DIN­ING

Hilda Hoy likes a glass or two with din­ner. If that’s you too, check out her fa­vorite bars that also dou­ble as din­ing spots.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Good food and good drinks con­tinue to go hand in hand.

Good food and good drink have al­ways gone hand in hand. Still, the di­vide be­tween bar and res­tau­rant has long been a pretty dis­tinct one and, un­til re­cently, bars sel­dom strayed be­yond stan­dard fin­ger­food snacks on their menus. Th­ese days, how­ever, bars that ven­ture into res­tau­rant ter­ri­tory are a place where in­no­va­tive restau­ra­teurs and gas­tronomes are push­ing the bound­aries, cap­tur­ing a de­mo­graphic of ded­i­cated food­ies as a re­sult.

Jaja wine bar ( We­ich­sel­str. 7, www. ja­jaber­lin.com) is fo­cused purely on one of the coolest booze trends du jour: nat­u­ral wines, which are pro­duced with zero ad­di­tives to al­low the com­plex fla­vors of the grapes and the ter­roir they grew in speak for them­selves. In ad­di­tion to its laud­able French wine se­lec­tion, this cozy es­tab­lish­ment in the heart of Neukölln’s bar district also fea­tures a chang­ing menu of sea­sonal, ex­per­i­men­tal, and above all tasty dishes. From small bites to fill­ing mains, the chef’s cre­ations are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of mod­ern Euro­pean cui­sine, like oc­to­pus with cured Span­ish sausage and pleas­antly bit­ter fried radic­chio leaves, or home­made ravi­oli filled with sea­sonal pro­duce like but­ter­nut squash, kale, or wild mush­rooms. Try it with a glass of unique or­ange wine, pro­duced by han­dling white wine grapes us­ing red-wine meth­ods.

A pre­de­ces­sor to one-yearold Jaja was Cor­do­bar (Große Ham­burger Str. 32, www.cor­do­bar.net), which shines the spot­light on Ger­man and Aus­trian wines. Though the wine col­lec­tion at this Mitte hotspot is in­deed im­pres­sive, equal at­ten­tion is paid to the tan­ta­liz­ing menu of gourmet “bites” that can be com­bined to make a sat­is­fy­ing meal. The menu changes ev­ery month to re­flect the fla­vors and in­gre­di­ents of the sea­son, like braised sweet­breads with red cab­bage in the win­ter, and salmon carpac­cio with peach in sum­mer. A more tra­di­tional but equally tasty gas­tro­nomic ap­proach is taken at Brief­marken Weine (Karl-Marx-Allee 99, www. brief­marken­weine.de). Housed in a for­mer stamp col­lec­tors’ shop on East Ber­lin’s most ar­chi­tec­turally strik­ing boule­vard, this Ital­ian wine bar has charm to spare. Leav­ing the shop’s lus­trous wooden cab­i­nets and retro neon sign out front in place, the space was trans­formed into an invit­ing lo­cal wine bar, whose Ital­ian own­ers high­light both the wines and food of their na­tive coun­try. The menu cat­e­go­rizes the wines by the four el­e­ments of fire, air, wa­ter, and earth, though the staff are also happy to ad­vise. What­ever you try, it’s sure to go well with the boun­ti­ful plat­ter of mixed an­tipasti or the daily pasta spe­cial.

Left: Jaja wine bar. Above, and inset, be­low: Cor­do­bar. This photo: Brief­marken Weine.

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