Berlin for Foodies

We’ve all got to eat—why not do it in style? As with the rest of Berlin culture, staying beyond the mainstream and the “norm” is a top concern. So, how do Berliners do it? Well, by keeping their meals as diverse and satisfying as ever. There are several thousand restaurants in this city, all brimming […]

We’ve all got to eat—why not do it in style? As with the rest of Berlin culture, staying beyond the mainstream and the “norm” is a top concern. So, how do Berliners do it? Well, by keeping their meals as diverse and satisfying as ever.

There are several thousand restaurants in this city, all brimming with a culinary story and a taste of lands far away. The locals stray from the quick-and-easy eats in favor of a more global diet. Around every corner, a new foodie experience from anywhere in the world awaits, be it doner kebabs from Turkey or mango lassi from Thailand. Your tastes will not go unmatched nor your hungers unfulfilled in this city.

Whatever you’re looking for, it seems Berlin can provide at an impressive quality.  When in this capital city, there’s one thing we know for sure: bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes and a healthy appetite to get the most of your journey.

We chose to write about local food as an avenue to explore Berlin’s dedication to multiculturalism. Our passion for eating is likely only dwarfed by our love of cultural exploration and the need to share our food stories. Join us on our culinary walk of Berlin!

District Môt

I wasn’t even hungry when I stopped into District Mot, but I left with a feeling of curiosity and satisfaction. The restaurant front made me stop and take notice: the soft chatter of diners and the strong, unique sound of Vietnamese rap music dominate the otherwise empty sidewalk.

The décor is an interesting fusion of traditional and modern. Red and yellow flowers and lanterns hang on the outside, right above a fresh stamp of graffiti comprised of a skull and menacing Vietnamese text. The music waffles from more traditional sounds of Vietnam to the harder rhythms of Berlin techno. This restaurant excels at a fusion of both cultures, never straying too far away from one to forget the other.

District Mot also doesn’t disappoint on inventiveness: be prepared to hunker down on brightly colored mini stools and wipe your hands with toilet paper at the dinner table. Peruse the menu to enjoy some serious puns and get the lowdown on their take of Vietnamese classics. The 1-800 Bao Bling Burger is a leading item, but I settled on the adventurous choice of sautéed frog legs for lunch. The food comes out fast, which gives you hardly any time to realize how uncomfortable your stool is. This place is also open past midnight every night, making it a solid addition to any party plans.

The flavors of the meal will scratch your itch for Vietnamese food, but leave something to be desired in terms of presentation and price. All in all, the quality of the atmosphere outweighs the food; the unique dining experience makes the memory of the meal sweeter, and the call to try more unusual foods (eel or silkworms, anyone?) means adventurous eaters like me will definitely be drawn in for another go.

Address: Rosenthalerstrasse 62 10119 Berlin Mitte
Open: Monday to Thursday, Sunday 12 PM-1AM & Friday and Saturday 12PM-2AM
Closest transit: U Weinmeisterstr. Subway

Restaurant Bastard

To be honest, the name of this restaurant alone makes it a prized point of any visitor’s “must-see” list. Locals refer to this joint as “The Bastard”, and for good reason: on weekends, the queue to get a bite of their brunch can be painful, stretching for more than an hour wait. The entirety of the restaurant has no more than six or seven small tables on the sidewalk and a handful more inside which keeps the atmosphere cozy and the lines long. Weekdays are the best time to try their menu—you likely won’t have to wait at all for a table.

Brunch is a weekend ritual for a host of Berliners. Egg, bread, and meat spreads are the best way to chase away the tiredness of a Friday or Saturday night at a raving techno club. People will flock to the nearest brunch spot as soon as they wake up, whether it’s 8AM or 9PM.

The menu is short and sweet. You can pick from scrambled eggs with various accoutrements, a few varieties of brioche dishes, and a selection of breakfast classics like muesli and cereal served with fresh fruit. Their food is best enjoyed while sprawled lazily out on the pavement, basking in the sun and people-watching as you will. The breads and cheeses they offer are all but legendary.

Restaurant Bastard is in a pretty convenient location. It’s not far from the Goerlitzer Bhf station and from sunny Goerlitzer Park. Grab the U-Bahn out of Kreuzberg or stroll through Goerlitzer to walk off your decadent meal. There are many vintage and vinyl shops scattered nearby, prompting any fashion or music lover to opt for a look around.

Address: Reichenberger Str. 122 10999 Berlin Kreuzberg
Open: Thursday to Saturday 9AM-10PM, Sunday-Monday 9AM-4:30PM
Closest transit: U1 or U3 Goerlitzer Bhf

Mustafa’s Vegetable Kebab

Mustafa’s is an establishment in Berlin, and at any point in time, you will find a line at least 10 deep patiently waiting for a Gemüse kebab. Tourist and locals come together on this sidewalk in Kreuzberg in pursuit of a simple but fresh Turkish meal.

Mustafa’s menu is brief: Vegetable kebab with a choice of chicken for meat lovers or a dürüm wrap for those looking to mix it up. There are three sauces to top off the slivers of chicken and serving of vegetables, zesty garlic, a spicy red, and a yoghurt cream. You will not be disappointed with any choice, especially not if you’re adventurous and go with all three.

The line is the biggest and perhaps only downfall of this beloved street food stand. Your kebab will cost you around €3.50 as well as up to ninety minutes of your time. If it’s a nice day, the wait is a breeze and your reward is a tasty lunch. Consider another dining option if the weather is poor as there is no protection from the elements in the queue or any seating once you have your food. This shop is the definition of grab-and-go.

All in all, it seems Mustafa’s is worth the wait. Despite its penchant for a lengthy gathering of hungry customers, this kebab shop promises a delicious, heaping serving of savory Turkish heaven. If you venture for a visit and dare to slip in line, you can draw the conclusions yourself.

Address: Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin
Opening hours: 10AM-5AM daily
Closest transit: U-Bhf Mehringdamm

Seoulkitchen

The food diversity of Berlin doesn’t stop at Thai or Vietnamese, you can also find an array of Korean restaurants dotted throughout the city. One of those restaurants is a brother and sister run Korean barbecue and sushi bar in Warschauer Straße called SeoulKitchen. The siblings divide the work between the cooking and design of the dishes with the sister, Julia, taking control of the latter.

The restaurant itself is quite unassuming and due to construction work on the building it’s situated in there is scaffolding covering the front entrance, making it even easier to walk past one of the best Korean restaurants in the city without knowing.

The food itself is excellent and arranged in a stylistic fashion to further add to the overall experience.

The decor of the restaurant is quite minimalistic, mixing dark wooden benches with a largely monochromatic colour palette for the rest of the interior, which I’ll add is roughly a 6x6m box with few seats. If you’re planning to eat in the evening you’ll almost certainly need to reserve a table to avoid disappointment although for those wanting lunch there it may not be as busy.

Alternatively if you fancy eating later in the evening the restaurant is open until midnight so you can walk along the east side gallery around sunset before finishing off your evening here as it’s just a 2 minute walk from the gallery. Do be warned however, failing to reserve a table will leave you disappointed if you’re more than a party of one. When I was there I saw multiple groups be turned away as they couldn’t be seated without a reservation. If you are on your own however you may have more luck. I turned up on my own around 7pm on a Thursday and was able to be squeezed onto a table with the premise of being gone within 45 minutes to allow for the reserved group which wasn’t an issue for me.

The service was quick and efficient, almost to the point of being rushed but I’d put that down to the fact they wanted to make sure I wasn’t still eating when the reserved party arrived, but I would call that the exception rather than the rule.

Address: Warschauer Str 46th | 10243 Berlin, 10243 Berlin, Germany
Opening Times: Sunday-Saturday 12PM-1AM
Closest transit: S-Bahn / U-Bahn – Warschauer Straße

Djimalaya – Hummus and Grill

With its rustic decor, painted blackboards and dim lighting, Djimalaya gives a very relaxed atmosphere and a sharing dining experience. There are a few tables outside and plenty of indoors, so you don’t have to wait long to be sat and presented with their compact menu by their attentive staff.

Djimalaya, named after what the Israeli scouts shout before dining during their holidays, is just one of many Israeli restaurants in Berlin. It specialises in grilled meat, salads and hummus, and gives you an authentic taste of the Middle East. Delicious and healthy, with plenty of vegan options and an emphasis on good nutrition, their dishes are prepared fresh and without artificial flavouring. Indeed, you do leave feeling refreshed, although some perhaps not completely fulfilled.

If you’re going to put „hummus“ in title, the hummus better be good. I’m no expert, and I enjoyed the hummus, but some hummus enthusiasts I brought with me informed me that their boiled and mashed chickpeas with tahini, olive oil and lemon juice was really average at best. Whilst adequate for the dabbler in hummus, fans of it might want to look elsewhere for something a bit different.

Furthermore, for the price, the portions were a little on the stingy side, and having more of the grilled chicken and delicious salad wouldn’t have gone a miss. That being said, we couldn’t finish the huge pile of deep fried halloumi or even all the pita breads, which were fresh, fluffy and warm. Djimalaya also offer takeaway, which would be a great choice for lazy and health conscious people. What can’t be missed is experimenting with their choice of drinks. For example their cardamom coffee or ginger, lemon and honey mix as well as their freshly pressed juices and delicious lemonades.

It’s situated on Invalidenstrasse and is easy to walk to from Pappelplatz tram station or Berlin Nordbahnhof. Just around the corner is Volkspark am Weinbergsweg and lots of little bars to enjoy after dinner.

Address: Invalidenstr. 159 · 10115 Berlin
Opening times: Monday-Thursday, Sunday 11AM-10PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM-11PM
Closest transit: Pappelplatz tram station, Nordbahnhof

Berlin Burger International

American culture finds a way to reach most corners of the world and thats no exception in Berlin. There are a multitude of Americanised chain restaurants offering „diner“ style meals or quick hamburgers heated up in microwaves in the back of the kitchen.

Not many people go looking for typical American cuisine however they do go in search of a good burger. Most tourists coming to the city will have heard of Burgermeister, an old public toilet-turned-food stand. It’s nature as a tourist hotspot results in extensive lines at most times of the day and a significant wait for an albeit very good burger.

Although, in this series of features we aren’t aiming to give you the obvious places to go, that’s where Berlin Burger International comes into play. Offering 9 monstrous burgers which can be paired with an array of variations on chips for around €10. They offer vegan and vegetarian options as well as multiple burger choices for the carnivores. This hole in the wall is that in every sense, when entering it feels like you might have stumbled into some sort of berlin club given its decor, dark lighting and neon writing on the menu boards.

The front of house (though that may be a rather generous term) will be quick to get your attention and take your order, informing you that when it’s ready he’ll shout you. This gives you a chance to analyse the place a bit further, the front is plastered with stickers from all over the world ranging from club promotions to clothing brands. There is a small wooden bench seating area outside in typical Berlin fashion where you can sit and people watch during your wait. The front of house will soon be bellowing your name to collect your burger the size of a babies head.

I myself chose the chilli burger option paired with curly fries. In some situations you may be tempted to pick off gherkins or jalapeños if you aren’t too much of a fan but I’d advise you to refrain. The burger combines chilli, jalapeños and a variety of other spices to generate this both pleasantly spicy and succulent burger. The burger may seem to be a bit raw to some however I personally view that as a sign of good quality meat which they cook to that level on purpose. The chips were piping hot and crispy, there to finish you off if the burger didn’t fill you enough.

Overall Berlin Burger International is more than a worthy match for Burgermeister if you fancy a restaurant a bit more off the tourist track and without an outrageous wait.

Address:  Pannierstr. 5 | Neukölln, 12047 Berlin, Germany
Opening Hours: Sunday 12PM-10PM, Monday-Thursday 12PM-11PM, Friday-Saturday 12PM-12AM
Closest transit: U-Bahn – Hermannplatz

Thai Park

My favorite market in Berlin actually occurs most weekends in Preussenpark during the summer. The normally quiet, residential area bursts with life particularly on the weekend, and all hungry passersby stop in the park for relief and refreshment. What allegedly originated as a meeting point for Thai families to socialize and share food is now a city-wide siren’s call for freshly prepared noodle and rice dishes. The mango lassi, sold for just a few Euros per serving, is the cherry on top to an afternoon meandering through the sea of umbrellas and gorging yourself on fineries.

Markets are a highlight of Berlin, and you will not be disappointed by the options available to you during your visit. Exploring a market is a perfect opportunity to enjoy a warm summer afternoon, sampling fine cuisines and ordering exotic cocktails. You can certainly find your fix of Asian food here in Thai Park, with homemade pork dumplings, glass noodles, and vegetarian spring rolls right at your fingertips. It’s the best way to get a true taste of the local diets without putting pressure on your bank account. Vegetarians and vegans be warned: there are not as many meat- and dairy-free items available as is the case with the majority of Berlin eateries.

In Thai Park, the layout is unassuming: merchants pitch umbrellas and roll out tarps and small tables to put their food out onto. A happy crowd piles up right beyond the nestle of makeshift kitchens and serving areas, playing cards and sunbathing. This event takes place not ten minutes on foot from the Fehrbelliner U-Bahn station, making it an easy jumping off point if you have other plans for your day.

Address: Fehrbelliner Platz 10707 Berlin Wilmersdorf
Opening Hours: Friday-Sunday 11AM-8PM
Closest transit: Fehrbelliner Platz

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