It was that very moment that I sat down on a bench in a picnic area-cum-skate park in the heart of Friedrichshain and I bit into my overflowing kebab, which turned out to be the best I’d ever eaten and the best I ever expect to eat, that I knew; I’m gonna have to write a post about my food experiences in Berlin.
The kebab in question was actually a chicken and vegetable mix, with feta cheese and potato chunks. The kiosk was Musti’s, the location: Warschauer Str. 27a. When asked if I wanted ‘alles’ from the salad bar, I followed our couchsurf host Paco with the ‘kein Zwiebel’ option – no onions for us, but in a moment of on-the-spot under-pressure confusion, Paige said ‘kein Zweifel’ i.e. ‘no doubt’. And no doubt this was one of the happiest moment of my trip; fresh from the airport, street food in hand, watching skate boys missing jumps and scratching boards, and soaking up the sights, smells, sounds and, very enthusiastically, tastes of this ultra-cool quarter of Berlin.
A cafe in this same Boxhagener Platz area that I’d recommend, though I must say that every other building was a quirky cafe or bar, is the Szimpla Kaffeehaus at Gärtnerstr. 15., a chain of the famous Budapest bar. Here our host took us for a late breakfast; I opted for the Süßes Frühstück, and for less than €5 I was not disappointed! My walnut, waffle and croissant stack with a ton of fresh fruit and sweet condiments was exactly what I needed, and Paco’s choice of the Kleines Frühstück looked equally tempting, with bread, meats, cheeses etc. What’s more, it was a great spot to sit outside and people watch – and what finer city to people watch in than Berlin, eh?
My third top choice for eating and drinking in Berlin is something we just stumbled across and that I’ll discuss further in another blog – Jivamutki Yoga Berlin on Brunnenstr. 29 in Mitte (I believe there’s another in Kreuzberg) had a great vegan cafe with a relaxed feel and a healthy vibe. They have freshly-made power food smoothies and nutritious snacks and drinks too; and as for the yoga… well, as I said, that’s a-whole-nother post entirely!
My final piece of advice would be that if you’re in the Mauerpark area, hungry, and stuck for ideas, head straight to Oderberger Str. – funky cafes and bars one after the other, more than we ever had the chance to explore. Each spills out onto the street, taking its atmosphere with it. Vintage furniture, ugly 70s padded sofas, old wooden school chairs, or simply cushions on a brick wall – take your pick! The very few places I am able to recommend are Cafe Krone at number 38 for cake, a refreshing drink, and super friendly service, Bonanza Coffee Heroes at number 35 for, uh, coffee, and Kauf Dich Glücklich at number 44, decorated like great-grandparents’ place with dusty landscape paintings, a hodge podge of questionable furniture and an old wooden TV in the loo. They offer a mean selection of ice cream at only 90 cents a scoop, happy days!
For the record, that pizza-and-kebab place conveniently located right next to the club, Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier, and food that went out of date in 2011, however well it’s been kept refrigerated, are not worth a try. Avoid at all costs. And that’s all I have to say about food in Berlin.