Berlin Food Guide

How the Kiwi and I had lived in Germany for over a year and a half and not been to Berlin is beyond me. Every time it came up we would look at each other say “We have to go!”. So earlier this month, we took advantage of one of Bavaria’s many holidays and went. It was amazing. While I expected the art in Berlin to be much more progressive, I had no idea that the food and beer culture would be too. Munich is a very traditional city and we love that about it. However, sometimes its nice to get a craft beer or try a modern take on German cuisine as opposed to the strictly traditional.

photo credit:  the kiwi

We took the overnight train from Munich and arrived at the crack of 8.30am. We needed some breakfast. After dropping our bags at the hostel, we made our way to a cafe I’d read about on Foodie in Berlin called Aunt Benny. While it was a bit of a hike from our hostel {it looked so close on the map, I swear}, it was so worth it. We split a slice of ginger carrot cake and and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and had a big seedy, toasted bagel each. I had the sun dried tomato cream cheese with mine and the Kiwi had cheddar and olive with his. It was incredibly filling and you couldn’t beat the atmosphere. I kind of wanted to move in.

Kiwi+Peach: Berlin Food Guide, Bagel at Aunt Benny Kiwi+Peach: Berlin Food Guide, Ginger Carrot Cake at Aunt Benny

We also learned our first lesson in Berlin…the place is huge. When in doubt, take public transit. Your feet will thank you later.

That night we hit up Street Food Thursday at Markthalle IX. The huge market hall was full of vendors selling street food from all over the world and hipsters eating said food. Every single thing we had was delicious. We tried all kinds of goodies like spicy korean sushi, mac and cheese with smoked brisket and beer pickles, a shaved smoke pork sandwich, and a pretzel covered in bacon.

Kiwi+Peach: Berlin Food Guide, Mac and Cheese with Smoked Brisket and Beer Pickles at Street Food Thursday Kiwi+Peach: Berlin Food Guide, The Kiwi's Picks at Street Food Thursday

We also tried some of the Heidenpeters beer that is brewed right in the basement of the Markthalle. While Bavarian beer is some of the best beer in the world, its very limited in its varieties. You have a helles {a pilsner}, a weissbier {a wheat beer} and a dunkles {a dark beer}. There is no craft beer culture. There are no IPAs. At least that I have found {and believe me, I’ve looked}. Needless to say, we were excited to try some different varieties. I tried the unfiltered blonde and the Kiwi tried a Belgian style dark beer full of caramelized malty goodness. Needless to say, both were delicious.

Friday night we had reservations at Renger-Patzch for a fancy dinner. The menu is fresh and seasonal and it changes weekly.  Despite how it sounds, our starter of blood sausage and lentils was my favorite part of the whole meal. And not because the rest of the meal was bad either.  Quite the opposite.  I had the lamb while the Kiwi had venison with slightly dehydrated plums wrapped in bacon. Plums wrapped in bacon, I said.

On Fridays and Saturdays Markthalle IX is home to a great market {hence the name} where you can get fresh produce, meat, and flowers, but it is also the permanent home of Big Stuff Smoked BBQ. On Saturday they are only open until 4, so we headed that way for a late lunch. Thankfully they still had some food by the time we got there. I had the pulled pork sandwich and the Kiwi had the pork belly sandwich. Oh. My. Stars. It was like I was back in the South y’all. It was moist and tender and smokey and perfect.

While at Street Food Thursday, we saw a flyer for the Lange Nacht der Kulinarik {Long Night of Cuisine} that Saturday night. What perfect timing? A bunch of different restaurants, cafes, bars, and specialty food shops in the neighborhood where we were staying had special samples to offer. While this is not a weekly event, I’m including the places we visited, loved, and would have gone back for a proper meal had we had time just in case you might want to check them out.

Our first stop was Brauhaus Südstern where they had brewed up two lovely IPAs and a rye ale. We got to try these three beauties and the braumeister told us all about their brewing process. He also talked a bit about the growing craft beer culture in Berlin which I found really interesting {Unfortunately, it was all in German, but I got the impression that they would have translated the presentation had it been necessary or someone had asked}.

We needed some food at this point, so we made our way to Wahrhaft Nahrhaft where they had the grill set up out on the street and were grilling bratwursts and supposedly corn too {they were out by the time we got there}. The Kiwi maintains that was the best brat he has ever had and I agree. It was tasty and cheap.

Next we checked out Schwarzer Hahn and it is one that I really wanted to go back to for a real meal. The special was the most tender, melt in your mouth pork I’ve ever had with mustard cream cucumbers. I’d be curious to see if the rest of their menu is as mouth watering.

Our last stop was Cafe Sellberg where we got to try a ‘sampler’ of their three most popular cakes. If that was their sample size I’d like to see the normal size–they were huge! Neither of us were fans of the cheesecake or carrot cake which was disappointing, but they are on the list because of their out of this world brownie. It was the perfect balance of cake vs fudge and had just the perfect amount of crisp on the top and sides.

On our last night in Berlin, we wanted to fit in one last great meal before we got on our overnight train to go home. I read about Lokal, a modern German place, on Berlin Food Stories {I’m linking to their write up because Lokal doesn’t have a website} and really wanted to check it out. I’m so glad we did. We didn’t have reservations, but didn’t have any problems getting a seat as we were there when they opened for dinner at 6. I don’t think they were quite ready as they were still printing the menu for the day, but they welcomed us regardless and took our drink orders. The rustic, minimalist design was cozy and beautiful–I didn’t mind waiting for a menu {okay, maybe I whined a bit}. The drinks were good {spicy ginger beer}, the starter was good, the main was good; I was kind of sad to leave, Lokal and Berlin.

{Other Berlin Advice}

If you want a crash course in Berlin history do the free walking tour. While free in name, the guides do work for tips, so you tip them how ever much you think the tour was worth. Our guide, Sam, was a british expat historian working on his doctorate at Humboldt University.  Excellent, quality information and  a very entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

Do the Reichstag, if not for the history, for the views. Its free, but you do have to register. Registering in advance online is definitely the way to go so you don’t have to spend an hour waiting in line like we did.  However, if there aren’t any appointments online for the days you are going to be in Berlin, don’t worry.  Go to the the reservations booth {the one you have to stand in line for} as there will undoubtedly be availability. At least, that was our experience.

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7 thoughts on “Berlin Food Guide

  1. I love your description of the food, now I am really looking forward to Berlin sad we won’t be there on a Thursday.

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