Food and Drink, Berlin
At every second corner in Berlin you can find these little stands where you can buy a typical german dish, a typical Berlin dish, the Currywurst & Pommes. It is a fried sausage with a tomatoe curry sauce and french fries with it. It is a must do to try one when in the city.
This is more for the average American or British traveler to Berlin gleaned from a number of friends who have visited. At breakfast, after a night of intense activity, they were looking forward to a large breakfast and were surprised by the buffet that was offered at the hostel they were staying at. It consisted of sliced meats and cheeses, bread, hard rolls, mueslix, juices and jams, milk and tea. They were appalled though I thought it was quite generous.
"Where are the scrambled eggs and sausages, the fried potatoes and biscuits?!" they exclaimed outraged, causing heads to turn in mild curiousity.
"In downtown Anytown, USA? I don't know." I replied with a smile.
Most breakfast here consists of rolls or bread, maybe some cheese and sliced tomatoes. Something on the lighter side along with tea. Sure you can go places like a nice Irish Pub, Oscar Wilde's Bar, for example, and have a hearty breakfast of the heavy, greasy variety, but in general for Berliners (lol) its light.
When you are in Berlin, you don't drink wine, you drink beer. That's my modest opinion.
In the Netherlands it would be quite strange when someone, especially a girl, would offer half a liter of beer, but in Germany (and Belgium too) that's just fine!
The best beer according to me is Paulaner. It is a white beer whitch you can compare a little bit with Hoegaarden or Wieckse Witte.
You've also got beer with sirup and that seems to be a Berlin speciality, but I thought it was very disgusting! It was green or pink and I don't think beer is supposed to be green.
The Internationales Berliner Bierfestival is a blast of a festival held near the Alexanderplatz. I counted 3 separate major stages where bands were playing, and the booths of beer vendors went on for blocks.
The beers were from everywhere, with Bavarian and Hessen companies having the strongest showing. But there were also (very good) beers from Kenya, Namibia, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, and elsewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central America.
Check their website for future dates.
One very particular bier in Berlin is the Berliner Weisse. It's made by mixing either a green (woodruff) or red (raspberry) syrup with an effervescent and very sour locally-produced wheat beer. It's low in alcohol and refreshing in summer. I like Shultheiss' version plain. It's a very tart taste sensation, similar to a lambique in Belgium. You will get condescending stares if you order it this way, but if you enjoy tart things, give it a try.
Happy hour that is an hour or rather a few hours where some drinks are sold at discount prices is not exclusively Berlin local custom.
In Berlin many restaurants and most bars/pubs at least in artistic district of Kreuzberg offered Happy Hour which lasted usually from say 7.00 pm to 9 or even 11 pm. In some bars Happy Hour was exclusively from Sunday to Thurday and for local/German drinks/beer exclusively.
In some restaurants there were discounts for some meals in the afternoon.
Some local inexepensive beers had quite funny labels and names lake this one bottle on my picture: "Kyritzer Mord und Totschlag". It was dunkel beer brewed by Brauerei Dessow (Oettinger).
It was reddish black, mild and rather sweet (chocolate flavour) beer.
No house party is complete without a bottle of bubbly Rotkäppchen sekt. At the entrances to clubs you will find emty bottles of this stuff and seeing a stack of Rotkäppchen bottles together strikes warm feelings in your heart. (Rotkäppchen = little red riding hood) Since France for some reason is the only place with the right to make champagne because of weird copyright laws, Germany makes the fizzy sekt which is basically the same thing except better. ;) It is also known as a really big East German product, so that makes it even better going down!
Walking around Berlin's central districts I met a few times street vendors equiped with movable food carts. They were usually built on the base of a bicycle and equiped with small grill.
The vendors sold usually hot German sausages (rostbratwurst), pretzels (brezel) and other snacks.
Drink a 'Berliner Weisse' in Summer! Berliner weisse is known as the champagne of beers. The Berliner Weisse style has a pronounced sour taste, and is very pale, effervescent, and lightly hopped. The acidic characteristic is central to Berliner Weisse. Modern versions are less sour, with no esters. Berliners often add to their weisse a dose of sweetened raspberry syrup (which turns it red) or woodruff syrup (which turns it green) to balance the acidity. Weisse is often considered a summer drink.
Described to me as "fruity & deoicious" - yeah - they saw me coming!!!
It is a light, newly fermented wheat beer that continues to ferment in the bottle. It comes two ways - red or green. I had the red which is mixed with raspberry to give it it's "fruity & delicious" flavour. I found it more like drinking liquid sherbet. It was neither fruity nor delicious and I was certainly not going to give the green version a whirl! - Apparently it is sweet woodruff syrup that gives it the vivid green colour and makes it taste "slightly medicinal" (hmmm, sounds like a corker!!!)
Berliner Weisse Mit Schuss comes in a whopping big glass with a straw and is a Berlin speciality.
It can only be criminal negligence not to try currywurst, when in Berlin! that is, hot sausage with ketch-up sauce and curry -fries on the side are optional- or the lighter versions of bratwrust, backwurst, etc...
enjoy the crime in full, at the oldest place in town, Konnopke's Imbiss.
Located just under the U-bahn rails of "Eberswalderstrasse" station, on Schönhauser Allee 44a, at Prenzlauer Berg and is open Mon - Fri 06:00 - 20:00, Sat 12:00 - 19:00
When staying in Berlin it's not necessary to have a breakfast possibility included in your accommodation. There are a huge amount of restaurants offering breakfast for reasonable prices and, what's best in my opinion, the breakfast (or brunch if you like) is served until 16pm, in some places even till 17 pm, so you don't have to get up early in the morning just to make it to the hotel breakfast, which usually ends at 10.
On weekends there are big breakfast/brunch buffets served in many restaurants in Berlin, especially in Prenzlauer Berg area. The buffet usually includes a variety of bread, cheeses, cold cuts, fresh fruit, pancakes, to mention but a few. But most importantly, you'll be sure to get your stomach full! You can eat as much as you like for under 10 euros in most places, only drinks are usually not included in the price.
If you happen to be in Berlin on a weekend, your visit won't be complete without trying out a breakfast buffet!
Many younger people have rather small flats and would rather meet or entertain friends at local cafes. There are too many to name, both with signs out from so you can find them and those that are "secret" with needing passwords or to enter with a local who knows where to go. Any neighborhood you go to there are small "weinstube" and such things, nearly every corner.
Very nice to sit and have a meal or just a beer and talk and laugh. This is the Schwarz Sauer cafe/bar just around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
The website link below is to a travel guide which can provide information for hotels, cafes and such. I know a lot of people like to research online before visiting a place, but really for Berlin..you can look up place you might like to go for eating and drinking online to get a map to location or something. But really it´s best just to get out and walk a certain area wherever you are and if it looks good to you, prices meet your pocketbook, go inside and have a nice time. Ask a local or someone who visits frequently if you are looking for a specific type cafe or restaurant to get a real feel for a place because over internet one can´t always especially if you want to go where locals go.
Quite often if your order a schnapps it will come in a miniature bottle. The tradion is to tap the bottle upside down on the table then unscrew the cap, place this on your nose , then put the bottle in your mouth tilt your head back and drink!