- Berlin boasts the top ranking in Germany
- Berlin shines in the "50 Best" ranking with two restaurants and the title of the best patissier in the world
- The capital's gastronomy is one of the most popular reasons for travelling
Berlin, December 2023
When it comes to its culinary delights, the capital is right at the topWhether domestic or international cuisine, Berlin's culinary scene has achieved a top position in the world of enjoyment. From avant-garde to home-style Berlin, from vegetables to maturated meat, from star chefs to culinary newcomers – Berlin's dining contrasts simply make for an ever-increasing appetite! In its new edition, the Michelin restaurant guide has once again named Berlin the gourmet capital of Germany: Berlin currently has 28 Michelin stars in 21 restaurants, including the three-star restaurant "Rutz," the five two-star restaurants "„Horváth“, „Coda“, „Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer“, „Facil“ and „Tim Raue“, and 16 restaurants with one star. The purely vegetarian "Bonvivant" with the perfectly paired cocktail creations in Schöneberg was newly awarded a star in the year 2023.
With six Green Stars honouring a special focus on sustainability, Berlin is one of the European capitals with the most Green Michelin Stars. The following restaurants were honoured: "Bandol sur Mer", "Frea", "Rutz", "Nobelhart & Schmutzig", "Horváth" and "Tisk". The term sustainability encompasses much more than "just" the use of organic ingredients. For example, it means taking into account which products are available at which time of year and that they are sourced from regional suppliers in order to avoid long transport routes. By the same token, energy saving and waste avoidance often play a role. Social aspects such as fair wages and flexible working time models are also part of a comprehensively sustainable business model. All these aspects contribute to making Berlin the city boasting the most number of Green Michelin stars in Europe.
The gastronomy scene actually makes the city even more tempting as a holiday destination: Enjoying a meal in a restaurant is the second most popular activity during a stay in the capital, ranking just behind sightseeing. The city's gastronomic offering is one of the top 10 reasons for visiting Berlin for many vacationers (according to the Quality Monitor). The many food events held in the city are also a major reason for travelling to Berlin, most notably the Berlin Food Week Berlin Food Week (berlinfoodweek.de) and eat!berlin (eat-berlin.de) every year in October.
The avant-garde plays an important role in Berlin
These are the chefs who, together with their teams, have not only dedicated themselves to regional cuisine, but also provide their guests with a performance. They are creative lateral entrants to the scene, who, with their pop-ups or street food stands, enhance their so-called fast food by using only the best products, or by re-interpreting Berlin classics like boulettes (meatballs), currywurst, knuckle of pork, and the like. And so, the street food market “Streetfood auf Achse" (“ Streetfood On the Road") is held every Sunday in the Kulturbrauerei. Here, trendy food trucks from Berlin and the surrounding area are given a platform. For those who prefer it a little more refined, Nobelhart & Schmutzig is the perfect destination. Here, a uniform ten-course menu is exclusively served to everyone. Only products from Berlin and the surrounding area are used. The restaurant einsunternull also provides the highest level of sustainability and craftsmanship. Their motto: extracting the special from the simple.
Expats bring their own local cuisine to Berlin
It's expatriates who bring the cuisine of their homelands here. Some are Israelis who, with their fresh oriental cuisine, bring cosmopolitanism to life. From snack to high class, NENI in Bikini Berlin offers a mix of Mediterranean, Persian, and Austrian influences. The view over the city does the rest. Hummus fans will not be able to pass up a visit to Hummus & Friends. They offer homemade, vegetarian, and kosher dishes. In Berlin, pioneers are at work bringing forgotten places and overlooked corners into focus, restoring them to life with their culinary skills. You can find this happening on Kantstraße – also affectionately called Chinatown – at 893 Ryotei or Lo Men´s Noodle House as well as just at the edge of Moabit at Patio, the extraordinary restaurant ship.“Yafo” brings the cuisine of the Tel Aviv metropolis to Berlin, and at “Berta” in the Precise Tale Hotel you can both see and taste hints of Israeli cuisine. Fusion cuisine from Latin America and Asia come together on the plates at "La Mezcla", and at the new boutique hotel Château Royal Icelandic-Swedish creations infuses in the "Dóttir" restaurant. Equally exciting for diners is the combination of Italian and Asian cuisine at "Ciccheti da Rosa" and the fusion of Mexican and Israeli flavours at "Amigo Cohen". In the "Kitchen Library", Udo and Daniela Knörlein not only astonish guests with flavours, products and techniques from all over the world, but also offer a collection of over 800 international cookbooks. Time and again, the French cuisine also makes an impact, for example in the "Holly Gastrobar", in "La Côte" and in the new "Mastan" on Gneisenaustraße. Inspirations from Asia: Oukan in Ackerstraße follows the tradition of Japanese Buddhist temple food, which prioritises health and sustainability. Giving the body exactly what it needs is the guiding principle in the composition of the dishes. The menu is completely vegan and offers a special selection of Asian teas. The interior is designed to be minimalist with a deliberate focus on creating an atmosphere of calm and mindfulness.
Berlin cuisine – a unique style
Over the past several years, it has undergone innovation and enjoyed great attention. Be it the famous currywurst, which can be had these days in every imaginable quality and variation, or knuckle of pork, which has found its way into star cuisine, or local home cooking that has been elaborately refined. Classic curry sausage can be found at Curry 36 in Kreuzberg, in the Konnopke snack bar. For those with a more sophisticated palate, a visit to Kreuz und Kümmel is advised.
Vegetables are the stars of the show
In Berlin, the plates are increasingly full of vegetables – they are the stars of the capital city’s cuisine. Berlin – the vegan capital of Europe? In any case, vegetables not only play a leading role on the plates of the restaurants, they are also prepared in a wide variety of ways. Because of the regional origins of the products, the city is establishing an increasingly close relationship with the rural areas and the region. Vegan dishes can be found at Kopps, Lucky Leek, and Brammibal´s Donuts.
Moreover, given that sustainability generally plays a major role in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, simply avoiding animal ingredients is by no means all that matters. For example, "Happa" and "Frea" follow a "low waste" and "zero waste" concept, which is all about systematically avoiding waste. This protects the environment and also reduces costs. Frea is even the first vegan "zero waste" restaurant in the world and has been awarded a Michelin Green Star, among other things for this reason.
... and meat, too – but good!
Meat is coming into focus at the same time. When prepared to a high standard, it is equal in standing to vegetables. With the newly-arising nutritional consciousness and demands, the role of the animal as supplier has become increasingly important. This is not only centered around animal husbandry, but the butcher's trade is experiencing a renaissance as well, as are perfected cooking and grilling methods. At the Kumpel und Keule butcher shop, their work is therefore focused on transparency, artisan production, the origin of the meat, and, above all, taste. At The Brooklyn Berlin, an original New York-style steak temple and luxury restaurant, you will only find meat of the highest quality.
At " The Grand", meat connoisseurs are greeted with dishes characterised by German-French flair. The American Southbend grill ensures exceptionally tender meat and fine flavours. Meanwhile, fans of Italian cuisine are sure to be enticed by "ToTheBone". The dishes created here are inspired by northern Italian cuisine, refined with surprising new ingredients and arrangements. The meat prepared there comes from a nature reserve in the Pyrenees at an altitude of 1,800 metres. American classics and steak specialities are prepared on glowing hot charcoal in the X-Oven at Potsdamer Platz's “Midtown Grill”.
Star chefs are presented from many sides in Berlin's culinary scene
Along with the variety and complexity of the most diverse cuisines and signatures, they represent the best side of this city. Each of these twenty chefs works strictly according to his or her own credo. Whether haute cuisine, new Asian routes, vegetarian, deconstructive Austrian, or Nordic –the star chefs demonstrate a rare culinary complexity. This, by the way, is constantly being rediscovered by the local food critics, who annually award the title of Berlin's Master Chef. This year, two of Berlin's top chefs have made another move up the most important British ranking "World's 50 Best Restaurants": chef from Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Micha Schäfer, jumped from 45th to 17th place, Tim Raue moved up to 26th - previously he was at 31. Rutz is the first 3-star restaurant in Berlin. Berlin's two-star restaurants include Facil, Horváth, and the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer. Bandol sur Mer, Bieberbau, and Restaurant Richard are among the capital's fifteen one-star restaurants.
New addition to Berlin's Michelin-starred restaurants is an entirely vegetarian restaurant - "Bonvivant" by Nikodemus Berger in Schöneberg. It is the second meat-free Berlin Michelin-starred restaurant after "Cookies Cream". On its 15th anniversary, the legendary vegetarian-vegan gourmet restaurant celebrated an impressive relaunch with its new head chef Nicholas Hahn.
The restaurant guide "Gault & Millau" honoured the operator of "Hallmann & Klee" in Neukölln as restaurateur of the year in 2023: Sarah Hallmann. Her bright, elegant restaurant is known for its innovative, seasonal dishes and its breakfast and brunch offerings, while the selected products are organic or traditionally sourced and the cakes and tarts come from the restaurant's own patisserie.
"Hidden champions" - Berlin restaurants that also deserve an award
Even if they do not (yet) have a star, there are many other high-quality culinary hotspots in Berlin. Several such "hidden champions" can be found along Torstraße, such as the brasserie "Torbar", the "Katz Orange" with restaurant and bar, the "Trio" with an interpretation of new German cuisine or the "Nhat Long" with French-inspired Southeast Asian cuisine. The "Toca Rouge" offers Chinese fusion cuisine, while the "PeterPaul" specialises in German classics such as sauerbraten or Königsberger Klopse. The "Gärtnerei" also serves predominantly local cuisine, albeit always supplemented with imaginative international ingredients. You can enjoy some French flair at "3 minutes sur mer" and savour Mediterranean cuisine at "MontRaw".
And in other parts of the city, "hidden champions" of Berlin's gastronomic world are also waiting to be discovered. These include “Café Frieda”, “Klinke” with its rustic classics, “Kante” restaurant and bar and the Japanese brasserie “November”. The "Root" in the Telegraphenamt in Mitte is the latest addition. The "aerde" with its 20 seats is dedicated to the flavours of forest and field. The restaurant "Brikz" in a former jazz café is also very promising. The names "Muschelbar" and "Frühstück 3000" pretty much spell out the menu.
Here and now, fine dining means: eating, dancing, partying!
It is thanks to numerous lateral newcomers, you could say, lateral thinkers, that the once world-famous club scene is still a place where music and good food are celebrated today. The scene-famous club Cookie has thus established itself in its former club, Crackers, next to the vegetarian one-star restaurant Cookies Cream. At Spindler & Klatt, culinary artistry and parties are also combined. Bar, music, food – that's what you'll find in the "Cantina Bar Tausend Berlin". Here, dishes from Lima and Berlin are served up, with an Asian twist.
A delight in a glass and on a plate
Berlin's range of wine bars is gaining new momentum, often in combination with snacks or whole menus. The "Weinlobbyist" specialises in German and Austrian wines and offers snacks such as cheese or tarte flambée, as well as a 5-course menu. The "Sacrebleu!" specialises in a wide selection of wines and serves French cuisine with Japanese influences. The "Melt" combines typical bistro flair with an exquisite selection of French wines. A wine bar in Mitte bears the euphonious name "Freundschaft" (Friendship) since 2018. The 26-metre-long oval bar here alone is worth a visit. The "Ottenthal" has long been established with its Baumkuchen creations and Bärlin sparkling wine in the world's smallest champagne bottle. In the wine shop you will find exquisite Austrian wines and in the restaurant a menu with typical specialities from our neighbouring country.
Two Berlin bars rank among the top 100 in the "50 Best Bars" list: "Wax On" in Neukölln's Weserstraße is typically Berlin - handcrafted wooden furniture and an unusual menu - and made it to 29th place in the international ranking at the first attempt. You should definitely try the signature drink "Go Ape" made from rum, clarified banana juice, a coffee distillate and soda. The Velvet Bar is also excellent. Although it didn't quite make it into the top 50, it came 77th in the ranking.
A former women's prison in Berlin is home to a new speakeasy bar: At "Sodom & Gomorra - The Knast" in the historic walls of Söhtstrasse 7 in Berlin-Lichterfelde, the name speaks for itself. True to the motto "Erlebtes bleibt hier” (What happens here stays here), the location gives you the freedom to be who you want to be at The Knast, to have room for your fantasies and to live them. Bar chef Florian Kroll makes sure the drinks are just perfect thanks to his innovative mixology.
The sweet finish in Berlin
Who says a dessert can't be the main course? René Frank from "Coda" was named the best patissier in the world in the internationally renowned ranking of "The World's 50 Best Restaurants". In his restaurant, which has been awarded two Michelin stars, he serves complete menus consisting solely of desserts in unexpected, always exciting variations, some of which are composed of extravagant ingredients such as dried sauerkraut or liquorice salt. The "Pars" has dedicated itself entirely to pralines and experiments with ingredients, shape and feel to create new specialities time and time again. All pralines are made exclusively by hand and combine classic flavours with unusual ingredients such as beetroot, dill or spruce needles.
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