Edited by Elodi Troskie
Although Berlin is the capital of Germany, food culture in Berlin is perhaps surprisingly not really focused on traditional German cuisine. Food in Berlin is highly international with lots of influences from countries like Vietnam, Italy, Mexico and Pakistan. I love the diversity of the food scene in Berlin. Of course, if you want to try typical German foods like currywurst, spritzkuchen and spätzle, you’ll have more than enough options for traditional German restaurants. Planning a visit to Berlin? Here is my guide to Berlin’s must-eat foods and where to find them.
Traditional German food
Even though Berlin isn’t as famous for its traditional German food as other major cities in Germany like Munich, there’s still a lot of good places to go if you want to try typical German foods – potatoes, schnitzel, sausage, pretzels and, of course, beer. A great restaurant for traditional German food in Berlin is Engelbecken, situated in the Charlottenburg neighbourhood. Their prices are mid-range and they also have a selection of vegan options on the menu. Another must try restaurant is Fleischerei Domke, a canteen serving some of Berlin’s best and most affordable traditional German food and meaty dishes. This place has been in business for about 30 years and has become a well-known lunch-time institution among locals who work in the surrounding Friedrichshain area.
Italian style pasta
You’ll see a lot of Italian influences in Berlin’s food scene. You don’t have to travel all the way to Italy for top-class pasta and pizza! Pasta & Passione is a really good Italian restaurant with a cozy European feel, perfect for late-night dining. Pastificio Tosatti is another must-visit the restaurant for good Italian cuisine. Their service is great and the servings are generous. It might be a small restaurant, but that just adds to the warm, romantic feeling of Italian dining. If you’re looking for budget eats in Berlin, Basilikum in Falckenstein Street is a good option for good quality pasta and delicious comfort foods at affordable prices.
Pakistani cuisine may not be the first that comes to mind when you think of the food culture in Europe, which is exactly why you need to try it. Think curries, rice and incredible spices and flavours. Although a lot of Pakistani food revolves around meat, there are really good vegetarian and even vegan options available. Sadhu is a very popular restaurant serving top quality Pakistani food. This is a slightly higher end restaurant, but definitely worth the visit. Sadhu has two branches in Berlin: one in Pannier Street and the other in Falchenstein Street. Holi Cow is a street side cafe located in Revaler Street serving Pakistani favourites in street food style at budget prices.
Israeli cuisine at Yafo
Yafo is one of the best places to eat in Berlin. Located in Gormann Street in the popular Mitte district, Yafo is your instant ticket to be transported to Tel Aviv for the best of Israeli food. The owners are respectively from Israel and Berlin, forming the perfect combination to bridge these two diverse food cultures. A lot of Israeli cuisine in Berlin is centered around chickpeas and variations of it, but Yafo aims to broaden their guests’ perception of Israeli’s incredible food scene. Expect healthy, hearty mouth-watering food that’ll draw you back for more every day! The menu includes a selection of meat-free dishes so green-eaters won’t go hungry. Bonus – Yafo is also home to one of the coolest bars in Berlin. They’re open every day from 12:00 until 03:00.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/top10-flickr/8060890611
Burgers at Burgermeister
Burgermeister, located in Kreuzberg, is the best burger joint in Berlin – maybe one of the best in Europe! Established in an old public toilet, it’s quite an interesting place. The specialty item on the menu is the Meisterburger, a simple burger without any fancy toppings or unusual twists, so it’s difficult to say just why it’s so tasty. The food at this restaurant is good, but what really makes it so special is the energetic vibe. You’ll always find people here – Burgermeister is one of the best local hangout spots and stays open until the early morning hours. Of course, your Meisterburger will be even better served alongside a classic German beer.
Beer and cocktails
Everyone knows Germany is famous for its beer! You won’t have to search very far for good quality beer in Berlin. A few recommendations are The Bird Barbeque, a casual Texas-style burger joint and steakhouse joint serving a wide variety of locally brewed beers; Monterey, a bar decorated in black and white, inspired by 70s metal, beards and tattoos; the nano-brewery Vagabund, that makes you feel as though you’re hanging out in a homey living room; and Kaschk, the hipster’s dream – a trendy cafe with fast wifi, expertly brewed coffee and quirky beers on tap from all over Europe. Or if you’re in the mood for something different, Fahimi is really cool bar in Skalitzer Street, cosily decorated with dark wood and low lighting. Serving wine, cocktails and bar snacks with relaxing music in the background, Fahimi is a great place to go in Berlin at night for laid-back socialising.
Street food at food markets
If you want to have a unique food experience, don’t miss out on Berlin’s street food and local food markets. Head over to Markthalle Neun in the centre of Kreuzberg, where street food vendors gather every Thursday for a blend of music, food and good company – a big party carrying on until the early morning hours. Street Food Thursdays is one of the coolest things to do in Berlin! Another one of Berlin’s popular food markets is in Mauerpark, a weekend thrift market where locals hang out on Sundays to shops for vintage gems, an international selection of street food and the karaoke sessions held in the park. A great family activity if you’re traveling with kids!
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