Charlottenburg’s restaurants are proof that the heart of former West Berlin is one of the big contributors to the creative development of the food scene in the German capital. We take a look at the ten best places to dine in this affluent and innovative suburb of Berlin.
Glass aims to prove that fine-dining can be contemporary and informal without sacrificing quality. Israeli chef and owner Gal Ben-Moshe transformed what was once a gym into a minimalist restaurant space and in doing so placed the focus squarely back on the food itself. This informal, enthusiastic approach is shared by the staff, who are happy to answer any questions regarding ingredients, inspiration and environmental sustainability. The menu changes daily, with dishes inspired by Berlin itself. The prix-fixe menus are more affordable than the restaurant’s five-star counterparts and vegan versions of each dish are also available.
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Café-Restaurant Wintergarten im Literaturhaus
Cafe, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, German, $$$
Just off the commercial thoroughfare of Kurfürstendamm, the Café-Restaurant Wintergarten im Literaturhaus is a relaxing space set in a 19th-century villa on Fasanenstraße. The registered historic building is now home to both the café-restaurant and the Literaturhaus, a site for literary gatherings in West Berlin. This cultural hotspot is the perfect place for breakfast or to indulge in the beloved German afternoon ritual of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake). The historic interior is complemented by the large-scale contemporary paintings gracing the walls. In summer, the seating spills out into the garden that connects the restaurant to the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin.
Renowned Catalan chef Paco Pérez brings avant-garde cuisine from his celebrated Miramar restaurant in Spain to Berlin’s stylish Das Stue Hotel, picking up an additional Michelin star to sit alongside the four others he already owns. Cinco, Pérez’s first restaurant outside Spain, refers both to the five senses and to the craftsmanship of the five fingers creating this experimental and precise cuisine known as ‘molecular gastronomy.’ With his exceptional pedigree, having worked with French chef Michel Guérard and been the protégé of cooking legend Ferran Adrià, Paco Pérez hopes to elevate the normal dining experience into an evening of culinary bliss, offering a 25-course ‘Experience’ tasting menu that is awash with new textures, flavours and aromas.
First Floor’s award-winning chef, Matthias Diether has consistently maintained Michelin star status for the First Floor restaurant since 1999 with his refined German cuisine infused with French influences. The interior is also full of rich textures such as mahogany and fine linens, and the restaurant itself overlooks the Elephant Gate of the Tiergarten Zoo. In addition to its culinary reputation, the restaurant also boasts a selection of 1,500 wines compiled by renowned sommelier Gunnar Tietz.
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Known for being one of the best places to find superb sushi in Berlin, Kuchi opened on Kantstraße in 1999. The restaurant prides itself on serving inventive rolls such as the Cajun Salmon roll and the jalapeño-laced TNT Roll. Or try the perennial favourite ‘My Best Friend’s Roll’, a combination of veggie tempura, salmon, watercress, and their own sauce.
On the 14th floor of the InterContinental Hotel, Hugos combines contemporary cuisine and dramatic views of the German capital including the Brandenburg Gate and the Siegessäule. Each table enjoys an unparalleled panorama, accompanied by chef Thomas Kammeier’s Michelin-starred, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Tasting menus are available, including those focused specifically on fish or truffles. For the truly adventurous, there is also a ‘surprise’ tasting menu on offer.
Offering something different from the traditionally meat-orientated dining options in Berlin, Lon Men’s Noodle House is a standout Asian restaurant in Charlottenburg’s ‘Chinatown’. Locals flock to this small Vietnamese restaurant for their signature dishes, such as wontons in chilli oil, beef noodle soup or handmade dim sum dumplings. While much more minimalistic than some of the other Asian restaurants in the neighbourhood, the combination of consistently tasty food, friendly service and affordable pricing makes this a perennially popular spot on Kantstraße.
Bar, Restaurant, German, French, European, Vegetarian, $$$
A Charlottenburg institution, Paris Bar has been welcoming artists and famous patrons since Austrian owner Michel Würthle took over the restaurant in 1979. Würthle replaced the kitsch Parisian décor with the work of contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst and Martin Kippenberger, who helped install the restaurant’s initial art collection. Guests flock here for the classic French dishes, such as steak frites or salade niçoise, and to soak up the history and aura of a spot that’s been graced by celebrities from David Bowie and Helmut Newton to Robert De Niro,and Madonna.
A family owned business since 1928 and a rare war survivor, this German-Polish delicatessen has also been celebrated by chef and travel foodie Anthony Bourdain who declared it his ‘best meal in Germany’. Rogacki’s veteran employees, decked out in their classic green attire, attend to food stations that offer a dizzying array of fresh and smoked fish, sausages, poultry, game, salads, breads, and even an impressive selection of champagnes. If you are overwhelmed by the selection, you can’t go wrong with the fried fish fillets and a side of their signature potato salad. Be prepared to eat standing up though, unless you manage to grab one of the few outdoor tables.
Schnitzelei, Charlottenburg | Image Courtesy of Burgermeister
Eat as the locals do and order some delicious schnitzel. Located on the Spree, with a beer garden for summer evenings, Schnitzelei is the place to try this eponymous dish, so closely associated with German and Austrian cuisine. The restaurant offers gigantic portions of the classic veal wienerschnitzel, and many other varieties including a goats-cheese schnitzel for vegetarian diners and even a vanilla ice cream schnitzel for dessert. To keep things interesting, the restaurant also specializes in what they call ‘German tapas’, small dishes of tasty items such as Königsberger Klopse (meat balls with a caper sauce) or plums wrapped in bacon.