Berlin is a great city for dining out, with restaurants to suit every pocket. Budget conscious backpackers can always stop off at an Imbiss (snack).
These are usually small huts with a few tables outside where you can stand and eat your Bratwurst in a bun. Or do as a Berliner does: have a Currywurst. The Currywurst is a Berlin tradition - like a Brockwurst, but smoked and boiled instead of grilled, and then sliced up and served in thick curry flavoured ketchup.
Lutter & Wegner
The first thing you should know about this place is that it is firmly on the "ouch" side of pricey. You get what you pay for though, and the menu, decor, and service are all of a very high standard indeed. A rich history also comes with the price, as Lutter & Wegner was one of Berlin's first wine merchants. Bearing that in mind, the list of clarets is every bit as impressive as you would imagine! There is also a bistro on the premises, where much of the full-price menu can be found for a fraction of the normal cost.
It was sad new for bon vivants the world over when the renowned Cafe Aigner in Vienna closed in the late 1980s. However a decade later and it was time to wipe away the tears as Herbert Beltle imported all of the cafe's splendid antique furniture, right down to the last grand piano, to Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt Square. Today these well-travelled chairs provide worthy posteriors with some rest, whilst well-attired waiters bring out some of the finest Austrian and German cuisine to the table. To crown one of the city's best dining experiences, Aigner's terrace commands sterling views over the fairytale Gendermenmarkt place with its famous French and German cathedrals. Find the restaurant in the Sofitel Hotel.
Franzosische Strasse 25
Located on the mighty Ku'damm boulevard, Berlin's very own Champs Elysees, Balthazar has already proved itself a worthy addition to the city's gastronomic scene. Holger Zurbruggen is the man in charge of the kitchen, and under his supervision are served are sumptuous selection of international dishes. The decor combines elements of modern minimalistic stylings with traditional elegance: square and rectangle tables are set apart with plenty of space between them and decorated with starched linen and candelabras. All in all it's a wise man's choice of restaurants.
Apprentice to Josef Viehhauser, Michelin-starred Kolja Kleeberg follows his master's rule: never more than three products on a plate! Every De La Soul fan knows that 3's the magic number, and it certainly seems to have worked for Kleeburg as Vau has been fully-booked for nearly half a decade. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a gourmet, this is definitely the place for you! Tables here may be harder to come by than a luxury suite on Noah's Ark, but there's no need for you and your partner to dress up as a pair of lesser-spotted pygmy giraffes... Simply make your reservation using their on-line booking form!
Fischers Fritz is Berlin's only two star Michelin restaurant can be found in the superb Regent Hotel, on Charlottenstrasse. Those French connoisseurs of cuisine don't give away their asterisks easily - and to get two is half-way to a culinary constellation! With it's scintillating seafood dishes Fischers Fritz really does deserve the hype, and the service is exceptional - provided of course that you don't turn up in ripped jeans and baseball cap. The interior with its chandeliers, austere wood panelling and busts of yesterday's fine minds is reminiscent of an exclusive gentlemen's club and a worthy setting in which to enjoy the treats laid on your table.
Der Goldener Hahn
Der Goldener Hahn, all old-school decor and stuffed chickens, is a charming little Italian joint which is most popular in warm weather when people - largely couples - make use of the outside tables. The food is good, if unspectacular, and the service decent. The light pasta dishes and salads are a highlight, making this place probably best suited to lunch rather than a full blown dinner.
It is restaurants like Margaux that are earning Berlin a reputation as a fine-dining capital, and it's no accident that this modern establishment on the Unter den Linden has already won a coveted Michelin star. Michael Hoffman is the genius in the apron, and his modern twists on classic French dishes have won over more than the odd admirer. Dishes like stewed lobster with black Perigorde truffles get the mouth watering as soon as they are spotted on the menu. Acolytes of Dionysus will be unanimous in praising Margaux's superior wine list - although the sparkling interior decor may divide the critics.
Unter den Linden 78
There is a large Turkish presence in most German cities and Berlin is no different; one of the many reasons to be thankful for this influx is the accompanying increase in Turkish eateries. Aside from the ubiquitous kebab shops that litter Berlin (both figuratively and literally, some might say) the Turks have also brought us the wonderful Hitit. Home to over 150 dishes, friendly service, chilled atmosphere and - last but least - a waterfall (!), Hitit is one of our favourite haunts.
Danceklmanstrasse / Knobelsdorffstrasse
This very cool restaurant is not only a hit with the 'In crowd' of Berlin but, without name-dropping too much, the likes of Bruce Willis are known to pop in when in Berlin. On top of the regular menu, a blackboard chalks up a couple of daily specials for around 6.50 Euros, normally a meat dish served with either rice or noodles (but they will replace the meat with Tofu for vegeterians). Why not wash that down with a cold bottle of Saigon beer or one of the excellent and very reasonably priced wines? After your meal sit back and enjoy a Vietnamese coffee before they ask you to leave as they will probably need your table.
Alte Schonhauser Strasse 46
Hard Rock Cafe
So no points for discovering Berlin's unique history and culture, but if you've got museum legs early in the day and don't fancy a bratwurst then Hard Rock is on hand to serve you up one of their mythically mouth-watering burgers. And on top of the American diner style cuisine, there's also a great selection of Tex-Mex dishes if you fancy spicing things up a bit. As for the memorabilia, it starts with Madonna's sublimely sexy leather bra, and work's it way down to Herman Rarebell's kimono...
Certainly no frills here but the restaurant will bring back memories of dining in Kathmandu, especially as the place is decorated with Nepalese art and statues and perfumed with the aroma of agarbatti! The menu is extensive and there are plenty of hearty meat and veggie dishes to choose from, all at very cheap prices - thus making it a perfect venue for hard-up slackers (sorry 'students') and unemployed layabouts (viz. 'artists') to fill their bellies during another harsh winter in Kreuzberg. Only drawback is that there's no Golden Eagle beer to wash down that mountain goat stew...!
Gneisenau Strasse 4
Spindler & Klatt
Spindler & Klatt might sound like one of those stiff-collared corporate legal firms - and the last place anyone with any sense would go for a relaxing a night out - but we're glad to reveal it's nothing of the sort! In fact those tough consonants are about the hardest thing to swallow at this sumptuous riverside restaurant and club. Choose between lounging around inside on low-lying mattresses eating melt-in-your-mouth Asian cuisine, and sipping cocktails on the terraces under stretched white canopies as you gaze out onto the Spree. DJs play chill out tunes in the early evening, before cranking up the BPMs deeper into the night.
...make for nice dishes! Well that's the theory anyway, but for many sushi is very much an acquired taste. For those of you who do enjoy it - and simply cannot handle a weekend away without it - then your best bet in Berlin is undoubtedly Sachiko Sushi. It was the first such place in the city and ticks all the relevant boxes. Fresh, high quality fish? Check. Minimalist decor? Check. Young upwardly mobile types? Check - in abundance.
More from Berlin