BNGuide

Where To Eat & Stay In Berlin

Instead of settling for another crappy currywurst, use this guide to find the best places to eat, drink, and stay in Berlin.

Where To Eat & Stay In Berlin guide image

photo credit: Zoe Spawton

Maybe you touched down in Berlin thinking you’d be exclusively eating things like sausage, pretzels, and sauerkraut. And yes, you can definitely get all of that in Germany’s capital, but Berlin is truly a global city, where many of the best restaurants are operated by immigrants from countries like Spain, Japan, and Syria. Alongside all those different cuisines, Berlin is a great place to eat if you’re vegan, with a reputation as one of the best places to go meatless in Europe. No matter where you end up for dinner, it’s worth knowing that most places require reservations on weekends, so make sure you’re planning ahead.

As endless as the options may seem, we’re here to point you in the right direction to all the best restaurants in Berlin, along with some hotel recommendations.

THE CLASSICS


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893 Ryōtei

You may do a double-take when you reach 893 Ryōtei—yes, that graffiti-splattered, seemingly abandoned storefront with tinted glass is where you’ll be eating delicious Japanese food. While you can certainly focus on the sushi and sashimi, be sure to try the dishes that make use of influences outside of Japan, like the lomo and sashimi taquitos. It’s a trendy, high-end spot to celebrate a special occasion in a small group, but it’s also fun to sit at the counter with a date and watch the chefs slice thick pieces of fresh fish.


It feels like there’s always a new Neapolitan pizza place opening up in Berlin, but Standard Serious Pizza is the standby that’s been around for over a decade. Go for a classic margherita with fluffy dough and buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes from Italy, or one of the daily specials that might be topped with mortadella and burrata. The restaurant has three locations that all have a pretty minimalist looks, but the original one in Prenzlauer Berg is where you should go for a loud, energetic atmosphere we love. It can get pretty packed at night, so it’s best to reserve a table in advance unless you’re okay with a potentially long wait.


Berlin has a large Turkish population so you can find Turkish grills all over the city, and one of the most famous is Adana Grillhaus. The restaurant has two locations right around the corner from each other in Kreuzberg, but the one on Skalitzer Strasse is brighter and more spacious. Both are open until the early morning, and after drinking your way down Oranienstraße at places like Café Luzia and Biererei Bar, the restaurant’s namesake minced lamb meat cooked on a skewer really hits the spot.


GREAT VEGAN RESTAURANTS


Berlin is the vegan capital of Europe, with a heap of places serving meatless things that are way more interesting than sad salads and steamed vegetables. One of our favorites is this casual option in Prenzlauer Berg. They serve things like a “chicken” burger piled high with homemade seitan strips, feta “cheese,” and marinated roasted peppers, along with a towering portobello mushroom burger oozing with a smokey, barbecue maple sauce that’ll satisfy you even if you’re the kind of person who calls salad "rabbit food." Everything at this fast-food spot makes for a satisfying quick weekend lunch or a more laid-back weeknight dinner.


photo credit: Zoe Spawton

Alaska Bar review image

Alaska Bar

$$$$+493023914138
Hours:WED
5PM-2AM
Perfect For:VegansSmall Plates

Step into Alaska Bar and you’re immediately hit with bursts of color and decorations on the walls like cat figurines, a sign that says “Ich liebe meine vagina” (feel free to Google that translation), and photographs straight out of the ‘80s. This cozy cafe, with plant-based takes on classic Spanish tapas like croquetas and tortilla, is a great choice for anyone who wants to prove to their friends how good vegan food can be. Just make a reservation if you’re coming for dinner since there’s not much space inside, but be sure to stick around later for a rowdy bar scene.


Take Thai food, make it vegan, and serve it in small bowls perfect for people who like to try a bit of everything, and that’s what you’ll get at li.ke. Right at one of the corners of Boxhagener Platz, you can pop into the brightly decorated space for a low-key meal once you get hungry from drinking cheap Späti beers in the square, or perhaps before you settle in for some day drinking in the sun. There are some large dishes like pad thai on the menu, but it’s more fun to split their smaller bowls with a couple of friends—particularly the massaman curry, fresh papaya salad, and Tau Hu Tod, a dish of crispy tofu with peanut sauce.


FOR SOMETHING ON THE GO


If you’re on Museum Island, you're not too far from Curry 61. There'll probably be a small crowd huddled outside the order window, but you’ll find both locals and out-of-towners here for a quick currywurst lunch or snack that comes out almost as fast as you order. There’s perhaps no better introduction to Berlin than eating some sausage slathered in curry sauce and a side of fries next to a sausage-ified version of the famous graffiti painting of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker’s kiss.


Speaking of Berlin’s iconic dish, the one currywurst place that everyone (even Tom Hanks) is familiar with is Curry 36. While this place looks like any run-of-the-mill currywurst stand, it’s a true classic, specifically the Mehringdamm location that’s been around since 1981. Open until 5am, this is somewhere you should come if you’re out late after bar hopping and want something quick, easy, and satisfying.


Currywurst has one main competitor as Berlin’s signature dish: döner kebab. It’s hard to avoid döner shops, and even harder to tell a good place from a bad one. Gemüse Kebap & Friends is that trusty spot that’ll never let you down with its excellently proportioned chicken kebab, roasted vegetables, fresh salad, and crispy bread. It’s extra convenient since it’s located a couple blocks from all the bars around Boxhagener Platz.


CASUAL DINING


When you’ve checked off seeing the World Clock in Alexanderplatz and the picturesque courtyards of Hackesche Höfe in Mitte, Kin Za Georgian Kitchen is a great, relaxed place to refuel for lunch. When it’s busy, the space can feel a little cramped, but that doesn’t really matter when you get plates of satisfying khachapuri and khinkali. Those two dishes could easily make up a full meal, which will have you ready for miles more walking, or maybe a little snooze at Monbijou Park.


photo credit: Zoe Spawton

Taquería El Oso review image

Taquería El Oso

$$$$
Hours:WED
12PM-10PM

Markthalle Pfefferberg, the 700-square-meter hall of shops and food stands, is a fun stop on any tour of the restaurant-packed Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. If you only try one place inside, let it be Taquería el Oso, which serves juicy al pastor and birria tacos that’ll have you making a mess and loving every minute of it. It’s not easy to find a table in the crowded space on the weekends, so if you want to avoid the madness, try to visit around noon when they first open and the party people are still sleeping.


Like teatime to the British, the tradition of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) is a big deal for Germans, and so is where to get said cake. We like to head to Zuckerbaby, where you’ll inevitably end up going overboard with your order. Try sweets like rich turtle cake drizzled with chocolate and caramel, a dense poppyseed cake, and the best carrot cake you’ll ever have.


NICER SIT-DOWN SPOTS


The tie-wearing waiters and business people having client dinners make A Mano feel kind of formal, but this Friedrichshain spot is more than you’d think. Yes, there are chandeliers and rich dishes like truffle gnocchi, but this place has a ton of regulars, a super friendly waitstaff, and also some excellent lunch specials. Those change daily, but you’ll find things like a carrot soup to start, pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant for the main, and mango panna cotta to finish.


photo credit: Hendrik Haase

Kumpel & Keule review image

Kumpel & Keule

$$$$
Hours:WED
5PM-10PM
Perfect For:Date Night

If you visit Markthalle Neun, you’ll probably pass a butcher stand called Kumpel & Keule, which also serves burgers that are some of the best bites you can get in the whole food hall. Just a five-minute walk from there you’ll find Kumpel & Keule’s standalone restaurant where you can try more of their creations in a sit-down setting. From tatare to veal sweetbreads, high-quality meat is the star, and don’t worry, their perfect dry-aged classic beef burger is on the menu here, too.


photo credit: Zoe Spawton

PeterPaul review image

PeterPaul

$$$$
Hours:WED
6PM-12AM

Berlin isn’t a city stuck on tradition, which is why one of the best places to try German food is at PeterPaul. They serve modern takes on German classics—like Königsberger Klopse, meatballs in a creamy sauce, and the gravy-rich roast meat dish that is Sauerbraten. Pretty much everything on the menu comes in small portions, so definitely order three to four dishes per person, but if you find yourself drawn to heavier options like the buttermilk-marinated crispy chicken, just know that you’ll need to find a way to make room for the rich black forest cherry cake. Even though PeterPaul is one of the nicer places on this list, there isn’t a dress code, and you’ll probably still see people wearing open button-down shirts and VEJA sneakers.


GOOD FOR GROUPS


Open until 3am most nights and 5am on Fridays and Saturdays, El Borriquito is the spot if you love noisy, drawn-out dinners that turn into tipsy parties. You’ll want to bring a big group and book a late table at this Spanish restaurant, preferably on the weekend, so you can see some live music. Share tapas like pimientos de padrón and fried calamari from a jam-packed starter platter, and drink a bottle of rioja while listening to a couple of guys perform “Volare” by Gipsy Kings.


Out of the many great restaurants in Kreuzberg, Kimchi Princess is a standout, especially if you’re looking for an exciting place to eat before or after hanging out by the canal or in Görlitzer Park. Make yourself comfortable at one of the big wooden tables inside or out, and bring friends so you can do the grill-at-your-table Korean barbecue. After you’ve filled up on bulgogi and banchan, wash it down with some Cass, a Korean beer, and roll yourself home.


The chef behind Malakeh has hosted a cooking show and catered for former Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the main star of this place is the excellent Syrian food. The menu, with a long list of appetizers and even more mains, can seem overwhelming, but we just go straight for the fattet makdous: a stuffed, roasted, and fried eggplant that’s cooked in tomato sauce, covered in yogurt, garlic, and tahini sauces, and topped with nuts and pomegranate seeds. Keep the party going with the shish belfakhar, a dish of spiced, grilled chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms with cheese under a golden bread topping. While the hanging lanterns and black-and-white portraits make the interior feel homey, on sunny days you should grab a table in their front outdoor seating for a side of people-watching with your stuffed vine leaves.


photo credit: Zoe Spawton

Tenur review image

Tenur

$$$$+49 30 67954280
Hours:WED
5PM-10:30PM

Kurdish spot Tenur is definitely somewhere to visit with a few friends, order a ton of food, and get comfortable at one of the longer tables inside. Start with the big meze plate before moving on to some stews or grilled meats like the Mardin Kebab Tenur Spezial, which is a minced lamb and veal skewer with grilled eggplant and butter sauce. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, and even the small side salads burst with flavor. Try their unique take on kunafah for dessert that uses buffalo mozzarella, sugary syrup, and fine pastry strands made by a woman in the neighborhood.


After a day spent wandering around Museum Island, unwind at nearby Jolly for Chinese food that’s way better than at the other flashy tourist traps in the area. The Peking duck, available as a whole bird or smaller appetizer, is a highlight, and you can never go wrong with some of their dim sum like the plump ha gau and succulent sieuw mai. There’s ample seating inside, but make a reservation if you’re coming on a weekend evening.


THE HOTELS


photo credit: Zoe Spawton

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The Michelberger Hotel

The Michelberger Hotel feels new and cool, even more so because of how close it is to both the Spree river and some of Berlin’s best nightlife, like the world-famous club Berghain (no, we can’t help you get in). You have options beyond the standard double or king rooms, including a big room of single beds that’s perfect for a group of friends or a suite with its own sauna. During your stay, you’ll probably stumble upon some event for guests happening in the courtyard. Once a month it’s a full-out party you’ll need a ticket for, but they usually end at 11pm while other nights it’s something more relaxed like yoga or a DJ playing ambient music.


Hotel de Rome is a luxury hotel just off the famous Unter den Linden boulevard between the iconic Brandenburger Tor and Museum Island. Back in the day, the impressive building was the former headquarters of the Dresdner Bank (the spa is literally in the old jewel vault), but now it’s a place where you can feel like royalty without needing a whole country to fund your lifestyle. To really make the most of your stay, drink a glass of champagne on the rooftop terrace and enjoy the views of the TV Tower and Berliner Dom.


photo credit: Fridolin Full

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The Orania.Berlin

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Funky and lively, Kreuzberg has some of the best restaurants, bars, and clubs in the city. For those who want to be within easy walking distance from those options at all times, the Orania.Berlin is the way to go. The rooms, filled with textured linen fabrics, handmade Iranian carpet, and bright lighting, make for a great place to crash after experiencing Berlin’s wild nightlife.

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