Home to some of the German capital’s best-loved landmarks, Mitte is among Berlin’s burgeoning foodie hotspots. The best restaurants in Mitte certainly live up to the neighbourhood’s cultural and historical prowess.
Given its vibrant and diverse cultural life, it’s no surprise that Mitte is making a name for itself on Berlin’s dining scene. From eating schnitzel in a traditional ballroom to fine dining in a former school gym, the restaurants in Berlin’s Mitte district are bound to tantalise your taste buds.
Bar, Restaurant, European, German, Austrian, Wine, Beer, $$$
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.
When architect Piero Zanatta teamed up with renowned restaurateur Giacomo Mannucci, To The Bone was born – a sleek Italian restaurant famed for its selection of fine meats. The pair pay homage to their Northern Italian heritage, while fitting in with the artsy neighbourhood that surrounds their restaurant on Torstraße; guests are welcomed by rich, dark green walls, industrial concrete floors and an extravagant velvet-padded bench by Italian designers Eusebi Arredamenti. To The Bone’s exceptional steak menu features on- and -off-the-bone cuts of beef imported from Italy that have been dry-aged for several weeks, while vegetarians can enjoy innovative dishes like courgette flowers with ricotta, mint and tomato salsa.
Berlin has lots to offer on the Vietnamese cuisine front, but with daring flavours, bold colours and a generous amount of herbs, District Mot has become Mitte’s premier spot for Vietnamese street food. From the aromatic pho nam noodle soup to the buzzing atmosphere and plentiful Sriracha hot sauce found on every distressed-timbre table, District Mot recalls the street food stalls of Ho Chi Minh City. Their ‘Young Bun’ bao burger has joined their permanent menu after taking home the crown (three times!) at the local food competition, Burgers & Hip Hop. Red onions, roasted sesame, lemongrass, fresh coriander, crispy soybean skin, fresh mango and their homemade sauces make this dish a must-try.
Fresh flavours meet architectural history at American-style deli MOGG. This Mitte eatery is located in a former Jewish girls’ school dating from 1930, and is best known for its Reuben sandwich, which will have you thinking you’ve made a wrong turn and ended up in New York. Served on rye bread, the Reuben sandwich is filled with a generous portion of juicy pastrami, swiss cheese, russian dressing and pickled cabbage. Other classics on offer include matzo-ball soup and cream cheese bagels. The former school, built in the New Objectivity architectural style, is also home to a number of galleries, and the Pauly Saal French restaurant – be sure to stop by the mini exhibition detailing the history of the building and Berlin’s historical Jewish neighbourhoods.
At this buzzing Japanese and Korean fusion burger joint, you can watch your meal being made in the open-plan kitchen. A young crowd meets for twists on traditional burgers – like a classic beef patty with tomato, red onion and ginger-honey mustard sauce served in a bao bun – and more unusual variants such as the ebi burger, packed with black tiger shrimp. At only €4-€5 (£3.50-4.50) each, the burgers are a veritable steal. Follow your bao with mochi or a refreshing green-tea ice cream.
Bar, Restaurant, German, Contemporary, European, $$$
Pauly Saal is visually striking, from the high ceilings to the exuberant green banquettes and the huge red and grey rocket that hangs over the entrance to the kitchen. Acclaimed restaurateurs Boris Radczun and Stephan Landwehr, together with head chef Sebastian Leyer, offer a menu of classic French cuisine, influenced in particular by the regions of the Côte d’Azur and Alsace. The seasonal menu, which uses locally sourced ingredients, includes such dishes as sea bass filet with artichoke and sundried tomatoes, and a sumptuous roast rack of lamb.
Founded by landscape architect Ling Ma and railway engineer Xiaoting Zhang, Chinese noodle house The Tree could easily be mistaken for a minimalist concept store, florist or tea house. But there’s more to The Tree than exposed brick and the repurposed bathtub that stands as an art installation in the centre of the space; owners Ling Ma and Xiaoting Zhang pay homage to their Sichuan and Donbei heritage via aromatic cold starters and noodle dishes. The stars of the show are the handmade pressed noodles, the secret recipe for which was passed down from a family friend. Guests can choose to have their noodles served ‘Dan-Dan style’ with a spicy sauce, or enjoy them in a meat or vegetarian broth. You dine amidst an urban forest, and listen to the sounds of birds chirping from strategically placed speakers.
Israeli dining and drinking spot YAFO transports customers to burgeoning foodie destination Tel Aviv. Founders Shani Ahiel and Felix Offermann dreamed of creating a relaxed restaurant and bar that would welcome a constant stream of guests from lunchtime, through to evening drinks, dinner and nightcaps, open until the last person leaves. True to this laid-back vibe, the space is furnished with charmingly mismatched tables and chairs, lampshades and greenery. When it comes to the food, the mouth-watering hummus, garnished with slow-roasted cauliflower and drizzled with fresh tahini, is among the most popular dishes. Pro tip: be sure to make a dinner reservation as YAFO gets very busy at night, but you can always sip on an Aracboy (a moscow mule-esque cocktail made with anise-flavoured arak, cucumber, lemon and ginger beer) as you wait at the bar.
At this Asian-inspired Michelin-star restaurant, experience and indulgence are the name of the game, with creative, modern twists on Asian fusion “characterised as a combination of Japanese product perfection, Thai aromas and Chinese cooking philosophy”, according to German chef Tim Raue. Choose between an à la carte, signature six-course or extravagant eight-course menu. ‘Menu 8’ includes mazara prawn, imperial caviar and wagyu beef, which can be complemented by wines selected by dedicated sommelier André Macionga, who presides over Tim Raue’s 1,200-strong wine list. With a retro interior, Tim Raue combines refined culinary skill and a sense of fun.