(Updated 2017) Gräfekiez – the residential neighborhood around Gräfestraße, southwest of the Landwehrkanal – is an enclave in the middle of Neukölln. The gracious Gründerzeit architecture invites you to take long walks in a colorful and rich neighborhood with plenty to discover. Here are a few of my favorite places and things to do in Gräfekiez.
The hectic Italian pizza restaurant is a testament to how pizza should be. In the summertime, the terrace invites guests to watch over the the frantic street life on Admiralsbrücke. Definitely make reservations for dinner, as it tends to get overcrowded. And while not everybody likes the rough treatment of the All-Italian service, it’s become a Berlin tradition to complain about the team.
Casolare, Grimmstr. 30, 10967 Berlin
Modernist architecture isn’t quite as ubiquitous in Berlin as it is in other cities (like London), but you can nonetheless find some brutalist buildings in the West. The Urban Krankenhaus, although of mediocre standard from the inside, is a fascinating complex smack-dab in the middle of Kreuzberg. It is a wonderful Instagram motif. Read more about brutalist architecture in Berlin.
Urban Krankenhaus, Dieffenbachstraße 1, 10967 Berlin
If you’re willing to wait for your mediocre Cappucino (no filter coffee), then Kaffeebar is a good location with an included “people watching” mode. Good looking people, all the way – and in the same aesthetic sense “cool” as Le Bon. There are better cafés, to be honest, but none in this neighborhood that would serve better cake. Oh yeah. The poppyseed lemon cake. Oh my God. It’s the best.
Kaffeebar, Graefestr. 8, 10967 Berlin
You could miss it if it weren’t for the neon bringt light outside. All it says is “bar”, and literally, that’s all there is: a bar. The 10 patrons that fit inside the premises are anywhere from basic to absolutely fucking nuts, but the drinks are good and the vibe is usually exceptionally, uhm, “Berlin”.
Minibar, Graefestraße 77, 10967 Berlin
Imren is one of the best sandwich places in the city. They prepare a kebap speciality that until now has convinced everyone I took to this place.
And although there seem to be many different Imrens now, only one of them is really real. We used to call it the “Fundamentalistendöner” because someone told us that women weren’t allowed to go in before they reformed their service. I have no idea if that’s true, but the story makes the meat and the perfectly rolled sandwiches even tastier. Imren sticks to a very classic, but well delivered approach: a lot of juicy meat, a fairly small amount of bread, some lemon and maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll squeeze a tomato in it as well. And if you only try one thing from this list, then it should be an Imren Dürüm.
Imren Grill, Boppstraße 10, 10967 Berlin