In a city that is forever reinventing itself, it can be hard to keep track of what’s new, what’s good and what isn’t around anymore. In the spirit of breaking out of the rut, we bring you no less than ten spots that should definitely be on the radar of anyone who considers themselves a proud Berliner (whether born or residing!) Put them on your to-do list and make sure to brag at length about them to whomever is willing to listen, we promise you’ll keep coming back.
It is a rare treat to be seated, served and advised by the same person preparing your food. But that’s exactly what Chef Markus, the passionate mind behind a little hole in the wall in Prenzlauer Berg known as Gobento, will do for you. Oh, and he’ll prepare an unforgettable little box of deliciousness. In the spirit of simplicity, there is no menu — only a veggie or fish option. Those who want to imbibe are encouraged to bring their own bottles. Gobento recently opened a second location in the heart of Kreuzberg, to the delight of many a hipster Japanophile.
Are they on a mission to evangelize? Is it a marketing ploy? We might never know. The large-scale biblical scripture lining the red walls of this unassuming Imbiss in Schöneberg might be the thing you remember the most about it. Until your food arrives, that is. Out of a tiny kitchen manned by what would seem to be any two members of the owning family will come one of the most flavourful Bibimbap bowls to be had on either side of the Spree. But don’t take our word for it, make the trek and see for yourself. Just don’t complain if there’s a line out the door.
Moabit has been inciting proclamations of being “the next Kreuzberg” for the past couple of years — and while the out-of-the-way neighbourhood may be undergoing a serious identity revamp, it’s safe to say that there are still few things would lure one out to its sleepy streets. One of those things is a little slice of Alabama barbecue heaven called Pignut. Holding court in a food market, the friendly staff behind the counter will help you navigate the short and sweet selection of pulled meat sandwiches and mouthwatering ribs. Don’t forget the coleslaw, practically the only authentic one you’ll find in town.
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OK, so this picturesque bathing spot floating on the Spree isn’t exactly a secret. Stroll past the mile-long queue any given summer afternoon and you’ll hear a beautiful symphony of accents and broken English. And while the wait is, many times, well worth it, sometimes you just want to take that swim in peace. Which is why we’d like to remind you of a glorious overlooked detail: Badeschiff is open until midnight. Even though most people pack their flip flops and head home once the sun has set over Berlin, that’s exactly what makes Badeschiff the perfect place for an after-dark dip. That’s right: come dusk, the public pool empties out for you to enjoy (almost) by your lonesome until midnight. And on a muggy midsummer’s eve, that’s just what the doctor ordered.
An inevitable part of residing in Berlin, no matter how temporarily, is the constant influx of visitors to your home as soon as Spring rears its flowery head. And an eternal request of said visitors is for a bit of local cuisine. In Berlin, this can often result in a hurried pit stop at a grimy currywurst stand. But there is, hidden among glassy office buildings just off the city’s commercial strip, a better alternative. This alternative is tiny, clad in wood and about a hundred years old. It serves up a tiny menu of Teuton classics like strammer max, schnitzel and lentil stew with a giant sausage plopped on top—and it is cheap as chips. This alternative is called Stadtklause and it will become a favourite, whether your aunt is visiting or not.
Schlachtensee is visible from the train station and Müggelsee has been done to death. The lakes to the north of the city, while beautiful, take quite a bit of preparation to get to. So where’s a hot and sweaty Berlin resident to go when the temps spike and there’s no desire to elbow anyone for a piece of land on which to lay a blanket? The answer is to be found in the East. Head towards Kaulsdorf to find a sandy oasis where you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anything but German. Secluded, sandy shores make it the perfect place to go incognito with enough room for everyone to tan in peace.
Hafenküche and Boat Rental
For a city with so much water running through it, it’s amazing that not more of its inhabitants take to the river more often. Enter one of Berlin’s many functioning harbour stops. This miniature marina just south of Rummelsburg has a chic nautical bar and restaurant overlooking the docks, a perfect set-off point for a day spent exploring the city’s waterways. There are plenty of options for renting boats, many of which come with grills to really make the adventure complete. Round up a handful of your closest, put on the captain’s hat and make a day of it.
The Good Store
Vintage shopping in Berlin: a concept so overexploited that it usually means having to sift through musty, overpriced castoffs. What’s a fashionable shopper in search of a previously loved piece to do? Keep calm and head to Pannierstraße, home of delightfully minimalistic and expertly-stocked The Good Store. Locally-made leather bags and jewelry are shown alongside airy racks of vintage Acne, Jil Sander and Chloé — at prices that will most definitely make more than one jaw drop.
The Store Kitchen
Berlin’s Soho House outpost is quite often a polarizing topic. A beacon for the chic international traveler, the place oozes upscale cool — at a heftier than normal price tag for the city. But there might be one motivating factor for those too intimidated to have ever walked through its shiny doors: hunger. Adjacent to the lobby and right in the middle of its impossibly chic store lies The Store Kitchen, one of the classiest (and tastiest) solutions to the question of lunch in all of Mitte. Enjoy the comfortable digs while keeping healthy with a reasonably-priced lunch menu consisting of fresh juices, creative salads and soups.
The Boros Collection
Part of Berlin’s moody allure are the constant reminders of its past. We walk among ghosts in this city, which never seems to run out of surprises. A perfect example of present living with past is the breathtaking Boros Collection — a formidable private contemporary art collection housed in a former bunker. The exhibition space, with two-meter thick walls and a labyrinthine interior, is even more impressive than the works on display themselves. Tickets should be booked well in advance, with tours available in both English and German.
If you want even more info on Berlin, check out the full guide.