The edgy buzz of Neukölln’s streets can lead you to believe that the only dining establishments you’ll find in the area are kebab shops or Bio supermarkets. Here is a guide to show you the hidden gems where you can really eat well in Neukölln, if you just look a little deeper.
Translated as ‘tastebuds’, Papilles’ Parisian owners set the stage for refined, yet understated food with emphasis on taste over quantity. The interior is spacious and stripped back; wooden expanses are sprinkled with delicately placed jars of flowers and clean, white-washed walls are punctuated only by the black chalk blackboard which replaces a menu. Sinking into an antique arm chair, you will be approached by one of the friendly waiters who will list the seasonal choices on offer. The best picks at Papilles are beloved Parisian classics such as the goat’s cheese crouton salad and brunch favorites such as Benny’s eggs (eggs Benedict) and homemade granola. Not to mention, Papilles do the best latte in Neukölln.
The setting at Monella is one of unapologetic simplicity. Deep black walls, rich wooden furniture and minimal decor lay the backdrop to the main event, delectable pizza. The chefs are concerned with little else than producing the best fare and are not afraid to strip their pizzas down to the minimum ingredients. With true rustic Italian flair, thick dough is dashed with either white or red base sauce and showered with a sprinkling of well chosen fresh ingredients, culminating in a flavorful final product.
Tung Long encapsulates the new vibes of Neukölln – its unpredictability, its bustling pace and its laid-back, tolerant character. In its seemingly nondescript location, nestled between phone shops and ‘Späti’s’ on the Karl-Marx Straße, Tung Long surprises with its roaring energy and delicious smells as soon as you enter. You sit with strangers on simple wooden benches and – once you have chosen a dish from the plethora of options – you are presented with a generous portion of fresh, honest home cooking. And, as students are often happy to discover, most dishes can be enjoyed for an affordable price
Wander down to the canal and you will find this perfect little spot for breakfast, lunch or the famous ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’. With its memorable name, Katie’s Blue Cat may be tiny but it is a treasure chest of British themed pastries, biscuits, scones and cakes. You will be charmed by the use of Lyle’s Golden Syrup tins as plant pots and the range of Victorian lemonade on sale. Their chai tea latte is also not to be missed.
On Sonnenallee, in the midst of the numerous falafel vendors, bio supermarkets and chicken joints, sit yourself down at one of the rickety tables of MJ Foodshop, and listen to the faint Arabic drone from the kitchen. This place is redefines the raw-eating revolution in an extravaganza of heaped, colorful plates of avocado and hummus, vegetable medleys and burgers. You may struggle to defeat the mountain of goodness on your plate but a doggy bag is happily yours if so.
This is a truly friendly, family orientated cafe which is adorned with fresh flowers and colorful paintings. Located on a pretty square, it is ideal to spend a relaxed morning with a cup of prime coffee or even a Fassbrause – a non-alcoholic drink which looks like a beer but tastes of apple. In fact, Geschwister Nothaft pride themselves on preparing a never-ending range of drinks, including enticing flavor combinations showcased in their shakes and juices. GN’s food is refreshingly humble and predictable, with grilled sandwiches, muffins and cakes sure to please everyone.
Nestled on the edge of Hasenheide park, Café Blume serves as the perfect ending to a Sunday morning walk. Stop by for a buffet style brunch teaming with a cornucopia of pastries, tall slices of homemade quiche, yogurt-coulis pots and beautiful platters of fruit, meat and cheese. The cafe also caters for an early evening crowd with a Happy Hour on their specialty cocktail, Hugo.
Once you step away form the roar of Sonnenallee, the horseshoe of Böhmische Straße is home to endearing little food joints and bars. Barini NK is the cornerstone modern space in the neighborhood, where you can dine on a fresh menu with highlights of aubergine fritters and filled pasta, for the sweet tooth, luxurious chocolate cookies.
As soon as you walk into Rudimarie and hear the laid-back tunes, smell the rich coffee and take a seat among the quaint Victorian style decor, the atmosphere is set for a tranquil afternoon. The cafe, which lies right on the canal, offers a perfect lunch menu of homemade quiches and salads. The waitresses pride themselves on creating something tailored to your tastes, so don’t be afraid to tell them what you fancy.
As you begin to learn about Neukölln, never disregard a restaurant by its seemingly unremarkable location or appearance. Kokolores is one of these hidden gems. It gives nothing away except the promise of warming romance thanks to the glow of its little candles calling you from within. Its cuisine is wholesome, fresh and cannot be narrowed down to one genre or nationality. Changing regularly, the handwritten menu presents colourful salads, hearty deep dishes full of sweet potato gnocchi or twists on schnitzel and bigos. Over a glass of wine, you take in the unboastful, sanguine ambience, feeling part of the neighbourhood in-the-know.