A city where so many cultures and ideas collide is always a recipe for success in terms of restaurant offerings and in this regard, Berlin is no different. A melting pot of culinary inspiration Berlin, very much like London, offers a whole array of different cuisines which taste as authentic as if you were in that other country itself. The challenge in Berlin isn't finding a great place to eat, the challenge is choosing between the abundance of them. Here are my Top 5 nosh spots in Germany's capital city of cool:
Highlight: An unhurried approach to breakfast
A short walk from my recommended place to Stay in Berlin is a little piece of brunching heaven: CHIPPS. A sleek open show kitchen, large windows that let the light flood in even on a dull day, and fresh, seasonal, regional ingredients – what's not to love? Breakfast is served until midday during the week, until 4pm Saturdays, and 5pm Sunday, catering to Berlin's party-hard spirit. For those missing Eggs Benedict (which are so hard to come by in Germany, a country that loves the scrambled variety), CHIPPS will provide the goods. A fan of sweet n' salty combinations, I opted for the Lumber Jack: french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and maple syrup. One word: YUM! Feeling a little guilty about my lack of greens, I also grabbed one of CHIPPS freshly prepared juices and created a combo of orange, carrot and ginger. The really great thing about CHIPPS though, is that despite getting busy (yes, reserve if you can), the staff don't hurry you and I could happily sit and relax reading my book for a couple of hours over brunch.
Highlight: Delectable Dim Sum
Having been raised on fantastic Asian cuisine in the UK (no, I don't just mean plates of Tikka Massala), I'm always hesitant to try it in Germany because often it's adapted to the taste buds of the German masses, which really aren't fans of spice. However, having heard from a friend that they had had their best Thai meal outside of Thailand in Berlin, I decided to branch out and dive into an Asian restaurant – and I was pleasantly surprised. Smack bang in Berlin Mitte on Rosenthalerstrasse is Transit – a fusion of Thai and Indonesian cusine – and man, is it good. Transit's unassuming exterior could well mean that you pass by it without a second glance, but that would certainly be a mistake. Step inside to find a modern interior with an industrial feel, and a layout that lends itself perfectly to solo diners (long benches and closely nestled tables mean you don't really feel alone and can people watch to you heart's content). "What's on the menu?!", I hear you cry. Well, fresh, mouthwatering Dim Sum beginning at 3 Euros a bowl, that's what. Enjoy.
3. THE BIRD XBERG
Highlight: Premium burgers served in 'Kreuzberg cool' surroundings
"PLEASE. At least try eating the damn burger with your hands. And for God's sake don't order your meat well done." With this philosophy, you know this burger joint is going to be a good one – and indeed, The Bird Xberg doesn't disappoint. Burgers became one of the biggest foodie trends all over Germany a few years ago, and with the large number of offerings in Berlin alone it can be difficult to make an informed choice. The thing with 'gourmet burgers' is that so many aren't, and you often leave feeling cheated that you paid 10 euros for something when you may as well have gone to McDonalds and got a Happy Meal. That isn't the Bird – quality meat akin to a good steak (250 grams of premium German beef to be exact), crispy hand-cut fries, and so much topping that you can't help but get a little bit messy when biting into your big burger (and that's exactly how The Bird wants it to be, too). It's no wonder The Bird has been going strong since its opening in 2006. That being said, make sure to reserve a table even if you are only one person because the place fills up fast every night of the week.
4. DADA FALAFEL
Hello, my name is Louise, and I'm a Falafelaholic. Since I tried my first Falafel in Paris at L'As du Fallafel a few years ago, I've been hooked. And, to be quite honest, I didn't think anything could ever compete with the moment I lost my Falafel virginity to the iconic French falafel spot. But then, when wandering to the art squat Kunsthaus Tacheles, I stumbled across Dada Falafel in Berlin. Not only is the food absolutely delicious and authentic – the 'Dada-Teller' is to die for and showcases some of the best that Dada has to offer – the restaurant is also the perfect place for a solo diner. You can choose between Dada's take-away counter and the restaurant next door, which also has some pretty cool live music nights. In summer there are also numerous tables outside which you will often end up sharing with others, making them the perfect spot to meet like-minded food lovers that you may well end up partying with later during your Berlin stay.
5. CURRY 36
Highlight: A spicy hangover cure
A trip to Berlin wouldn't be complete without a Currywurst – the capital's signature fast food of sausage covered in a spicy curry sauce. For those with a hangover or midnight munchies after some hardcore clubbing, this is the one to have. Oh ok, let's face it, it's one everyone, no matter their alcoholic state, should have. Asking a local which is the best place to go, is like asking an American why they are a Republican or a Democrat – prepare yourself for a lengthy and passionate rant. I opted for the Kreuzberg original: Curry 36. The long line to my wurst was already an indication of the experience to come and, biting into my sausage (without skin), smothered in a tasty, spicy sauce with chips and topped with onion, I knew I had chosen the perfect way to end my weekend in Berlin.