Berlin Berlin Good Eats

 

Good Eats
 

Berlin, much like London or New York, is remarkable for its culinary diversity. Besides German food imported here from all corners of the Bundesrepublik, the city is also home to a seemingly endless variety of international establishments. Indeed it is probably easier to find a Vietnamese, Italian, or Turkish restaurant in Berlin than a German one.
Zoomdojo Berlin City Guide Berlin Dining

The Burger Scene
 
Let’s begin this overview with a subject very dear to my heart: Berlin’s inexplicable burger renaissance. For whatever reason the explosion of hipsters in Berlin coincided with an explosion of trendy burger joints that range from cheap and dirty to full-on gourmet (and still pretty cheap). As the jeans get skinnier towards Neukölln, the burgers get better, culminating in BBI (Berlin Burger International) a few meters off Sonnenallee in Neukölln. This place really is a hole in the wall, with barely room for 5 people sitting at the counters inside. Luckily, there is outdoor seating, but it’s still best to avoid peak hours. The burgers here include a palpable lust for life in every bite, with the raw materials locally sourced and the toppings copious and fresh, almost as if an entire salad was dumped over the patty. And while you wait you can play Super Mario Bros. 3 on a vintage Nintendo system. Another great place is Burgermeister, located right under the U-Bahn at Schlessisches Tor in Kreuzberg, although it’s guaranteed to be crowded. Of course everyone has their own favorite spot (Schiller Bar in the Schillerkriez area of Neukölln gets a few nods too) so make sure to go on a burger crawl to see for yourself.
 
Döner Kebab
 
Tradition has it that the now ubiquitous Döner Kebab originated in Berlin, at a previously little-known Turkish eatery in Kreuzberg run by the late Kadir Nurman. From humble beginnings in the 1970s, the Kebab found its footing as the go-to late-night snack for drunken revelers and soon went on to conquer the world. The current Mustafas Kebab can lay claim to being a spiritual descendent of the original and often tops the polls for best döner. While Mustafas is certainly famous, there are many worthy Kebab shops all over Berlin (but especially in nightlife areas). In Kreuzberg and Neukölln, which both retain strongly Turkish identities despite recent gentrification, you can also find more upscale sit-down Turkish restaurants that are nonetheless easy on the wallet, and quite possibly better quality than those in Istanbul.
 
Und so weiter…
 
If you’re looking for something more off the wall, Berlin has you covered. From restaurants that require you to eat blindfolded to Sauvage, which serves what they call “Paleolithic cuisine,” there’s no shortage of dining options here. For food from around the world, there’s Sahara near Hermannplatz, which specializes in Sudanese food, CoCo deli for Vietnamese sandwiches and Mogg + Melzers for Jewish specialties, both in Mitte, and Santa Maria in Kreuzberg for tacos. Of course this is just the tip of a very large iceberg and culinary delights can be found in every neighborhood of Berlin.
 
German Food
 
German cuisine is alive and well in Berlin, although it can be hard to find amid the many popular international eating establishments. A good fast or slow food option is Spätzle, a kind of cheesy noodle dish, prepared in various ways. Of course there are also the ever-present sausage outlets, which function much like New York’s hot dog stands. Besides the familiar bratwurst, Berliners are also smitten by currywurst, which is drenched in hot sauce and can be anywhere from pleasantly spicy to so-hot-it-may-reduce-your-lifespan. If you’re lucky there will be a scale from 1-10 to choose from, but beware that these numbers don’t mean the same thing for every currywurst vendor.
 
Markets
 
Berlin maintains an active market culture, which makes it very easy to get local food directly from farm to table. Markthalle in Kreuzberg is an especially enormous and notable example of an indoor market place where you can find anything you need fresh daily. There is also a Turkish market on the left bank of the Maybachufer canal in Neukölln every Tuesday and Friday until 6:30 pm, where you can pick up food, clothing, musical instruments, or carpets, should you be in dire need of these things. The Turkish market is also a worthwhile place to go just to soak up the atmosphere and pretend you’re in a souk for a brief, chaotic moment.
 

 

Markets
 
Berlin maintains an active market culture, which makes it very easy to get local food directly from farm to table. Markthalle in Kreuzberg is an especially enormous and notable example of an indoor market place where you can find anything you need fresh daily. There is also a Turkish market on the left bank of the Maybachufer canal in Neukölln every Tuesday and Friday until 6:30 pm, where you can pick up food, clothing, musical instruments, or carpets, should you be in dire need of these things. The Turkish market is also a worthwhile place to go just to soak up the atmosphere and pretend you’re in a souk for a brief, chaotic moment.