After a very early start in London, we arrived in Berlin at around 9am. We left our bags at our hotel and hit the streets ready for a big day of checking out the sites. After a short wander we realised it was morning tea time and a caffeine hit was in order.
We came across a modern café selling Lavazza coffee, which is normally a good sign. We then realised that the café was actially just called Lavazza Caffe Espresso Bar, presumably owned by Lavazza.
The café was a bright and friendly looking place. We sat down on a comfy red lounge and a smiling waitress cam over to take our order.
Favorite Dish: We both had a coffee and shared a slice of an almond tart. The coffee was excellent, and the 'latte art' on the top was the best I have seen in a long while.
It was a nice place for a short break and a chance to look at the itinerary for the day ahead.
Our first day in Berlin, it was well after lunch time and we still hadn't eaten. We got to the stage when we just had to stop at the next half decent place we saw. It happened to be Andy's Diner.
Ok, so it doesn't sound too German, and going to an American style Diner for our first meal in Berlin wasn't really the plan, but when we saw what their specials of the day were we decided to stay - turns out they had some very tasty Germany meals on offer too.
Andy's is a chain of restaurants in Berlin. The one we went to was located between Berliner Dom & Alexanderplatz. There was a large courtyard area where we chose to sit as the weather was fine.
Favorite Dish: The menu item that had caught our eye was the Spargel (Asparagus) & Schnitzel. I had seen a TV program the previous week and it showed this dish, consisting of a serve of the in-season big white asparagus, schnitzel and potato, with a cheesy sauce on top.
So, how could we go past ordering this....and a couple of big beers as well - a Berliner for me an Erdinger for Alex.
The asparagus was delicious and went really well with the schnitzel. There was way too much of the cheesy sauce for my liking, but it scraped off ok.
It was an enjoyable lunch and filled us up ready for a few more hours exploring the city.
After a big lunch of German fare, we were just wanting a smallish dinner and didn't want to fancy a meal either, just something relaxed and close to our hotel as we were tired from a busy day.
It was Saturday night, and after walking around the streets near the hotel we determined that any of the restaurants we wanted to eat in were fully booked. Then I remember an ok looking Italian restaurant I had seen earlier that day, and they had a spare table, so Italian is was.
Trattoria Peretti was filled with groups of locals having a night out with friends. The staff were friendly and there was just a nice feel about the place.
Favorite Dish: We both decided that we wanted pizza, and seeing as we weren't that hungry you would have thought that we would have just ordered one pizza to share. Nope, we ordered one each - and they were huge! You can't really tell from the photos, but they were big. It was hard to cut them as they were hanging over the sides of the plates and we could barely fit them both on the table.
Alex had the Caravaggio Pizza and I had the Fontana. They were really tasty but there was no way we could eat all of it! A half litre of their house red wine helped to round off the meal perfectly.
Alex's parents lived in Germany for a few years before he was born, and used to tell him about the huge cakes they used to buy and eat every Sunday. Hence, Alex was on the lookout for a place in Berlin where he could see and sample some similar cakes. When he read about Opernpalais he thought he might be onto a winner - and he was. I have since read that Opernpalais has the largest range of cakes in Berlin!
Opernpalais is a lovely old café located just off Unter den Linden, beside the State Opera House. It was built between 1733-37 and its interior is quite stunning, with an ornate ceiling, oil paintings and brass features. In the warmer months you can sit on the pretty terrace for lunch, afternoon tea or pre-opera drinks.
Favorite Dish: We arrived at Opernpalais looking for a light lunch before sampling some of their cakes for dessert. We both had a Croque Madame (toasted ham & cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top) which was served with salad, and just some mineral water to drink.
But then we had to decide which cake to order - there were so many to chose from (click on the photo to get a closer look!). In the end I had a slice of the Pistazientorte, which was pistachio flavoured and delicious. Alex went with the Bauerntorte Kirsch which was like a cherry crumble.
We each had a pot of tea to help wash it all down. Mmmmm....good!
We decided that we wanted to dine somewhere a little nicer than average on our trip to Berlin, and when I read about Restaurant Maxwell it sounded perfect. It was also only about 10 minutes walk from our hotel which added to its appeal!
Maxwell is located back from the street, via a pretty courtyard area. The restaurant is housed in a lovely building that was built in 1878, covering the ground and first floors of the building. Service was friendly and very efficient.
One complaint would be that the tables we all very close together....though we did meet some very interesting American ladies sitting next to us and swapped travel stories.
Favorite Dish: To start we shared a dish which had ducks breast and a type of asparagus mousse. It had very interesting flavours. Main course for me was the Entrecote, served with vegetables - the meat was delicious.
For dessert one of the options was asparagus! I decided I had to have it. It was Caramelised Asparagus with balsamic strawberries and chocolate rosemary ice cream. It was certainly an unusual taste sensation! Alex had the Lemon Ravioli with nougat parfait, also a bit unusual, but entirely edible.
A lovely bottle of French red wine added to a wonderful evening.
The Wintergarten Café is reputably one of Berlin's loveliest cafes, located in the conservatory of an old town house. It is part of a Literary House/Book store, and on fine days you can also sit out in the pretty garden to enjoy a meal, coffee or drink.
On our last day in Berlin we headed to the Wintergarten Café for lunch. The weather was a bit questionable, but looked like it was going to stay fine for a while, so we chose a table in the garden.
Favorite Dish: We both ordered a refreshing beer and checked out the menu. I decided that I hadn't eaten enough asparagus this trip, and Alex agreed, so we both ordered the seasonal special of large white asparagus with schnitzel and potatoes.
The food was very tasty, it was such a nice setting in the garden, and service was very friendly. A really great way to end our visit to Berlin.
Lutter and Wegner, established in 1811 - purveyors of fine wines, situated in the old east, just across from the Gendarmenmarkt, was the perfect place to relax after an afternoon of shopping and have a meal of salmon and asparagus.
In my experience, Spargel is Germany's almost only concession to vegetarians! May is the perfect time of year for non-meat eaters to visit this Wurst und Schnitzel eating country as the asparagus is plentiful, cheap, delicious and is served in almost every restaurant and cafe. They make it into soups, flans, or just eat it boiled with hollandaise sauce... Mmmmmm! Lecker!!
The staff here are attentive, pleasant and professional... it was a real treat.
Favorite Dish: Salmon, asparagus and boiled potatoes, with wine. At roughly $47 or 35E per person, not including a starter OR a dessert, it's not the kind of eating establishment that most travellers could visit too often, but as a special "one off, just for the experience" kind of place it was very nice!
If you've finished your shopping-tour at "Ku'damm" go to this nice Cafe at Fasanenstrasse . . . The Cafe is located in an old villa with modern interieur . . . Take a one the coffee specialities and one of the delicous home made cakes . . . or enjoy your dinner with a glass of wine . . .
Favorite Dish: Latte Macchiatto with a shot esspresso
Taste every day an other soup - all of them are very delisious- i like all . . . you can eat it there or take away and sit down in one of the beautiful places in Berlin near Kurfuerstendamm
Favorite Dish: all kind of the soups or lamb dishes - one soup is only 3,80 Euro - it's so cheap to live in Berlin
One evening we headed to the Scheunenviertal, one of the up and coming districts of the former East Berlin, and to a restaurant that had been recommended by a colleague of Chris’s – only to find that it had closed down. We decided to head back to a Kneipe (a sort of bar come simple restaurant – the closest thing probably that Germany has to the English pub) where we had enjoyed a drink earlier in the evening. On that occasion we had sat outside, at one of a small number of tables on the edge of the small square opposite. But the evening was growing cool, so we asked for a table inside for dinner and were given one in the rear of the two rooms. This suited us just fine, as there were a couple of fairly large groups seated in the front part and we preferred the more peaceful atmosphere further back. I also loved the quirky wall paintings – little birds dotted here and there and (rather bizarrely) a monkey carrying what appeared to be a human skull! (see photo 4).
The service here gets mixed reviews on Trip Advisor but we were happy with it. You couldn’t call it brisk, but the staff coped well with a busy restaurant and always had a smile. The menu was interesting enough to make me want to go back on a future visit to the city – and indeed I think we would have gone back on this visit had we been staying longer. And most importantly, the food was delicious – for me the best of all the meals we had on this trip, and for Chris one of the best.
Favorite Dish: My choice was ”Ravioli mit Blüten, Akaziernhönig und Pinienkern gefüllt auf orangen Fenchel”. I wasn’t sure what all of it was (still don’t know what Blüten are in this context – the word means blossoms but I didn’t see any!) but it was excellent. Akaziernhönig is acacia honey, and this leant just a slight touch of sweetness to the ground pine-nut filling of the parcels. The orangen Fenchel proved to be not fennel as I had expected but carrots – not my favourite vegetable but Chris was happy to trade for some of his great mixed salad. All in all I loved my dish, and he was equally happy with his of Nuremburg-style sausages with mashed potato and great rich gravy. I found myself tempted by the dessert menu and chose the crème brulée which was served with fresh raspberries and a raspberry sauce – very tangy and delicious! With a large glass of red wine for me and a couple of beers for Chris we paid €30.00 including the tip. All in all a lovely evening, and definitely to be recommended.
The quaint, if rather artificial, Nickolaiviertal is a tourist magnet, so it isn’t surprising to find a number of cafés and restaurants clustered around the old church. You might expect them therefore to be not necessarily that good or that cheap, so maybe we were lucky that our choice, Zum Paddenwirt, proved to be such a good one. We chose it mainly because it offered shaded tables outside on what was a hot day for May, and a traditional German menu.
Favorite Dish: Chris chose ”Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut und hausgemachtem Kartoffelbrei” (German sausage with sauerkraut and homemade mashed potato) and I had the ”Drei Kartoffelpuffer mit geräuchertem Lachs” from the “Something small” section of the menu – a not-so-small portion of three light and puffy potato pancakes and a generous pile of smoked salmon, with a sharp horseradish sauce on the side – very good indeed! I also ordered a side dish of one of my favourite German dishes, a simple “Gurkensalat” (cucumber salad) which was also excellent. With Chris’s beer and a bottle of sparkling water for me we paid €25 including our tip, and went away very full and happy!
It had been one of Chris’s aims for our Berlin trip to eat at least one slice of his favourite Pflaummenküchen, but for most of the weekend the delicacy eluded us. We started to think that maybe it was too early in the year for plums. Then on Monday we spotted some, but the timing was all wrong as we had just had a filling lunch. Chris resigned himself to maybe missing out on this trip, but then, mid-afternoon in the Gendarmenmarkt, as we checked out the various cafés around the square, there it was. So there was no question that, out of the several attractive places where we might take our afternoon refreshment, Shan Rahmikhan would be the one.
We secured a shaded table with a great view of the square and ordered – two slices of Pflaummenküchen (well, I could hardly let Chris test it out on his own!), a coffee for Chris and cool sparkling water for me. All was excellent, and the location, looking out on to the sunny square and watching the world go by, could not be beaten. Mission accomplished; Pflaummenküchen eaten; Chris very happy :-)
After shopping at Arkaden at Potsdamer Platz - make a coffeebreak and enjoy a snack at "Salomons Bagels" watch the people and relax
Favorite Dish: Try cinamon bagels with cream cheese or sesam bagels with salmon . . .
On our first evening in Berlin we decided to walk from our hotel near the Ostbahnhof to an area described in the Lonely Planet guidebook, “Berlin Encounter”, as the liveliest in the Friedrichshain quarter. It was quite a walk (much further than it had looked on the map) so when we came across this enticing local Kneipe a couple of streets before our destination, we found ourselves tempted inside. And we were very pleased that we had been distracted from our goal, as this proved a good choice for a simple dinner.
It seemed to be a popular place with locals – several tables were reserved and a group that arrived shortly after us were greeted warmly and were clearly regulars - a good sign, we thought. We managed to secure one of the few tables in this cosy space, which consists of a couple of tiny inter-connected rooms. The rustic décor (more “shabby” than “chic”) is warmed by the glow of real candle-light, needed even in broad daylight in the rear room where we sat. In total I counted about five tables in the two smaller rooms, and a further five in a larger one to the side, which was behind a glass door and (I think) was where smoking is allowed. There are also about four tables outside on the pavement.
The menu is fairly short, with an English version available if you ask, although the proprietors have got round the problem of a few hard-to-translate words by simply retaining the German! The cuisine focuses on “home-style Swabian cooking” (Swabia, or more properly Schwaben, is a region that lies partly in Bavaria and partly in Baden-Württemberg).
Favorite Dish: The staples on the menu are Spätzle (a bit like a small pasta) and Maultaschen, a cross between ravioli and pierogie, each available in several different sauces. I chose the latter, roasted in the oven and served with a scrambled egg topping and a small salad. Chris had Spätzle in a ham and cheese sauce. Both were tasty and filling, and lived up to the billing of “good home cooking”. There were a few desserts available (pancakes or ice cream) but we decided on a second beer each instead! Talking of beer, we ordered the standard house draft beer but the helpful waiter told us that the pump was playing up and offered to bring a better choice for the same price, a refreshing Rothaus Tannenzäpfel Pils.
Our bill for the two main dishes and four beers was €20.50 – very reasonable.
We hadn’t planned to eat here – I always assume that a café in such a location (on the top of a skyscraper viewpoint) is either very fancy and expensive, or very basic and over-priced. But after really enjoying the view from the roof terrace of the Panorama Punkt (see my Things to Do tip) I put my head briefly through the door of the café on the floor below and was immediately taken with its stylish but simple appearance, and with the opportunity it offered to go on appreciating the cityscape. So we checked out the menu, and were pleased to see that the prices were only a fraction higher than at ground level, and that there were some light lunch-time choices available. In fact this is only about light eating – cakes, rolls and quiche slices are the limit to the food on offer, although the selection of drinks is extensive (I imagine it would be a great place for an early evening cocktail, if you don’t mind paying the extra cost of the ascent).
Favorite Dish: As I said, we only wanted a light meal, so were very happy to get what appeared to be the last two brötchen – delicious crusty seedy rolls filled with cheese and ham. With a smoothie for Chris and a large apple juice for me our bill came to €14.80 – well worth it for such a “meal with a view”.
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