A combination food Blog and recommendation booklet on where to find the best and most enjoyable food experiences in Berlin.
Turkish / Arabic German Cuisine
It is a little known fact (outside of Germany) that a good deal of the most popular middle eastern food to travel internationally in recent years gained notoriety in here, or is in fact a creation of the Turkish and Arabic communities in Germany.
The most popular version of the donar kebab was in fact born in of all places Berlin! Using grilled veal and chicken instead of lamb, and sandwiching the meat with vegetables and sauce in a thin dürüm rollup or between a fluffy triangular slice of what is locally known as turkish bread, this luscious creation was given to the world by a member of the large Turkish community that came to Germany in the 1960’s as guest workers to help rebuild the war torn nation post WWII. The inventive immigrant Kadir Nurman (who recently passed away at the age of 80) first set up a stall in West Berlin in 1972 to cater to busy Berliners who in the fast paced Wirtschaftswunder cold war community of divided Berlin needed a meal that they could carry with them on the go. Thus was born the sandwich like version of the donar that we have all come to know and love, complete with chili sauce and all.
Germany still boasts one of the largest Turkish communities in the world, which has added their culture, art, language, and amazing cuisine to the landscape of this nation. And for his contribution Mr Nurman’s was finally recognized by the Association of Turkish Doner Manufacturers in 2011.
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab
What’s the deal with Mustafa’s? Mustafa’s is unquestionably the most popular donar kebab in Berlin! Now some attribute the popularity to the hype itself. When you step out of the Mehringdamm U-bahn underground station and see a line of people stretching down and around the block at all times of the day and night waiting for the precious two or three minutes when they finally get to make their order from a small two man booth literally squatting on the sidewalk, then its hard not to imagine that something amazingly good is being sold inside. What truly makes Mustafa’s is not simply the well grilled meat and nicely toasted bread, but the vegetables. It is known for being one of the first places to not only provide lettuce and tomatoes with their kebab but also to mix in a succulent selection of grilled zucchini, onion, eggplant, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, topped with crumbled feta, spices, and spray of fresh lemon to bring out the taste. The line is long, but in the end the food provided makes it all worth it. If you do decided to brave the wait for Mustafa’s its recommended that you grab a curry wurst from Curry 36 right next door to tide you over on the way.
Address: Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin
Is a seriously amazing Lebanese restaurant in Berlin. Named after the famous tower of Babel. Friendly staff, generous portions, constantly busy, over the years with growing popularity Babel has transformed itself. Starting out as a local secret with unbelievable prices for the quality, overflowing plates and complementary tee, danger signs appeared a year ago when expensive shakers of himalayan pink salt appeared on every table. With summer fresh human sized vases of tropical flowers appeared every morning on the street just outside, with colorful petals scattered artistically across the outer tables. With each new addition the decoration has come to feel more and more like entering the opening feast for a wedding. But in the end its the food that truly counts and there is no beating the luscious well seasoned schwarma, salad, and hummus all topped with a mouth watering savory mango dressing.
Address: Kastanienallee 33, 10435 Berlin
The Hühnerhaus (translating into English into the Hen House) is unquestionably one of the best places to get grilled chicken in Berlin. Sitting in a little hut just outside of Görlitzer park they provide a lovely grilled bird nicely seasoned, slow grilled, and moist. Plates usually come with a side of fries or fresh salad with light dressing and chunk of fluffy bread. On a hot summer day or warm summer evening there is almost nothing better then sitting at one of the picnic tables just outside the Hühnerhaus with a group of friends, a nice cold beer or club mate, and enjoying one of their fresh grilled half chickens with a slab of chili and garlic sauce smeared on the side.
Address: Skalitzer Straße 95A, 10997 Berlin
Open daily · 10:00 am – 3:00 am
Starting as a small, almost hole in the wall, location across from Tacheles one of the most popular artist squats in Berlin Dada Falafel has since expanded into the abandoned former gallery next door due to the popularity of its signature dish. Dada offers the best, tastiest, moistest fresh falafel in Berlin. The falafel is worth going alone but they offer a lovely selection of other dishes at wonderful prices. With the high class of the interior design inside, it is truly amazing to find sandwiches for as little as €5 on the menu and plates for as little as €7. My personal favorite is the Dada Teller combination plate that offers a selection of all of the tastes that make Dada great, schwarma, salad, hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli, salad, bread, and a long crispy pastry filled with feta cheese and spinach.
Address: Linienstraße 132, 10115 Berlin
Open daily · 10:00 am – 2:00 am
African / Afro German Cuisine
Individuals of African, Afro Diasporic, and Afro German origin have been in Germany and in fact Berlin for centuries. Stretching over the course of time one of the most famous of which would be the Ghanian philosopher Anton Wilhelm Amo who was invited to be a advisor in Berlin by Fredrick the Great in the 1740’s, to the African American poet and activist Audre Lorde who spent a good deal of time in Germany in the 1980’s, and the famous Afro German poet May Ayim who gained notoriety with the depth and strength of her work in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Like all communities the African and Afro Diasporic communities have brought with them their own original and unique cuisine, which over time have been gaining more and more popularity.
Ebe Ano, Nigerian Soul Food
Tucked away on a small side street near Kurfurstenstrasse Ebe Ano offers a lovely selection of Nigerian Soul Food from fried plantain and yam, egusi, okro soup, soya, and lovely grilled stick meat. It really is quite pleasant to sit with a lovely plate of yam savory sauce and simply enjoy yourself.
Address: Pohlstraße 52, 10785 Berlin
Open daily · 3:00 pm – 12:00 am
Now a small growing chain Nil is the best Sudanese falafel you will find in Berlin. Never more than a small intimate room you will find two different Nils in the diverse neighborhoods of Friedrichsain and Kreuzberg. With a name that invokes images of the great Nile river itself Nil offers many options from grilled Sudanese chicken, tamiya, fried lentil roles, grilled Tilapia fillets of fish with mish, and fried plantain, along with many vegetarian and vegan options, and much more. But what really sets Nil apart is the amazing savory peanut sauce mixed to perfection and spooned over any option you desire.
Address: Grünberger Straße 52, 10245 Berlin
Open daily · 11:00 am – 12:00 am
The Ethiopian restaurant Blue Nile offers many lovely dishes, and has a beautiful location right on the Tempelhufer ufer right by the waters of the Landwehr canal in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg. But one of the best aspects of the location is their wonderful selection of tropical beer from mango to raspberry. If you go there with a group ordering multiple different beers as tasters offers a nice sharing opportunity.
Address: Tempelhofer Ufer 6, 10963 Berlin
Open daily · 3:00 pm – 12:00 am
Ethnic German Cuisine
Like classic German culture itself what foreigners consider ethnic German cuisine is actually in many cases a composite. Before 1871 what we now know as Germany didn’t even exist, it was actually a collection of multiple primarily germanic speaking nations large and small that joined together to fight the french in the Franco Prussian war. Embedded within these nations there were multiple ethnicities with different cultural backgrounds, and culinary histories, and there were also moments of innovation when ingredients from external sources were brought in and became so essential to the German table that their original origins were forgotten. The best example of this would be the potato for the now very classic potato salad, the plant of which was originally native to the Americas and introduced to the German pallet by the innovative Prussian ruler Fredrick the Great, not to mention the schnitzel and apple strudel originally from Austria, and beer which is believed to have truly originated from ancient Egypt. Over time all of these have joined together to create an interesting and unique cuisine.
more recommendations coming soon.