Take A Bite Of Ber­lin

Hope you’re hun­gry – Hilda Hoy nar­rowed down the tasti­est, most in­ter­est­ing Ber­lin dishes ev­ery vis­i­tor should try, from ev­ery facet of the lo­cal culi­nary scene. So loosen your belt buckle a notch and pre­pare to feast, nib­ble, and snack your way through t

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS - BY HILDA HOY

Gorge your way throughv the di­verse and de­lec­ta­ble fla­vors of the city.


It's for good rea­son that Coda Dessert Bar (Friedel­str. 47, www.coda-ber­lin.com) was con­sid­ered one of Ber­lin's most ex­cit­ing re­cent res­tau­rant open­ings. The menu con­cept is dessert and cock­tail pair­ings, with sweet-savory dishes that will chal­lenge you to broaden your culi­nary hori­zons. Think poached apri­cots paired with the un­likely com­pan­ions of kala­mata olive and whis­per-thin crisps of sour­dough bread. To sip with it, rare ver­mouth re­fined by a hint of rasp­berry vine­gar. The chef, a pâtissier with years of Miche­lin Star-cal­iber ex­pe­ri­ence, turns ev­ery cre­ation into a work of art and a delight for the senses.


The food of­fer­ings around the Bahn­hof Zoo sta­tion were once lack­lus­ter, but then along came NENI (Bu­dapester Str. 40, www.25hour­sho­tels.com ). The pent­house eatery atop the 25hours Ho­tel spe­cial­izes in Is­raeliand Medit­er­an­neanin­spired fu­sion, and is one of the few places in the city to get sabich, an ad­dic­tive Tel Aviv street food spe­cialty that sounds sim­ple – pita, roasted egg­plant, hum­mus, lus­cious tahini, soft egg, and a cumin­spiced mango sauce called amba – but is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Per­fect sabich ac­com­pa­ni­ment: NENI's soaring views over Tier­garten park.


Though Ber­lin has plenty of Ital­ian restau­rants, Neukölln's cozy lit­tle Sala da Mangiare (Mainzer Str. 23, www.sal­adaman­giare.de) stands out for its irresistible pas­tas, made fresh and by hand in house daily in ac­cor­dance with Slow Food prin­ci­ples. The star of the menu is stuffed pasta from the famed gas­tron­omy re­gion of Emilia-Ro­magna, like cappelletti, aka. "lit­tle hats." Sala da Mangiare's sig­na­ture dish, the "hats" are filled with meat and cheese and then topped with a rich ragù sauce. To en­sure the proper taste of home, even the flour for the dough is im­ported di­rectly from Emilia-Ro­magna.


In just 1.5 years since its open­ing, Weinbar Sch­wein (Elis­a­bethkirch­straße 2. www.sch­wein.on­lin) has man­aged to climb Ber­lin's gourmet lad­der, of­fer­ing a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in an in­for­mal and re­laxed set­ting. Think dishes like beef tartare with egg yolk paste and pick­led veg­eta­bles, or slow-cooked aburi salmon with vine­gar potato crum­ble and dill emul­sion, all ac­com­pa­nied by a cu­rated list of wine and liquor la­bels. And do not make the mis­take of leav­ing be­fore try­ing their caramelized al­mond-based ap­ple tart with dulce de leche and sea buck­thorn (pic­tured be­low and on the cover), a cre­ation of young chef Christo­pher Küm­per.


There's no other bar in Ber­lin that can match the cre­ative con­cept of Fra­grances (Pots­damer Platz 3, www.ritz­carl­ton.com), the chic and classy cock­tail spot tucked into the back of the lobby at The Ritz-Carl­ton. Each drink is in­spired by a lux­ury per­fume, and the "menu" is a row of per­fume bot­tles to sniff through. From the mixol­ogy down to the pre­sen­ta­tion, ev­ery de­tail is fine-tuned. The best-sell­ing Vaara cock­tail is an ut­terly en­chant­ing blend of pear puree, saf­fron rum, bour­bon, rose­wa­ter, and mag­no­lia syrup, served in a wee wooden sauna house that lets out a puff of san­dal­wood smoke as it's opened.


Ev­ery week­end, the Wilmers­dorf dis­trict be­comes one of the city’s liveli­est Asian food des­ti­na­tions. Rain or shine, Ber­lin’s size­able Thai com­mu­nity flocks to Preussen­park, a.k.a. “the Thai Park,” to cook fresh and tasty Thai del­i­ca­cies right on the grass. The vast se­lec­tion in­cludes ev­ery­thing from fried chicken wings to hot noo­dle soups, but make sure to try a fresh papaya salad, a zesty con­coc­tion made from shred­ded green papaya, gar­lic, dried shrimp, and peanuts, pounded up in a big mor­tar with lots of lime juice and fish sauce. Tip: Sunny Sun­day af­ter­noons de­liver the best Thai Park ex­pe­ri­ence.


The north­ern re­gions of Ger­many are famed for their fish del­i­ca­cies, and there’s no bet­ter place to sam­ple the whole range than at Rogacki (Wilmers­dor­fer Str. 145–146, www.rogacki.de). A fam­ily-run deli dat­ing back to 1928, to­day’s Rogacki is famed for fishy house­made spe­cial­ties like mat­jes, lit­tle her­ring soused in vine­gar, onion, and herbs, as well as whole trout, char, salmon, and eel that are freshly smoked on site. Get your fish packed up to go, or join the crowds at the busy lunch coun­ters and get in some peo­ple­watch­ing while en­joy­ing your feast.


Ur­ban leg­end has it that the döner ke­bab was in­vented in Kreuzberg by a Turk­ish im­mi­grant, so try­ing one of these sand­wiches of spit-roasted meat stuffed into flat­bread is, need­less to say, a Ber­lin must. Though döner shops are abun­dant in pretty much ev­ery neigh­bor­hood, qual­ity varies wildly, so it's worth seek­ing out one of the most fa­mous ke­bab stands of all,

Mustafa’s Gemüse Ke­bap (Mehring­damm 32, www.mustafas.de). Their in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar ke­bab is a de­li­cious mess of spit-roasted chicken and fried veg­eta­bles with the added zip of crum­bled feta and a squeeze of fresh le­mon. It's so good that the line usu­ally snakes half­way down the block, but ev­ery­one should try it at least once!


The Aus­tri­ans among us would prob­a­bly ar­gue that schnitzel is their in­ven­tion, but nev­er­the­less, those golden fil­lets of breaded fried pork (or veal, if you’re a Vi­en­nese purist) are one of the most pop­u­lar dishes on the menus of lo­cal Ger­man restau­rants, served, as tra­di­tion dic­tates, with warm potato salad. The most ten­der, light, and crispy schnitzels can be found at Sch­neeweiß in Friedrichshain (Sim­plon­str. 16, www.schneeweiss-ber­lin.de), a cool Alpine-themed res­tau­rant with an all-white in­te­rior. The el­e­gant Jo­lesch res­tau­rant in Kreuzberg (Muskauer Str. 1, www.jo­lesch. de) is an­other con­tender for the best schnitzel in town. You'll just have to try them both to judge who comes out on top.


Ber­lin­ers re­ally, re­ally love their ice cream, and the sum­mer sea­son is gladly used as an ex­cuse to in­dulge in a scoop or two at ev­ery pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity. And the most beloved ice cream fla­vor of all? Mango. Be­lieve it or not, Ber­lin­ers are crazy for this vivid trop­i­cal fruit, and pretty much ev­ery ice cream shop has it on of­fer. Try the in­tensely fla­vor­ful, home­made scoops at Vanille & Marille (mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions incl. Re­ichen­berger Str. 118, www.vanille-marille.de) or Eis­man­u­fak­tur (mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions incl. Au­gust­str. 63 and Grae­festr. 7, www.eis­man­u­fak­tur-ber­lin.de). The Rosa Can­ina ice cream counter in­side Kreuzberg’s Mark­thalle Neun (Eisen­bahn­str. 42, www.rosacan­ina. eu) makes theirs us­ing or­ganic man­goes.


Above: Wilmers­dorf's clas­sic deli Rogacki is famed for its house-smoked fish. Be­low: the pop­u­lar chicken ke­bab from Mustafa's.

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