There you go, part 2 of Sam’s patchy and highly subjective guide to “Things you shouldn’t miss when in the German capital. Part 1 (art & culture) can be found here.
- Transit – Asian fusion cuisine in Mitte (U Rosenthaler Str.) and Friedrichshain. The menu comprises an array of small dishes for 3 Euros that you can mix and match – all dishes are available in veggie versions, too. The tasty food is served quickly, the waiters are lovely and the atmosphere is buzzing.
- Luigi Zuckermann – Almost right next to Transit in Mitte is Luigi Zuckermann, a New York style sandwich shop and deli that’s open 24hrs on weekends. The guys who work there don’t speak German, which isn’t really a big deal in Berlin, keep themselves awake by blasting obscure music, and serve you rather expensive but rather delicious coffee and apple pie at 4am. Win.
- Noodles & Figli – I have no idea what the name is about, but this inconspicuous restaurant in Kreuzberg is as simple as it is excellent. 3 courses form its Italian cuisine inspired and very seasonal menu are somewhere around 25 Euros, the open kitchen heats up the place to sauna-like conditions in cold weather, and the waiter is happy to sit down and have a chat with you.
- Cookies Cream – A veggie fine dining dream come true. Located literally in the back entrance to the opera house near Französische Straße, you have to make your way past bins and discarded chandeliers to find the entrance of Cookies Cream. The food is both interesting and tasty, staff keep the wine coming (oh dear…), and the big “Ficken” print on the wall reminds you that you are in one of the craziest capitals of Europe.
- Schneeweiss – Nice restaurant in Friedrichshain that serves modernised Austrian cuisine and looks incredibly pretty. Being extraordinarily attractive and looking good in a plain white t-shirt seems to be an important requirement to become a member of staff. Not that I would mind.
- Burgermeister, Marienburger, Burgers Berlin and all the other independent burger places – Oh yes. The city has seen a massive rise in independent snack bars in the past few years, and they all offer tasty homemade burgers, almost always with one or several veggie options, home made french fries and sometimes organic. Have yours with a “Bionade” (hipster lemonade) and munch your hangover away.
- Salon Schmueck – Lovely cafe that must have been teleported from the enchanted part of the Black Forest right into the heart of Kreuzberg. The breakfast here is colourful and filling, and there are blankets to keep you warm outside. The vintage clothes shop in the back is a quirky addition, but not really worth mentioning.
- Tacheles – Somehow this place reminds me of Islington Mill; there’s gigs, art, food, and other stuff going on. Worth a visit, for an event or just for hanging out.
- Michelberger Hotel – Yes, this hotel IS pricey for Berlin standards. It’s pretty though, perfectly located for public transport, offers amazing “luxury” rooms, the staff are international, confused and lovely, the bar is open til 6am, the cocktails are ridiculously strong and the instruments (including a grand piano!) in the “living room” make for great entertainment including the odd Ryan Adams performance by drunk Danes. Excellent.
- West Germany – If you manage to find this old dentists practice on the top floor of an apartment block in Kreuzberg, you can call yourself lucky. The small gig venue is as run down as it gets, but the balcony offers exciting views over the area and a feel of big city life.
- Photo booths – Ooooh no, you can’t leave Berlin without having your picture taken at one of the oldfashioned photo booths placed all over town. For a mere 2 Euros you get a strip of fantastic b/w photos that also make for great souvenirs. If you live in Berlin, you’re required by law to have at least one shot of yourself and friends squeezing into the tiny photo booth after a bit of a heavy night out stuck to your wall. The ones I know about are on Kastanienallee and two near Warschauer Strasse.