Part of former East Berlin, arty Friedrichshain retains plenty of old-school charm. Home to GDR-era buildings and the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, this neighbourhood is packed with traces of Berlin’s rich history.
Colourful Friedrichshain represents a vibrant mix of history, modern social movements and the intermingling of different cultures. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the area’s streets – adorned with murals – are now home to a broad range of places to eat. From traditional German cuisine and brunch buffets to vegan kebabs and the tastiest ramen in town, the best restaurants in Friedrichshain offer something to suit every taste.
This 100 percent vegan Vietnamese restaurant in Boxhagener Platz serves up delicious small plates – perfect for sharing – that are always prepared with fresh, local produce. The menu features a mix of traditional cuisine and contemporary vegan interpretations of the classics – try the tofu green curry or the ‘shaolin pockets’ filled with spinach and topped with a mango curry sauce. The restaurant pays homage to Vietnam during the ’90s, when a shortage of meat saw creative cooks forced to come up with tasty vegan alternatives. The cosy, welcoming interior of 1990 Vegan Living is also styled to reflect the era: “The atmosphere of our location is like in a family home in Vietnam … Similar to grandma’s kitchen,” as stated on its website.
Ramen fans rejoice – there’s a new noodle hotspot in town. Ideal for the cold Berlin winter, Hako Ramen’s rich broth and noodles make for the ultimate comfort food. The restaurant features wooden benches and vintage Japanese posters throughout, and the menu is simple but certainly not lacking in choice. Along with classic ramen dishes, there are a couple of innovative mix-ups, such as the tonkotsu tan tan, which combines the creamy sesame broth of a tan tan with a piece of braised pork belly. Hako Ramen also caters to vegetarians and vegans with its miso, shio and tan tan bowls served with soy meat and an egg or shiitake mushrooms. For al fresco dining in summer, there is also an outdoor seating area.
Located on buzzing Warschauer Straße, the Michelberger Restaurant is a popular all-day dining spot. The chefs use seasonal produce from the farms, forests and fields of nearby Brandenburg to create an innovative menu that draws on traditional German cuisine. For dinner, try the lamb with pickled elderflower, if available, and in the morning, go for the generous breakfast buffet, complete with house-made jams, spreads and chutneys.
Since opening in 2007, Vöner has been offering delicious meat-free alternatives to the classic late-night snack – the döner kebab. Its famous vegan ‘meat’ is actually seitan, and it’s even sliced from a rotating kebab spit. It’s smothered in a tasty sauce of your choosing and served on fluffy pita bread stuffed to the brim with fresh veggies. The Vöner menu also includes vegan burgers, currywurst, nuggets and scrumptious house-made fries.
Khwan is the closest thing you’ll find to Bangkok street food in Berlin. The Thai barbecue joint has gone from humble beginnings as a pop-up street-food stand to its current, semi-permanent location at RAW-Gelände – a lively cultural complex that’s also home to nightclubs, bars, art spaces and an array of street art. From giant oysters to grilled pork belly with green apple, peanuts, pickled garlic and ginger, each dish is lovingly prepared and smoked on a wood-fired pit.
While Zeus Pizza and Pide is unassuming from the outside, this laid-back restaurant – its space adorned with messages of adoration from happy customers – is a firm favourite among local residents and in-the-know tourists. Serving up Italian pizzas and pide (Turkish flatbread), Zeus is a reasonably priced and popular spot for lunch, dinner and late-night post-party snacks (it closes at 4am on Friday and Saturday nights). The dedicated chefs use wholemeal, organic dough and fresh, natural ingredients, and there’s even a vegan menu.
When you’re craving a burger and fries, BurgerAMT in Boxhagener Platz is sure to hit the spot. Offering more than 20 different burgers, the restaurant’s creative menu features the classics alongside high-stacked themed burgers, such as the Smokey Pig with bacon and barbecue sauce and Green Berlin with guacamole. Vegetarians are well catered for, too, with halloumi burgers and veggie burgers topped with satay sauce among the meat-free options. Just remember to only order the large fries if you’re ravenous – BurgerAMT doesn’t skimp on portions.
Located inside the trendy nhow BERLIN hotel beside the River Spree, Fabrics Restaurant on Stralauer Allee is a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. Guests dine amid an exuberant pink, white and green interior while looking out onto the river. The restaurant’s creative culinary delights are inspired by traditions from across the world and change regularly – the lobster ravioli, chateaubriand steak and seared scallops are a few of the past highlights.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Alice Dundon.
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