Berlin is about as cutting edge as cities come, but amongst all the fusion food and concept cuisines, be sure to throw a bit of traditional German fare into the mix. Work your way round Berlin’s best German restaurants with the help of Culture Trip’s handy guide.
Serving up some of the finest Bavarian food in the German capital, Zur Haxe offers traditional charm in trendy Prenzlauer Berg. The cosy restaurant is adorned with homely furnishings, creating an inviting, intimate atmosphere and staff in lederhosen and dirndls add to the authentic, Bavarian pub atmosphere. The menu is filled with rich dishes, promising all the Bavarian favourites that German cuisine is known for, paired perfectly with an ample, well-priced selection of German beers. Zur Haxe is the ideal spot for an authentic German experience in the heart of Berlin.
Southwestern German soul food finds a home in Friedrichshain at St Mauli. The minimalist, contemporary-style restaurant serves up truly delicious Maultaschen, a traditional German pasta-like dish, that originated in the region of Swabia in Baden-Württemberg. The restaurant was started by passionate foodie Nico Bulla, and his first love of spinning records can be felt throughout the restaurant’s cool interior, setting the perfect tone for a relaxed dining experience. A must-try in Berlin, this trendy spot is where traditional and modern elements perfectly come together to delight diners.
Schneeweiß offers patrons delicious Alpine cuisine to be enjoyed in a fresh, white-walled and epically stylish environment. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the schnitzel is rumoured to be one of the best in town. Crystal lamps add a hint of glam to the dining ambience, while a pint of craft beer keeps things relaxed and cosy. It’s probably wise to book a table during peak times.
This Kreuzberg stalwart has served one thing since it opened in 1908: milk-fed rotisserie chicken. Anywhere that can survive over a hundred years on one dish alone must be special and, accordingly, Henne should be high on the Kreuzberg culinary ‘to-do’ list. Pair the rotisserie chicken with traditional German potato salad and cabbage. The decor is charming and old-fashioned, with antiques lining the dining room shelves – an echo of the restaurant’s longevity. Don’t miss out on the extensive Bavarian beer list, and be sure to book early in advance. This rule always applies, but particularly so in summer when the garden area opens up and Henne’s popularity soars.
Between the designer shops, modern art galleries and cafés of Mitte lies a historic dancehall – Clärchens Ballhaus. This century-old two-storey ballroom, founded in 1913, may be best known for its charming faded grandeur and the regular dances it holds, but the food is also a major draw. Here, guests can sit down to German- and Italian-inspired lunch and dinner, served by bow-tied waiters. Staying true to Germany’s love affair with asparagus, the restaurant offers a wide selection of dishes with asparagus as the star — the wheat risotto with white and green asparagus and wild garlic pesto is a must-try. And what traditional German menu would be complete without a wiener schnitzel with potato salad? At Clärchens Ballhaus this classic dish is complemented by cranberry compote and cucumber salad. Looking to work off your meal? Learn to salsa, swing or waltz at one of the evening dance classes.
Although its name is a rough translation of “the last resort”, Zur Letzen Instanz is a popular choice for Mitte dining, serving up fine, regionally sourced German fare such as apple tart and pork knuckle. First opened in 1621 and claiming to have served Napoleon himself, Zur Letzen Instanz combines old-fashioned furnishings with an elegant ambience that make Berlin’s oldest restaurant feel surprisingly modern. Take the time to admire both levels, connected by a spiral staircase, and check out the 200-year-old tiled stove on display before sitting down for a plate of meatballs and a cold glass of local beer.
When Sara Hallmann realised the small German village of Rixdorf in Neukölln was bereft of a healthy everyday breakfast and lunch spot, she opened the restaurant Hallman & Klee. Hallmann grew up working on her uncle’s farm in southern Germany, which is apparent in her seasonal kitchen that balances modern German breakfast and lunch plates such as bread, spreads and eggs with organic ingredients. And it is their three-course dinner menu where the gastronomic creativity of Hallman & Klee really has the chance to shine. Their tantalising French-style steamed mussels and steak tartare are prepared with a master’s touch and are a permanent feature on their menu. Just be prepared to wait in line, or make a reservation in advance.
If you’re close to Gesundbrunnen, or on the train passing through Gesundbrunnen, you will hear Germans talking about Curry Baude – if you understand German that is. Just listen closely for Curry Baude and watch as the locals lick their lips aching to get out of the train and onto their Curry Baude dish.
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