The Best Restaurants In BerlinInstead of settling for another crappy currywurst, use this guide to find the best places to eat and drink in Berlin.
Maybe you touched down in Berlin thinking you’d primarily be eating things like sausage, pretzels, and sauerkraut. Sure, you can 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 of those different cuisines, Berlin is a great place to eat if you’re plant-based, and is known as one of the best cities for vegans in Europe.
While you’ll find Berliners eating out around the clock, dinner is the main event, and most places require reservations on weekends. Tables fill up around 8pm and linger for a few hours, with a couple of rounds of wine or cocktails to punctuate the meal. Ask for the bill or wait forever—servers won’t bring it until you do.
Breakfast and brunch are beloved and just as leisurely, and many restaurants offer set menus and daily specials for lunch. As endless as the options may seem, we’re here to point you in the right direction. These are the best restaurants in Berlin.
You might 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 gorgeous, modern Japanese food.
It’s got a gritty cool factor that’s characteristically Berlin, and while you can certainly focus on the sushi and sashimi, try the dishes with influences outside of Japan, like the lomo and sashimi taquitos. Wear the most fashion-y thing you brought and you’ll blend right in—this is a trendy, high-end spot for celebrating a special occasion with a small group, but it’s also fun to sit at the counter solo or with a date and watch the chefs slice, plate, and garnish thick cuts of fish.
Berlin has a big Turkish population, so you’ll find Turkish grills all over the city. One of the most famous is Adana Grillhaus. There are two locations right around the corner from each other in Kreuzberg, but the one on Skalitzer Strasse is brighter and better for big groups.
Both are open until the early morning, and their namesake minced lamb meat cooked on a skewer is one of the best ways to end a night of drinking your way down Oranienstraße at spots like Café Luzia and Biererei Bar.
El Borriquito is the place to be if you love noisy, drawn-out dinners that turn into boozy parties. Bring a big group and book a late table (no earlier than 9pm), preferably on the weekend, so you can see some live music.
Share tapas like pimientos de padrón and fried calamari from a platter of mixed starters before moving on to heftier plates of grilled fish and meat. By the time you’re on your second bottle of Rioja, the band will likely be belting out the Gipsy Kings rendition of “Volare”. This place stays open until 3am during the week and 5am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Annelies is one of the stars of Berlin’s brunch scene, evident every weekend when crowds of bleary-eyed creatives rouse in the early afternoon and gather outside to debrief the night before while waiting for a table. Reservations aren’t possible except for large groups during the week, so set your alarm early to avoid the madness.
There are only seven dishes to choose from, but there are three clear winners. For savory breakfast lovers, it’s either the sausage, egg and cheese sandwich made with a sesame pancake bun or the scrambled eggs served on sourdough toast and topped with grated smoked egg yolk. If you’d rather start the day with something sweet, get the fluffy buttermilk pancakes.
QUICK & EASY
There’s perhaps no better introduction to Berlin than eating currywurst: sausage slathered in curried ketchup with a side of fries. If you’re hopping around Museum Island, you’re just around the corner from Curry 61, where there’ll probably be a small crowd of locals and out-of-towners huddled outside the order window for a quick lunch or snack.
Your order will be up almost as fast as you place it—squeeze in at one of the few tall tables inside the tiny shop, and admire the mural of the Berlin Wall’s famous Fraternal Kiss graffiti painting, but with the added detail of a curry-drenched sausage.
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, make it Taquería el Oso, which serves the juiciest al pastor tacos sliced straight from the trompo.
Tables can be tough to come by on weekend afternoons and evenings, so plan on coming around noon when the party people are still sleeping in. Make it a Sunday, since that’s when they serve birria.
Like teatime to the British, the tradition of “kaffee und kuchen” (or coffee and cake) is a big deal for Germans, and so is where to get said cake. We like Zuckerbaby, where you’ll inevitably end up going overboard with an order of rich turtle cake drizzled with chocolate and caramel, a dense poppyseed cake, and the best carrot cake you’ve ever had. Order the Nuss-Nougat Kakao, or nut-nougat cocoa, and call your kaffee pairing complete.
Wen Cheng serves up traditional Chinese hand-pulled noodles, and they’re so popular that there are two locations on the same street that are a 25 minute walk from each other. We like to go to Wen Cheng II at Schönhauser Allee 10, since it’s significantly bigger and offers a better view of the staff stretching out that noodle dough.
It’s walk-ins only so the line can get long—your best bet is to visit right when they open at noon for lunch. Our go-to order is the Biang Biang Beef noodles, made to your desired level of spiciness (the “Asian spicy” option is legit), with a Sichuan Fried Chicken Bao on the side.
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 casual place to refuel for lunch. When it’s busy, the space can feel a little cramped, but you’ll barely notice once you’re swimming in gooey khachapuri and gargling the luscious broth of the khinkali. These two dishes could easily make up a full meal, which’ll either have you ready for miles more walking or maybe a little snooze at Monbijou Park.
Thai-Art is on a street full of great places to eat, but it's the only one with a huge photo of the owner smiling in sunglasses above the door. Locals regularly fill the place for classics like pad see ew, pad thai, and tom yum soup. There are only about ten tables inside, but getting one never seems to be a big issue, even during the work lunch hour. Two rules for your visit: bring cash and heed the sign on the wall by the door that says “please taste food before seasoning!” They’ll give you some chili condiments if you want to spice up your dish, but more likely than not, it’s perfect as-is.
This unpretentious spot serves delicious Neapolitan pizzas made with ingredients from prominent Italian brands and their network of small Italian farms, like fior di latte from Agerola on the Amalfi Coast. The classic margherita always hits the spot, but check the chalkboard for daily specials like pies topped with zucchini, ricotta, and sun-dried tomatoes. If you’re meat- and dairy-free, go for the ortolana with roasted vegetables and vegan mozzarella.
After spending a day ambling around 6000 years’ worth of antiquities on Museum Island, settle in for a meal at Jolly, a Chinese restaurant that’s way better than all the mediocre 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 dim sum like plump ha gau and succulent sieuw mai. There’s ample seating inside, but make a reservation if you want to dine here on a weekend evening.
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. With a long list of appetizers and even more mains, it can get overwhelming scrolling through the menu on the provided tablet, so we usually just go straight for the shish belfakhar, a dish of spiced grilled chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms with cheese under a golden bread topping.
NICER SIT-DOWN SPOTS
The white tablecloths and glittering chandeliers make this Friedrichshain spot seem kind of formal, but the chummy wait staff keep the vibe fun and far from stuffy. Let your pinkies relax and join the many regulars for excellent three-course lunch specials that change daily. Expect things like a carrot soup to start, pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant for the main, and mango panna cotta to finish.
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 sauerbraten (a gravy-rich roast meat dish)—and almost everything comes in small portions.
Order three to four dishes per person, but if you find yourself drawn to heartier options like the buttermilk-marinated crispy chicken, opt for fewer and finish off with the rich black forest cherry cake. Even though it’s one of the nicer places on this list, there isn’t a dress code, and you’ll probably still see people dressed in open button-down shirts and Veja sneakers—this is casual-but-cool Berlin, after all.
Cram in at one of Otto’s 20 seats if you love a farm-to-table experience with no fuss. The focus here is ingredients from the Berlin-Brandenburg region, and the menu changes often: sometimes a new dish a week, with bigger overhauls happening every three months or so.
Raw concrete walls, simple wooden furnishings, and low-hanging string lights give the tiny interior a Nordic vibe, where everything is pared down to keep your attention on the food that’s delivered from the open kitchen on flat natural stoneware and hand thrown ceramics. Order four to six plates if you’re dining as a pair, plus a glass from their natural wine list. They’re only open Thursday through Monday, so plan ahead.
While Lode & Stijn is one of those restaurants where you’re in for a set, multi-course menu, they make fine dining fun with a chummy staff, easy-going interior design, and record player tunes ranging from light jazz to more zippy, experimental tracks as the night goes on.
Things kick off on a high note with Lode’s sourdough bread made from a family recipe, and say yes when they ask you mid-meal if you want to try their special scallop dish that swims in butter. The sommelier will regale you with origin stories and flavor interpretations of the artisanal European wines when you opt for a pairing.
Their alcohol-free pairing is just as exciting, with drinks like kombucha and kefir concoctions that are far more creative and intricate than simply a different juice for each course.
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 spot in Prenzlauer Berg. Try a chi’ken burger piled high with homemade seitan strips, feta “cheese,” and marinated roasted peppers, or a towering portobello mushroom burger oozing with a smokey maple barbecue sauce. Everything at this fast-food spot makes for a satisfying quick weekend lunch or a more laid-back weeknight dinner.
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 if you’re not at work), and a hodgepodge of vintage photographs.
This cozy cafe, with plant-based takes on classic Spanish tapas like croquetas and tortillas, 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, and be sure to stick around later for a rowdy bar scene.
Take Thai food, make it vegan, and serve it in small bowls perfectly sized for people who like to try a bit of everything—that’s the approach at li.ke, which you’ll find right on the northwest corner of Boxhagener Platz.
Pop in for a casual meal after slamming a few cheap Späti beers in the square, or to ward off any hunger that might distract you from getting lost in a book while you lay out in the sun. There are some large dishes like pad thai on the menu, but it’s more fun to split their smaller stuff with a couple of friends, particularly the massaman curry, papaya salad, and tau hu tod.