Sunday, January 16, 2011

Berlin Bites

It is a FACT that eating in Berlin can be cheap, delicious, and even nutritious. As eating is one of my favorite things, this makes me very happy. The city is “arm, aber sexy" (poor, but sexy) and this means that a delicious meal is just a few euros away.


German street food

The omnipresent currywurst can be found on every street corner, train platform and street venders cart in the city. The dish is composed of a bratwurst that has been lovingly deep-fried and served with skin (mit Darm) or without (ohne Darm), covered in curry ketchup with a dusting of curry powder on top.

While/ Germans shy away from all things spicy, currywurst often strikes the closest with some venders specializing in tongue-tingling heat. Fries (pommes) or a roll should be purchased and enjoyed at the same time and used to mop up the last of the sauce.

Recommend Currywurst:

  • Konnopke Imbiss - Legendary & recently update stand beneath the U2 stop at Eberswalder in Prenzlauer Berg
  • Curry & Chili -  Just another random stand, but with a twist as Berlin's Spiciest Imbiss. Their currywurst goes to 11. Pick your spice level but I don't recommend going above 7 unless you are taking on the challenge
  • Curry 36 - The ever popular Curry 36 (original on Mehringdamm in Kreuzberg) always has a line. Listed in every guide book it is hard to separate from the hype, but you are certain to get a good wurst here. 


Currywurst Museum

Currywurst is so popular, there is even a Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin dedicated to its complicated history and many different variations. At 11 euros I think it is a bit overpriced (it does come with a mini-portion), but if you are dedicated to the wurst give it a go.

Sausage Display

Döner Kebab

Berlin street food

People throughout Europe believe they know the kabob, but Berlin is its birthplace. Many Berliners treat döner merely as a sloppy midnight snack, but this popular street food is so much more. Greasy, cheap and filling this is the ultimate hangover food before you’ve even stopped drinking.

Developed to suit German tastes by Turkish immigrants in Berlin, this has become one of the most popular fast food dishes around Europe. Annual sales in Germany amount to 2.5 billion euros!

So – what is a döner kabob? Derived from the Turkish plate of a "rotating roast", döner is the perfect meal-on-the-go as a giant hunk of lamb or chicken cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order. Served in a pide with salad and sauce, the spices, meat, salad options, and sauce vary from place to place meaning that most Berliners have a favorite stand that they swear by.

Our stand, Imren Grill 2, is located just below our house. The smell wafts up to our flat which sounds kind of gross, but as it mostly the cinnamon that makes it this high we are very happy (if fatter) for it. If you're not in the mood for meat, go for the lentil soup.

Sing the Döner Song!

Every visitor (like my nephew) gets a trip to the doener stand.


A simple deep-fried ball of ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both – this is an easy and tasty vegetarian snack that can be found at many of the city’s döner stands. Usually served in a pita with a salad, pickled vegetables, and a tahini-based sauce, it can be purchased for as little as 2 euros.
Popular chain Nils, or “the Nile”, serves an Ethiopian version of the dish with a delectable peanut sauce. Let peanut sauce be a new trend!

Another of our favorites is Restaurant Rissani next to Görlitzer. They offer beautifully cheap Moroccan sandwiches and platters. Each falafel is fried fresh and we always end up fighting over the last one. Falafel perfection.


This city of immigrants has always been influenced by its expat groups (such as the Turkish influence with döner). The American presence can be heard on the UBahn, seen all over the kiez (neighborhood) of Neukölln and tasted in the explosion of burgers throughout the city.
Restaurants, lunch stands and food trucks are all delivering on the beef. While everyone has their favorite, we are still in search of our perfect burger. Some places to try:

Berlin Burgers International produces the most bang for the buck, but it's tiny size means long waits and their out-of-ingredients laissez-faire attitude can ruin the burger buzz.

Burger de Ville has the best buns bar none and takes ride in it's organic ingredients. The garlic fries were a big  disappointment and it's a little pricey, but the friendly service was a treat. (Great review & pics on Cooking Creatures)

People rave about MarienBurger and I love the fun names, but the meat was pretty greasy and it was a bit of a gut bomb. Another tiny shop so prepare to wait or east outside. 

Volta has a lot of buzz, but it isn't really a burger place. More of a restaurant with a small menu and great 10 euro burger plate. Love the onion ring served on top and skinny fries.

  • Room 77 - Love the Peanut Butter Burger in the Neukölln eatery.
  • The Bird - Expats adore this all-American, full-attitude burger joint and I.....don't love it. It's ok, but a little too pricey in my opinion for burgers that fall apart immediately. I do like their happy hour deal of 2 beers (or shots) for the price of one from 6-8. Beware that this deal is only at the bar and the wings deal is only for the atomic which are legitimately hot. Our review
  • White Trash Fast Food - Brash and tacky, I've never eaten here but grudgingly enjoy the Americanism of the place.
  • Burgermeister - Located in what was once a urinal below the tracks of of the U1, this tiny structure is always busy for good reason. Their burgers are good.

Halbes Hähnchen

Though you can get chicken anywhere, Hühnerhaus 36 in Kreuzberg is one of the most popular sites from cabbies to us crummy immigrants. Crackling, crispy skin is paired with salad, fries, or both and a side of garlic sauce cools your mouth as you pull at the chicken’s flesh. For a little more heat, ask for the spicy sauce. You can even buy the rubs and sauces to enjoy at home.

Recently, the little stand has expanded to a full-scale restaurant which is perfect for the cold winter months. Go claim a seat, drink a free Turkish tea and dine on the pickled vegetables available on every table.

chicken street food in Berlin


Long nights merge into sleepy days on the weekend, perfect for enjoying the city’s many quality brunches. A chill vibe pervades with classic German meats and cheeses meeting Mediterranean offerings on the brunch table.

Order a milchkaffe (milk coffee), eat slowly, and people watch.

Anna Blume brunch in Prenzlauer berg
Anna Blume is famous for it's tiered breakfast plates.

Best Brunch Options:

    • Barcomi's - This place serves serious coffee and bagels and is owned by a Seattleite.
    • Booze Bar at Kino Intimes - This old school theatre also has an ultra-cool brunch with great people watching possibilities in Friedrichshain.
    • Schwarzes Cafe - It's perfect carrot cake originally drew us in, but it's pleasant atmosphere and friendly service makes it great all-day.

    GoodfoodinBerlin is a great resource for all things eating in Berlin including brunch. 

    What's your favorite Berlin cheap eat? Recommendations?

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    We're Back in Berlin Ja!

    We're Back in Berlin Ja!
    ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008