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Berlin suggestions?

Berlin suggestions?
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  • Berlin suggestions?

    Post #1 - May 8th, 2006, 8:42 pm
    Post #1 - May 8th, 2006, 8:42 pm Post #1 - May 8th, 2006, 8:42 pm
    My husband and I are about to travel to Berlin for a week. I've searched the boards, and all I get is one mention from last year

    Is there anyone else with more suggestions? I'm not much of a meat-eater, although my husband is definitely a carnivore (I'm afraid it'll be much easier pleasing him than me). I would be thrilled to find places with vegetarian options.

    Thank you in advance!
  • Post #2 - May 8th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    Post #2 - May 8th, 2006, 10:05 pm Post #2 - May 8th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    gtgirl...First of all, I loved Berlin! What a gorgeous city. Ka De We is very cool, but IMHO opinion it's also very overwhelming and reminded me a lot of being in Field's on State St. They were in the midst of this massive rennovation project when we were there last summer and even though the husband speaks German, it was just crazy. The food court is great. There is no way you won't find something that appeals to you there and it all looks wonderful. The main issue is where you will be staying. We stayed at the Marriott in the Potsdammer Platz right near the Sony Center (designed by Murphy-Jahn). We ended up eating dinner in two places there because we were just so dang tired from all the sightseeing we did. There was a traditional German place that was quite good as was the northern Italian place. Sorry I can't remember the names.

    You might want to check out...

    There's lot of good info on there regarding Berlin restaurants.

  • Post #3 - May 8th, 2006, 11:21 pm
    Post #3 - May 8th, 2006, 11:21 pm Post #3 - May 8th, 2006, 11:21 pm
    One of our favorite Berlin restaurants is Arche Noad. This 12 table diamond in the rough is located on the top floor of the JCC. With white, starched table cloths and a nice selection of old Jewish favorites, including authentic Isreali and Middle Eastern dishes served with Isreali wine, you'll feel like it's dinner time back at your bubbie's. The JCC is into heavy security. The last time we were there, the army had tanks parked in front of the building.

    Arche Noad
    Fasanen str 79-80
    10623 Berlin
    tel 882-61-38
    Sun-Fri 11:30-3:30 & 6:30-11:00

    Another off the beaten path favorite is Carib. This Caribbean oasis located in the heart of a residential neighborhood serves excellent food and highly potent tropical rum drinks.

    Caribbean Restaurant & Bar
    Motzstrasse 30
    10777 Berlin
    tel 030/213 53 81
    Daily 5pm-1am

    "A burger without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze!"
  • Post #4 - May 9th, 2006, 10:41 pm
    Post #4 - May 9th, 2006, 10:41 pm Post #4 - May 9th, 2006, 10:41 pm

    Berlin is a massive, all-encompassing metropolis for which a week is barely enough time to scratch the surface. That being said, you will probably want to take at least some time to see KaDeWe in all of its capitalist glory and the Feinschmeckeretage (which would be the 6th) for the truly amazing array of food and drink from around the world. Potsdamer Platz, while the geographical and newly-christened cultural "center" of the city, is an endless maze of international, characterless, glass and steel modernist nightmares with all of the international corporate franchises (including Tony Roma's!!) one would expect in, say, an airport-area sub development.

    Much gemuetlicher are the two respective centres of old West and East Berlin, the area around KaDeWe in Charlottenburg (West) and Berlin-Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg in the East. Having lived in Prenz'l Berg myself, I can recommed a few good places to eat well and inexpensively:

    Trattoria Lino on Kollwitzstrasse - chef (Lino) is from Genoa but studied in Provence - he will make you anything you desire, from rustic, real homestyle Italian to country French. At least he did for us (my two friends and me) when we were there. Pasta made to order, friendly, terrific service, etc...

    Gugelhof - Alsatian food, popular place (Clinton came here some time back). Great, lively, incredible food (choucroute garni, smoked pork chops, Riesling, etc...)

    Bernstein - a forerunner of the "gutbuergerliches Essen" movement (the German comfort food, if you will), this is where to come for German dishes (hard to find in Berlin, actually) like Rindsrouladen, Geschnetzeltes (my personal fave) liver dumpling soup, and the like. Kind of a hip, new-ish interior, but comfortable and inexpensive and open late (like most restaurants in Berlin - they serve at least til 11, most til 12 or 2 on weekends)

    Gotta try a Currywurst at Konnopke's Imbiss, under the U2 Ubahn tracks at Eberswalder Strasse. Just get off the train and walk down and follow the smell. If by foot or car, it's at Schoenhauser Allee and Eberswalder Strasse (U2 follows Schoenhauser Allee for much of its route, like the Blue Line follows Milwaukee Ave).

    Also, just up the block at the corner of Schoenhauser Allee and Gleimstrasse (by the Cinemaxx cinema) is a little Italian restaurant, Fellini's, I believe, that makes fabulous, wood-fired oven pizza. Also on Gleimstrasse is a great bar and cafe, Amsterdam, which is a good place to start (or end) the night with drinks and a snack.

    If Safran is still around (near the Wasserturm in P' Berg), get a Falafel there.

    So many more good places to tell about - - I'll write more tomorrow.

    Guten Appetit!

    Der Hungrige Rebbi
  • Post #5 - May 11th, 2006, 8:51 am
    Post #5 - May 11th, 2006, 8:51 am Post #5 - May 11th, 2006, 8:51 am
    I can only recommend again the doner kebap place I mentioned here ... ght=berlin

    If you like gyros, you'll LOVE this place. Really. Trust me on this.

    Oh, yeah, on the corner of the next street going away from the river is a neighborhood mom 'n pop restaurant, decorated in Victorian ferny splendor, that is well worth visiting, just to see How Things Used to Be. And look across the street at the enormous apartment block, a true memorial to this neighborhood's Eastern/Stalinist post-war reality.

    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #6 - May 25th, 2006, 7:15 am
    Post #6 - May 25th, 2006, 7:15 am Post #6 - May 25th, 2006, 7:15 am
    Unfortunately, I missed the last two posts before we left! Thanks for all the suggestions, though.

    We did go to KaDeWe, although since our stomachs were jet-lagged, we didn't go until later in the evening, just when they were closing down. We had gotten there probably 15-20 minutes before closing and made a round through the food court to see what was on offer. As we started to try to make a decision while picking out some fruit for the next morning's breakfast, we realized that all the places were closing down! We hate holding up a business that's closing for the day, so we left and stopped by a doner kebab place nearby. Hubby had the doner kebab, I had falafel. It was very interesting - it was served not on pita or lavosh, but on bread about the thickness of a thick focaccia. The falafel was different than any I'd ever had before - very fluffy, hardly any parsley or spices. Rather bland. The texture really was the oddest thing - hubby described it as striking him as a ball of couscous.

    For the most part, we ended up eating in whatever neighborhood we were in, rather than trekking out to follow up a recommendation (culled from Frommer's, Fodor's, Chowhound, Food & Wine's recent go-to list, and a couple other random sources). One place that stands out for atmosphere and a tasty quick bite was Imbiss W. Owned and run by a Canadian, they serve pizza made with naan, along with some rice-and-something bowls and a special of the day. The naan is thrown into the tandoor, then pulled out when it's done and the topping are added.

    We also spent some time in cafes, most notably Cafe Einstein on Kurfurstenstrasse and Cafe im Literaturhaus on Fasenenstrasse. Great places to relax for a couple of hours. I like that, in Berlin (or in most of Europe, for that matter), you don't get waitstaff popping up by your table every 5 minutes asking if everything is (still) ok. Actually, at Cafe Einstein, the service was so hands-off that it took half an hour to get our bill after we'd asked for it (in defense of the waitstaff, they were all running around very busily). Not great when you're needing to get out the door, but perfectly fine for those of us on vacation!

    All in all, a moderately good trip, food-wise.
  • Post #7 - June 7th, 2012, 7:31 am
    Post #7 - June 7th, 2012, 7:31 am Post #7 - June 7th, 2012, 7:31 am
    I very much enjoyed the Currywurst museum (Schutzenstr. 70), a very well put-together series of exhibits, all about what could be the premier post-War street food.

    I had the three-way.

    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #8 - May 4th, 2013, 10:53 am
    Post #8 - May 4th, 2013, 10:53 am Post #8 - May 4th, 2013, 10:53 am
    Let me update this post with a report of our trip last week:

    We started with the celebrated Lutter & Wegner (which hadn’t originally been high on our list) largely because of its proximity to our hotel. Yes, I’m well aware this is a mecca for Wiener schnitzel, and about 50% of their guests were partaking of such on our visits. But the menu also offers specials and their own takes on other classics, and during our pair of visits my wife took advantage of the former while I focused on the latter. Her starters consisted of two flavorful soups, a rich potato and a foamy asparagus, and then two chops of considerable thickness, the first a Scotch lamb and the second a veal, both grilled to her preferred standard of rareness and both accompanied by a herbed butter, a meaty sauce, and assorted vegetables. I chose the classics, and being of a contrary nature, I avoided the Wiener schnitzel, opting instead the first night for the sauerbraten, which turned out to be a rather dense cut of beef in a good tangy/sweet sauce. My second night I chose the boiled beef, their take on Tafelspitz, and this proved to be an even denser cut of meat awash in a horseradish-cream sauce (with some welcome gratings of fresh horseradish) accompanied by an indifferent pile of boiled cubed potatoes and carrots. Frankly, this dish would have been perfectly at home on the menu of the DDR museum-restaurant, the one that specializes in preunification East-German cuisine (although I would like to put in a good word here for their sundae with sour cherries, one of the DDR restaurant’s more palatable offerings). As with most of the restaurants we visited in Berlin, both service and atmosphere at Lutter & Wegner were welcoming and friendly throughout.

    Lutter & Wegner, Charlottenstrasse 56; (49-30) 20-29-54-0.

    We found a far better, and probably more traditional version of Tafelspitz at Ottenthal’s with a more tender cut of beef swimming in a light broth and accompanied by hashed browns, cabbage, creamed spinach, and horseradish, all (thankfully) in their separate compartments. My wife’s lamb shoulder, however, was not as successful as the double lamb chops of the previous night, and although the special dessert, a rhubarb strudel, looked promising, by the time we were ready to order it, the waiting staff seemed to have disappeared from the premises, so we did, too, sans dessert.

    Ottenthal, Kantstraße 153; (49-30) 31-33-16-2

    By far, he best piece of beef I had was at Lokal, not boiled but braised, positioned on a root puree and a bed of spinach and as succulent as could be desired. Continuing her obsession with chops, my wife ordered the wild pig, and this one was as moist and tender as those from L&W. Memorable and interesting also were the starters, a turnip-rhubarb soup and rolled matjes herring atop black lentils. Unfortunately, the same thing could not be said about the desserts, a distinctly unmemorable tray of cheeses and an apple parfait, but nevertheless, Lokal turned out to be our favorite restaurant in Berlin, perhaps also because of its value and its clean, blonde-wood, hip-neighborhood atmosphere, along with its successful dishes and an interesting menu.

    Lokal, Linienstraße 160; (49-30) 28-44-95-00

    We were also quite fond of Weinbar Rutz. When we travel we prefer the mid-range restaurants that focus on traditional cuisine and local ingredients that are hard to find elsewhere, and that are, perhaps, doing interesting things with both of them. These last two restaurants best fit those preferences for us, and with Weinbar Rutz sharing a kitchen with the Michelin-starred Rutz upstairs we even got a taste of haute-cuisine here. Both our salmon-trout and Oldenburg duck were worthy of stars, and the regional white-asparagus salad and the raw-milk cheeses we shared would not be readily available in Chicago. We also appreciated the individual glasses of wine selected by the staff for each of our courses. Neither of these last two restaurants is large, and reservations, certainly on weekends, would seem to be essential.

    Weinbar Rutz, Chausseestraße 8; (49-30) 24-62-87-60

    And, oh yes, I strongly recommend a visit to Mustafa’s right in front of the Mehringdamm UBahn stop. Its huenchen doenner mit gemuese (mit alles) is clearly a candidate for one of the world’s great sandwiches. Be prepared to wait; others agree with me.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #9 - March 23rd, 2014, 1:18 pm
    Post #9 - March 23rd, 2014, 1:18 pm Post #9 - March 23rd, 2014, 1:18 pm
    This is a few months overdue, but I'll be posting a couple of reports from a lovely week I spent in Berlin with my family over the holidays. First order of business:

    The Christmas Markets of Berlin

    I’ve long been a fan of the Christkindl­markt in Daley Plaza. There’s just some­thing about drink­ing beer and scarf­ing hot sausages out in the cold that tick­les a pri­mal sense of my German-ness. And my wife loves the hot wine in the lit­tle col­lectible boot mug and the orna­ment shops. My past few expe­ri­ences there though– pro­gres­sively more crowded, herded through the aisles like cat­tle– have been less than cheer­ful. And $20 bucks for a beer and a just-decent sausage in a stale bun just doesn’t make the whole expe­ri­ence worth­while.

    I’ve spent sev­eral Christ­mases in Europe and I have much pre­ferred their more lax, tradition-oriented approach to the hol­i­day than the fren­zied con­sumerism that bums out Char­lie Brown and many of the rest of us, state­side. The Ger­mans are mas­ters at focused hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties, con­dens­ing the entire expe­ri­ence into their mar­kets, which are part street food mar­ket, part one– stop hol­i­day shop­ping. We hit five in total (of maybe 50 in Berlin). Each market reflected the vibe of its neighborhood from the laid back class of Charlottenberg to the carnivalesque frenzy of Potsdamer Platz. I was sur­prised how I main­tained so much sta­mina and down­right enthu­si­asm in our sin­gu­lar quest to mar­ket hop. This is largely because of the vari­ety and spec­ta­cle of much of the food offer­ings. And to think I used to get excited about a dinky square of leberkase cook­ing in its own grease in Daley Plaza.

    The most immediate thrill was the sight of open flames everywhere– brats crackling over smol­der­ing logs, portable wood-fired ovens turn­ing out blis­tered whole wheat flammkuchen topped with sour cream and bacon, and whole sides of salmon teepeed against cedar planks smok­ing by robust fires:


    Here's a pic of some of that smoked salmon served up on a roll with a yogurt dill sauce, simple, good eating:


    There were other spectacular sensory delights abound like suckling pigs spinning on rotisseries and rows of giant cauldrons serving up everything from goulash to curry to "chile con carne".


    My favorite that I tried was Grünkohl, slow cooked kale with smoked pork– a Ger­man Xmas tra­di­tion it turns our, not unlike South­ern greens cooked down until deep dark green, flecked with smoked meat.


    A few less showy bites were also favorites, gooey raclette smeared on fresh rye and this melt-in-your-mouth, intensely smoked speck:


    A ver­i­ta­ble theme park of fire and meat, how could I not fall in love. This is Christ­mas done right. I'll leave you with some chocolate tools. Frohe Weihnachten!

  • Post #10 - March 23rd, 2014, 4:32 pm
    Post #10 - March 23rd, 2014, 4:32 pm Post #10 - March 23rd, 2014, 4:32 pm
    Street Food Notes

    Being on my family's schedule, I couldn't hijack the whole trip for a kebab tour of southeast Berlin or a currywurst-thon (not that I could eat more than one of these in a lifetime, but more on that below). My few surgical strikes proved to be quite successful though, yielding several of my favorite bites of the trip.

    My sister and brother-in-law are recently transplanted Berliners and they immediately recommended the one-two punch of Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap and Curry 36 two venerable street food institutions in the Kreuzberg neighborhood.


    Some fine looking dogs:

    I ordered mine "mit darm" with casing, duh. Now why you would want to drown a nice sausage like that in ketchup is beyond me...


    A paprika-heavy curry powder is sprinkled atop the sauced dog which I felt did not spice up the ketchup enough. I will probably eat one of these, obligatorily, when I visit my siblings in Berlin, but I will never crave this. Those crispy, spiced from-a-frozen-bag fries were pretty good dipped in the ketchup, a proper application for the condiment.

    Fortunately, my palate was redeemed by Mustafa's doner kebap. I loved the look of this place with its amateurish mural (is that Shaq in line?!):


    Mustafa's is notoriously popular and my sis warned me we could wait up to an hour. Fortunately, we arrived at 11:00 a few days before Christmas and the line was only a few people deep. The guys crafting these sandwiches really make an effort and their methodical construction of these elaborate sandwiches must be a contributing factor to the wait. "Gemüse" means vegetable, which confused me at first, leading me to believe this would be a vegetarian kebap. As you'll see below in the pic of that monstrous doner, my fears were quickly squashed. They do load these guys up with both raw salady stuff and also grilled veggies like onions, peppers, carrots, and potatoes, iirc. The toppings don't end there, next you've got several sauces and feta sprinkled on top. I simply ordered everything, so I don't recall exactly what all they put on there but there was definitely a chile sauce and something yogurty.



    All those toppings might sound like overkill, but it really adds up to one damn tasty kebab.


    The bread was really nice, with a chewy exterior and pillowy insides. The spicing and nice caramelization really came through on the chicken doner meat as well, a mighty fine rendition. And the panoply of flavors and textures of the toppings really made for a harmonious sandwich.

    After a few days of Christmas market hopping, we were ready to eat foods fresher and less porky. We headed back south, this time to the Neukölnn neighborhood which is a deep Turkish enclave that is in the midst of a gentrification by young bohemia. I'd read high praise of the kofta at Gel Gör.


    Many meats are available, offal too. The acclaimed kofta was our target.


    We ordered some hummus, which was not much to write home about, grainy and pasty and lacking lemon. It was scattered with small white beans, leading me to believe its base was something other than chickpea. The bread it was served with was wonderful though, with an almost flaky texture.

    The kofta kebab did not disappoint.


    The bread, again, was the most surprisingly wonderful aspect to this sandwich, baguette-like, awesomely chewy and pleasantly light and airy. It made me think that perhaps there are deep Turkish bread traditions that I have yet to be educated on. This sandwich as a whole, while so different it may not be worth comparing to Mustafa's, was much lighter, delicate even. The meat had assertive char and garlicky bite but the supporting players were very light and fresh: judiciously sauced, plenty of salad, long sprigs of parsley and a nice dusting of sumac. A squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of what I believe was urfa biber made for a really delightful sandwich.

    We ate a few lesser kebabs around town as well, it seems like every corner has a doner spot (currywurst too and crazy multi-ethnic fast food spots). The two kebabs I covered above were truly transcendent, but even the workaday corner spots put out product that would rival much we have here in Chicago. I look forward to sampling more Turkish chow next time I'm in town!

    Curry 36
    Mehringdamm 36, 10961 Berlin, Germany

    Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap
    Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin, Germany

    Gel Gör Inegöl Köfteci
    Kottbusser Damm 80, 10967 Berlin, Germany
  • Post #11 - March 11th, 2017, 2:44 pm
    Post #11 - March 11th, 2017, 2:44 pm Post #11 - March 11th, 2017, 2:44 pm
    Bump! Anyone have any recent trips / must visits?

    Planning for a 4 day trip to Berlin. Currently have on the list:

    Markthalle neun

    And for coffee Bonanza