Food & Drink

50 Things to Eat in Berlin Before You Die

Published On 10/14/2015 Published On 10/14/2015

Bucket lists are fun, especially those that actually bring you a little bit closer to that proverbial bucket in the ground. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 50 greatest foods to eat in Berlin before you die (or, like, leave town). Loosen your belt and dive in:

Flickr/Boris Anthony

1. Wiener schnitzel

Clärchens Ballhaus (address and info)
Mitte
Devouring a breaded cutlet is a rite of passage in Germany, and there’s no better place to do it than Clärchens’ beer garden. The schnitzel comes cooked to deep-fried perfection, served on top of a bed of warm and tangy potato salad.
 

2. Bun Bao Original

Bun Bao (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Bun Bao has fueled Berlin’s Asian burger obsession with its beef patties and Vietnamese toppings nestled into lovely edible pillows. Just accept that your definition of a good burger will be forever changed.
 

3. Chili wontons

Lon-Men's Noodle House (address and info)
Charlottenburg
Lon-Men’s wontons are kind of like sex -- hot, spicy and even kind of oily -- yet some would argue that they’re ultimately better. There’s no shame in shoveling these bad boys down, but be prepared to sweat profusely.

Chutnify

4. Keema matar dosa

Chutnify (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
The struggle against so-so Indian food in Berlin is oh so real, but Chutnify’s keema matar dosa kind of makes up for it. This dish of minced lamb and green peas served with a slew of signature chutneys will stop you from ever ordering a curry on Lieferando again.
 

5. Pastrami sandwich

Mogg & Melzer (address and info)
Kreuzberg
In a city of too many processed salami rolls, Mogg’s pastrami sandwich is a godsend. The Reuben is stacked so high with home-cured meat, gorging is not a choice but a responsibility.
 

6.  Breakfast Burger

The Bird (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
The Bird does all its hefty, 250-gram German patties on English muffins, so ordering one with bacon and an egg is obviously rational. But it’s when you start adding up the fixings -- blue cheese, jalapeño, and what have you -- that this burger really becomes an anti-hangover remedy.

Zwei Dicken Bären

7. Ice cream sandwich

Zwei Dicke Bären (address and info)
Various locations
Zwei Dicke Bären’s gourmet cookies wrapped around homemade ice cream is the champion dessert of the city’s street food. One only lasts a few mouthfuls, so don’t even think about going halfsies with a friend.
 

8. Döner kebap

Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap (address and info)
Kreuzberg
A list like this wouldn’t be complete without a Mustafa’s döner, although we could all do without the annoying line-up. Nevertheless, it’s a ritual that every Berliner should partake in at least once -- if only to be able to debate it with others.
 

9. Fish and chips

Der Fischladen Thomas Forcher (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Look no further for the city’s best fish and chips than this Schönhauser Allee institution. Using a special batter from England, these pieces are fried up to golden-brown and served with thick-cut fries in a takeaway box layered with British newspaper.

Flickr/Alper Çugun

10. Ramen

Cocolo Ramen (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Cocolo’s Japanese soup, filled with noodles, spring onion, corn, and all kinds of other savory goodness, is the finest of comfort foods. Cocolo’s broth is a pretty much a fixer-upper for anything from a bad day to a break-up.
 

11. De La Sauce burger

District Mot (address and info)
Mitte
Three-time Burgers & Hip Hop winner, the De La Sauce, is District Mot’s biggest bragging right. Fresh mango, coriander, and pickled veggies burrowed inside a soft bao bun, it’s unlike any other Asian burger -- or conventional burger -- you’ll have ever tasted.
 

12. Eggs Benedict sandwich

The Future Breakfast (address and info)
Various locations
Food truck breakfast is a genius idea since this is the city where rolling out of bed (or Berghain) for a late meal reigns supreme. The Future Breakfast’s eggs Benny is indeed a perfect remedy for a night full of beer and/or techno, with the traditional fixings stuck between a no-mess bun.

Zula Hummus Cafe

13. Shakshuka hummus

ZULA - Hummus Café (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Berlin’s rich in smooth, creamy hummus at Turkish stands, but ZULA’s Israeli variations are definitely something else. The star dish is the Shakshuka, a thin, spicy sauce cooked with poached eggs, peppers, tomato, and a lot of cumin.
 

14. Set menu

Nobelhart & Schmutzig (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Anyone who’s ever huffed at the locavore movement hasn’t sat down at Billy Wagner’s communal table. The acclaimed sommelier’s ever-changing regional menu is pure, organic goodness.
 

15. Jeon

Madang (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Korean BBQ tables always works out to a heavy meal, but to not add on the jeon as an appetizer is a mortal sin. Madang’s traditional Korean pancakes are packed with flavor, made with kimchi, cheese, seafood, or whatever you please.
 

16. Moscow-style pelmeni

Datscha (address and info)
Friedrichshain
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to go to Datscha and get acquainted with pelmeni. These Russian dumplings, stuffed with minced meat and served with copious amounts of sour cream and vinegar, are the stuff of sloppy, doughy dreams.

Anna Durkes

17. Anna Durkes special flavor gelato

Anna Durkes (address and info)
Kreuzberg
This Italian gelato is both delicious and dangerously addictive, so it’s no wonder Anna Durkes was recently picked as one of the world's best ice cream parlors. For a scoop of something original, try the special flavor: vanilla ice cream blended with bits of chocolate and peanut.
 

18. Fish soup

Rogacki (address and info)
Charlottenburg
This indoor market is highly underrated -- not only is it some of Berlin’s best quick-and-dirty dining, but you can also find top-notch cuts of fresh and smoked fish for sale. Head over to the lunch counter and order a hearty bowl of fish soup, which isn’t complete without a tiny mountain of dill on top.
 

19. Classic bánh mì

Cô Cô bánh mì deli (address and info)
Mitte
These classic Vietnamese sandwiches are the best fast food you will ever have, doubling as either a healthy on-the-go lunch or hearty snack. The classic is a fresh French baguette stuffed with marinated pork, pickled veggies, homemade mayo, cucumber, tomato, carrot, and cilantro.
 

20. Sunday roast

Salt N Bone (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
There’s no better way to inaugurate Monday than indulging in Salt N Bone’s Sunday roast, which changes up from week to week. Whether it’s lamb shank or a winner chicken dinner, you can always expect a massive portion and brawny sides like beer battered o-rings and caramelized onion mash.

Two Planets

21. Bagel and cream cheese

Two Planets (address and info)
Neukölln
Before Two Planets, Berlin was mostly missing out on one of the simplest and most satisfying of breakfast staples. Thankfully, this Neukölln café came along with its New York bagels and assortment of homemade cream cheeses from sun-dried tomato to jalapeño.
 

22. Sauerbraten

Spätzle und Knödel (address and info)
Friedrichshain
Literally translating to “sour roast,” this slow-cooked beef dish is the reason you wish you had a German grandmother. Fortunately, a traditional German restaurant in Friedrichshain makes it tender and juicy, with cheesy spätzle or a dumpling on the side.
 

23. Eierlikör pfannkuchen

Bäckerei Siebert (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Berlin’s oldest bakery, Bäckerei Siebert, has been perfecting its donuts for a hella long time now. So whether it’s a pfannkuchen or Berliner is irrelevant -- because we can all get behind giant puffs coated in chocolate, oozing brandied custard, can’t we?
 

24. Bulgogi burger and kimchi fries

Ban Ban Kitchen (address and info)
Neukölln
Here’s another Asian burger to fit a whole ‘nother craving -- Ban-Ban’s bulgogi beef burger topped with lettuce and kimchi. Cheese on the burger and a side of sesame mayo are also worth paying extra.

Spice Spice Baby

25. Jamaican jerk chicken

SPICE SPICE BABY (address and info)
Various locations
Not long ago, Berlin’s BBQ scene was American across the board until this food truck and its big ol’ grill turned up. The signature jerk chicken is dark, tangy, and overloaded with flavor, served on a heaping plate with rice, beans, and pineapple.
 

26. Lemon cheesecake

Barcomi’s (address and info)
Mitte
There’s no shortage of lusty cake and bakes in this city, but Cynthia Barcomi’s selection holds a special place. It could be the charm of the hidden courtyard café, but the lemon cheesecake with its gooey custard is simply unbeatable.
 

27. Lunch signature menu

Tim Raue (address and info)
Mitte
This restaurant may be Michelin-starred, but it’s anything but hoity-toity, with waiters donning matching jeans and sneakers. The three-course lunch set is a €48 splurge, but one that you’re likely to remember for a long time to come.

BBI

28. Chili cheese fries

Berlin Burger International (address and info)
Kreuzberg
BBI’s stacked burgers are pretty good, but sometimes sacrifices need to be made -- such as only eating half of said burger to save room for hand-cut home fries with a chili cheese upgrade instead. Or eat both, but beware of the meat sweats.
 

29. Pierogi

Pierogarnia (address and info)
Wedding
Why drive a couple hours to Poland when there’s delicious pierogi (and live music and artwork!) in Wedding at Pierogarnia? Because, just saying, there’s nothing like digging into Polish dumplings and listening to a little jazz sax simultaneously.
 

30. Käsespätzle

Heisser Hobel (address and info)
Various locations
Heisser Hobel’s gooey, cheesy egg noodles put mac ‘n’ cheese to serious shame. The food truck's Swabian owners know all the secrets of making a velvety plate spätzle right down to the crispy onions on top.

Alpenstück Bäckerei

31. Baked pretzel

Alpenstueck Bäckerei (address and info)
Mitte
Voted as one of Germany’s best bakeries, Alpenstueck Bäckerei’s got some of the best knotted-up pretzels that Berlin has to offer. Studded with sea salt, these Brezel are about as close as you can get to the real thing outside of Bavaria.
 

32. Fried eggs over sweet potato and chorizo

Restaurant Bastard (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Bastard’s quirky yet delicious breakfast creations are a good reason for waking up, like the fried eggs over sweet potato and chorizo. The side BBQ sauce ain’t so bad, either.

Flickr/Yasmina Haryono

33. Papaya salad

Thai Park (address and info)
Charlottenburg
Somehow, som tum tastes better when you watch it coming straight from the mortar and pestle, at the hands of the Thai ladies (and ladyboys) at Preußenpark. You’ll get all the unadulterated flavor here, including as much spice as you want, which is never a guarantee at most local Thai joints, which are toned down to German taste.
 

34. Chirashi

Sasaya (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Ordering from Sasaya’s menu can be a real schlep, because everything -- sushi, udon, and the works -- is really good. So make it easy on yourself and order the chirashi plate, a big bowl of rice with mixed fish, and vegetables for a wholesome bite of everything.
 

35. Three-course menu

Cookies Cream (address and info)
Mitte
At Cookies Cream, trendy status is no replacement for taste with an inventive all-vegetarian menu of Parmesan dumplings, quail eggs, and so on. Seriously, even the most devout carnivores end up leaving here bewildered.
 

36. Bento box

Green Tea Café Mamecha (address and info)
Mitte
This bento box represents a rarity in life when it’s possible to get literally everything you want at the same time. With neat little sections of salad, rice, tempura, gyoza, and marinated meats (and even a miso soup!), Green Tea Café’s signature Bento is also a killer value.
 

37. Falafel and grilled vegetable sandwich

Sahara (address and info)
Neukölln
This Sudanese Imbiss serves up a falafel and grilled veggie sandwich of a totally different esteem than the Turkish ones. Loaded up with creamy peanut sauce, it will leave you shamelessly finger licking, something that a scharf or kräuter sauce probably never did.

Curry 36

38. Currywurst

Curry 36 (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Berlin’s most iconic food is either loved or loathed, depending on whom you talk to. Curry 36 is the city’s most famous spot for it, though, and you can order with the skin on or off.
 

39. Half chicken

Die Henne (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Along with döner kebabs and currywurst, rotating chickens are one of Berlin’s essential post-bar food groups. Die Henne’s grilled poultry is golden, crispy, and soft (albeit greasy) down to the last bone.

Stella

40. Fresh salad

Stella (address and info)
Neukölln
Stella’s cold salads, served in recyclable paper boxes, are the power lunches of hipster dreams: pastas, bulgur, and wild rice tossed up with gourmet seasonings like edamame and roasted hazelnuts. The daily menu is always a pleasant surprise.
 

41. Tacos de nopal con queso

AGÜEVO! Taquería Cantina (address and info)
Friedrichshain
AGÜEVO! isn’t afraid of using chili, some cojones that were sorely missing from Berlin’s Mexican restaurants for a long time. The restaurant’s homemade tacos loaded with cheese and crunchy cactus make for something that’s totally authentic.
 

42. Daily menu

Hamy Cafe (address and info)
Kreuzberg
This Vietnamese diner’s two daily specials are usually a curry and a salad, loaded up with lots of fresh veggies and cilantro. Dishes are always churned out fast and piping hot, so at €5 a pop, Hamy is always a steal.
 

43. Beef filet

Grill Royal (address and info)
Mitte
Wouldn’t it be nice to say that Grill Royal is overrated, and George Clooney and Matt Damon actually haven’t got a clue? But, alas, this steakhouse’s meats are truthfully right on point. It’s actually got the best selection of meat in the capital, including Argentinian cuts, Australian Wagyu and Omaha Angus.

Pizza Nostra

44. Pizza diavola

Pizza Nostra (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Berlin’s known to be somewhat barren when it comes to authentic Italian pizza, and that’s why this Napoli-style eatery really hits the spot. The Pizza Diavola with spicy salami, olives, and chili pepper comes on dough so good you definitely won’t be leaving the crust.
 

45. Bejainetu mixed platter

Langano (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Ethiopian cuisine is really social, and that’s why a visit to Langano is always better with a solid group. The giant bejainetu mixed platter -- an Ethiopian “pancake” with various meat stews magnificently piled on top -- is all about sharing and tearing by hand. Don’t even think about touching a fork.

Gingi's Izakaya

46. Sashimi

Gingi’s Izakaya (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
This sashimi is unbeatable in quality and taste when compared to Berlin’s other Japanese restaurants. Gingi’s Armenian-Turkish sushi master is always ninja-smooth as he slices and dices behind the bar, and it’s this passion that definitely makes the whole dining experience.
 

47. Shrimp Creole

Merle’s Roti and Rum (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Mama Merle’s shrimp creole is the gold standard for Caribbean food in Berlin: a red curry stew simmered up with garlic, tomato, onions, and heaps of prawns. The Trinidadian recipe is naturally not shy on spice, but you can also ask for it toned down.

Wok Show

48. Dumplings

Wok Show (address and info)
Prenzlauer Berg
Wok Show is the place to appease any craving for Chinese dumplings, with its famous 40-piece trays. Steamed or fried, and served alongside black vinegar, leaving blissful yet bloated is to be expected. 
 

49. Köfte sandwich

Konak Grill (address and info)
Kreuzberg
Berlin’s late-night snacking elite know all about the köfte sandwich, and some would even call it similar to a döner kebab. Served on a Turkish flatbread, it comes with the same kinds of fixings, except for the meat they use tiny minced meat patties, grilled to perfection.
 

50. Lunch set menu

Lavanderia Vecchia (address and info)
Neukölln
This authentic Italian eatery does some of Berlin’s most lavishly authentic dinners, but you’d be surprised at how satisfying and affordable lunch is, too. The three-course menu set starts at €10 -- excellent value for a choice of pasta, soup, or salad, with something sweet at the end.

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Barbara Woolsey is a Berlin journalist who added a few pounds just writing this list. Follow her at @BarbaraWoolsey.

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