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 Berlin - - CONTENTS -

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.

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