Okay, I’m being very responsible here, since the last time this pop-up happened I didn’t let you know early enough and some people ended up being disappointed they missed it… Not this time! Ash Lee aka ChungKing Noodles will serve her ultra delicious yet seriously spicy (I need about 30mins to finish a portion) noodle bowls again on May 11th and 12th at The Store Kitchen in Mitte! And not only that, she already told me there’ll be more than noodles on the menu, which basically means we all have to show up both days to taste all of it.
In case you’re like, who, wait, what’s happening? Ash Lee makes the bestest Chongqing noodles, a dish which originates in southwest China: a bowl filled with (obvs) noodles, her own chili oil, her own broth, a number of condiments, and your topping of choice (either vegan or not). It’s so spicy, but still has so many layers of flavours, the memory of eating it will stay with you for days. At least until you get back and get another bowl.
Here’s the gist: ChungKing Noodles takes over the lunch service at The Store Kitchen on May 11th and 12th, serving her bowls and these other great stuff she didn’t allow to tell me yet from 12:00–16:00. Here’s the facebook event (in case this is something you still do). And I’ll see you there!
Is this really spring? Or maybe more like a really early summer? I kinda don’t wanna complain, but I do get anxious over the Berlin weather skipping some steps and rushing towards the heat (27° next Wednesday!), because I feel like the weather will just end up exhausted and serve us a really lousy June, July, and August. I know that’s not how weather works, but I am not ready. What I am ready for are some news in the local culinary scene! And people have been busy over the last winter months. There’s new ice cream, new Italian food, new breakfast, new fries, new pizza and more! And you know what, even more is in the works but hasn’t qualified for today’s list because they’re not open yet (Mr Susan’s gastropub in Mitte and Albatross’ new bakery space in Kreuzberg, and more I’m not even allowed to spill at this point). Let’s focus on the now, here’s your alphabetically ordered list of new openings I think sound super interesting. Please plan your schedules accordingly, and, as usual, let me know if you liked it.
And if you need more places that are still kinda new, check out the previous list.
Uber-popular Distrikt Coffee has branched out and opened in Kreuzberg, just by Görlitzer Park. They’ve taken over the former Gipfeltreffen (and kept its comfy vintage style, as far as I can judge from the IG pics), and created some special dishes just for this new space. I haven’t been able to confirm whether the pancakes have travelled from Mitte too, but they do have some interesting takes like strawberries with basil on cultured butter on toasted brioche; beets & blueberries with yogurt and amaranth granola; soft boiled egg on charred leek and smoked tomato aioli. The kitchen is headed by the same people who used to do Elder, so this could be really good.
Görlitzer Straße 68, 10997 Kreuzberg, Mon, Thu, Fri 09:00–17:00, Sat, Sun 10:00–18:00, Tue, Wed closed
I’m not entirely sure how this place works, but the graphic design looks very appealing to me, so I decided it’s worth a try – and yes, sometimes it’s that easy. It’s apparently a joint venture of May am Ufer, that corner restaurant just by the Kanal, Wedding’s Italian food, wine and culture spot Neontoaster, as well as Siziliessen, an importer of Sicilian foodstuffs. If the weather keeps delivering these grand days, this might be your new fav canal-side spot with its “natural” and simple Italian fare.
Pannierstraße 32, 12047 Neukölln, Mon–Sat 17:0023:00, Sun 12:00–23:00
Grand Tang Xi Yu
Full disclaimer, I did not like Grand Tang’s main restaurant on Pestalozzistraße in Charlottenburg, so I’m hesitant with this one. However, the pictures of this new handmade noodle place look just too yummy to not put it on this list. But I also realise the hype is real because this new one’s so conveniently located for many instagrammers – it’s in Prenzlauer Berg. And! Reports do say it’s not spicy at all, so beware.
Prenzlauer Allee 204, 10405 Prenzlauer Berg, Mon–Sat 12:00–23:00
Alright, a new fries place is in town, bringing the Canadian superfood Poutine to hungry Moabiters – located in a corner of Arminiusmarkthalle, this one’s all about putting gravy and cheese curds on top of fries, and if you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know I’m here for that. They also serve pancakes, corn dogs, Canadian beer and such.
Arminiusstraße 2-4, 10551 Moabit, Mon—Wed 12:00–21:00, Thu–Sat 12:00–22:00
After finally visiting the much praised Stranero and leaving rather disappointed, I am definitely in for a new pizza destination in Wedding – instead of focussing on the classics, this one seems to be a little more out there in terms of topping-creating. Like this gorgeous looking ‘za covered in leafy greens, aubergine purree, red and green basil, and fresh lime. Their oven also looks very, very attractive.
Sprengelstraße 41, 13353 Wedding – couldn’t find any opening times
Alright, writing an engaging paragraph on “plant based” food in 2018 is tough, because we’ve kinda heard it all before. The “actually vegan but we won’t call it that to not offend omnivores” trend has fully arrived (very late, as usual in the rather trend-averse Berlin) and here’s another place to put on your list. BUT! The menu of this place does sound somewhat enticing: they have a ssam ssam with mushrooms, a coconut papaya salad, pumpkin pakoras, and oven baked celeriac with dates, as well as an almond butter and banana bread. Right? Oh, and it’s the newest opening of local restaurant magnat Duc Ngo.
Kantstraße 135-136, 10625 Charlottenburg, Mon–Sun 09:00–20:00
Do you remember that one summer when Kanaan had a location in Kreuzberg? Well, it didn’t work out for them and the space remained hummus-less for way too long. Now, Witz (joke!) moved into it, focussing on chickpeas, exclusively. Maybe adding an egg, pickles, and heaps of oil, but it’s basically that: hummus. Which is all I need, really.
Blücherstraße 37, 10961 Kreuzberg, Tue–Sat 12:15–19:00, Sun 13:00–18:00
Okay, I’m quitting the usual alphabetical order to bring you 3 new ice cream places – three! – how lucky are we?
The first one, Chipi for short, calls itself a craft eis place, and as such deals with flavours like baked sweet potato (not totally sure about that one), dulce de leche (very much up my alley). They also do ice cream deliveries.
Warschauer Str. 12, 10243 Friedrichshain, daily 14:00–23:00
The second one, Natur Eis, is out in Spandau, and while this sounds a bit much, their no-additives, artisanal ice cream doesn’t only come as the usual scoop, but as soft serve!! An entirely under represented ice cream category that I want to see more of and yes, would go to Spandau for. Breite Str. 37, 13597 Spandau
Last, but not least, the name will already tell you that Par Creamery is not for those looking for some down to earth, classic flavours. Instead, they’re advertising vegan peanut sorbet, creamy carrot cake ice cream, S’More ice cream and much more on their social media feeds, and are probs trying to up the competition for the local master of opulent ice cream, Hokey Pokey. Let’s see how that goes… Oderberger Str. 38, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg, Tue–Thu 14:00–19:00, Fri–Sun 13:00–21:00
Were you already waiting for this one? I certainly was getting impatient! However, thanks to a bit of scheduling kerfuffle, it took a bit longer to assemble a powerful jury for this years’ Berlin’s Best Bread competition. For the fifth time, I invited a number of local artisanal bakeries to submit their best bread to find the most delicious crusty crust and crumbly crumb in all of the city. It took us three hours of non-stop tasting to judge all seventeen submissions and crown the winner in three categories. Read on to find out who won, you might be surprised!
Here’s this years’ beautiful line-up. As last year, we limited submissions to bread that is made with flour, salt, water, and sourdough only. Whichever kind of flour was the dominant one decided the category the bread was running in: we had nine submissions for the wheat, five for the rye, and three for the spelt category. As usual, I invited a shortlist of bakeries to submit their bread, here are the ones who joined: Albatross a new bakery currently based in Kreuzberg, Beumer&Lutum, Domberger Brot-Werk from Moabit; Ilan Saltzman for The Store Kitchen, Lode&Stijn, which is actually a restaurant but also sells bread; Lula, a café and bakery in Friedenau; Manufactum; Märkisches Landbrot; Ora, the café in Kreuzberg whose bread you can also buy; the Italian bakers of Sironi at Markthalle Neun; and The Bread Station from Maybachufer in Neukölln. Taking part is free, however, we had the bakeries deliver the bread to the tasting.
I mixed it up for this years’ jury, adding a couple of new faces to the mix: Florian Duijsens, writer (also for this very blog) and carb lover extraordinaire; Rüdiger Hager, baking master and teacher; Ursula Heinzelmann, food and wine writer and author of “Beyond Bratwurst – A History of Food in Germany“, Roel Linterman, head chef at Grill Royal, Monika Walecka, baker from Warsaw, and Luisa Weiss, author of Classic German Baking. Unfortunately, Malin Elmlid, Kavita Meelu and Cathrin Brandes, who’ve all been in the jury since year one, couldn’t take part because of scheduling issues, but they’ll be back next year!
Let me tell you, the discussion was vivid and despite discussing many of the same issues as last year (How sour should a sourdough bread be? Why do so many breads not have enough salt? How come everyone loves the cold risen breads these days?), the competition once again showed that Berlin baking is getting better year after year and is at an all time high. All of the breads we tasted were good breads, which means all of the above bakeries are very much worth a visit.
The results this year were surprisingly different than lasts, which once again proved that making good bread is a daily issue, depending on so many details and conditions.
Let me know if you have any questions on the judging process, why certain bakeries aren’t in the list, and who was my personal fav, in the comments!
Without further ado and as usual, I’m presenting you the winner of each category, plus the runner up, let’s beginn with rye breads!
Category: Rye Flour
Runner up: Domberger Brotwerk’s Roggenbrot Made from 100 % organic rye flour, this beautiful round loaf of bread was a stunner in our line-up. The cracks in the dark crust stand against the flour deco and create a wonderfully messy pattern. Despite a slight mistake during the kneading and shaping which created a string of big bubbles in the crumb, this one convinced us with its classic rye taste. Which you’ll need to like, while Monika thought this one was a bit too acidic, and Florian dismissed it as too conventional, the rest were praising the traditional and intense flavours.
Sold for 4,50 Euro for the 750g loaf, and 10,80 for the 1800g one (pictured here).
Winner: Märkisches Landbrot’s demeter Roggenbrot A tin loaf! Who would’ve thought this classic bread shape that’s often dismissed as too boring would take the crown against all the free formed loafs on the table? Made entirely from organic rye grist (even the sourdough starter!), which is a coarsely ground flour variety, it’s a classic grist bread with a great balance of sweet and sour flavours. While Roel praised the crust, Monika noticed the nice texture, and Rüdiger the slight sweetness.
You can buy Märkisches Landbrot at many organic stores around town, among them Biocompany, prices vary from market to market.
Category: Spelt Flour
Winner: Sironi’s Rustico It’s a tough category, sure – only three bakeries submitted a bread with mainly spelt flour and last years’ winner rather easily took the crown again, with the vote being almost unanimous. Originally developed with and also served at Nobelhart&Schmutzig, this has a very distinct spelt flavour praised by the whole jury – it’s made with a mix of whole grain and plain, both stone ground. Ursula noticed a great balance of acidic and sweet. Full disclaimer, this is possibly my favorite bread in Berlin. It’s sold at Sironi as a 1800g loaf at 12,80 Euro.
Category: Wheat Flour
Runner Up: Albatross’ Café Sourdough
Okay, this is a tough one, because this pretty loaf is the runner up, but only by a hair (1 point). Albatross is a new bakery that is currently doing mostly whole sale, you can enjoy this loaf in many brunch cafés in the city, for example Isla. Considering they didn’t even exist during last years competition a second place is a really great result. Its nice crust was noted by the whole jury, respectively described as great, nice, beautiful, golden, and even lovely. Rüdiger, our baking master, criticised the too sour notes, however, the rest of the jury loved the acidity in combination with the well balanced salt. And while Luisa said it smelled like the countryside, Ursula noted it’s scent reminded her of a haystack, in a very positive way. A 1100g loaf sells for around 6,50 Euro.
Winner: Sironi’s Frumento
As said, winner by just a hair, but still a winner: Sironi’s Frumento is an Italian sourdough bread mixing stone ground, whole wheat flour with wheat flour type 812-1050, salt and water to create a pillowy soft crumb and a very photogenic crust. While some thought it was a bit too pale, and maybe a bit low in salt, they still voted it to the top of the bunch. It’s a fabulous bread with a beautiful texture and a very pleasant flavour. Get it at Sironi inside of Markthalle Neun for 5,20 Euro for a 900g loaf.
It’s more than a little embarrassing that the actual first time I ever went to Amsterdam was only ten days ago. I never intentionally avoided it, but I never really went for it either, however, finally everything fell into place and I had the most wonderful weekend in this unbelievably pretty city: the weather was perfect, the city was bright and clean and awaking from winter, the crowds were big and annoying, but there are ways to deal with that in NL. Food seems to be as big a topic over there as it is here in Berlin, and while I really did enjoy getting that 2,- kaassoufflé at Febo’s wall of food (you just have to try it once, or thrice), there was plenty of more elaborate stuff to munch on.
As usual, I didn’t eat everything I wanted to eat. Unfortunately, I missed out on three of four chances to have dinner (not voluntarily!), despite having great recommendations on my list like Choux, Café Modern, and Breda. Well, will have to come back and be more organised, I guess. But here’s the things I ate and would definitely eat again anytime:
Prepare to wait for your brunch table at this hyped spot that already has two locations. However, it’s worth it, and they have a pretty well working system, taking down your name and messaging you as soon as your table is ready (although it didn’t work with my German cell number, but we figured it out in the end). The menu reads amazing, so many delicious sounding egg dishes, sweets, bowls, sandwiches – deciding whether to order the soft polenta with shiitake mushroom ragu and poached eggs (which make it brunch, you know), or the banoffee porridge with salted date caramel sauce and gingernut biscuit crunch is almost impossible! Bring loads of people to be able to taste it all, is what I suggest. Pictured here are the smoky aubergine and feta pancakes with fried egg, cumin spiced chickpeas, cashews and pine nuts, yoghurt and pita crackers. The yellow beverage on the side is a hot ginger and curcuma drink with black pepper, lemon, and honey, because I was also fighting a sinusitis, as it just always seems to happen when I’m traveling to interesting food cities. The food? I loved all of it.
PS, we should’ve definitely tried their boozy milkshakes. Would come back just for those.
Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54, 1072 BH Amsterdam, daily 08:30–16:00
I’ve been receiving this recommendation a lot, so I was surprised to see that Holtkamp is a pretty small cake shop given its popularity. I ended up sampling “only” all the different sweet and savoury (cheese!) cookies, because we’d just stuffed ourselves at brunch, but they were a delight and I’d go back anytime to buy any of their sweet treats.
Vijzelgracht 15, 1017 HM Amsterdam, Mon–Fri 08:30–18:00, Sat 08:30–17:00
Van der Linde
One actually really, really wants to avoid this street because it’s just a pain to walk in the crowds (which, yes, are everywhere in Amsterdam, but this one was the worst), however – this small shop selling ice cream is worth the struggle, I’d say. They fold freshly whipped cream with their frozen vanilla ice cream with no artificial additives, creating a soft and creamy scoop of heaven. The buying procedure is almost foolproof: get in the line and be swept inside the narrow shop, tell them what size your scoop shall have and whether you want a cone or a cup, pay, receive ice cream, leave. There are so many people and this seems the only way to handle them (and make profit). However, you’ll have to eat it on the busy main shopping street, so maybe just close your eyes?
Nieuwendijk 183, 1012 MG Amsterdam, Mon 13:00–17:00, Tue–Thu 11:00–17:45, Fri 09:00–17:45, 09:00–17:00
When I started researching food in Amsterdam, one of the first things I learned about was the rijsttafel, an Indonesian feast literally translating to rice table, where loads and loads of small dishes are served together with white and brown and steamed rice. We went to Blauw, a restaurant on the other end of Vondel Park, that was fully booked that night (smart as I sometimes am, we pre-booked a table beginning of the week), and ordered a vegetarian and a meat version. The table they seated us on was suspiciously small, however, they managed placing all the small ceramic ships with gado gado, tempeh satay, eggs in coconut sauce, fried banana, corn cakes, veggies in peanut sauce, and much much more. We ended up finishing all of it, though. Mostly because we went easy on the rice. It really was a good meal, while some of them were a bit bland, the majority was delicious. A rijsttafel is definitely something I’d look out for on a trip to NL.
Amstelveenseweg 158-160, 1075 XN Amsterdam, Mon–Thu 18:00–22:00, Fri 18:00–22:30, Sat 17:00–22:30, Sun 17:00–22:00
After walking around for a full day, it was either this ramen place or La Perla to fill our empty stomachs, and the choice fell on a bowl full of noodles and broth. (A friend of mine tried the pizza at La Perla after we left and reported it’s amazing.) While the gyozas weren’t entirely convincing, this Shio bowl is a save bet with great chewy noodles and an intense broth.
Elandsgracht 2A, 1016 TV Amsterdam, Tue–Sun 12:00–15:00, 17:00–21:00
This café just by a busy market is serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, but the one thing people really queue for here is the apple pie. I actually needed two attempts to get my hands on it, since the first time we went there on Saturday afternoon it was just impossibly crowded. I went again on Monday morning and snatched a table outside, right next to the window to the bakery. During the 30minutes I sat there, I saw the baker make at least 20 new pies, with dozens more lined up ready for her to assemble. Not a small affair, that pie-biz. Their pie is tall with a thick, golden crust and apples cut in big chunks. It’s a nice cake, no doubt, however, as usual with such a big hype and line, one tends to expect something mind blowing, rather than just a good cake. Just a result of the times we live in, I guess. Right after I posted this experience on Instagram stories, someone replied they had the same with Five Elephant’s cheese cake over here. Well.
Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Mon 07:00–01:00, Tue–Thu 08:00–01:00, Fri 08:00–03:00, Sat 07:00–03:00, Sun 10:00–01:00
Bullys Bakery used to be one of my favs, before it seemed like the owners kinda got tried of gastronomy and just let things slide, turning the once pretty corner café into a whatever place with a less than impressive menu. So it was probably the right next step for OG-Bully to move back to South Germany and hand the reins over to Behzad Karim-Khani und Achille Farese, known from Lugosi bar and Karloff (aka, my favourite Italian restaurant in the city). They renovated and updated this prime location, upped their coffee and cake game and created a place I’m happy to put back on the map.
I went by on a Saturday afternoon and the place looked nothing like I remembered – an extensive black bar dominates the front room, and another back room has been opened up for seating space. Inside of the angular bar you’ll find the cakes of the day, cheese cake with or without salted caramel, gluten-free chocolate cake and brioche was displayed, but my eye fell on a hazelnut apple tart, generously sprinkled with what looked like Piedmontese nuts (which would justify the price tag of 3,70 Euros). I added a cappuccino to my order and sat down by the window.
The cappuccino had the gentlest milk foam, was perfectly balanced in taste and complimented the cake very well. And yes, the cake was made with Piedmontese hazelnuts, slightly roasted and thus super delicious. The pastry was topped with the nuts and the roasted sliced apples. Such a good piece of cake. Great comeback, Bullys!
Gin and Tonic is rightfully one of the most popular drinks around: its concept is simple and straightforward, and can easily be upgraded by adding one or three ingredients. However, I think it should always be based on a high quality gin with distinct botanical notes. Tanqueray was launched in 1830, and is still produced after a fiercely guarded recipe. Its key botanicals are juniper, coriander, angelica root and liquorice, with a strong juniper note. In order to explore the possibilities of G&T, Jo and Cosy, the two creatives behind Hamburg’s uber-popular food pop-up Salt & Silver, traveled country. Inspired by Charles Tanqueray’s six years of developing the perfect London Dry Gin, they joined forces with local chefs and bartenders to reinvent the classic drink and pair it with locally inspired dishes. In Munich, beer liqueur and sweet mustard were used to make a real Bavarian version, in Hamburg, Paola Labansat added grapes and citrus thyme, which was served with ceviche, fish tacos, and basil ice cream. Read on to find out how Berlin did in this challenge and get some inspiration for your next G&T creation…
Continuing the original passion for experimenting with flavours and travelling the world to find the perfect balance, Tanqueray and Salt&Silver initiated an exploration under the motto “It’s what you put in it”. I was interested in how they experienced the local differences, the many varieties of G&T, and how to find the perfect match for your dinner. Here’s what they found out:
G&T is such a popular aperitif, why do you guys think that is so? And which kind of food does it compliment the best?
Salt&Silver: It’s because it’s such a versatile drink, you can find a version for almost kitchen style. If you add rosemary and lemon, it’s great with Italian food, or you choose fresh jalapeño and cilantro and serve it with Mexican tacos. There’s no situation a G&T doesn’t go well with.
You traveled all of Germany with your drinks and food, and created special dishes for special G&Ts – did you notice any local preferences? Do people in Berlin enjoy their G&T in the club while in Munich it’s rather sipped as a sun downer on a roof terrace?
Salt&Silver: Every region certainly has its own character, but the G&T is an allround talent, so whether you have it in the club or on a terrace doesn’t matter. It seems more a matter of personal taste, people had their very own ideas how they like this drink.
And what’s your personal favourite?
Salt&Silver: When it comes to G&T, we’re polyamorous. If it’s a surprising and well done variation, we’ll allow it onto our vast list of favourites. Even to us, the versatility of gin is astonishing. We love anything citrus, so the Tanquerey Rangpur with its distinctive and original Rangpur lime flavour really amazed us.
And how did Berlin respond to this challenge, the city where every night a trillion G&T’s are consumed? Bartender Atalay Aktaş created the Hometown Glory: 5 cl Tanqueray London Dry, caramelised limes (with cinnamon and orange liqueur), top with tonic water. To create food fitting this unusual drink, Salt&Silver invited Victoria Eliasdottir, who served baked beetroot with Danish rye bread, horseradish and lavender, as well as a smoked trout with grapefruit, dill and kaki. A food and drinks pairing that’s playing with the botanical notes of the drink, and pays homage to the local produce while taking in inspiration from around the world. Just like Charles Tanqueray would’ve done it.
Watch the video to find out how to make Aktaş’ drink:
Tanqueray X Salt Silver - Hometown Glory - YouTube
Well… as unapologetic as I might be about my scepticism for anything Friedrichshain, I never gave up on the district and – stop the press – here’s a new and utterly delicious reason to hit the always crowded streets around Boxhagener Platz: to get a bowl filled with intense broth and perfect ramen noodles at Hako, to sooth the pain of what seems like a once again never ending winter.
My disdain has made the rounds, I now receive emails asking me to explain myself, so I feel like this is kind of a redemption: I’m obviously open to Friedrichshain being not as bad as I thought, which is why I visited both newly opened Japanese noodle shops listed in the most recent Seriously: Ten New Places We Have to Visit article. And while the other unfortunately confirmed all my stereotypes, I was so happy to find out this one hits all the marks. Not only is the interior pleasantly low-key, the menu is concise, presenting classic ramen versions and a couple of mix ups, like the Tonkotsu Tan Tan, which combines the creamy sesame broth of a Tan Tan with a piece of braised pork belly. And there are three veggie / vegan options: Miso, Shio, and Tan Tan, the latter served with soy meat and an egg or shiitake mushrooms.
However, we started with edamame, a Sapporo beer and a little bowl full of pan-fried aubergines in soy sauce that were already so well balanced and delicious, my hopes were rising for my bowl of veggie tantan ramen coming up.
And there it was, the milky beige broth with dots of roasted sesame oil, a leaf of pak choi, an egg, the minced soy meat. Hidden underneath were the noodles, cooked perfectly right with a bit of bite remaining. And that was it.
My main concern with ramen is the broth anyway, I want something intense with multiple layers of flavour, something spicy and wholesome so that every spoonful feels like a much-needed hug. And yes, this one does all that and more.
It left me with that the satisfying feeling of a belly filled with warmth and goodness, which I crave from a good bowl of ramen.
A very, very good reason to come to Friedrichshain, indeed.
By the way, we met there at 6.30 and it wasn’t an issue to get two seats, however, it got quite crowded around 8, and a queue quickly formed. Nothing compared to what you have to deal with at Cocolo. Oh and if you’re asking how these compare: as it should be, the broths are different, so it’s a different experience. But quality-wise they’re pretty much head to head in my book.
This winter, I took a little break from cold and grey season and travelled from Berlin all the way south to Lisbon (and back), and I only returned this past weekend to a city that definitely has spring in the air, and I’m so glad. I settled in with a classic Kreuzkölln triple: breakfast and coffee at Okay, then I picked up a loaf at The Bread Station, and finished this round-trip off with a chai bagel at Brammibal’s. And while these favourites definitely made me excited to be back, I instantly wanted to work on finding new places to try out. Winter is a bit of a slow season for openings, but not entirely dire: we got some new places for Japanese soup, for fried food, and for sweets. Basically what we need to keep going through the last weeks of winter?
Of course, there’s been loads more openings, but as usual this is my personal top-interest list, sorted alphabetically. If you’ve visited one of these, please let me know what you thought about them in the comments! And if you think I missed a great new spot, let me know asap!
In case these are not enough new places, have you checked off all of these?
You might’ve seen this patisserie in France, Belgium, London, or even New York. And now at Olivaer Platz, where a French-Berlin couple opened the bakery and shop with special authorisation of founder Frédéric Vaucamps. Focus are obviously the Merveilleux, but there’s also brioche, croissants and all other kinds of sweet delights. Sounds delightful!
Olivaer Platz 2, 10707 Charlottenburg, Tue–Sat 07:00–19:00, Sun 07:00–16:00
The uber-successful vegan sweets business is expanding from its original Maybachufer location very much up north into the heart of bobo-Berlin, opening a new joint on busy Danziger Straße (taking over from a vegan ice cream parlor). There’s no doubt this one will be just as good and busy as their Kreuzkölln spot, their lil’ fried rings of goodness have fans all over the city, heck, all over the country.
Danziger Strasse 65, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg, opening early March
When the OG-Bully was done with gastronomy and decided to move back to South Germany, Behzad Karim-Khani und Achille Farese, known from Lugosi bar and Karloff (aka, my favourite Italian restaurant in the city), took a leap of faith and renovated and updated this lovely corner café. Don’t be scared, change is very good in this case and will bring you saffron milk rice tartes, licorice panna cotta, fresh juices, home-made cola (whaaaat), and home made brioches, ciabatta, and much more. Can’t wait to rediscover this former favourite.
Friedelstraße 7, 12047 Neukölln, Mon–Fri 09:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–19:00
Two opposite forces, basically: I love ramen, I do have very well known issues with Friedrichshain. I’ll definitely try this one, though, no question. Instagram is full of influencer praise, we’ll have to see what it’s worth.
Boxhagenerstrasse 26, 10245 Friedrichshain, Mon–Fri 17:00–22:00, Sat–Sun 15:00–22:00
One of the busiest initiatives to support refugees, especially with legal advice, Be an Angel e.V., just invested in a new and very interesting project: they took over a restaurant space and opened Kreuzberger Himmel, a Syrian restaurant operated by people who were forced to flee their countries and found a new home in Berlin. The food is Syrian, with hummus, kibbeh, maqlooba, mahashi judra and loads of more specialities.
Yorckstraße 89, 10965 Kreuzberg, Wed–Sun from 17:00
Folks, this is not a joke: there are two new ramen joints in the city, or better to say: in Friedrichshain. Just 500m away from Hako Ramen, Ramen x Ramen has set up shop, and besides offering the classics, it features a special vegan menu with three different bowls. Instagram praise is just as big as for the other one, but then ramen is one of the instagram-approved dishes, so we should make it a tour and try both spots in one trip.
Gabriel-Max-Str. 2, 10245 Friedrichshain, daily 12:00–24:00
You might have eaten something from Rødder, the Danish Smørrebrød enthusiasts, during one of their many pop-up stints in the past – end of last year, they finally found a home inside of foodie-heaven Markthalle Neun, where they’re now elaborately garnishing breads five days a week. Of course, everything’s local if possible, and definitely organic, from hering to chicken liver, kale to dill mayo. And they’re also offering cider with it, as well as some other treats from the north (you can even buy their pretty plates).
Eisenbahnstraße 42, 10997 Kreuzberg (inside Markthalle Neun), Tue–Sat 12:00–18:00, Thus til 22:00, Fri till 21:30
A new British gastropub has taken over the space where once was the Italian brio, and many years before, Little Otik, which helped pave the way for Berlin’s foodie reformation. A place loads of history! This new venture features small and big dishes to share, many of them with a focus on veggies, and a great selection of wines and drinks, and a pavlova for dessert! So I’ll definitely go and try at least that one.
Graefestr. 71, 10967 Kreuzberg, Wed–Sun 16:00–00:00
If you’re craving Southern US comfort food, namely grits, biscuits and gravy, and chicken waffles, this might be your place. Coming with an empty stomach seems mandatory, they don’t deal with light meals. However, they do brunch, heavy brunch perfect for a day with a hangover.
Lychener Str. 6, 10437 Prenzlauer Berg, Tue–Fri 17:00–22:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00, 17:00–22:00
Berlin’s ripe for a pizza revolution, don’t you think? We just don’t have enough good pizza places in this city. A new one might be coming to Neukölln’s Weichselplatz very, very soon – Łukasz Sołowiej, founder and former chef of Zola at Paul Linke Ufer, is starting a new baking business with Darius Suski, a design dealer and collector, who already equipped the space with Bertoia chairs and an orange tiled brick oven by Stefano Ferrara. Fingers crossed!
Fuldastraße 31, 12045 Berlin, opening soon
The time has come, for us all to eat really spicy and hot food everyday. And lucky us, it’ll be an easy task: because finally, finally, finally, there’s a three-week-long pop-up series of ChungKing noodles lunch services. You remember ChungKing, don’t you? The delicious chilli noodle businesses set-up by Shanghai-born Ash Lee, creator of the Chī Fàn supper clubs? Well, if you don’t, you’re in for a treat. And if you do: you can have it every week from now on.
ChungKing will be a guest at Prenzlauer Berg’s The Hidden, this time covering the lunch service every Friday and Saturday for three weeks beginning Jan 12 until Jan 27.
She serves the classic dish, which originates in southwest China with her own chili oil, combined with noodles, her own broth, a number of condiments, and your topping of choice (either vegan or not). It’s so spicy, but still has so many layers of flavours, the memory of eating it will stay with you for days. At least until you get back and get another bowl.
A sweet, savory, spicy, salty, smokey, and sour year comes to an end. Berlin had it all: ups and downs and turn-it-all-arounds. With 69 articles, over 20 entirely new and very exciting spots, a re-designed online map, an ice-cream feast, a Veggie Bite Club, another round of successful clothing donations, and a very new printed map added to the stilinberlin family in 2017, it’s been a busy year with loads of dining, feasting, and yes, digesting on my side. Here’s a round-up of the most popular things on the blog this year.
For Berlin’s food scene itself its been an exciting year that came with a lot of challenges resulting out of the growing hype around food. One of the most peculiar occurrences that stuck with me was the explosion of certain food events on facebook. It’s been mind-boggling to me (and many others), considering their gimmicky appearance and more often than not rather lackluster appeal irl. Hosted mostly by dudes more interested in likes and shares who approach food with a start-up-mentality focussed on scaling, these blockbuster-style events have made it harder for real-life-players to gain attention. Peak-lunacy was reached when Thai park got its own fb page and event, liked and shared by thousands. Surprise, it’s not hosted by one of the Thai entrepreneurs present at the site, but more likely stemming out of the white guy group responsible for such gems as the Berlin Sushi / Kebap / Pizza / Poke Festival. It’s perhaps a natural development of the food craze that has been fed by me, you, and everyone I know, and all we can do is hold our breaths until it’s over and the vultures found a new scene to prey on.
Another rather unpleasant consequence that has seriously affected the development of the past year was the raised competition on the real estate market. I know quite the number of small-scale yet ambitious projects who are desperately looking for a space in a city, where every tenant of a former Imbiss is looking for a 100k as “key money”. Which oftentimes makes it necessary to find investors if you want to open a food business in a popular location, a task more difficult for chefs and entrepreneurs who’re not falling into the category that investors like to give their money to. Which results in ever more of the same concepts taking over the city: namely those, who have the skills to argue their alleged profitable prospects to people who have money. Is this the reason food-trend-exploiters and copycats take over many coveted spots? Can’t say for sure, but I for one am not a fan of the 2017 wave of poké-bowl joints customized to German mainstream .
This development has me slightly worried for the next steps ins Berlin’s food scene. Hype and craze and its many consequences can kill what could be a wholesome, diverse, exciting, and progressive home to those understanding food not as a profit-driven business opportunity, but as the most common element our society is resting upon. Everyone has to eat. Everyone wants to eat good. Everyone should be able to do so. Good food is not only benefiting its eater, but everything around us.
I promise to continue to focus on the small-scale and local, the artisanal and proficient, the ones focussed on quality and history, aware of their surroundings and influences, who strive forward. It’ll be an easy task, because they’re always the most delicious anyway.
Probably one of the best additions to Mitte in the past year was Commonground, the food and drinks place on the ground floor of Circus Hotel at busy Rosenthaler Platz. It’s managed by the crew behind Friedrichshain’s brunch and coffee powerhouse Silo, which means it has morning food options galore: a seriously delicious avocado on toast (they’re Australian, after all), velvety scrambled eggs, and a smashing french toast (pictured above), plus their very own very good coffee. Read more here.
Another until now peripheral player moved very much Mitte this year and added some pizazz: in a minimalist, chic environment dominated by a terrazzo bar, Five Elephant serves excellent coffee as well as a big selection of little cakes on fashionable Alte Schönhauser Straße – unlike their Kreuzberg joint, this one presents them in a more bourgeois kinda shape. Their bestseller, the cheese cake, comes in circular form with the crust formed as a bowl holding the cream. I personally think the cream-crust-ratio is just not right in that version, but the single components are delicious anyway. Read more here.
This general store and café has done loads of growing up in the past years, from a small and almost cramped space to a light and airy hall filled with excellent goodies. Not only are they serving one of my current favourite salads, they’re also a good spot to shop the stilinberlin map! Read more here.
After doing the Berlin’s Best Bread test for three years, I was hoping to expand this concept to the cinnamon bun. Turns out there’re plenty buns, just not a lot of great ones. Let’s hope this test inspires some delicious sticky-sweet wheels. Read more here.
This place is a beautiful paradise north of Berlin: a farm-to-table restaurant in the midst of a forest, with farmlands (don’t missen the frozen Brussel sprout trees) and loads of fun animals (that donkey!). The menu of the family-run business is composed of what they grow, plus a couple add-ons. Read more here.
I’ve said it last week already, Kin Dee is one of my fav openings of the year. The Thai restaurant is under the direction of head chef Dalad Kambhu and restaurant manager Moritz Estermann, and serves creative, joyful, and intense Thai food using local ingredients. Read more here.
This one’s definitely the most anticipated day in my office (left-overs!), and mine too – this was the fourth time I called in a jury to taste breads from Berlin’s best bakers to find the one to celebrate for the year to come. Find the results here.
I / we all fell for Sweethearts head over heals beginning of the year, not only because of its awesome looks (that lovely garden), but the sweet staff and excellent menu of brunch dishes (Käsespätzle topped with a poached egg!). But after only six months (the highlight being a frozen feast of ice cream), it all ended rather suddenly due to outside factors neither them nor we could’ve influenced. It’s questionable whether there’ll be a come-back, so let’s indulge in sweet memories… Read more here.
This is a sweet smasher of a guide – I’ve tasted as much ice cream as I could to bring you a list of scrumptious scoops. Unfortunately, most of the spots are currently enjoying their well deserved hiatus. But prepare yourself for the start of the season and read more here.
I’ve done it, I made a list of my favourite ten places to eat… Why? To celebrate the relaunch of the online map where you can now save your favs.
The list is still and definitely valid now, and I for one can’t wait to have more of the delicious Syrian sweets you see in the above picture. Find the whole list here.