I had high hopes for eating in Berlin. Not, unfortunately, for traditional German food – all that bratwurst is no good for a veggie – but it’s famously a city that loves its long brunches and kaffee und kuchen breaks, as well as having a reputation for good Asian food including Thai and Vietnamese.
I think we did pretty well food- and drink-wise, visiting a mix of places I’d researched and random drop-ins. First food stop was at our hotel, the Michelberger. We sampled the coffee and cake in its cafe/bar upon arriving and found it very good. They also put on a great buffet breakfast every morning for €9 which included fruit, cheese, breads, croissants and muesli.
Later on we found ourselves in the centre of town near Alexanderplatz on a beating hot evening, and were happy to discover Berlin has a brilliant happy-hour cocktail culture, with drinks starting at around €3.50 in many places. After a quick margarita we settled for a Tex-Mex place called Las Cucarachas a few doors down on Oranienburger Strasse. It was by no means the best Mexican food ever but it was perfectly edible, and the supersized strawberry daiquiri was a winner. Happily the food was happy-hour half-price as well as the cocktails so it was cheap enough that we weren’t peeved at the lack of quality.
We went more refined the next day, with brunch at Hans Wurst vegan cafe. It’s a lovely laid-back place that also hosts art and music events. The Sunday brunch is a help-yourself affair of various rice and bean salads, houmous and guacamole, and blueberry muffins for after. You could choose what to pay between €9 and €12 – I guess depending on how many times you re-visit the table! Good coffee and fresh juice, too.
In the evening we’d pre-booked into Re:make, a smart – and expensive – place near the galleries of Auguststrasse. We sat in a pretty courtyard and my tasty veggie options were goats cheese and tomato confit followed by generously-truffled pasta. My favourite part was the delicious bread which came with no less than four types of salt for dipping – and even the lemon butter was homemade. Unfortunately Josh wasn’t so impressed with his steak which was a bit overdone and came with boring raw vegetables.
On Monday we tried in vain to find Cookies Cream (warning: mad website), another veggie place I’d heard good things about, but it was nowhere to be found. We had an OK slice of pizza instead, then went in search of cake to make up for the disappointment. Luckily we found Eins with no problems; a darling little deli/cafe with lovely looking salads and pasta, and our berry meringue cake was stunningly good.
Fortified by the cake stop, we did a long cycle tour in the afternoon, stopping for a refuel at a cute little place in the middle of the Tiergarten – it had a meaty BBQ going for the carnivores and I had a nice plate of potato salad. In the evening we went to the Kreuzberg area near our hotel, which our airport taxi driver said was the trendiest part of town. Even at ten on a Monday the streets were lively and restaurants busy, with all types of food from Italian to Indian on offer.
We ate in Buddha’s Kitchen, a Thai place on Falckenstein Strasse. Summer roll and steamed bun starters were delicious, as was my tofu massoman served with heaps of crunchy slivered veg. (I forgot to take my camera out this night, boo). For a starter, main and alcoholic drink each the bill was just €21 which is quite amazing for food comparable to some much more expensive places in London. Afterwards we had yummy gelato ice cream from a big stall across the street.
Coffee shops in Kreuzberg
I loved how in general how many little eateries and coffee shops of good quality there are in the city, and liked how they don’t mind if you just want a drink or snack then move on. And of course, a city that loves its cake as much as Berlin does can’t be wrong.
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