Where to get some seriously good food and drinks:
- Currywurst (Konnopke Imbiss, Schönhauser Allee 44B)
- Restaurant (Aufsturz, Oranienburger Str. 67)
- Café (Café am Kamin, Falckensteinstrasse 18)
- Chocolate (Ritter Sport, Fassbender & Rausch)
When travelling my favourite thing is try to learn how locals live and, even if for just a few days, try to live with them. Food is an important part of everyone’s life and bars, pubs and restaurants are those places where you can get a nice angle of the local lifestyle. Once you avoid the tourist traps with white table cloths and anodyne international menus.
I have to admit that during our stay in Berlin we didn’t treat ourselves properly in terms of food. Walking all day and trying to see as much as possible, we ended up feeding mostly on kebabs and the magic combo pretzel+beer, but we’ve been lucky enough to score some good discovery.
We got to Berlin craving Currywurst, even though we weren’t sure of what that is we’ve heard so much about it that eating one was on top of our list. The first eye contact has been quite disappointing: three american guys walk out of a kebab shop holding a tray containing what looks like a depressed sliced wurstel drowned in ketchup. Technically a currywurst is nothing more than that, with a sprinkle of curry powder on top, and that pathetic version is pretty much what you get at most of the shops. However the real experience is to have a proper one. The most recommended currywurst can be found at the Konnopke Imbiss, next to the Eberswalder Straße station. Unfortunately, and I blame it on the less than exact directions on our guide book, we couldn’t find it, but we went instead to the butcher (metzgerei) next to the bahn station where we were served huge and tasty homemade currywurst. You can also have a sit and taste their other products.
Anyway you can find the famous Konnopke Imbiss under the rail bridge just leaving the metro station and walking south along Schönhauser Allee. This is the google map, just in case.
Oranienburg Strasse 67
Tel: +49 30 28 04 74 07 Website: www.aufsturz.de
Open everyday until midnight.
Update 28/10/2013: I’ve been back to Aufsturz and unfortunately the menu drastically changed. No more hearty german food but more snack and pub grubs. Probably the Berliner Teller (cheese and salamis platter) is the option. However the place is always very nice, the staff is friendly and they have something like 100 beers to choose from.
Too much words for a wurstel, let’s now talk about a real restaurant. This is the only one we visited, which gives us a 100% score on finding great places to eat! It’s called Aufsturz, in Oranienburger Straße, not far from the namesake S-Bahn station, and we spotted it passing by on one of the trams going to and from Alexander Platz. Lovely cozy place, it looks like a local favourite, crowded with Berliners, and I think we were the only tourist there. A good sign is that the menu is written only in German and the friendly waiters didn’t seem used to speaking english to their customers. Thanks to my unsuspected linguistic skills we manage somehow to order a gulash with red kraut and knodeln, and spätzle (like think noodles) topped with cheese and crispy onions. This scrumptious dinner was washed down with 4 large beers and closed off with a dessert (keiserschmarrn con zwetschgenroster) that alone could have been a satisfying meal, all for little more than €30 for two which, to me, sounds like a real bargain.
The walls were all adorned with paintings to give it an artsy-but-not-pretentious look and, at one end of the restaurant next to the toilets there’s the entrance to the club. But we were too replete to even think of going in.
Update 28/10/2013: Back to the Kamin, I was a little disappointed. Perhaps because this doesn’t keep up the competition with the other brilliant cafés in Kreuzberg, but the coffee was just about alright and the muffin was stale. Still a good place in winter as they have lovely soup.
Another random encounter was with Café am Kamin on our first day of visit, right outside the Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg, and we fell in love with it. It’s on Falckensteinstrasse, which goes from the park all the way to the famous and enormous Blu’s graffitis in Cuvrystrasse. It’s ideal for coffee and cake, but also for a warm soup (the potato soup is delicious). It’s a small cozy place, with a fireplace that will make it very difficult to leave during a cold winter day.
Surely everyone is familiar with the perfectly square shape of a Ritter sport chocolate bar, but did you know that the Headquarters are based in Berlin? We didn’t, and it’s been a great surprise when we’ve been led in the official store, in 24 Französische Straße (there’s a U-Bahn station nearby). Not only it’s a colourful chocolatey Ritter heaven, but you can get a customised chocolate bar! You choose the chocolate and the other ingredients and they melt it and create it right in front of you, which is really cool. You’ll have to wait half an hour for the chocolate to cool down before you can put your hand on it, so you’ve got plenty of time to buy more of the super-cheap chocolate in store. No pictures are available for this place because the photographer was out of control.
Another great place for chocolate lovers is Fassbender & Rausch in 60 Charlottenstrasse, majestic shop. It’s like a chocolate sanctuary, in fact you’ll see proper chocolate sculpture and even a fountain. Hint: it’s not water that comes out of it. Hard to resist…
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