Design is all-important these days, so Hilda Hoy picked out her favorite restaurants where the interiors are as much a draw as the menu.
Where the interior design is as much a draw card as the menu.
Germans often say “Die Augen essen mit,” or “the eyes eat too.” What it means is that our sense of sight also plays a role in
enjoying a meal. It’s why not only appetizing-looking dishes but also a beautiful interior are part of every successful restaurant’s repertoire. In recent years, the bar for interior design has been set ever higher in the local gastronomy scene. To treat your eyes to a memorable meal, here are my top 5 Berlin restaurant interiors.
Panama (Potsdamer Str. 91, www. oh-panama.com) brings adventurous fine dining to the up-and-coming gallery district of Potsdamer Straße. The bright space has a cool, laissez-faire vibe with a warm-weather getaway feel to it – Miami beach cabana meets desert escape. The menu is playful and modern, combining local ingredients with international culinary influences. The creative cocktail concoctions are a must-try.
At eins44 (Elbestr. 28–29, www.eins44.com), the industrial chic look is simply the real deal: the location, tucked away in a Neukölln courtyard, was once a distillery. High ceilings and huge windows give the restaurant a loft feel, and to go with the striking century-old tiles on the wall are other post-industrial accents like factory-style lamps and butcher block tables. The menu of modern German cuisine is similarly pared-down, with two set menus at dinner.
With raw walls and a dark, wood- and leather-accented interior, Kantine Kohlmann (Skalitzer Str. 64, www.kantinekohlmann.de) straddles the fine line between glamour and decrepit charm. The attached bar has the sleek, sexy vibe of a 1970s lounge, along with a fireplace. The bistro-style German menu has classics like steak tartare, oxtail consommé, and schnitzel. Ignore the bland office building exterior. In the door and up a winding staircase is House of Small Wonder ( Johannisstr. 20, www. houseofsmallwonder.de), with the feel of a secret garden hideaway. This inviting brunch and lunch spot features a JapaneseMediterranean-American hybrid menu that is as charming as the plant-filled, vintage-accented décor. Try the matcha latte and Okinawan taco rice. ORA (Oranienplatz 14, www.ora-berlin.de) didn’t need to try hard to be stunning. The century-old interior of the one-time pharmacy is still amazingly intact, carved wooden cupboards and all. With its many antique accents, ORA is something of a beautiful time capsule. Uncomplicated bistro-style meals are served all day and there’s a great cocktail menu at night, when the space transforms into a bar.
Clockwise from left: ORA; Kantine Kohlmann; House of Small Wonder. Inset, below: ORA.