What constitutes a favorite restaurant? I guess one of the main criteria is how often you actually go there. Not just theoretically. Of course, there are many places that I visit every so often for special occasions, or places that I’ve tried and been blown away by without returning (for whatever reason). In the past months, though, there were plenty of restaurants and / or cafés that have had a lasting impression on me.
Oh, and out of experience, I should probably mention that none of my recommendations are objective. I just like what I like. But maybe it’ll inspire you to eat out somewhere else for a change.
This can’t be a surprise to anyone. The Bowl is a fantastic alternative to all the greasy junk food Berlin has to offer. It is a unique, vegan and raw food specializing restaurant with incredible ingredients and a very innovative concept. Tandiss was even inspired to write a poem about it. We still go almost every Saturday.
The Bowl – Clean Eating
Warschauer Str. 33
Café Bar Ora
At first I only went to Ora because the people who work there are gorgeous. Then I also realized how beautiful the former pharmacy is, and how much I appreciate the great coffee and the atmosphere at night, when the café turns into a bar. Located conveniently on Oranienplatz, Ora is a sweet gem with an even sweeter crowd that comes with it.
Full disclosure: I’ve never had dinner at Le Bon, although the menu looks as attractive as a 19 year old aspiring top model from Sweden. Instead, I only ever go there to have breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, much like all the other cool people that apparently live in Berlin. If you want poached eggs, banana bread and terrific sourdough bread that turns you into an addict, I can only highly recommend a stop on the weekend. Especially when it’s sunny outside, and you get to sit in the liveliest and prettiest neighborhood of the city.
Dinner at Nudo is as chaotic as you would expect an authentic Italian homemade family gathering to be. Instead of ordering á la carte, you choose from a set daily menu (either vegetarian, with meat or with fish). The menu costs 28,- and consists of four extra delicious courses (and usually, more surprise courses). I have never been disappointed by Nudo. They are not ashamed to serve heaps of Burratta, messy pasta and pieces of meat that have you screaming for more. Nothing is especially fancy, but it’s especially delicious. The meals are always served in one big plate for the whole table to share, and that’s an actual catastrophe if you can’t deal with sharing. I can’t deal with sharing. But that’s not very Italian of me.
Lausitzer Platz 10
Until I moved into Blogfabrik on Oranienstraße, this particular area of Kreuzberg never meant to me anything more than nightlife annoyances. Now, it’s also the main hub for my lunch explorations. Com A is a seemingly uninteresting, bland and generic Asian-Fusion restaurant that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to until I once ordered something from them for eating it in my bed. Upon receiving the food, I realized that I had made a big mistake. Com A is really, really good. The fish and meat is fresh, the tastes of Asian / Vietnamese inspired dishes are complex but not overwhelming, and in general, you can’t go wrong. Especially if you’re looking for an alternative to the regular Sushi joints on O-Straße (although Aki Tatsu Sushi with the perpetual happy hour is still dope af).
Let’s stay on Oranienstraße for a minute. Have you been to Fish House? Fish in Berlin isn’t a thing that I have ever dared to challenge, but at Fish House, unless you order the Tuna (DO NOT), you’ll find the closest thing to a Mediterranean food experience. The Turkish restaurant offers grilled fish, and I can only highly recommend the Wolfsbarsch that is served with salad and vegetables. Although it looks like a greasy hole in the wall (it kind of is, though), the food is almost always high quality. Except for the Tuna.
I’ve always liked Parker Bowles. It’s a refreshing restaurant in Kreuzberg, bordering on Mitte, and that’s also pretty much an apt description of the place itself: it’s Mitte but Kreuzberg (kinda). The variety of food and drinks offered is crazy, and the quality is always good. Whether dinner, brunch or lunch: I’ve tested all of the Parker Bowles modes and they have all convinced me. I don’t go there for dinner as often, as I find it to be just a little too expensive. For lunch, on the other hand, it is perfect. I can heartily recommend the Popeye Salad, my one and only go-to choice when at Parker Bowles.
Bitte opened up recently around my block and is treating the overspilling crowd of 5 Elephant with equally great coffee (the cold brew is really good, and the cherry juice, and everything else too), and – bonus points – Greek snacks to die for. It’s tiny, but it’s got free Wi-Fi and some sunny spots on the curb outside. A new local hero for my Reichenberger Kiez for sure. Also new favorite daytime hangover low-key queer hotspot (or so I heard).
Glogauer Straße 6
I am sure that Madang was the best Korean food I’ve had up to this day in Berlin. I want to return there and dive into the culinary heaven this family restaurant has established, except that my memories of my first (and last) visit are colored by a very terrible thing that happened in my life on the same day. So I am stuck in a loop of dreaming about Madang but then also being terrified by the thought of going back there. You guys should totally do it, though.
This is the best burger in Berlin. It’s not a classic, refined American standard, it’s not a huge anchor that falls apart at one touch. It’s an Asian inspired burger that tastes better and more perfect than any other “standard” burger I’ve ever tried. The architecture is perfect, the buns are fresh and juicy, the meat exceeds all expectations. This is, by and large, my favorite, and I am waiting for their franchise to expand into the whole world. Shiso is a goddamn sin.
Arirang 2 for being the best low-key Korean, Industry Standard for actually being a really cool conceptual restaurant that I can only afford like once a year, and Grill Royal, not because it’s actually great, but because I actually finally had steak there and it was chill.
By the way: click through to see our favorite Berlin restaurants & cafés in 2014.