Although the guide books I had been reading did not credit the traditional Berlin cuisine as being anymore sophisticated than ‘Pig and Stodge,’ Berlin offers so much in the way of adventurous, hearty and affordable food.
There are many multinational restaurants. We visited Thai, Japanese, Indian and Greek as well as traditional ‘lokal’ fare. The areas we found best to explore were anywhere away from the centre, but not too far that it became slum-like. Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and just off the side streets of Mitte, avoiding where the prostitutes trawl, there are excellent places to dine and sup. Although my favourite area to explore had to be, where we stayed, in Fredrichshain. We found the staff, quality, wealth of places and prices made Fredrichshain a great area to trawl. Here are some places I liked and remembered.
Bariton Cafe Bar Restaurant, Weserstr. 23 – nice bar, cool innards and has cocktails for €3.50 at happy hour, though I stuck to Augustiner. Here’s their facebook link http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=wall#!/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=info
Hirsch Bar, Kopernikusstraße – reviewed in Ex-Berliner as a gastro pub, this was a lovely addition to our stay. The bar opened earlier in 2010, and is extremely accommodating and lovely inside. The food sizes are smaller than most places in Berlin, but are excellent quality and filling. The house pilsner was crisp and €2.50. Here is a link to their website http://www.hirsch-friedrichshain.de/
Hops & Barley, Wühlischstr 22/23 – excellent and friendly micro brewery, try their spezialbier it changes all the time, mine was fantastic and a nice change to the taste buds as I had been drinking so much pilsner. This place even offers accommodation, it only serves bar snacks. Here is their link http://www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de
Kino Intimes, Boxhagener Straße 107 – the bar with the cinema, excellent to sit outside in the biergarten on a sunny day. They do the biggest meals I have seen and exceptionally well priced and wholesome. This area is full of great bars to plod onto when you’ve finished.
Eckstück,Wrangelstraße 20 – this cafe only opened in August 2010 and if you like it gritty, this is the place to dine. We were the only people in there and I did get a mobster vibe. All that said the food was really good and cooked fresh in the kitchen that is in the bar, if you want burger and chips or massive chicken salad you could do worse, but you could also do better. Here’s their website http://www.eckstueck.de/cms/
Cafe Taz Presso, Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 23– this place had a Manchester “Green Room” vibe, which we returned to numerous times in our stay. The food and coffee were excellent and the price amazingly inexpensive. The menu changed daily and for €3 for chicken kneidel soup and a baguette don’t expect to come away hungry. One of the best coffees I had in here. http://www.taz.de/zeitung/tazcafe/
T A I S U, Rudi – Dutschke – Str. 28 – this place was sold to us by the 50% off lunch time menu, I had 12 pieces of sushi (albeit veg option) and miso soup for €5. It had the feel of a chain, but the lunchtime menu had good options, though annoyingly as in every chain like Wagamama they never serve your food at the same time as the person you’re with. All I can say is that my sushi must have been rolled fresh as it took so long to get from the server to me, it was very nice though and a good place to sit back and watch the neighbourhood bustle by. Although this was good enough there were a lot of Japanese restaurants about that may be lots better so check them out, just head to the area and see what you can unleash. http://www.sushiwok.de/
Knofi,Bergmannstr. 98 – this was a lovely little Greek deli serving 5 tapas dishes and a lot of pitta for €11. Me and Adam purchased a bottle of €6 merlot, but stick to the house in a carafe, as the wine is poor and the corkage is €8. This place was so charming and looking at their website it appears that there are three of them. It was a lovely place to sit in wicker chairs and reflect on the day. http://www.knofi.de/
Phuket, Mehringdamm 67 – We visited this lovely Thai restaurant on our first time in Berlin and were tempted to go back, but we branched out to Knofi instead. The food was well prepared with lots of lemongrass as I remember, and Adam’s massaman was true to the Thai taste.