Berlin foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
From rare-beef pho to white beer ice cream, there’s more to this multicultural city than sausages and potatoes (though they’re pretty exceptional, too)
Looking for restaurants in Berlin? Want to know where to eat in the German capital? Local food writer Kate Lewin shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Berlin, along with where to find the best bao buns, craft beer and Vietnamese.
olive's top 10 must-visits for foodies in Berlin
Best bakery in Berlin - Zeit für Brot
Artisan baker Zeit für Brot has three locations across the city, each with more than two dozen varieties of sourdough bread for sale. Classic stulle sandwiches (think deli meats and cheeses between thick slices of sourdough) are another draw, but it’s the bakery’s cinnamon buns that get people queueing round the block. zeitfuerbrot.com
Best foodie market in Berlin - Markthalle Neun
The beating heart of Berlin’s food scene is the magnificent Markthalle Neun. Here you’ll find some of the city’s best food vendors and produce – don’t miss the traditional German meats and brilliant burgers at innovative butcher Kumpel & Keule. markthalleneun.de; kumpelundkeule.de
Best Vietnamese in Berlin - Madame Ngo
For the best pho in town, head to Madame Ngo, a Vietnamese spot in Charlottenburg. Here, bone broths are cooked all day to give an intense and authentic flavour. Order the rare-beef version, made with tender German steak. madame-ngo.de
Best food court - KaDeWe
Iconic department store KaDeWe has a seriously impressive food court: try traditional mettwurst and kohlwurst cooked à la minute at the sausage counter, with piles of potato salad and mustard. kadewe.de
Best 'fine dining' restaurant Berlin - Nobelhart & Schmutzig
The pioneers of Berlin’s brutal lokal (brutally local) movement are Billy Wagner and Micha Schäfer, who run the kitchen at Nobelhart & Schmutzig with such strict adherence to the ethos that you’ll find no lemons, pepper, olive oil or chocolate on the menu. Typical dishes include porcini mushrooms in a thyme and buckwheat ferment, and wild hops with dried raspberries and white beer ice cream. nobelhartundschmutzig.com
Best Turkish restaurant in Berlin - Adana Grillhaus
For the most delicious barbecued meats head to Kreuzberg’s Adana Grillhaus and order a meze to share, along with a choice of grilled lamb and chicken (skewers, chops, ribs, meatballs and more). adanagrillhaus.de
Best craft beer in Berlin - BRŁO
At craft brewery BRŁO’s unique location, inside 38 shipping containers, you’ll find some of the city’s best beers. Join one of the weekly tours or head straight to the bar for a glass of berliner weisse, the local, pleasingly sour, white beer. There’s also an on-site restaurant. brlo.de
Best Japanese workshops - Mimi Ferments
Artisanal Japanese soy sauces, miso, koji, tempeh and natto are what Markus Shimizu specialises in, and they’re sworn by at Berlin’s most discerning restaurants. At his factory, Mimi Ferments, you can join a tasting or sign up for a workshop to learn how to make your own. mimiferments.com
Best wine bar in Berlin - JaJa
Berlin’s drinkers were early champions of the natural-wine movement. Head to wine bar and shop JaJa for some of the city’s best bottles, accompanied by innovative seasonal tapas plates, as well as monthly events with growers and producers. jajaberlin.com
Best pastry shop in Berlin - Damaskus Konditorei
No trip to Berlin would be complete without sampling the Syrian sweets at Damaskus Konditorei. Owner Tamem al-Sakka’s considerable range of expertly crafted pastries includes baklava and halawet el jibn (rolls of semolina dough filled with white cheese and rosewater). @Konditorei.Damaskus
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WHERE TO STAY IN BERLIN
Doubles at the pared back Michelberger Hotel cost from €126, room only (michelbergerhotel.com).
Highlights include a 24 hour bar and café, and a plant-forward restaurant championing local producers and natural wines.
HOW TO GET TO BERLIN
Return flights from various UK airports to Berlin cost from £60 (easyjet.com).
More info: visitberlin.de.
Kate Lewin writes for blog Berlin Food Stories, and runs monthly food tours that explore Berlin’s food history (berlinfoodstories.com).
Images by Marko Seifert
More places to eat and drink in Berlin
Relaxed café Auntbenny serves lovingly prepared breakfasts, coffees, lunches and dinners, many of which are gluten-free. Order a bottle of wine and a cheese plate with rosemary crackers or a slice of apple cake and eat it around the large communal table.
Street Food Thursday
It’s worth making a long weekend of it just to catch Street Food Thursday. Taking place every Thursday evening at Markthalle 9, there’s always a good choice of dishes, from Swabian ravioli at Barbara’s kaffeetafel to Ruby beer from Heidenpeter, which is brewed on site (well, in the market’s basement).
Long March Canteen
Dive into the world of a Chinese eating house at the Long March Canteen. Specialising in both hot and cold dim sum, its most impressive feature is the dumpling station, the steam rising from it glowing under a red light. Try the tuna sashimi with beetroot.
Michelin-starred restaurant Skykitchen is set on the 11th floor of Andel’s Hotel Berlin, so diners get to enjoy breathtaking views of the city’s skyline as well as dishes like pikeperch with black pudding, pickled cabbage, pear and pearl onion.
If you’re after an edible souvenir to take home, head to Eat Berlin for delicious local delicacies. You’ll be spoilt for choice among its selection of chutneys, sauces, pestos, spices, teas and spreads, all made by small food companies.
Not Only Riesling
When the sun hits, there’s nothing better than sitting outside wine bar Not Only Riesling with a glass of something chosen with care, direct from German and European wineries. Order a Riesling Quickie (three 0.1l glasses of German wine) or a Small Wine Tasting, (six 0.1l glasses from further afield plus a cheese board).
Café am Literaturhaus
Not everything in Berlin is fast-changing and modern. Head to Café am Literaturhaus, a literature-focused exhibition space in a Wilhelminian-style villa, for a breakfast of ham and eggs, or a coffee and a strawberry tart; grab an outdoor table to enjoy the beautiful gardens.
The Berlin burger scene is huge and the standard high, but Burgeramt is the best for brisk but friendly service and a wide selection. If you’re overwhelmed by choice go for the teriyaki burger.
The Barn Roastery
Owner of The Barn Roastery, Ralf Müller, has been a slow-brew pioneer in Berlin so expect a sensational coffee here, accompanied by a Berliner stulle (sandwich). The coffee is roasted at the back of the shop and is available to buy if you want to take some home.
Goldhahn & Sampson
A paradise for gourmets, Goldhahn & Sampson (pictured below) sells fine food, exceptional drinks, artisan chocolates and pastries as well as a variety of cookbooks. It also hosts regular cookery classes, some of them in English.
Ellen Teschendorf is the author of Berlin Style Guide (Murdoch Books), and is the owner of the city’s cult kitchenwares store, Küchenliebe.