Berlin’s Mitte has become the destination for dining and late night carousing in the city. While German food has the reputation for being heavy and rich, more and more modern German restaurants are sourcing local, artisanal produce, meats and cheeses with a focus on organic and seasonal cooking. Here are some of the best spots in this booming former East Berlin district.
Auguststraße 11-13, +49 30 3300 6070, website
This new restaurant from the team behind Grill Royal specializes in modern German cuisine. The large dining room features a window into the kitchen and a decommisioned missile. We’re not sure of the message but it definitely is a conversation piece. The accomplished seasonal cooking features adventurous dishes such as suckling pig and black pudding (blood sausge) tortellini and saddle of Linower venison. Don’t miss the excellent German cheese plate. Very good international wine list. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Chausseestraße 8, Courtyard +49 30 8145 2943 0, website
Tucked away in a courtyard in a disused East German locomotive factory, this restaurant’s name literally means “the dining room.” Originally just a kitchen for chef/owner Sarah Wiener’s catering business, Das Speisezimmer opened in 2004 and continues to feature seasonal cooking alongside German and Austrian wines. Try a classic dish like Wiener Schnitzel or the more adventurous Veal Tongue Carpaccio. In summer, grab a seat in the quiet garden. Three-course menus are available for vegetarians or featuring fish and meat: €39/€42, four-course menu €45/€49. Open for lunch and dinner Monday – Friday, dinner only Saturday, closed Sundays.
Chausseestraße 8, +49 030 2462 8760, website
This bi-level restaurant and winebar features an excellent selection of German wines. The highlight is a line of more experimental private label wines made in conjunction with leading German winemakers, many of which are available by the glass. The menu offers both a la carte options like local sausages and roasted black pudding and 3- and 4-course tasting menus (€39 & €49). International delicacies such as Spanish iberico hams and American beef are also featured. Open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday. Reservations recommended as there is no bar seating.
Bergstrasse 22, +49 30 9832 08430, website
The menu at this popular restaurant and bar focuses on local, organic products complemented by a program of classic cocktails ranging from twists on old favorites to Asian-inspired libations. Choose from seasonal dishes or classics such as bone marrow and 12 hour-braised Duroc pork. Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday from 6pm.
Lychener Straße 33, +49 30 4411 842, website
This winebar has an extensive list of German wines by the glass as well as a large menu of seasonal and traditional dishes using local ingredients from the Berlin/Brandenburg area. Atmospheric old tavern décor supplemented by confortable outdoor seating in season. Dinner nightly: Monday to Saturday 5pm – 2am, Sunday 6pm – 2am.
Buck & Breck
Brunnenstraße 177, 10119 Berlin +49 176 3231 5507, website
Reservations are a must at this hidden 14-seat den of classic cocktails. Look for the buzzer marked “bar” on a door next to the police station and ring the bell. You’ll be met and guided through corridors to emerge in a smoky kitchen-like space where you pull up a stool to a large counter and watch drinks made in front of you by the lone bartender, who is happy to come over and talk about the drinks to help you make a selection. The large cocktail list is roughly organized by spirit – try the Masterbaker made with cognac and sherry or the Artist’s Special with scotch, amontillado sherry and Groseille red currant syrup. Open daily from 8pm.
Unter den Linden 78, +49 30 2265 2611, website
Michelin-starred dining near the Brandenburg Gate, this is a big splurge but the food is worth the price. Chef Michael Hoffmann’s modern, refined menu has evolved over the years, becoming more vegetable-centered and using organic and sustainable ingredients while eschewing things like foie gras. Expect only the finest ingredients, including vegetables and herbs from a garden the chef tends himself. Six course menus are €120 (vegetarian) and €140. Dinner only, Tuesday – Saturday.
Tipping in Germany – tip 5 – 10% in cash or round-up in more casual establishments. It is preferred to tip your waiter directly when paying the bill rather than leaving money on the table.