I found it incredibly difficult to pinpoint what defines Berlin’s food scene. German cuisine is unique in its own, but there’s so much more to the city’s restaurant culture, a result of the city’s incredible multicultural population and catching onto progressive culinary trends. From street food to fancy Korean dinners, I got to try it all with a friend living in the city who knows the best restaurants and neighborhoods for eating out. Making a trip to Berlin soon? Lucky you! Hopefully my recommendations can be of some help when creating your eating itinerary.
#1 Street Food
A popular food trend at the moment, explicitly German street food is a world of its own. Sure, currywurst, meatpies and schnitzel comes to mind when we think of streetside stands and late-night snacks. However, my favorite two staples were giant pretzels (I had never had one before!) and pfannkuchen. Pfannkuchen is essentially a thin crepe that can be savory or sweet. Oddly enough, a small food cart was selling pfannkuchen INSIDE a club I visited. A traditional version which I tried is smothered with sour cream-like sauce and sprinkled with ham and onions. Simple enough, but delicious. If you get a chance, I recommend trying it to get away from the typical, heavy street foods.
#2 Korean Food
I stayed with a friend in Charlottonburg and noticed a ton of Korean restaurants. That’s a bit out of the norm for me. When it comes to Asian cuisine in Spain, we don’t have too much variety, especially Korean. Even where I’m from in Richmond, VA, a foodie paradise, one doesn’t see too much Korean. To my delight, everyone had great things to say about Korean food in Berlin. I had to try it for myself. The popular hole in the wall shop we wanted to go to, Son Kitchen, wasn’t open when we went to check it out. However, we did manage to find a great spot in Kreuzburg, Kimchi Princess. A heads up – this is not a hole in the wall and it isn’t cheap, but would be worth trying if you’re looking for a good, spicy meal in the neighborhood. We tried the kimchi ramen and beef ramen.
Kimchi Princess: Skalitzer Str. 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
#3 Turkish Food
Everyone has probably hear that Berlin is famous for having the best doner kebab. Even so, I’ve tried it in many European cities and it’s always been about the same, so I actually didn’t go for kebab when I visited (I know, curse me!). But there’s no shortage of places to try it if it’s your first time. If you’ve NEVER had it before, then I’d recommend trying it in all of it’s MSG-filled, stupor-inducing deliciousness after a long night of drinking. OR you could switch it up and try falafel. Falafel can actually vary quite a bit place to place and is an ideal alternative for vegetarians. For us Americans who don’t have kebab and falafel on every corner like in most of Europe, this is definitely an essential experience. I would recommend Falafel2go next to Leinestraße Ubahn station. You’ll get a pretty sizable wrap filled with freshly-fried falafel for 3 euros. It was probably the most herb-intense falafel I’ve ever had, but you really can’t beat that deal.
Falafel2go: Hermannstraße 86, 12051 Berlin, Germany
#4 Market Dining
My favorite part of exploring any new city – the markets! I visited Mauerpark Market, which is open on Sundays and couldn’t decide which of the many enticing food carts to choose from. Mauerpark additionally had some of the most beautiful artisan goods along with tents selling vinyl, antiques, clothes and coffee. Even in the pouring rain, Berlin came out for Mauerpark and it was overall my favorite experience in Berlin. Markets are always awesome places to find options for eating that permit variety and budget-friendly options. Maybachufer Market in Kreuzberg is another great option given its location and less tourist-filled crowd. The produce vendors had the best samples available, the spice vendors had the best variety I’ve seen at any European market thus far and street food stands filled the gaps between tents so one could keep their hands warm with a hot brat while scoping out unique jewelry, fabrics and artwork.
Mauerpark Market: Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin, Germany
Maybauchufer Market: Maybachufer 1-13, 12047 Berlin, Germany
This may seem random, but it was impossible to ignore! If you’re in Berlin on new year’s eve, you have to follow tradition and get the doughnuts filled with strawberry or plum jam then dusted or glazed. Or all year round, check out Brammibal’s Donuts. This was an all-vegan doughnut shop next to Maybauchufer Market we stopped in to escape the rain. They had the most unique flavors available and a super hospitable staff.
Brammibal’s Doughnuts: Maybachufer 8, 12047 Berlin, Germany
There you have it! 5 wonderful ways to enjoy eating in Berlin. I wish I had spent more time in the city to explore even further. What do you consider to be en essential eating experience in Berlin? Comment below to let me know!