We’ve tried to eat ‘local’ wherever we’ve stayed on our grand tour this year. In places like Venice that meant eating distinctly Venetian cuisine made from local produce from the Veneto region and Venice’s lagoon. In multicultural cities like New York that meant eating everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to Ukrainian and Korean.
In Berlin, our dining fell somewhere in between. Berlin is a multicultural city, where it’s not uncommon to find Turkish, Vietnamese, and Indian restaurants on the one street, and yet there are plenty of opportunities for sampling German cuisine too.
And while German cuisine has a reputation for being a tad dull – an idea that many Berliners we spoke to agreed with – there’s something about eating hearty, home-style food in the middle of winter that makes perfect sense.
If you’re going to mix it up when eating out in Berlin, as most visitors do, by all means try some of the excellent Asian restaurants around, such as the casual Vietnamese eatery Si An, and Sasaya, a typical Japanese Izayaka, both in Prenzlauer Berg. But make sure you also try these three German eateries:
Oderberger Strasse 27
We love this casual pub-cum-casual restaurant as much for its cosy atmosphere, wooden interior, and front bar, as for its hearty German food. The soups are scrumptious – I loved the broth with Swabian ravioli stuffed with poultry. The mains are also warming and filling. A highlight was the prime boiled veal beef served with grated horseradish, braised white cabbage and small potatoes.
Shonhauser Allee 44a
Ask a Berliner what the quintessential Berlin dish is and they’ll say doner kebab or currywurst. Save the doner kebab for your next visit to Turkey, but try the currywurst in Berlin. Many Berliners claim that Konnopke’s does the best currywurst. To be honest, we don’t quite ‘get’ currywurst – sausage doused with tomato sauce and sprinkled with curry powder – and much preferred the Bratwurst that Terence had here, but our friends swear that if you’re going to try currywurst anywhere this is the place to try it.
Kellwitzplatz/Ecke Knaackstrasse 37
This is another inviting, traditional-looking restaurant with rustic wooden furniture and a welcoming bar, but equally appealing is the friendly staff and excellent service. The food, from Germany’s Alsatian region, is wonderful. A must-try is the specialty Tarte Flambee, a delicious German-style ‘pizza’ with bacon, onions and cream cheese. Also worth trying are the hearty, meaty Pork Knuckle and the Choucroute Gugelhof. If you’re not staying close by, best get a taxi, as you’ll want to sleep immediately afterwards. A perfect place to dine on cold winter nights.