Berlin Bites: Where to Eat in the German Capital

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I came to Berlin ready to eat. Friends had told me about delicious Vietnamese food and Berlin is home to one of my favorite fast food items. Luckily, as a I checked off places on my where to eat in Berlin list I wasn’t disappointed.
 
Besides the quality of the food, I enjoyed dining in Berlin for two reasons. The first is that Berlin is cheap. You can get a kebab, currywurst, banh mi, or burger for under 5 euro. A meal at a sit-down restaurant is usually only about 10 euro. Compared to most other European capitals, there’s a lot of value in Berlin. I also enjoyed the fact that it was easy to dine as a solo traveler. A lot of places are self service or snack stands, and even in restaurants people didn’t seem to bat an eye when I asked for a table for one.

While the following list isn’t exhaustive, or does it include all the best restaurants in Berlin, it should give you a pretty good start on where to eat in Berlin.

Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap

Turkish immigrants brought doner kebab to Germany after the Second World War. It has since become a staple around the country and is an obsession of mine. My first stop in Berlin was Mustafa’s, home of the best kebab in Berlin.

Doner Kebab - Berlin, Germany
Come to me, my love.

Doner Kebab - Berlin, Germany

While it might seem weird to have high expectations for a sandwich after hearing so much about Mustafa’s, I did.

Doner Kebab - Berlin, Germany
One of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

And somehow, this kebab managed to not meet my expectations, but to surpass them. Here they go beyond the basic kebab. There’s the meat, fresh salad, garlic and hot sauces. But there’s also roasted peppers and potatoes, a sprinkle of feta, and a squirt of lemon. These added flavors give the sandwich a balance and some nice variety in texture. This is the way fast food should be done.

My only regret? That I didn’t go back for another.

Mehringdamm 32, 10961. Open everyday 10 am – 2 am. For more information visit their website.

Si An

With a large Vietnamese immigrant population, Berlin is often considered to be the capital of Vietnamese food in Europe. When I looked for where to eat in Berlin, I knew I had to include at least one Vietnamese restaurant.
 
I chose Si An because of its Prenzlauer Berg location near my hostel. The welcoming restaurant also had a menu that included most of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. In Vietnam I loved cold noodle dishes served with fresh herbs. So when I saw bun cha gio on the menu I knew immediately that’s what I would order. The dish, vermicelli noodles with Thai basil, mint, Vietnamese cilantro, and crushed peanuts topped with a fish sauce based dressing and fried spring rolls, captured the flavors of Vietnam well.

Vietnamese Food - Berlin, Germany

The waiter noticed I was taking photos of my food and came over to rearrange the setting so the photo would look nicer. Now that’s good service.

Rykestrasse 36, 10405. Open everyday 12 pm – 12 am. For more information visit their website.

Co Co Banh Mi Deli

Not wanting to end my Vietnam food challenge after one restaurant, I decided to try Co Co Banh Mi Deli. In Vietnamese banh mi means bread, but the word more commonly refers to sandwiches made on a baguette. The banh mi sandwich is a fusion of colonial French influence and Vietnamese ingredients. Mayonnaise, pate, pickled vegetables, and fish sauce fill French-style baguettes.

Bahn Mi - Berlin, Germany
Good food and a good book in a good city.

At Co Co I went with the classic banh mi which came filled with pork, mayonnaise, pate, tomato, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and a fish sauce based dressing. Though the bread wasn’t exact (a little too soft and airy), the flavors were spot on. And at €4.20 for a sandwich, it’s a great deal.

Rosenthaler Strasse 2, 10119. Open everyday 11 am – 10 pm, except Friday and Saturday when they stay open until midnight. 

Burgermeister

Burgermeister has an aura of cool around it. Located under the U-bahn tracks in a building that used to house a public bathroom, Burgermeister is known for their delicious burgers and long lines. I’m not usually one to jump in line at a restaurant just because of the hip factor, but this place is also consistently written about as one of the best burgers in the city and is on every best restaurant in Berlin guide.

Burgermeister - Berlin, Germany
It’s a restaurant in restroom.

Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed. The burgers are uniformly cooked to well-done, an enormous pet peeve of mine, and they had that standard burger-in-continental-Europe taste that I can’t really describe but you would instantly recognize if you’ve ever had a sub-par burger in Europe. The jalapenos I had on my chili cheeseburger added a nice kick, but it’s probably not a burger I’d queue up for again.

Chili Cheese Burger - Berlin, Germany

Why am I adding Burgermeister to a list of of places to eat in Berlin if I didn’t like it that much? Well, it’s a great place to see Berlin’s hipster cool in action and I heard the chili cheese fries are great- maybe you’ll have better luck with those.

Oberbaumstrasse 8, 10997. Open Monday – Thursday 11 am – 3 am, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 4 am, and Sunday 12 pm – 3 am. For more information visit their website.

Schwarzwaldstuben

After filling up on Turkish and Vietnamese specialties, I decided I want to try something more German. So I headed to Schwarzwaldstuben, a restaurant that specializes in southern German cuisine.

Kaiserspaetzle - Berlin, Germany

I ordered Käsespätzle, a kind of casserole made with cheese, browned onion, and spätzle, a type of dumpling. This is a rich dish, but perfect when washed down with a cold beer. While it’s not cheap, if you’re looking for some good Swabian food in a sea of Asian takeaway, kebab shops, and currywurst stands then Schwarzwaldstuben is one of your best bets.

Tucholskystraße 48, 10117. Open everyday 9 am – 12 am. For more information visit their website.

Imapala Coffee

I spotted this place on my way to the U-bahn one morning and in need of my daily caffeine fix, decided to try it out. I ended up having breakfast and coffee there for the next 3 days. The coffee is phenomenal and they have a large selection of pastries and bagel sandwiches. I liked the apfeltasche and pain au chocolat.

Impala Rosterei - Berlin, Germany

Coffee in Berlin, Germany

Besides great coffee, the ambience is part of the appeal of Impala. There’s a shabby chic aesthetic with wood, bright colors, and mismatched pillows. There is also a lot of outdoor seating which made for a lovely place to linger over a cappuccino and a book on a spring morning.
There are multiple locations but I frequented the one at Schönhauser Allee 173, 10119. Open everyday 7 am – 8 pm. For more information visit their website.

Rogacki

Rogacki is a deli-cum-food court that has been around since 1928. Opened by a German-Polish family, Rogacki sells a variety of food items including sausage, cheeses, salads, poultry, and fish. Most of the green clad staff seem to have worked here for decades and are friendly, even amid a language barrier. (This seems like the one place in Berlin where no one speaks flawless English.)

Rogacki - Berlin, Germany

I didn’t come to shop, but for a self-service, cafeteria style lunch. I was planning on sausage, but decided to follow the cue of everyone else in front of me in line and ordered a piece of the fried fish. The fish, pounded out and fried like schnitzel, was light but filling. Considering the number of people passing through here even after lunch time, it’s also a crowd pleaser.

Rogacki - Berlin, Germany

Rogacki may be slightly out of the center, but if you’re wondering where to eat in Berlin it’s worth a trip for a glimpse into this old world food paradise.

Wilmersdorfer Strasse 145, 10585. Open Monday – Wednesday 9 am – 6 pm, Thursday 9 am – 7 pm, Friday 8 am – 7 pm, and Saturday 8 am – 4 pm. For more information visit their website.

Konnopke’s Imbiss

Currywurst, cut up sausage topped with curry ketchup, is an iconic dish in Berlin. Created by Herta Heuwer in 1949, it is estimated that 70 million currywursts are sold each year in the city. I tried some at Konnopke’s Imbiss, a stand under the U-bahn tracks next to Eberswalder Strasse Station. You can find currywurst most anywhere in Berlin, but this place is considered to be the best.

Konnopke's Imbiss - Berlin, Germany

Currywurst - Berlin, Germany

The verdict? The sausage was kind of a strange texture, but you can’t go wrong with curry ketchup. I had my currywurst as an early snack before a bus to Warsaw, but I’m guessing this is best as a late night snack after a couple liters of beer.

Schönhauser Allee 44 B, 10435. Open Monday – Friday 9 am – 8 pm and Saturday 11:30 am – 8 pm.

Still wondering where to eat in Berlin? Check out the Thrillist and Eater guides for more of the best restaurants in Berlin.

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What dish looks best to you? What do you think is the best restaurant in Berlin?
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