When you go to Europe, if food is not an integral and I’d argue, large part of your itinerary, then it should be, regardless if you’re traveling to Paris and Milan or London and Berlin. On a recent “neighborhood” exploration of Berlin and greater Berlin, I had a chance to experience some great restaurants across the city, from decadent and high end to street food and specialty. Be sure to read my write up on the more decadent foodie scene to Berlin as well as the We Blog the World Alternative & Unique Foodie Guide to Berlin. Below, I focus on Street & Specialty Foods.
Street Food & Specialty
Berlin has no shortage of street food and specialty markets. Well known among currywurst fans are both Curry 36, a fast food joint that serves currywurst and fries on a paper plate and Moustafa’s, a food truck on the same street which offers a vegetarian equivalent, both located along Mehringdamm. At Curry 36, where we stopped for a taste one afternoon, you can get your sausage with or without sausage – I’d recommend trying both, for after all, how often do you eat currywurst at home? Invented in Berlin, apparently currywurst is a cult in Germany with over 70 million consumed each year.
BonBon MaCherei is an adorable (and small) BonBon factory in Heckmann Hofe along Oranienburger Strasse. Here, you can get a sense of how they make them as well as buy them individually or in mixed bags. The variety of colors and tastes is more than enough to keep you engaged for a delicious 15 minute stop. More information can be found at www.bonbonmacherei.de.
In the area of Berlin they refer to as RAW, the Neue Heimat Market in East Berlin offers a bustling bar, food and music scene on weekends and I had an opportunity hang my hat there one Saturday night. They sell everything from cocktails, wine and oysters to bruschetta and salmon and dill on crackers and the ambiance is a blend of grit, urban, recycled artsy and trendy.
In the same Neue Heimat space, they have a Village Market every Sunday, which is essentially a flea market mixed with street food, art and music all day long. There’s both DJ’s and live jazz and in addition to an art gallery, they also have a kid’s corner, making it a great family-friendly option as well. It is located on Revaler Str. 99 / Dirschauer Str. in the Friedrichshain section of East Berlin and more information can be found at www.neueheimat.com.
While it appears to be a chain, Yoko Sushi was a great find on my first day when I was craving nothing short of a seared tuna and avocado roll, and all for a mere 5 Euros – I make note of it since it was fresher than most sushi places I’ve gone to in New York and San Francisco (except for Hermano, one of my favorite haunts).
They also present it in packages that makes you feel like it’s a higher end joint than it is and they give you a boat load of soy sauce and ginger, again, more generous than sushi take out in the states. I went to the one along Boxhagener Strasse in the heart of East Berlin’s Friedrichshain but apparently they have others and also deliver.
Turkish Doners: given the near 180,000 Turks who live in Berlin, you will find Turkish food trucks and eateries throughout the city, the largest number found in Kreuzberg and Mitte. I tried a vegetarian eggplant doner kebab in Kreuzberg, which they served with lettuce, tomato, red cabbage, onions, and a variety of sauces, my favorite being a yogurt, dill, garlic sauce. Yum!
While I didn’t sample one, word on the street is that Shiso Burger is supposed to serve the best beef and veggie burgers in Berlin. Located on Auguststraße, it’s a burger joint with a twist. Shiso’ is a leaf and they combine it with a burger and they have a wide variety to choose from, from traditional burgers and cheeseburgers, to toad burgers and ebi, chili lemon and shiso burgers.
The Ebi burger has black tiger shrimp on it whereas the shiso has tuna on it and the toad is all about portobello mushrooms.
Since I didn’t taste one of their burgers, the above shot was taken from Trip Advisor — more information can be found at http://www.shisoburger.de/.
Worth exploring is the Markthalle Neun, a food market which takes over a large sprawling space at Eisenbahnstraße 42-43 and features local produce every Friday and Saturday. Markthalle Neun’s objective is to demonstrate that alternative eating and shopping is possible in an urban space. Their emphasis is on regional and seasonal products, paired with the added value of buying locally, conveniently and responsibly.
There’s also the Street Food Thursday, also at Markthalle Neun, a massive space dedicated to local food and drink purveyors on Thursday evenings. They had a variety of options to choose from, ranging from local wines and fair and eco-friendly produce to meat from farms that practice ethical husbandry to seafood from sustainable fisheries. It is known to be one of the city’s most famous street food events.
You can also find great spreads here, jams and jellies, Indian and Turkish spices and other fun delicacies. I came across a delicious chocolate made without cow dairy. Since I don’t do so well with cow dairy, particularly in the states, I appreciate a chocolate option made with goat milk only. The Obro is the name and they have a great tagline: “Fair Fine Fresh. Food of God. Selfmade from the Best Beans.” More information on them can be found at www.theobro.ma.
It was here that I discovered a new drink called Stella, which is a unique blend of Rye, whiskey, sherry, franzosischer wermut and peychaud’s bitters. It has a nutty cocoa taste with a little bourbon thrown in – two thumbs up!
The guy behind Stella, while somewhat shy, was not shy enough to turn away from a pose.
Bite Club Food Market is a fun street food scene on the water, in the East part of the city and often has live music as well. Think of it as a blend of a Brooklyn food fair with the excitement of an Asian night market. Since Berlin is defined by its freewheeling nature and sense of fun, Bite Club offers a space where you can taste a variety of food and drinks from local traders.
Bite Club was founded by food writer Tommy Tannock and design editor Miranda Zahediah, design editor. Located in Kreuzberg along the river next to the Badeschiff, you can have a fun feast here every other Friday night.
Constantly on the hunt for the newest and best of Berlin’s food traders and trucks, regulars are joined by new members at each edition, complemented by specialist wine, whisky and rum bars. For chocolate, there are great chocolate specialty shops throughout the city, including the ever so delicious and decadent Fassbender & Rausch. Here, you can find a wide variety of options, from individual chocolates and chocolate infused jams to chocolate shoes. Yes, really!
But, if you want to sample a variety of brands all under one roof, the well renowned department store KaDeWe along Tauentzienstrasse, not far from trendy Kurfürstendamm, has a number of culinary gems, including an entire section on chocolate, sweets and cakes.
They also have a wide selection of sausage, cheese, jams, jellies, olive oils and more throughout the store and it’s well worth a visit, especially if you want to stock up on some European delights you don’t find so readily in the states.
Be sure to check out my Ultimate History & Culture Guide to Berlin, which is an extensive list of recommendations that cross boundaries — from art, culture and history, to design, fashion, shopping and tours, you’ll learn a lot about the known and the not so known Berlin. Note: I used hashtag #BLNHoods for my trip to Berlin so be sure to check out my Instagram and Twitterfeeds for some great photographs and observations.
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Berlin has a number of Michelin Star Restaurants to choose from as well. Have a look:
- Facil: www.facil.de/en/, S+U Potsdamer Platz (2 michelin stars)
- Fischers Fritz: www.fischersfritzberlin.com, U Französische Straße (2 michelin stars)
- Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer: lorenzadlon-esszimmer.de/en/, S Brandenburger Tor (2 michelin stars)
- Reinstoff: www.reinstoff.eu/english/, U Naturkundemuseum or S Nordbahnhof (2 michelin stars)
- Tim Raue: tim-raue.com/en/, U Kochstraße (2 michelin stars)
- 5 – Cinco by Paco Pérez: www.5-cinco.com, S+U Zoologischer Garten (1 michelin star)
- First Floor: www.firstfloorberlin.de/en/, S+U Zoologischer Garten (1 michelin star)
- Frühsammers Restaurant: fruehsammers-restaurant.jimdo.com, S Hohenzollerndamm (1 michelin star)
- Horváth: www.restaurant-horvath.de, U Kottbusser Tor (1 michelin star)
- Hugos: www.hugos-restaurant.de; S+U Zoologischer Garten (1 michelin star)
- Les Solistes by Pierre Gagnaire: www.waldorfastoriaberlin.com/deu/Restaurants-Lounges/Les-Solistes, S+U Zoologischer Garten (1 michelin star)
- Pauly Saal: www.paulysaal.com, S Oranienburger Straße (1 michelin star)
- Skykitchen: www.skykitchen.berlin, S Landsberger Allee (1 michelin star)
- VAU: www.vau-berlin.de/en/, U Französische Straße (1 michelin star)
- Weinbar Rutz: www.weinbar-rutz.de, U Naturkundemuseum (1 michelin star)