Berlin has blossomed into a cosmopolitan foodie capital. But while urbane locals are more likely to go for sushi than schnitzel these days, there’s still a special place reserved for old favourites. Here are some of the best spots to sample both the contemporary and the classic sides of the city’s culinary scene.
Old-school: The lines running down the block from Curry 36 are a testament to the popularity of this fiery currywurst. Just next door is Mustafas Gemüse Kebap, which sells döner piled with chicken and veggies. High turnover means the ingredients are always fresh and helps explain why so many locals are willing to wait over an hour to order.
On-trend: Once a week, join several thousand Berliners for everything from Korean fusion to Peruvian ceviche served from food trucks and stalls at Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun. The selection verges on overwhelming, which is why it’s best to pick up a glass of natural wine and peruse the gourmet offerings before choosing.
Old-school: Traditional Kneipen (pubs) don’t mess around with fancy fare. At Dicke Wirtin, patrons dig into heaping portions of hearty Teutonic staples. Expect lots of meat and potatoes best enjoyed with a frosty lager.
On-trend: Hipster favourite Geist im Glas does one of the biggest, booziest brunches in town, with mounds of pancakes dripping in whiskey maple syrup. Wash it down with a Bloody Mary or one of their signature house-made infusions. If you’re feeling peckish in the evening, consider stopping by Beuster Bar on Weserstrasse in Neukölln for exceptional steak tartare and a Basil Smash.
Old-school: Savour platters of lamb kebabs and other authentic Turkish fare in the heart of Kreuzberg at Adana Grillhaus. It may not offer much in ambiance, but loyal patrons have been coming back for three decades for the superlative food.
On-trend: Fes Turkish BBQ, a Turkish grill house with tableside barbecues, may sport a wine list and stylish decor, but the menu remains true to its roots. Gather a group of friends together and order as many of the mezze as you can handle.
Old-school: Come hungry and dig into Schwabian dishes at Schwarzwaldstuben. Be sure to try the Maultaschen, a regional specialty resembling oversized, meat-stuffed ravioli, as well as the Flammkuchen, with a cracker-thin crust topped with crème fraîche, bacon, and onions.
On-trend: At the cheeky Mädchen ohne Abitur, guests can opt for either traditional or modern twists on German dishes. Trendy locals flock to the retro-chic space bathed in red light in the evenings.
Old-School: Situated in a former public toilet, Burgermeister is a Kreuzberg classic. Queue up with revellers returning from the city’s legendary techno clubs and grab a monster cheeseburger mit Pommes (with fries).
On-Trend: Run by a trio of brothers from a family of avid hunters, Hirsch & Eber began life as a food truck before turning into a brick-and-mortar eatery selling burgers made with wild boar. Order the Schickimicki, from the German slang for “fancy,” loaded up with rocket, pears, walnuts, and goat cheese.