Eating in Berlin, Germany
Berlin took me by surprise when I was there with K for few days last week. We worked our trip around our friends’ wedding but didn’t do much research by way of finding good food spots. But some last minute finds on the friendly www and local knowledge of my friend V provided us with a few days of really decent eats around the city.
On our first day in Berlin, we treated ourselves to lunch at Fischers Fritz, the only two-Michelin star restaurant in the city located at the Regent Hotel. Here, Chef de Cuisine Christian Lohse together with his team presents some really exquisite gourmet dishes and fish specialities. Mind you, the prices are steep with the Prestige Menu at €160 for six courses and main courses on the a la carte menu averaging about €60. The business lunch however, was more affordable at €47 for three courses.
V, who has been living in Berlin for 2 years took us to a few local places just outside of the main tourist areas. One of which is Das Schnitzelhaus (Schliemannstraße 16, Prenzlauer Berg, 10437 Berlin) in a lovely little neighbourhood north of central Berlin. No prizes for guessing what they’re famous for!
Schnitzel is veal cutlet or other light meat dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fried in butter or oil to a golden brown. The menu here consists of a whole page of pork schnitzel with one option for veal that I could make out, each topped with a sauce of choice and served with some lettuce and the option of chips, fried potatoes, potato salad or salad.
A visit to Berlin would not be complete without having some currywurst which I’ve been told by V she only has ‘after a night out’. So, the German sausage snack served with tomato sauce and sprinkling of curry powder is a little like a fry-up hangover cure we have in England then. We tried currywurst at the famous Konnopke’s located under the Eberswalderstrasse U-Bahn station. Apparently they’ve been serving currywurst since 1930! Sausage and sauce cost €1.70. Enjoy your currywurst with a German beer under the train tracks – loads of people do the same.
One morning, we made our way to Barcomi’s deli (Sophienstrasse 21, 10178 Berlin) after reading about it over on David Lebovitz’s blog. It’s not the easiest place to find, situated in a courtyard surrounded by flats and virtually concealed from the street. But the kaffee was smooth and aromatic for which they’re rightly famous, sandwiches were fresh and cakes utterly delicious. Definitely worth a visit.
The Germans are certainly fond of their breads. I stood at the bakery in the foodhall of Kaufhof Galeria (Alexanderplatz 9, 10178 Berlin) and watched as two very good looking young German lads kneaded and worked bread dough to be formed into perfect pretzel rings and croissants. There was a large variety of bread for sale and on our last day I just pointed at one of the loaves of bread and bought it without knowing what it was. I found out later that a vollkornbrot is wholegrain rye sourdough bread and we had it back in London with some homemade soup by K.
There are certainly streets full of eating places in this city that is seeing a lot of rebuilding and refurbishing of its infrastructure. Amazingly I noticed more Oriental based small restaurants dotted around the city centre than doner kebab shops (what with rather large Turkish population here), appearing to serve at least one of Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese food but more often than not, a mixture of some or all.
I liked Berlin – the city was easy to navigate in and it felt safe even when we took the u-bahn back to the hotel past 2am after the wedding (yes, apparently public transport runs through the night on weekends). There is a lot to see by way of monuments and historical buildings; and it is a vibrant city which is recovering very well from the terrible sombre events of WW2.
So yes, what a pleasant surprise Berlin was.