893 Ryōtei

893 Ryotei in Berlin features a theatrical open bar and kitchen and a menu of “Nikkei” cuisine, a Japanese-Peruvian hybrid.
Entrance at Cookies Cream, Berlin, Germany

Cookies Cream

This acclaimed vegetarian restaurant, owned by nightclub impresario Heinz Gindullis (nicknamed Cookie), is no longer a secret.

Editors' Picks
Food at Cordobar, Berlin, Germany - Courtesy Jens Oellermann

Cordobar

Just around the corner from Berlin’s iconic Clarchens Ballhaus lies this gem of a restaurant in the charming Mitte neighborhood. An oenophile’s paradise, Cordobar wields an impressive tome dedicated to all things wine, with a special emphasis on German and Austrian varietals. But this is no place for just an after-dinner drink; with a small but creative food menu, Cordobar elevates traditional dishes with flair and creativity, offering a tapas-style menu with Germanic fusion cuisine. Should one opt to start with the “bread & butter,” a freshly-baked loaf and beetroot-infused whipped butter will arrive at the table, served on delicate pastel colored pottery. These simple but thoughtful touches imbue each dish, from the daring (black pudding pizza) to the oddly comforting (fried chicken with wasabi sauce), and are what make Cordobar so special. For a romantic summer meal, request a table in the inner courtyard; with just a handful of tables, the ambiance cannot be beat.

Food at Curry 36, Berlin, Germany

Curry 36

Sold at street stands throughout the city, currywurst is to Berlin as the hot dog is to New York City. The classic dish consists of a steamed and then fried German pork sausage, served with a curry sauce (made with tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and curry powder) and French fries. Foodies should sample the regional specialty at Curry 36, a standing room–only spot that is popular with locals and tourists. A great finish to a snack here is an ice cream at Vanille & Marille nearby.

Dinning Area at Facil, Berlin, Germany

Facil

There are fewer than fifteen tables in the sleek, all-glass Facil restaurant, situated in the fifth-floor courtyard of the Mandala hotel. Chef Michael Kempf has won many accolades—and a Michelin star in 2003—for his light, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. A meal might include fillet of bison with chanterelles and apricot or foie gras with truffles, pine nuts and apple-coriander confit. If it’s on the dessert menu, make sure to order the melon-and-buttermilk tart.

Dinning Area at Grill Royal, Berlin, Germany

Grill Royal

There’s not a ton of upscale river-side dining in Berlin, but Grill Royal has a wonderful al fresco terrace with Spree river views. It’s a good place for those craving meat; the steaks are renowned and pricey for Berlin standards. It’s all a perfectly orchestrated balance between classic comfort fare and a bit of glitz and star factor, which has led to comparisons with one of Keith McNally’s New York City hot spots, like Minetta Tavern or Balthazar.

 

Exterior View - Käfer,  Berlin, Germany

Käfer

Ask your concierge to make a reservation at the rooftop Käfer restaurant, at the foot of Sir Norman Foster’s Reichstag Cupola as this is a good way to speed up entry into the German parliament building. You arrive through a side entrance on Scheidemann Strasse. You don’t avoid waiting in line completely (groups have to gather before the staff leads you to an elevator that sweeps you to the top), but it helps to have a reservation and your name already in the system. It’s best for breakfast or brunch when the sunny views are most beautiful. Open daily.

Indagare Tip: Consider Käfer for breakfast or lunch on your first day in Berlin; climbing the dome after your meal and taking in the views drives home how geographically vast Berlin is.

Editors' Picks
Dinning Area at Lavanderia Vecchia, Berlin, Germany

Lavanderia Vecchia

Berlin loves repurposing­, whether it’s turning a former bomb shelter into an art space or a power plant into a nightclub. One of the most innovative transformations is the wildly popular Italian restaurant that has popped up in an old laundromat. Linens are still hanging on clotheslines, but, of course, displaying the history of the space is part of the point. If you can snag one of the tables at dinner (reservations are a must), you will be served excellent Italian cuisine prepared in an open kitchen and served to all of the tables at once. Antipasti may include burrata and mozzarella, vitello tonnato, calamari and bean salads, which are followed by risotto and a meat dish. The menu changes depending on what is in season and the chef feels like preparing, but the family-style meals are consistently delicious.

Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap

With Turkish immigrants making up one of Berlin’s largest minority groups, it stands to reason that the city is considered one of the Döner capitals of the world; the Turkish fare is an essential part of Berlin’s culinary scene. In gritty Kreuzberg, you can find cult street vendor Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap just a few blocks from another fast-food-favorite, Curry 36. The lines are long and the location is far from charming, but the classic dish—a twist on the traditional kebap—is utterly delicious. At Mustafa’s, you can choose between a traditional wrap or bun; it will be stuffed with thinly shaved rotisserie chicken, fresh herbs and salad, and lightly fried carrots, potatoes and other vegetables. Feta cheese crumbles and a squeeze of lemon add zest, making for a super-memorable, “only in Berlin” meal.

Editors' Picks
Food at Neni, Berlin, Germany

Neni

The rooftop restaurant of the super trendy 25hours Hotel in West Berlin has become one of the coolest restaurants in the city with tables booking up weeks in advance. People come for the greenhouse-on-a-roof design; the views (of the city and into the Berlin zoo); the delicious Middle Eastern food (don’t miss the hummus trio); and the people watching. The Monkey Bar next door has a great DJ in the evenings, but lunch is the time to go for maximum views and a bit of shopping at the Bikini Mall down below.

Bar at Volt, Berlin, Germany

Volt

Opened in 2010, Volt quickly became the darling of the Berlin foodie scene. Located in Kreuzberg, the restaurant is headed by young chef Matthias Gleiss who masterfully transforms German cuisine with a light, creative touch. The dining room is contemporary and cool; the seasonal menu also offers some stellar vegetarian options. The three-course menu is a bargain.

Food at Zagreus Projekt Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Zagreus Projekt Berlin

Part exhibition space, part dining club, this very-Berlin venue is a favorite of gallery owners and culture aficionados for hosting private dinners and specially catered occasions. The exhibitions always focus around culinary concepts, setting the scene for the meals here. By reservation only.

Food at Zenkichi , Berlin, Germany

Zenkichi

If you find yourself craving delicious Japanese small plates, head to Zenkichi in Mitte. Motoko Watanabe and Shaul Margulies, the husband-and-wife duo behind the hip Brooklyn Japanese restaurant of the same name, have brought their brand of Japanese brasserie to Berlin. Guests enter the immaculately-designed subterranean space via a dim, maze-like passageway. Meals begin with fresh sashimi and dessert should not be skipped—among the options, the frozen black sesame mousse is a favorite. For a more informal option, you can head upstairs to Zenkichi’s sister cafe, House of Small Wonder.

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