Berlin restaurant recommendations
Paul and I 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: $$$ D
Our favorite high-end place with amazing food and attentive service in a stunning setting. Make a reservation well in advance, and arrive early to have a specialty drink in the very hip bar just in front of the restaurant. For a special end of meal birthday surprise, ask them in advance to prepare a dessert combo for the birthday person. Quite unforgettable.. Their tasting menu (entire table must participate) is exceptional and is also a great deal.
recommended: rock shrimp with cilantro and chili, lobster, cod
Neni Restaurant $$ 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.
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.
Authentic Austrian food on Motzstrasse. Some outdoor seating.
recommended: Pork Wiener Schnitzel, Sissi Torte cakes
Oh Panama $$$
An eclectic fusion of South American and Asian, from the same team behind Katz Orange. Outstanding food, great service, cool atmosphere.
recommended: Nahm Thok Beef “tacos”, Seabass ceviche, Beef tartare, Lamb.
3. Mitte/Gendarmenmarkt/Potsdamer Platz:
This is primarily a speakeasy-type bar, more than a restaurant. But it’s worth a special trip. Original and interesting cocktails are served in unique glassware. The decor takes you back in time to another era, and the restrooms are a crazy experience that you just have to see to comprehend. They do have some (quite expensive) light food, but I wouldn’t try to make a dinner out of it. Come here for a cocktail or two before walking somewhere else nearby for the main meal.
Tim Raue $$$$
A 2 star Michelin-rated Asian restaurant from one of Berlin’s famous chefs, close to Checkpoint Charlie. Incredible multi-course meals that make for a great date night or intimate group dinner. Caution: food runs a good 120 Euros+ per person, and drinks/wine are on top of that.
One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, offering a good combo of French and German food in an art-deco setting, with great service. Ample outdoor seating which offers a view of Gendarmenmarkt square.
recommended: Tarte Flambees (flatbreads), steaks, duck dishes.
Indian Club $$$
High-end Indian restaurant within the Adlon Hotel next to the Holocaust Memorial.
Weingruen $$ D G **
Our favorite neighborhood go-to place. A hidden gem in Mitte in a slightly odd location about half way between Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz. Nice decor, good service, great wine, interesting menu specializing in grilled meats and fish, and not too pricey.
recommended: salmon on a plank, grilled meat dishes
Gendarmerie Restaurant $$$ 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 $$ D
A classic French bistro a few blocks from Checkpoint Charlie.
Italian tastiness a few blocks from Checkpoint Charlie. Slightly irritating though: the lighting is too bright and cold.
4. Mitte/Hackesche Markt:
A smallish but stylish restaurant on Torstrasse, off of Hackesche Markt. Although in a hotel, you don’t get that ‘in a hotel’ vibe. Interesting menu consisting both of shareable small plates and main course items. Note that the layout of the restaurant doesn’t lend itself well to having several tables together for a larger group.
Crackers $$$$ D
Through an obscure gate, down a long corridor, through a back kitchen, you emerge into a cavernous yet refined and sophisticated dining space reminiscent of the dance clubs of old Berlin. In fact, the restaurant’s website brags about its ventilation system so perhaps it was a club in its former life. The food is delicious and artfully prepared. Their sister restaurant Cookies Cream upstairs has a vegetarian only menu and one Michelin star.
recommended: burrata, steaks, beef tartare
International Italian chain located in the SoHo house here in Berlin. Great starters and pasta, hip crowd.
Katz Orange $$$ 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 $ NCC
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.
recommended: pulled pork sandwich, pastrami reuben (pricey at 17 Euros, but worth it), fresh salads
5. Kreuzberg/ elsewhere
Long March Canteen $$ G **
This is one of our absolute favorites. Chinese dim sum at its best. Fantastic dumplings and small plates that are great for sharing. Note: most tables are communal with picnic-style benches.
recommended: cold spicy chicken, eggplant in “indescribable” sauce, meat/pork dumplings
Volt (in Kreuzberg) $$$ 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: Pizza Ndjuga, Caponata
Slightly higher-end Italian in the Friedrichshein area. Lots of outdoor seating.