Berlin restaurant recommendations
We are frequently asked by friends planning a visit to Berlin where to go for a good meal. It took awhile, but now that we’ve been in Berlin for coming on two years, we have a growing list of favorite restaurants that we would recommend to others. Admittedly, these are somewhat biased towards Mitte, where we live and have tried more places than in other neighborhoods. (special apologies to my friends in Prenzlauer Berg, which is a great hood…we just don’t know many restaurants there yet).
Guide to my letter codes next to the restaurant name/link:
$ economical, $$ moderate, $$$ pricey
B good for brunch, D Hip design, G good for groups/corporate events, NCC no credit cards accepted, ** one of our absolute favorites
1. Western part of the city/Charlottenburg:
Restaurant Grace: $$$ D
Our favorite high-end place with amazing food and attentive service in a stunning setting. Make a reservation well in advance, and arrive early to have a specialty drink in the very hip bar just in front of the restaurant. For a special end of meal birthday surprise, ask them in advance to prepare a dessert combo for the birthday person. Quite unforgettable.
recommended: rock shrimp with cilantro and chili, lobster, cod
Neni Restaurant $$ D G
Fun middle Eastern cuisine in the super chic 25 Hours Hotel Bikini right at the Zoo. Indoor and outdoor seating, and afterwards you can walk across the hall to the cool Monkey Bar.
Buddha Republic $$
We have struggled to find great Indian here that has a kick and enough spice. This place fits the bill. On a nice strolling street near happening Savignyplatz, it has a great menu and attentive service.
recommended: Madras or Vindaloo coconut lamb served in an actual coconut shell.
Nu: $ G
Tasty Thai and other Asian specialties in a lively setting adjacent to Savignyplatz. Note that most tables are gigantic squares with picnic benches, so couples will often end up in corners next to each other, but seated next to a stranger on the other side. The tables are great for a group of 8, though.
Excellent if somewhat basic food, plus nice service in a classy location on the Western part of Ku’damm, a few blocks west of some of the city’s highest-end shopping. Some outdoor seating.
recommended: Ceaesar salad, lobster soup, surf and turf (lobster plus filet)
Grosz: $$ B
Located in a beautiful, historic building right on one of the most exclusive blocks of Ku’damm, this is a weekend brunch favorite but also has a full lunch and dinner menu. A stand-up area near the front provides classic charm if you just want to grab a quick breakfast pastry and coffee rather than a sit-down meal.
recommended: Gruyere omelet, pastrami sandwich, fresh-squeezed juices
Il Valentino $$ D **
Our absolute favorite Italian in the city, and our go-to place where the owner knows our names and welcomes us like family. Great service and lots of specials which keeps the menu varied.
recommended: tuna appetizer with sesame crust, asparagus with parmesan and proscuitto, fresh pasta with grated cheese from the cheese wheel, with truffles
More $ B
A ‘see and be seen’ scene on Motzstrasse, one of the main gay streets in Schöneberg. This is sort of like the old Food Bar in New York. Friendly, English-speaking staff and always lots of international tourists who are keen to socialize. Extensive outdoor seating.
Update: after changing owners earlier this year, menu has become much more limited and is fairly disappointing.
Sissi $$ NCC
Just down the street from More and also on Motzstrasse. A small Austrian restaurant with excellent food and friendly staff. Some outdoor seating.
recommended: Wiener Schnitzel, Sissi Torte cakes
3. Mitte/Gendarmenmarkt/Potsdamer platz:
Tim Raue $$$$
A 2 star Michelin-rated Asian restaurant from one of Berlin’s famous chefs, close to Checkpoint Charlie. Incredible multi-course meals that make for a great date night or intimate group dinner. Caution: food runs a good 120 Euros+ per person, and drinks/wine are on top of that.
Solid, authentic Italian with nice views of Gendarmenmarkt. Friendly, multi-lingual staff. Bonus: across the street from the famous chocolatiere Fassbender and Rausch, where you should head for a sweet dessert.
recommended: spicy pasta with shrimp
Mesa Restaurant (Hyatt Hotel) $$
Interesting German food served in small-plate/tapas style, at the Hyatt Potsdamer Platz. It doesn’t overly feel like you’re in a hotel, so don’t let the location scare you away.
Brasserie Gendarmenmarkt $$$
One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, offering a good combo of French and German food in an art-deco setting, with great service. Ample outdoor seating which offers a view of Gendarmenmarkt square.
recommended: Tarte Flambees (flatbreads), steaks, duck dishes.
Weingruen $$ D G **
A hidden gem in Mitte in a slightly odd location about half way between Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz. Nice decor, good service, interesting menu specializing in grilled meats and fish, and not too pricey.
recommended: salmon on a plank, grilled meat dishes
Gendarmerie Restaurant $$$ D G
A block off of Gendarmenmarkt, this one is especially good for larger groups or corporate dinners. The highlight is the gigantic main room of the restaurant with 15 foot ceilings and impressive artwork.
Entrecote $$ D
A classic French bistro a few blocks from Checkpoint Charlie.
Sal e Tabacchi $$
Italian tastiness a few blocks from Checkpoint Charlie. Slightly irritating though: the lighting is too bright and cold.
4. Mitte/Hackesche Markt:
Mani Hotel restaurant $$ D
A smallish but stylish restaurant on Torstrasse, off of Hackesche Markt. Although in a hotel, you don’t get that ‘in a hotel’ vibe. Interesting menu consisting both of shareable small plates and main course items. Note that the layout of the restaurant doesn’t lend itself well to having several tables together for a larger group.
Katz Orange $$$ D
A happening night out in a location full of character and charm. Cocktails are interesting and tasty and the food is excellently prepared, however the main courses are quite limited- often 2 meat items and one vegetarian. After eating here, walk down the block to the hip street level bar of the Amano Hotel for an after dinner drink.
recommended: the goose fat fries are worth the cholesterol splurge
Yo Soy $$
Spanish tapas in the heart of Hackesche Markt. Fun and economical, but gets loud and crowded on weekends.
Pantry (actually a bit away from Hackesche Markt) $$ D NCC
Very good continental European food in a hip setting. They don’t take credit cards, though, so bring cash.
recommended: spicy beef salad
Mogg and Melzer $
A cozy little sandwich and salad shop on an interesting street near Hackesche Markt. Great for a mid-day snack while enjoying this area of the city. Bonus: you can pay at the table using your PayPal app.
recommended: pulled pork sandwich, fresh salads
Sushi Club $$
Excellent, fresh Sushi just a block from Gendarmenmarkt.
Elsewhere but worth the cab ride:
Long March Canteen $$ G **
This is one of our absolute favorites. Chinese dim sum at its best. Fantastic dumplings and small plates that are great for sharing. Note: most tables are communal with picnic-style benches.
recommended: cold spicy chicken, eggplant in “indescribable” sauce, meat/pork dumplings
Volt $$$ D
A gastro-experience in an old converted power substation (hence the name). Has both fixed priced menus and a la carte items. Good for a date night or special occasion.
Sage $$ G D
A bit out of the way but in a beautiful old warehouse that’s been converted to a large restaurant. Varied combo of everything from meats and high-end veggie items to basic pizzas (although I’ve heard mixed reviews on the pizzas). Very good for groups. In the summer there’s an outdoor beach bar area on the Spree where you can sit in a lounge chair and enjoy a drink as the boats go by. However note that service can be very spotty especially when they’re crowded.
recommended: goat cheese salad, rack of lamb
La Bionda $$
Our favorite Italian in the Mehringdamm area. Very casual with great pastas and pizzas. Afterwards you can stroll the adjacent Viktoriapark or check out some of the nearby shopping streets of the neighborhood.
recommended: burgers, salads
Ristorante Amano $$
Slightly higher-end Italian in the Friedrichshein area. Lots of outdoor seating.