoy a meal. Bocca di Bacco at Friedrichstraße 167/168 in the district Mitte is on the pricey side of Berlin restaurants, but it has earned every one of its 14 Gault Milau points with fresh fish and pasta dishes which would make the great chefs of Italy jealous.
At Neue Schönhauser Straße 13 in Mitte, this definitely German-sounding restaurant is really devoted to some of my favorite Italian dishes, especially some very hard-to-find sausages. It's a magnet for Berlin's cool crowd.
While I don't often go to hotel restaurants, I make an exception for Vox, in the Grand Hyatt at Marlene Dietrich Platz 2 near Tiergarten and Potzdamer Platz. The cuisine is a fusion of international and Asian, with a focus on French, Italian, and Japanese, and some truly remarkable sushi. (I love sushi!)
Die Quadriga, in the Hotel Brandenburger Hof at Eislebener Straße 4 in Charlottenburg (near Kurfürstendamm), is my other choice for hotel restaurants. I love the warm atmosphere and meticulous service. The produce is fresh and imported straight from France before being transformed into mouthwatering new twists on old French classics!
At Alt-Moabit 141 at the Tiergarten, the Berlin restaurant Paris Moskau is set in a late 19th century half-timbered house. I love its décor, a mix of solid dark wood antiques and warm cream murals, and its seafood dishes, like Canadian lobster stew, are simply to die for!
Not far from the Tiergarten on Potsdamer Platz (Leipziger Platz 8), MAOA (Modern Art of Asia) does things with Mongolian BBQ that I've never seen done anywhere else! They offer self-service food, drawing the hippest locals and youngest business people from the area, for meals of ostrich, crocodile, and other off-the wall but delicious meats.
On Unter de Linden 78 at Tiergarten, Margaux is where I go to get a glimpse of Berlin's political and theater crowd. Its elegant black marble floors and onyx walls are perfect with the classic French cuisine. For a special treat, I sometimes order the Voyage de Cuisine, a multiple course dinner with delicacies from around the globe.
At Alte Schönhauser Straße 7 in the Mitte district, Blaues Band is one of Berlin's best-kept secrets. I'm always amazed at how they keep their prices so affordable and love to grab breakfast here. Beware if you come for lunch or dinner, because the first thing you'll see is a selection of the day's desserts displayed along the bar!
Berlin has a rapidly growing Turkish population, and Defne at Planufer 92c in Kreuzberg is my first choice of Berlin's Turkish restaurants. Their produce is absolutely fresh, and their meat and sefood is first rate. In summer I love to sit on the terrace with its canal view.
Also in Kreuzberg at Adalbertstraße 10, their lentil soup and börek, (cheese-filled rolled fillo) make Hasir my second-favorite Turkish restarant. For something REALLY different but delicious, try their Künefe for dessert!
I suspect that its location at Motzstraße 28 in Schöneberg will signal to you that More is a gay restaurant, as will its scarlet interior with mirrored walls and video of a cascading waterfall. Stop in before an evening of Schöneberg-style entertainment. Their specialty is rumpsteak with Gorgonzola sauce—hmmmmmmm...
Restaurant Reinhard's, east of Berlin's center at Poststraße 28 in the Nikolaiviertel, has a secret. The secret is their Das Geheimnis aus dem Kaiserhof (The Secret of the Emperor's Court). I'll bet it's one of the most delicious secrets you'll ever share—a perfectly cooked steak with an unidentified sauce which Max Liebeman found almost addictive.
The Mata Hari salad is another signature dish.
My only complaint with the Restaurant Maxwell in Mitte (Bergstraße 22 in a late 19th-century Josty Brewery building) is with the prices, which aren't cheap. You'll search a long time before finding a better wine list, and you may never find another Berlin restaurant serving a dessert of caramelised asparagus with balsamic strawberries and chocolate rosemary ice cream!
When I'm in the mood for dessert, I take a stroll to Unter den Linden 5 and the Opernpalais. Next door to the State Opera House in Mitte, Opernpalais serves both an unforgettable breakfast buffet and light lunches but is legendary for its nearly fifty varieties of selection of freshly baked cakes and pies.
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...grab it, relax, enjoy!
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