As I got carried away with sharing what we did and saw during our long weekend in Berlin, here are our recommendations for where to eat and drink in Berlin.
I had fun before we went away, poring over guidebooks and websites. I drew up a huge long list of places to eat and drink. So many places. If we had visited all of them, we would not have managed to see anything else of the city. And we would still have had some left on the list. But better to be prepared, right?
I booked dinner for us on the Friday and Saturday nights but left the Thursday night free as I really wasn’t worried about getting a table that night. Germany were playing Poland in the Euro 2016 championships and so I really could imagine that many people would be going out for dinner when they could be watching the match.
Bars in Berlin
On our first day, we headed from the DDR Museum along the water to Ampelmann Restaurant and Beach Bar, where we watched a Euro 2016 football match. We relaxed on deck chairs and drank beer in the sunshine, as the U-bahn trains passed by overhead. The perfect setting: water behind us, a beautiful park around us and a busker singing behind us.
On the Friday, it poured with rain (it was biblical…) and so we had to adjust our plans to spend as much time as we could inside. So we headed to department store KaDeWe in the morning and just fell in love with the food hall there, also because – unlike Sweden – you were able to taste the wine before you bought it, as well as spend some time at their wine bar. So we passed some rainy time tasting sparkling wines.
Luckily, the rain stopped in the afternoon, so in the evening we walked from the U-bahn station and had a drink at Bar am Steinplatz before dinner at the restaurant there. The drinks were incredible; really different and really special. I had one with mint, quince and corn schnapps.
And Husband chose one with raspberry, blackcurrant, vodka and vinegar. See, I told you they were special.
We had planned on taking pre-dinner drinks at Monkey Bar but the queue was long. Really long. So we headed back there around lunchtime on the following day. And I am so glad that we did because who doesn’t want to visit a bar with views of monkeys? Yes, the bar – in 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin – is next to the zoo and overlooks the monkey enclosure. It also has a terrace around two sides with views over western Berlin. Thanks to Susie for recommending it.
How amazing is that interior? The drinks were also excellent.
After Monkey Bar, we headed to Michelberger Hotel to try the bar there. And just look at this interior – isn’t it great?
These lamps were great fun. I am pretty tempted to try and recreate this paper fringed version at home.
Between all the tables there were second-hand books to read. This was my kind of place.
Berlin really did have the best bars. So many different types with such different atmospheres. A time when you really can say there is something for everybody.
Cafes and restaurants in Berlin
One of our first coffees in Berlin (after breakfast) was at a branch of Einstein Kaffee, a chain of coffee shops – not to be confused with the famous Cafe Einstein (which we visited the next day). It was a good pit stop for us after our walking tour but was not as a special as Cafe Einstein, which we visited during the next day’s downpour.
As I said, we winged it with dinner on the Thursday and did not book anywhere. We were near the Spree and I saw we weren’t so far from a restaurant I had on my list: Sage. We were lucky and they had a table available for a short while, so we could eat most of the meal inside and then move outside for dessert.
We chose the surprise menu, which was a result, as you can see from this course.
Cafe Einstein has quite the history. The villa has been an illegal gambling den in the days of the Weimar Republic, a Nazi office and then home to Goebbels’ secret mistress, before becoming the cafe it is today. It had so very many delicious looking cakes on offer that it was difficult to choose just one each. In the end we opted for rhubarb strudel and lime pie. And we enjoyed those while people watching – that a place is popular with both tourists and locals alike is always a good sign.
For Friday and Saturday night, I had booked Restaurant am Steinplatz and Restaurant Richard – both excellent but so very different.
Restaurant am Steinplatz – a few minutes’ walk from the Zoologischer Garten U-bahn station – was an experience. We had a long – and really quote boozy – meal here at one of the tables close to the open kitchen, where we could see the chef and his assistant chef preparing the food. It was an experience because the open kitchen, the chef heading out to chat to each of the guests and the fact that at one of the tables nearby a small dog was being fed scraps of the food added up to an unusual evening. We noticed that dogs were allowed or even welcomed in many Berlin bars and restaurants.
By contrast, Restaurant Richard was a quieter but just as wonderful evening. That could also have been because we chose to share a bottle of wine rather than take the accompanying wine package this night. The restaurant is housed in an old dance hall with amazingly high ceilings. We tried a superb bottle of German red wine with our meal. I am not usually a fan of German reds, but this matched well and tasted delicious and it felt silly when in Germany not to try local wine.
I think we managed to pack a fair few eating and drinking places into our long weekend. But I had so many more on my list that another trip is definitely warranted!