Last weekend my boyfriend and I went to Berlin..hooray! What an incredible city of gritty culture, sprawling, expressive art, improvised music and of course, delicious grub. The food in Berlin was as surprising to me as the experimental graffiti that jumped off almost every vertical surface. I wasn’t expecting the food to reflect so many different cultures as well as keep strong to its traditional schnitzel and curry-wurst roots. We ate a varied diet of Turkish, Greek, Italian and sausage, as well as noting plenty of Asian places, which although were wierdly decorated with shiny Buddha statues, looked popular. We had 5 days in the city, and there were 5 places that really stood out, Il Casolare, Italian, Berkis, Greek, No!, European, the incredibly brave FraRosa and schnitzel at Koof Im Kiez. This post reviews Il Casolare,and Berkis.
This fun, buzzing restaurant was recommended to us by our new favourite receptionist at the uber-cool Hotel Michelberger. Alex pretty much planned our first night for us, starting with a walk down a leafy graffitied suburb in the heart of Kreuzberg (the cool district) to a bridge over the River Spree, where about 100 eclectic young people were chilling out and drinking Astra Beer. On the corner of the bridge was Il Casolare, an Italian run restaurant where we got lost in translation between German, Italian and English, us being crap at the former and the staff not speaking a word of the latter.
Nevertheless, we got a table in the funky yet rustic joint and settled down to some great pizza. We ordered two to share, one with ham, salami, courgette and peppers and another with Bresaola (air- dried salted beef), buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh basil. The salami pizza was good, the toppings a little dull but the base crispy and the tomato sauce rich. But the Bresaola pizza was one of the best I have ever eaten. Seriously. The meat was soft, stringy and salty and complimented perfectly by the huge leaves of fresh sweet basil and creamy mozzarella. So good and at 8 euros each we went back for another at the end of the holiday and grabbed one to go, scoffing it in minutes in a nearby park.
10967 Berlin, Germany
11 euros a head for a pizza that could feed a family and a pint of German beer.
I read about Berkis on Berlin on a Platter, a fab blog that really got me excited about food in Berlin. I was really keen to go to Berkis as it was off the tourist trail, referred to as a reliable neighbourhood joint and in walking distance of the huge and beautiful Tiergarten Park. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and sat on an outside table, excited by the buzz of a local market and in peering distance of some quaint local shops.
It was about 5pm and already busy with families and couples stopping in on their way home from work. We started with some Baba-ganoush which was flavourful and herby and a portion of baked feta with scrummy tangy grilled chillis, tomatoes and olives. We could have done with some more of the feta but the portion was cheap (2 euros, 50 ) so I guess we got what we paid for. It was served with French bread which was a bit odd considering they made really good flatbread that would have gone much better. For mains, we both went for grilled lamb kebabs with chips. The ‘happy’, organic lamb was smokey and charred yet pink and juicy and flavoured subtly with lemon, mint and salt. It was served with raw red onion and gorgeous creamy tzatziki and a refreshing cabbage salad. The chips were a bit cheap kebab shoppy for my liking but still great when paired with the meat and washed down with a cold beer.
10781 Berlin, Germany
15 Euros a head for a small starter, filling main and a beer.
Look out for schnitzel, the restaurant ‘No!’ where we made friends with some tipsy oldies on al fresco tables, and FraRosa that swears by its concept of paying what you think your meal is worth! All coming up in part 2 soon!