February 15, 2012
[Not Food-Related] Visiting Berlin; Got Any Advice?
I can sum up most of what I know about Berlin in one word: CURRYWURST. (Ok, I know a bit more than that, but...um...overall, not much.) My lumpy brain first absorbed the word a few years ago when I watched Grace Lee's short documentary, Best of the Wurst, in which she goes on a currywust-eating mission all around Berlin. And other stuff happens. But I mostly remember how I felt after watching the film: "OMG GIVE ME ALL THE CURRYWURST I MUST GO TO BERLIN AND DO THAT THING."
A few months ago, Diana told me she wanted to go to Berlin. And I told her I did too. And then I invited Kåre. And thus, we are all going to Berlin from April 5 to 12.
We haven't really done any of that "planning what we're going to do" stuff yet—for one, we might take a train outside the city for a day or two, place TBD, time TBD, everything TBD—but we're definitely going because we already bought our plane tickets. And while we will research activities, places to visit, and restaurants to eat at, I'd rather ask you guys for advice first. Since I obviously don't know anything. And many of you are well traveled and have less lumpy brains than mine.
So! Have any of you guys been to Berlin? Or perhaps live there? I'd love food recommendations (I won't be super strict about my diet), but recommendations for...well, anything would be awesome.
Thank you for any help you can give me!
Posted by roboppy at 2:58 AM
technically...we have equally lumpy brains...
i'm not helping am i? v^_^
I've never even left the country, but I'd love to see Germany, so I look forward to seeing your photos/posts! Several years ago, I became friends with a woman who'd immigrated from Germany to Canada. I asked her what would be the first thing she'd show me if we ever visited Germany together, and she told me it would be currywurst and all the currywurst stands. I've had it at local German spots--tasty, but I'm sure they'll really shine in Germany!
Hi Robyn! I visited Berlin in '05 and I was actually surprised by how much I loved it. It was awhile back, so I don't remember the restaurants that well, but I recall loving the atmosphere at Cafe Einstein (famous for apple strudel and coffee). I also liked Opernpalais Cafe on Unter den Linden, which was pretty and had a HUGE cake selection, but the website isn't working, so I'm not sure if it's' still in business. My favorite museum was the Pergamon, which is extremely impressive, even if you aren't particularly into anthropology.
Over 10 years ago, I went on a high-school exchange program to Germany and we spent two days in Berlin. The food item that was most memorable to me was dönar kebab - It's just like a gyro (perhaps it's exactly the same) but it was just so good. The best ones I had were bought right off the street. I still wish I could get those so I certainly would recommend that! Also, I remember the ice cream carts that sold these little cute scoops for something like 25 cents a scoop. Have fun on your trip - can't wait to see what you end up eating!
I second Döner Kebab. There is great debate about where the best can be had.
Breakfast is a marvel in the city, I'd say try cafe Ädsel near S Oranienburgerstr. And Cafe Pasternak On Knaackstr. (U Senenfelderplatz). In Mitte there is also a traditional Berlinisch restaurant under the S-Bahn arches called Deponie Nr. 3.
It's not the fun secret it used to be sadly, but Cookies Cream is great. You used to have to follow clues round Berlin to find it. I think that's possibly changed now but it's probably still worth a look.
Kim, Caroline, Kim, Aya, Sara, Shane, FN, Tina, Oinonio, Anon: Thank you so much for your links and recommendations! Makin' me super excited! I really hope I'm not allergic to anything there...
shihui: Mine might be...BAD-LUMPY....okay, probably just normal-lumpy.
Julie: I want to visit all the currywurst stands! Now I just need to find a personal currywurst stand guide...
The blog "Hungry In Berlin" seems to have defuncted, but they have a schedule for neighborhood open markets listed by neighborhood. http://www.hungryinberlin.com/local-market-schedule/
The one in Prenzlauerberg is posh while the Turkish Market in Kreutzburg is great for rare Turkish street eats. Kreutzburg and Neukolln are almost as good as being in Turkey for Turkish regional bakeries and grocers. I was there in October, and I recommend visiting the shop Ostpaket (located near Alexanderplatz station) specializing in foods and gifts of the east German era. http://www.ostpaket-berlin.de/
I wish I could give you epic recommendations, but it looks like I lost the e-mail with my list of stuff. I went to Berlin a few years ago , and had such a good time. Mannn, I hope you're recovering from the asthma/allergy/acid reflux thing. That sounds way scary! We should cook something healthy together one of these days.
i can highly recommend:
-hühnerhaus 36 (www.hühnerhaus.com), rotisserie chicken turkish style, 100% halal
-burgermeister (http://www.burger-meister.de/), this burger joint used to be public men's bathroom
-mustafa's gemüse kebap (http://mustafas.de/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay898gbNDgg), best döner in town
-weltrestaurant am markthalle (http://www.weltrestaurant-markthalle.de/de/index.php?s=1), canonized german cuisine
-henne (http://www.henne-berlin.de/willkommen.htm), old school berlin. they only serve half chickens, potato salad, cabbage salad, beer and schnaps.
I third the Doner Kebab. It's absolutely the one thing I still crave from my trip to Berlin over 4 years ago. I wish I remember where I got mine, it was at a little shop next to the train station. I know that description doesn't help AT ALL. :)
Hit up Kreuzberg for turkish food and really cool graffiti!
I really liked the DDR museum [http://www.ddr-museum.de/en/]. At first it was because the first thought that went through my head was "OH MY GOD!! THE GERMANS DEDICATED A WHOLE MUSEUM TO DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION?!?!" But I soon found out it was an interactive museum about life in east Germany. It's really cool. It was like walking into someone's house and getting to touch all their stuff... not that I don't already do that but this is a museum. There's something exciting about touching things in museums because we're usually not allowed to!!! :)
Have a great time in Berlin, Robyn!! I hope you take lots of food pics for us! I wasn't crazy about food before so I didn't really eat out much (and was on a student budget). My friend and I made our own meals mostly. But I did have a great time exploring their supermarkets and looking at every food product.
Whatever you do, rent a bike! At least for a day. The trains are fantastic, but bilking around the city is great, too. And I have an identical story to Winnie's reg: DDR MUSEUM.
Well. I live in Berlin but I am a vegetarian so I don't know if I can be of much help foodwise.
I like to go to Prenzlauer Berg places since I live there. I like Omoni which is Korean and they have great sushi. The best sushi place in Berlin is said to be Sasaya. Problably it's all nothing compared to the places in New York.
When I used to eat meat I quite liked a Schnitzel at Austria in Kreuzberg but it is a long time ago that I was there.
For cake and breakfast many people go to Anna Blume. It's nice but always busy and touristy. Some weeks ago I visited Cafe Buchwald in Moabit. It's a real granny's cafe (like from the olden days) and I quite liked it.
For pizza I go to Zia Maria but porbably also, again, nothing to write home about from where you come from.
For a day trip Postdam/Sanssoucie is quite nice, but the weather has to be decent for this.
Anyways, I hope you like it and have fun.
I always wondered when you would eventually come to Berlin, my hometown... :)
Here is my supposed insider's knowledge:
The Tim Raue restaurant, mentioned in the NY Times article is supposed to offer the best modern cuisine of Berlin, Tim is kind of a star around here. But it is horribly expensive and does Asian cuisine.
I guess you look for German food? If you do I have 2,5 recs: The "Engelbecken" which does Bavarian cuisine, mostly organic, they make their own Knödel.Reservations really recommended (the locals love it, too)
Second, the Schnitzelei, a bit hidden away but very good, which does small "tapas" of classic German dishes; that way you can get them all. http://www.schnitzelei.de/
If you're into it, there is the oldest Berlin restaurant Zur letzten Instanz where they serve old school Berlin cuisine: http://www.zurletzteninstanz.de/a_sprache_eng/index2.htm.
Beware of the infamous Berlin kebab, though. Meat and sauce quality are in 99% deplorable. And any kind of ethnic food is better in NY anyway methinks...
If you wanna know more, let me know. Have fun!
Dumneazu, sssourabh, Sewon, jc, Winnie, James, Anonymous 1 and 2: Holy moly, thanks for all your help, you guys! (Even if you didn't have much to recommend! I like knowing you care. It gives me the warm-n-fuzzies.) I spent a few hours this weekend putting together a doc of your recs and stuff I found while googling online and I basically have too much stuff to eat now. WOOHOO. I need to get my fill of German and Austrian food since I never eat it in NYC. And Turkish food would be nice too. I definitely want to get my kebab on; I never eat those here.
If any Berliners want something from the US/NYC that I can stuff in my luggage, let me know! I can be a transatlantic pack mule.
I do have a more specific question...got recommendations for bakeries, ice cream shops, chocolate shops, or other sweet shops?
Ok I have one more question: Are there certain German snacks that I should bring back to the US? I tend to hoard chocolate and cookies whenever I visit another country. 'Tis the best kind of souvenir.
Happy one year anniversary of announcing your relationship with the hot Norwegian. Hope things are still going well! :)
go to Mauerpark on a Sunday when there is the flea market AND the giant outdoor karaoke, bring delish german beer and get snacks at the market or just eat rolls of pretzel bread and carry tubes of mustard in your purse, not that i've done it....
totally unrelated to this post.. but i'm a big fan of your blog, and when i googled for you... there was a website also called girl who ate everything and it wasnt you. i hope no one is biting off you! just wanted to let you know..
Carrie: Thank you so much! Things are going well, yup. Would be better if there weren't hundreds of miles in the way, but it'll do for now.. :)
Denise: Thanks, that sounds like a lovely idea!
blogfan: Thanks for reading! I know about the other blog, but it's quite different from mine (well, for still being in the same food blog category) so I don't care that much. ...Ok, I care a little. I don't think we have reader crossover, so whaatevs. :)
You're so awesome!
TO bring back:
- anything with MARZIPAN. They make everything with marzipan, my favorite is the marzipan toffee in chocolate, but seriously
- Best authentic German food in Kartoffelhaus No 1, and around the corner from it is one of two bookstores with TINY books, seriously awesome! Order the potato pasta. I have yet to do a food review :(
- Fassbender & Rausch is a super "touristy" but nevertheless fun and upscale chocolaterie. Awesome for photos!
I'm really sorry to hear about your health problems. :( When I was working in Shanghai as a food critic I faced a health issue (much less serious one) with my liver that made me re-examine my lifestyle too. I love reading your blog and hope you keep us updated on your new eating forays, but don't sacrifice your health!!
Moving on, BERLIN! Berlin is an amazing city. It will make you feel like an awesome-r version of yourself to just walk around in Berlin. You can't miss the art! You can't miss the people! Unfortunately, you uh, can miss most of the food! Berlin is not a great city for German food, surprisingly (IMHO). Do try a lemonade though, anywhere, they do this lovely carbonated lemonade in the city. Maybe just look in windows until you find a bunch of people digging into pork shanks with crispy skin and sauerkraut, mmmm. Pork in Germany: safe bet.
I spent two weeks in Berlin last autumn and here are my suggestions:
For events, TimeOut Berlin has a good list of art stuff, festivals and other things going on weekly. http://www.timeout.com/berlin/
Housing - where are you staying in Berlin? It sounds like you're going with a bunch of people, but if you ever go solo, I'd recommend couch surfing because people in Berlin are awesome and eccentric and love the city. The couch surfers I met there had so much to give in terms of knowledge and personal fun-ness. Or check out airbnb and rent a flat for you and your friends (DO IT!!). There are some very cool accommodation choices for the city, such as flats within art museums and stuff. It's also in your favor that Berlin is like, the cheapest city in Germany. If you're considering a hostel, I stayed at St. Christopher's in Berlin, which is cheap, roomy and very clean but with an impersonal feeling (the place is huge).
For art, the East Side Gallery, which is a section of the Wall, that was painted over by 100 artists, is a must visit. It's an interesting place. A lot of the art is political. Maybe you'll only find two or three works that resonate with you. But what I really liked about it is the sense of time you can get here - you're looking at the Berlin Wall, a chunk of history itself of course, but it's also covered in dozens of works of art done in the 90s to celebrate the collapse and you can even get a sense of how the ideas of world peace and racial, ethnic were different even then, just a few decades. It's like looking back on a time where people felt like world peace was reachable, after the wall came down, but also seeing how skewed the view of other ethnicities/integration was still, and putting in the context of 2012. You can see the progress. Okay, I hope that made some sort of sense. Go. It's an interesting place.
I've heard that Kreuzberg is a great quarter to base yourself in. It's not central, like Mitte, but pretty and green and full of resident artsy people. I was traveling through this district and there was a guy juggling apples, under a bridge, in deadlocked traffic. It was awesome and no one was honking.
Hmm, what else? Do the all-night clubbing thing at Panorama (for one night!) Get a cool haircut. Don't plan out everything, budget chunks of time for wandering in the expansive parks, looking at all the graffiti that claims everything in the riff-raffy, beautiful, post-apocalyptic city where these gritty under-30s have taken over. Berlin is one of the last cities in Europe that felt to me, like it's still on the brink of revolution, capable of great change. It's a very exciting place to visit and to make things in. I went to Paris right afterwards, and continued to think about Berlin for weeks.
Enjoy! :) and keep us updated on your travels!
My best friend is from Berlin and these are all GREAT places I have been to with her.Everything bellow is affordable and delicious.
Bakery, for typical German Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake) Really interesting cakes here, try many!
Typical Bavarian Food
Order the Schwabenplatte, mix of different things you can try and share with a few people.
Vorbergstraße 2, 10823 Berlin, Germany
Fantastic Cafe. My friends father's favorite.
Akazienstraße 17, 10823 Berlin, Germany
Oooh! We've just been discussing going to Berlin too and I'll be watching your page to see where to eat!
I fail at memory but I was only in Berlin for 2 days. Looks like you have good recs though! I do remember that yogurt is a popular ice cream/gelato flavor which I was a fan of. And KaDeWe is fun - they have this crazy food hall/grocery place in this fancy department store. Yay!
I'm not sure if anyone's talked about Curry 36 yet — it's the "famous" currywurst in Berlin which everybody seems to go to, but skip that, it's overrated.
Nevertheless, the doner stall just down the road from Curry 36 is probably one of the best ever. I've seen posts around the net talking about it before (I'm pretty sure it's the same one) but I don't remember what it's called. In any case, stop at Mehringdamm station, and it's right where Curry 36 is! GO!
You should not miss Mustafa's Doner Kebab in Mehringdamm U - Station. Seriously.
Schwarzes Cafe is a favorite. Nothing too special, just a great place to relax, hang out with friends and have a beer / snack / more beer.
Also, similar to the one in Paris, Galeries Lafayette on Friedrichstraße has an amazing food court (for lack of a better word).
And if I remember correctly, this random blog had some decent Berlin recommendations:
completely unrelated but how do you make long distance work??
Good lord, you guys; once again, you've give me more guidance than I deserve. THANK YOU! I have no excuse for not having the best trip ever. Oh dear. PRESSUUURE!
sssourabh: Oo, marzipan and chocolate; I am into both of those things. Thank you for the recs!
Joanne: Holy moly, you've written me a blog post! ;) Thank you! Kåre and I already picked a hotel, but if I were going solo, I'd consider couch surfing/air b & b.
Putting the East Side Gallery on my to-do list!
You're not the old person to tell me I should go clubbing in Berlin...even though it's almost the opposite of what I'd rather do, hehe (I mean, I don't drink or dance, soooo). I'll write down your recommendation. :)
And I definitely want to check out the Pergamon museum!
Sasha: "Affordable and delicious," one of my most favorite combos. Thanks!
Su-Lin: My list so far is way more than I can eat in one trip...ooops. Well. That's better than having too few choices!
Janet: I SHALL EAT THE YOGURT-FLAVORED THINGS!
norapalax: All those places sound wonderful, thanks! I had actually visited a Cacao Sampaka while in Valencia, but I didn't try any chocolate...now I get a second chance.
Clarisse: Thanks for the info! I had written down Curry 36 before and I may check it out anyway even if it's overrated. Unless I'm too full from the doner stall down the street. ;)
Chungwan: Ah, sounds like that's the place Clarisse was thinking of, thanks!
Jocelyn: Thanks for the recs! I love cool food courts. For some reason I never went to the food section of Galeries Lafayette in Paris; hopefully I'll get to check this one out.
anon: Ah, a bunch of people have asked me that. :) Well. It helps that I've never had a serious close-distance relationship; I don't know what I'm missing, perhaps. And it seems Kåre had led a similar life of not being seriously smitten with anyone near him. Long distance isn't ideal, but I can't say I have a problem with it at the moment. We talk almost every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. I do think about the future like, ALL THE TIME though, since to make this work in the long run, someone's going to have to move to the other person's country...
Sunday brunch in Berlin! I loved this place: Morgenland: http://morgenland-berlin.de/ but I do recommend booking, and get the earliest time slot you can get.
And seconding/thirding/fourthing the recommendations to stay in Kreuzberg, it's a beautiful and vibrant area.
Can't wait to see pics!
Oops, I read your older posts so maybe not such a great recommendation - but they have little chocolates so you can eat chocolate in moderation :) and the sculptures are worth it!
Yas: Thanks! I'm looking forward to taking a glabillion photos!
Charlene: Thanks! That chocolate shop looks great. I can feel the calories now. So many calories.
Yay! I'm glad that it was helpful. Also, helpful but random information: ß is pronounced with a double s. For example, Friedrichstraße would be pronounced Friedrichstrass-a. Helpful to know if you need to ask for directions. And Hauptbahnhof (pronounced like it sounds) means train station.
Post a comment
Your comments won't get published until I approve them, which could take up to a week.
Sorry! :( Unfortunately, getting to your legit comments, which I love dearly,
requires wading through bucketloads of spam. I apologize in advance if I accidentally
delete your comment during one of my spam-killing sessions.
If you comment under your business's name, I will unpublish your comment. I'll unpublish anything that looks overly self-promotional or doesn't appear to be from a real human. This only applies to 0.5% of you guys; as for the rest of you, stay awesome.
If you have something to ask me that's unrelated to this entry, please email me instead.
» 02/25/13: My Treat Yo' Self Chinatown Meal: Yaya's Tokyo Fried Chicken & Teado's Ginger Milk Tea
» 02/08/13: Visiting Hong Kong from February 9-15
» 01/17/13: That Time My Kite Drowned and I Ate A Bunch of Upper East Side Foodstuffs
» 01/07/13: My Favorite Restaurant of 2012: Bab al Yemen in Bay Ridge
» 12/03/12: Berlin, Day 7, Part II: Konnopke's Imbiss, DDR Toy Museum, Chocolate, Schnitzel, and the Reichstag
» 11/23/12: Happy Thanksgiving! Tote Bags and T-Shirts Now Available for Pre-Order
» 11/20/12: Pre-Ordering for 'Gimme Pancakes' T-Shirts and 'Round Things' Totes Coming Soon, With Discount (Maybe)
» 11/10/12: Berlin, Day 7, Part I: KaDeWe, Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap, and Konditorei Buchwald
» 10/11/12: Germany, Day 6: Moritzburg or Bust (By Way of Dresden)
» 09/17/12: Some of My Most Favorite Things Ever: Sugar Sweet Sunshine's Trifles and Puddings
Help out roboppy?
If you do want to help me out monetarily, here are some easy non-obtrusive ways to give back:
- Buy stuff through my Amazon ID!: This is the BEST WAY to help me out without throwing money at my feet. I buy most of my material goods from amazon.com, and it would help me shittons if you bought stuff through my link.
- Buy t-shirts through my Threadless Street Team thinger
- Get webhosting with Dreamhost.com and enter email@example.com as the referral
Thank you so much for your help!
Site feeds galore
Subscribe in a reader