Sure, learning the language, and observing the local customs can help, but nothing is going to help ingratiate Berlin's ex-pat population to the city more than their burgers, which you can now find in just about every flavor/configuration on the city's streets. Sure, many native spots already do a fine beef-on-bun, but these shops go one step further and tell a hometown story w/ their patty. These are the best:
This north Prenzlauer Berg joint boasts the best beef puck in the city & they do it like the NY steak spots they're modeled after, w/ English muffins subbed in for the buns. They’re greasy, massive (250 grams) & can be tricked out w/ a variety of toppings incl. a huge spoon of chili.
This is a classic American diner all the way to the cheapo plastic cafeteria cups (complete w/ free refills, which is rare in Europe). The name’s a Hawaiian word in homage to the owner’s favorite childhood resto back in Honolulu & the menu features island fare by way of the dish Loco Moco. But the burger is served straightforward -- the only option is w/o cheese -- on a soft white bread-style bun, w/ American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
Julep’s New York Bar and Restaurant
This West Berlin resto feels like a real American pub a la Cheers, complete w/ brick walls, wood countertops & fat
regulars permanently moored at the bar juicy burgers. The name comes from the Kentucky Derby drink, but the beefwiches are made from US corn-fed beef, ground the minute you order it.
Texas is the name of the game at this hole-in-the-wall establishment, where American oldies blast & the burgers come loaded w/ guac, jalapeños, or Tabasco. We’re not sure quite how a peanut butter- and bacon-covered burger qualifies as Tex-Mex, but they do that too. It’s also the only place in Berlin to accept Bitcoin, so depending on how you time it, your meal might be the price of a small car, or basically free.
One of the top food trucks in Berlin, this bright yellow GMC van pumps out a delicious French-inspired sandwiches. In between a plancha-charred bun, you’ll find their juicy free-range beef patty topped w/ Dijon mayo and either chipotle ketchup or bourbon BBQ sauce. The kicker is a slab of French cheese, perhaps Gouda Fermier, Cantal Entre Deux, or Raclette Fumée.
This newish burger outlet gives their patties a Japanese-fusion spin w/ a healthy dose of shiso, a fresh flavored herb used in many Asian dishes. The fluffy buns come topped with black sesame seeds, the burgers include mix-ins like chili mayo & teriyaki sauce, and edamame’s available alongside the crispy twisted fries.
White Trash Fast Food
This spot kind of looks like a Chinese dumpling house, but inside you’ll find a den of rock n’ roll (which is also a tattoo parlor, btw) that dishes out some of Berlin’s most loved cow-wiches. The Los Angeleno owner’s relatives come from Tennessee, so the menu’s full of Southern comforts, and the massive burgers are topped w/ everything from Hell-fire BBQ sauce to cheddar, "sour kraut" & bacon.
After cooking in San Francisco for four years -- and eating late night grub in the city’s old-fashioned diners -- German Chef Leon Schnell was converted & wanted to bring the burger culture to Berlin. Everything here is 100% homemade, from the ketchup & mayo to the burger bun recipe. A second shop opening in Neukölln mean’s Schnell can bring his old-fashioned burgers to even more Berliners.
1. Julep's New York Bar & RestaurantGiesebrechtstraße 3, Berlin
2. The BirdAm Falkplatz 5, Berlin
3. Nalu DinerDunckerstr. 80a, Berlin
4. Room 77Graefestr. 77, Berlin
5. White Trash Fast FoodSchönhauser Allee 6/7, Berlin
6. Hamburger HeavenGraefestraße 93, Berlin
7. Zsa Zsa BurgerMotzstr. 28, Berlin
Is you're in Berlin and feel like being in a comfortable American pub, check out Julep's, which has brick walls, wood countertops & fat juicy burgers.
Opened by a pair of dudes from the Big Apple, The Bird brings a little New York dive ambience to Berlin, pouring brews and serving grub like burgers, steaks, and chicken wings.
This is basically and American diner, through and through, serving a host of classic breakfast options, as well as a juicy burger and also serving drinks in cheap plastic cups (free refills!).
At Room 77, not only do they do good ol' fashioned American food, they do it super-American Texas-style. Here you'll find burgers complete with guac, jalapeños, and Tabasco. George W. Bush would be proud to eat here.
Given the name, it should be no surprise that this Prenzlauer Berg spot has a penchant for gigantic, artery-clogging burgers. But what is Bruce-Willis-was-dead-the-entire-time level shocking about White Trash Fast Food is that it also acts as -- get this -- a tattoo parlor and a club that features an endless rotation of DJs, parties, and live events.
Since eating burgers is basically heaven in the first place, you could say this resto is aptly named. Their German chef cooked in San Fran for four years and after realizing how well an American burger joint could do in Berlin, he brought it there. BTW, everything in the resto is homemade from the ketchup to the burger buns.