Restaurants Reflecting Berlin’s Diversity
In Prenzlauer Berg:
Donath, Schwedter Strasse 13 – 10409 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg, tel. 448-01-29. This is an earthy and very warm northeast Italian (Friulan) bistro. A dish I kept getting each time I visited was homemade
papparele pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil. This earthy dish is served in a dining area of warm wood and stucco in browns and mustard yellows, earthy wooden tables, and a staff deeply dedicated to creating the best atmosphere
for eating, meeting friends, and relaxing. Expect to spend around 12 euros for an entrée and drink.
La Esquina, Danziger Strasse 35 – 10435 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg, tel. 030/442-71-26, offers great breakfasts. One of the things I love about Germany is that I can hunt down a hearty breakfast. La Esquina
serves up some great German breakfasts, as well as those of other culinary cultures. I had the Italienesches Frühstuck, Italian breakfast, which was a plate of cheeses, cold cuts, seasonal fruits, fresh-baked breakfast rolls, nutella,
butter, and honey. Paired with a kaffee mit milche, I only spent around 6-7 euros and had enough fuel to explore the city on foot for the rest of the day.
Restaurant Himalaya, Lychener Strasse 3 – 10437 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg, tel. 441-25-01 and 442-21-78, offers an excellent selection of classical Indian cuisine for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
~10-12 euros for an entrée and drink.
Hecht Club im Prater Garten, Kastanienallee 7-9 – Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg, www.pratergarten.de. This is a wonderful large hall. In winter,
dining takes place in the warm all wood interior with comfortable small and large tables bringing both communal sharing as well as privacy to each gathering. A tiny stage with thick curtains stands in the back of the large room where diners
sit, announcing that at times music and theatre alike unfold here. In summer, there are concerts outside with the open outdoor beer garden. The beer garden dates to 1837. The food year round is one-hundred per cent traditional German and
shows off German cuisine at its best and freshest. As soon as I sat down and ordered a beer, the friendly waiter brought me a basket of fresh-baked dark-grained traditional breads and a ramekin of a lard spread with caramelized onions.
I was dubious about the lard but realized my danger when I tried it and fell in love with this little thimble of pork fat and dark, rich onions, especially on the healthy, fibrous bread. For entrees, I recommend you try, when it is available,
the wildschweinpfeffer (peppered wild boar with red current sauce and red cabbage). Another wonderful entrée is the forelle gebraten, pan-fried trout with toasted almond slices in butter and lemon sauce. Their fresh greens
salad was also delightful, topped with red cabbage, cucumbers, and toasted sunflower seeds. Be sure to finish off your meal with one of several brandies (Calvados, Osborne Veterano, Cognac…) and a serving of apfelschrudel with
real whipped cream and vanilla sauce. For all this—a salad, entrée, beer, dessert, and brandy—expect to spend around 20 euros.
Café Courage, Saarbrücker Strasse 17 – 10405 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg, tel. 030/41716859. A great selection of specialty coffee drinks, alcoholic drinks, noshes, snacks, and desserts, averaging ~2-3
euros for drinks and 3-5 for snacks. When there is live music, the cover, around 5 euros, is added to your drink and food tab at the end of the night.
Restaurant Parilla, Rodenberstrasse 2 – 10439 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg. Your classic everything grilled meat Argentinean steakhouse. I strongly recommend the filet steak with thick cut french fries
and a corn and kidney bean side dish, as well as the grilled half chicken, with red cabbage and apples, and mashed potatoes with a peppery gravy. A salad, entrée, drink, and dessert will cost ~12-15 euros.
Wirtshaus Eckbert, Maybachufer 21 – 120347 Berlin – Kreuzberg, tel.030/62725726. Near the weekly Turkish Market (Tuesdays and Fridays), Eckbert offers traditional and delicious German cuisine. I had
lunch here and when I walked in there were two men at the bar talking to the woman who owned the place. All of them were working on a crossword puzzle together. Showing itself to be a comfortable neighborhood spot, a chalkboard on the wall
listed the day’s lunch specials. I sat at a sunny table and ordered a Jever Pilsner and the lunch special of brotwürst mit sauerkraut und kartoffelbrot (brotwurst with sauerkraut and potato bread). Lunch will cost ~9-10 euros.
|Traditional German fare at the the Eckbert Restaurant in Berlin.
Photo © Beebe Bahrami.
Lone Star Taqueria, a Tex Mex establishment at Bergmannstrasse 11 – 10961 Berlin – Kreuzberg, tel. 030/6927182, offers fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, and the like. It might come across as needing
far more chili sauce for the true southwesterner so don’t be afraid to ask. For lunch, an entrée and a drink will cost ~10-12 euros.
Shayan, Goltzstrasse 23 – 10781 Berlin – Schöneberg, tel. 2-15-15-47, is a great place to try Iranian cuisine if you are new to it or if you pine away for the real taste of real Persian cooking. The
prices are excellent too, lunch running around 7-10 euros. I recommend anything that appeals to you on the menu. If you love kebabs, try the marinated lamb kebab with Iranian rice (kababeh kubideh ba berenj). If you are vegetarian
and want to sample a rich stew that your flesh-eating friends will also find meaty, definitely try the khoreshteh esphinaj (spinach and greens stew), which comes on a bed of fragrant Iranian rice. Pair it with a Chianti offered
as a house wine, and you may not want to leave. Also, the tea here is really good Iranian tea, brewed with patience to achieve the peak in flavor and color. Be sure to order tea to round out the end of the meal. This is a family run restaurant
and every corner of it is run with warmth and generous hospitality.
Restaurant Potemkin, Victoria-Luise-Platz 5 – D-10777 Berlin – Schöneberg, tel. 030/21968181. A definite favorite, Potemkin serves up nouveau central and eastern European cuisine. I ordered a sunflower
sprout salad for starters and then the handmade vegetarian dumplings, tiernan, which had three types of dumpling fillings: mushroom, spinach, and potato. The dumpling trio was served with two types of winter salads that arrived
on the same platter. One was a salad of beets, walnuts, and white cabbage, and the other of grated carrots seasoned with white pepper. To add to my delirium, each dumpling had its own cream and butter sauce. ~16 euros for an entrée, drink,
and mineral water.
Café Restaurant Lades, Winterfeldplatz 2 – 10781 Berlin – Schöneberg. This serves as a nice rest point for market goers and vendors at the market at Winterfeldplatz. Order a creamy big mug of michkaffee or
a bowl of soup or salad, and sit back and watch the people. The mixture of merchants and shoppers, Germans and other nationalities that pulse in and out of Café Lades is wonderful. While waiting in line to use the women’s bathroom I had
a jolly chat with a fishmonger, her fingers red from frost as she had spent her morning filleting multiple fish orders in the freezing winter temperatures. She took it all in stride and had a perennial flirtation with the young man, half
her age, running the espresso machine.
La Rosa Mexicana, Friedrichstrasse 209 – 10969 Berlin - Mitte. Near Check Point Charlie, this sweet Mexican Restaurant serves up basic delicious food, such as chicken fajitas, spaghetti Bolognese (okay,
so that’s not a Mexican dish, but it is delicious), and great salads. The service is cheerful and so are the patrons. When I ate here, two diners were playing a game of cards while enjoying dessert and espresso. Allow ~14 euros for an entrée,
a salad, and a glass of wine.
Restaurant Bar Alcatraz, Neue Schönhauser Strasse 20 – 10178 Berlin – Mitte. The walls in this restaurant will make you think you are in a Mayan temple with large murals in ochre, turquoise and white
of Maya figures and wooden tables and floors lit with warming tea lights. ~2-5 euros for coffee or a drink.
|Beer Stop in Mitte. Photo © Beebe Bahrami.