Restaurants in Berlin: An Abbreviated Guide

We may have only had a few days in Berlin, but we ate and drank our way through the city. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a compilation of the (mostly budget) restaurants in Berlin we came across and found worth recommending. Berliners love their Asian and Middle East street food and the city is renowned for its falafel, doner kebab, hummus and more. Coming from Israel, we tried to veer away from that in favor of German and Asian cuisine. If you’re in town on a Saturday don’t miss the flea market, as much for its food and atmosphere as for the amazing finds. Also note that the vast majority of restaurants in Berlin didn’t accept credit cards so be sure to ask first.

Ampelmann
Located under the U-Bahn tracks on the bank of the Spree river, Ampelmann is a lively bar and restaurant steps away from touristy Hackescher Markt and across from the Alte Nationalgalerie and Museuminsel. While the restaurant itself looks very good (I spotted more than a few delicious looking pizzas), the real appeal of Ampelmann is sitting in a lawn chair on the grass by the river, beer in hand. The drinks (3,60€ for a beer) are self-service from the bar inside, they just charge a €1 deposit to ensure they get their glasses back. And somehow, despite its proximity to the throngs of tourists, the clientele at Ampelmann seems to be primarily locals. Burgstrasse Stadtbahnbogen 159/160, D-10178 Berlin, 030 84 710 709, www.ampelmann.de

Coa
Nestled amidst the skyscrapers and fancy shops of Potsdamer Platz, Coa is a welcome reprieve from overpriced vaguely German food (11€ for currywurst? Forget about it!). A fast casual Pan-Asian restaurant with outdoor seating, their wide-ranging menu offers everything from dumplings to spring rolls and from stir-fries to curries. An assortment of eight dumplings (8,50€) comes in a mini steamer and a variety of four different, all good, dumplings. Chicken satay (3,50€) comes with two skewers and an unusual but tasty peanut sauce, and Thai-style noodles (7,90€ with chicken) are sufficiently greasy and satisfying. Potsdamer Platz 5, 10785 Berlin, 030 2300 5462, www.coa.as

Engelburg
This bright and airy café has plenty of outdoor seating and is the perfect place to wile away a weekend afternoon. Brunch is a reasonable 7€ and comes with plenty of excellent bread, butter, ridiculously fresh jam (strawberry and raspberry) and your choice of two meats or cheeses. Familiar but excellent choices include Emmentaler and coppa, but zeigenkäse (a sheep’s milk cheese) and heublumenkäse (covered in herbs) were the real winners. A glass of crisp, dry Reisling (I think it was Hensch 2009) rounds out the meal at 4,20€. Located just down the block from Mauerpark it’s the perfect place to recharge after ransacking the flea market. There are also a number of great looking restaurants, cafes and bars of all cuisines to choose from on the block. Oderbergestr 21, 10435 Berlin, 030 440 306 37

Gasthaus Krombach
Claiming to offer “Berliner Spezialitäten,” Gasthaus Krombach is a typical pub or tavern-style restaurant in the Charlottenburg area of posh West Berlin. Their heavy Germanic food is reasonably priced and satisfying. I challenge you to finish the Kohlroulade, a massive brain-shaped mincemeat-stuffed cabbage doused in a bacon gravy and served with boiled potatoes (9,80€). It doesn’t look pretty, but don’t let that fool you. For a more manageable meal, go for the traditional goulash (served here as a stew rather than a soup) with spaetzle (12,90€). Altogether dinner for two with beer came to 30,50€. Meinekestraße 4, 10719 Berlin, 030 881 86 02, www.gasthaus-krombach.de

Imbiss Meineke 27
There are a million currywurst spots in Berlin, and the honest truth is this one isn’t worth making a special trip to. But if you happen to be in the neighborhood (it was down the street from our hotel in Charlottenburg) then Imbiss Mineke 27 hits the spot. Currywurst goes for a reasonable 2,20€ and pommes frites for 1,90€. Throw some beer in there (we enjoyed bottles of Franziskaner weissbier but they also had Becks) and you’ve got yourself a great lunch or snack. They also have a number of other dishes including chicken wings, bockwurst, and schnitzel. Meinekestraße 27, 10719 Berlin

Mauerpark Flea Market
I know it doesn’t seem like you should go to a flea market for the food, but on Sundays in Berlin Prenzlauerberg’s Mauerpark is the only place to be. Within the frenetic and amazing flea market are dozens of stands selling everything from sausages to Druze-style wraps as well as areas set up with sand, beach chairs, food and beer. Outside the flea market, the park is packed on any nice Sunday with people grilling on small portable grills on every free strip of grass. The entire area is a great one for food in general. Just go. Freunde des Mauerparks, Gleimstraße 55, 10347 Berlin

Maximilian’s
A large German-style restaurant, we went to Maximilian’s because it could accommodate a big group and ended up pleasantly surprised by the food. Their tagline is “Speisen wie in Bayern,” meaning dine in Bavaria and they deliver on offering Bavarian cuisine in abundance. The huge menu has a large selection of different types of sausage, schnitzel, goulash, and much, much more. Who doesn’t love a restaurant with a menu item called “sausage parade” (10,80€)? Inexpensive liters of beer complete the experience. They are centrally located in the city center of Mitte and open until midnight – two more pluses. Friedrichstraße 185-190, 10117 Berlin, 030 20450559 www.maximiliansrestaurant.de

Monsieur Vuong
Recommended both by our dear friend Deirdre and Lonely Planet, Monsieur Vuong is the most popular Vietnamese spots in town. With only a small set menu and most items rotating daily, this was far and away the best meal we had in Berlin, and possibly our entire Central Europe trip. Despite some spotty service (our waiter completely forgot our order and people seated long after us got their orders first) the food was more than enough to make up for it. Vegetable soup (6,40€), always on the menu, is divine in its simplicity with carrots and herbs floating in a light, clear consommé that is far more flavorful than you would expect from something so delicate. And on special, a green chicken curry with rice (7,40€) is served hidden beneath thin slices of cabbage, carrots, scallions and peanuts. The chicken must have been marinated for ages it was so tender and flavorful. Fresh juices like apple-mint (3,60€) round out the inexpensive menu. Dinner for two with non-alcoholic drinks came to a reasonable 19,60€. Alte Schönhauser Straße 46, 10119 Berlin, 030 9929-6924 www.monsieurvuong.de

Newton
Having been starved of good cocktails in Israel, seeing the list at Newton (cocktails 9-11€) was a thrill. The Red Kiss sounds like it would be sweet and girly, but it was strong and bitter in a fashion similar to a Negroni (and indeed was based also on Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth but with some variations that I can’t recall…). Also, I’ve since looked it up and this cocktail bears no resemblance to another of the same name with rum, cherry brandy, and pineapple juice. They also had a good selection of Scotch, strong gin and tonics, and, of course beer. The atmosphere is chill and comfortable without being too much of a “scene.” Charlottenstraße 57, 10117 Berlin, 030 2029 5421, www.newton-bar.de

Prater Garten
Berlin’s oldest beer garden, the enormous Prater Garten is another great stop after the flea market. They offer four kinds of beer on tap – pilsner, dunkel, clear wheat beer, and regular wheat beer (3-3,50€) – plus the bright green and red fruity beer drinks that people seem to enjoy. There are also plenty of snacks to help you soak up the alcohol, including excellent sausage (2,50€), baked potato, meatloaf, hot dog, etc. Contrary to the American conception of beer gardens, this one is actually quiet and peaceful (at least early on a Saturday evening) with lots of families. Kastanienallee 7-9, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, 030 448 56 88 www.pratergarten.de

Yoli Frozen Yogurt
Similar in concept to Pinkberry but better, Yoli frozen yogurt is the creamiest, thickest yogurt I’ve ever had. It’s the Greek yogurt of frozen yogurt with a pleasant tangy flavor, almost like a mild goat yogurt. They also offer a rotating flavor, which was cookies and cream when we were there. Toppings include the normal fresh fruit and chocolate, as well as unusual offerings like sliced tomarillo. Invalidenstraβe 112, 10115 Berlin www.yoliland.com


7 Comments

  1. Marjorie

    What a warm and delicious snippet of Berlin dining.

  2. Awesome. Reading this made me so hungrey!

  3. This summer I’ll travel to Berlin, so I’ll copy your guide and use it as reference. With such a great blog, your recommendation can’t be wrong!!
    Love your blog!!

    • Thanks so much! Have so much fun in Berlin! There are so many great places to go in Berlin and this is only a small snippet so I’d love to hear where else you end up.

  4. This is huge! Thank you for sharing, now i know how to plan my weekend
    Please visit

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