Guide: 10 Restaurants for New Year’s Eve in Berlin

Illustration: Soraya Ferdman
Illustration: Soraya Ferdman

As with most of my happiest recollections, some of the very best New Year’s Eve memories I have are food related. I’m not talking about the bowls of Doritos I munch on in awkward house parties or the wine upon wine upon wine I drink in family get togethers. I’m thinking of this one night when I was young where my family and I went to a quiet restaurant in Vermont. I ordered a huge steak, mashed potatoes and chocolate lava cake which I could barely finish but mostly because I was maybe 12 and it was a 12 ounce steak. The restaurant sparkled in the steady flow of conversation. I loved to look over my shoulder and see the “ching-chings” and drunken giggling of uppity dressed adults. Apart from the food, I suppose the memory stayed with me because I learned a quiet, calm evening could be perfectly festive. In that spirit, I’ve spent some time searching for a list of places for you guys to spend this New Year’s in Berlin. But neither are all of them calm, nor are we focussing on steak.
Most restaurants are offering fixed menus whose prices I’ll mention as well as sneak peeks at their killer food. Variety is key, so Mary and I made sure to include something glamorous and lavish, relaxed and romantic, casual and delicious, and as much as we could in between.

Nobelhart & Schmutzig

Mary did not hold back gushing about Nobelhart und Schmutzig back in 2015 so there is no reason this Michelin star, re-invented German cuisine should be anything but brilliant for your New Year’s Eve. It may be one the most expensive option on this list, but for those interested in gastronomy and in modern German cuisine, it is a sure winner. They’re sourcing all of their ingredients from the capital and its surroundings, from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and the Baltic Sea. Their ten courses include trout, salsify, Alfredo Sironi’s spelt natural sourdough bread & raw milk butter, Ike-Jime char with dill blossom… I could go on or you could check out their NYE ten course menu. Okay just one more highlight – raspberry Schnapps and Berliner donuts. The fixed menu is 255 Euros for person, including the menu, water and wine.. Vegetarian or vegan meal is available on request.

PS: This is where you drink Champagne. Mary wrote about Billy Wagner, the “pop-star” among sommeliers” expert before, and he hasn’t gone anywhere. After your ten course meal, the place even gives you the option of a Champagne experience “to-go.” Unfortunately it’s because they kick you out at 11pm, but hey, at least not empty handed.

Pauly Saal

Pauly Saal, also a Michelin star restaurant, is preparing a special night for New Year’s. The beautiful restaurant in located in the former Jewish girl’s school in Mitte, which has been remodeled into a high-ceiling dining room styled with Murano glass chandeliers. Not unlike a ballroom, the traditional vibe is contrasted nicely with eclectic art pieces and red brick walls. There’s also some humor in the huge decorative rocket that hangs above the kitchen window. Their NYE menu starts with Norway lobster with Dashi creme fraîche and apple, goes on to venison with beetroot, rose hip, and hazelnut; ravioli with spinach, truffle, and egg yolk; sea bass with celery, caraway seed and fig. Sweet chocolate flavored with champagne, cardamom and sorrel is served last, just before all the guests are invited to the restaurant’s rooftop for firework watching and the official 2017 count-down. Pauly Saal’s six course menu, priced at 190 euros including dessert, plus 95 Euro for a wine pairing.

Kaanan

You guys already know that this is one of Mary’s favorites. Kaanan, the Middle Eastern restaurant co-owned by Oz Ben David from Israel, and Jalil Dabit from Palestine, make, without exaggeration, the smoothest, creamiest, tastiest humus I have ever had. There is more to the place than dip (tbh I am totally content with hummus and a spoon, maybe some pita, but not necessary), and this New Year, the Kaanan chefs are preparing a special feast: a vegetarian and vegan menu for NYE made up of ten fantastic entrées that are almost impossible to summarize but is my job so I’ll try: roasted golden cauliflower topped with Kaanan’s homemade tahini and savory date honey; mini peppers stuffed with a hearty blend of bulgur, cashews and fresh mixed greens served in tomato sauce; Shishbarak; sliced pumpkin cooked to perfection with real Jerusalem artichokes and served in a zesty turmeric sauce. God, I’m salivating. Oven-roasted potato seasoned and accompanied by a garlic and onion marmalade. This meal also includes special complimentary deserts: Malabi, or a succulent pastry filled with citrus cream and topped with a hot chocolate sauce.
These amazing dishes will be served family-style, and the price is, including dessert, 20 euros per person.

Restaurant Nudo

I don’t know why, because I’m not Italian, but good Italian food, the kind prepared with love and patience and not a single glance at a nutrition label, has the power to transport me. A spoonful of homemade pasta in creamy sauce, sweet from the tomato, savory from the cheese… what in god’s name could be more comforting? I’m clearly not the only one hypnotized — tucked in the restaurant-packed landscape of Kreuzberg, sits a very popular and almost always booked, Cucina Italiana called Restaurant Nudo. It’s chefs are natural creatives, used to preparing a different 4-course menu each week. Candle lit, modestly decorated, seasonally prepared, we’re all lucky they decided to stay open for New Year’s.
This December 31st, Restaurant Nudo is offering two different Seven Course Menu, one of which is vegetarian. The total comes to 68 Euros per person, and here are some of the plates: Beef carpaccio bags filled with burrata and Jerusalem artichoke and tortellini filled with lobster in oyster sauce. For the vegetarians (not vegans*) two plates that caught my eye were: a red cabbage risotto in Barolo wine with pear compote and gorgonzola as well as a large tortello filled with liquid egg yolk and ricotta. Reserve soon my Italian-loving friends!

Grill Royal

If your motto for NYE is “go big or go home” and you’re only waiting for a black tie dress code, then book your table at Grill Royal now. Serving a special menu including all the luxe treats – oysters, caviar, prawns, lobster, foie gras, wagyu, kobe, chateaubriand, and everything else one could think of, they’re also giving you a Big Band, and a DJ, so, yes, you can stay here all night. This luxurious menu is priced at 250 Euro, reservations are taken from 4 people, and tables are going fast.

Panama

Located in Potsdamer Strasse is Panama, a restaurant and bar with mindfully prepared food and a warm and cozy atmosphere. Part of the Contemporary Food Lab, whose goal is to raise awareness and expand knowledge of the relations between humans, nature & food, Panama touts itself as more of a community than a workplace. With potted plants, sofas and even a bookshelf, you’re bound to feel at home here — except instead you’ll be served Fine de Claire oysters with sour shallot and brioche.
Panama is offering a special five course menu including aperitif, water, coffee, champagne toast and live music, all for 125 euros per person. Their special menu, apart from the oyster I mentioned, includes a crusted baltic sea perch, with leek and vermouth and a braised beef shoulder with black trumpet mushrooms and beetroot. For dessert, to toast with champagne and a sip of coffee, is a pecan dish prepared with salted caramel and parsley root.

Herz & Niere

The team at Herz & Niere have a huge respect for animals and produce, which means they have close relationships to the farms and farmers who grow and raise their ingredients, and are striving to make the most of them: aka. serving all parts of them. This year they are serving a six course menu including a Champagne-Aperitif & wine pairing. The evening will start with a crayfish dish next to rutabaga and salted cherry-plums, after will follow Baltic Sea turbot, served with jerusalem artichoke and beef heart. Also promised is a pumpkin dish, pheasant, braised venison, and for dessert, sea buckthorn with malt ice cream and sugar beet. The fixed menu is priced at 165 euros.

Zenkichi

Zenkichi, modeled after a Japanese Brasserie, is a restaurant separated into semi-private dining tables, just downstairs of the lovely House of Small Wonder. This New Year’s they’re offering a special 8-course tasting menu that is 105 Euros per person. Also available as an alternative choice is their January omakase (tasting menu), including dishes like shrimp and lotus root tempura served with Japanese matcha salt and bonito fish dipping broth; as well as a sukini-style beef entrecôte, thinly sliced, served over boiled napa cabbage and sukiyaki sauce. The special NYE menu is made up of four chilled dishes, including raw oyster with lemon and snow crab with spinach; as well as hot plates like grilled lobster with egg-miso glaze.
Instead of champagne you can toast with sparkling Sake. Zenkichi, which specializes in Junmai sake (pure-rice, free of additives), has a selection of over 30 popular, seasonal, and rare sakes to taste. Reservations for those who want to spend the countdown at Zenkichi start at 9:00-9:30pm. For those with other plans at midnight, they are also offering an early seating from 6:00-6:30pm.

To Beef Or Not To Beef

If that steak-tale from the beginning of this article is still on your mind, this is something for you: The Italian meat experts of this eatery in Schöneberg have created their menu around a 250g piece of beef from the Macelleria Cecchini, which will be embedded in a menu featuring lobster bisque, ravioli with winter truffles, and chocolate fondant. The five course menu includes coffee, grappa, a glass of Champagner De Venoge Cordon Bleu, and live music, and is priced at 95 Euros. Auguri!

Marthas

Being a restaurant and a bar, Martha’s is the place to get both killer cocktails and exquisite food. Head chef Manuel Schmuck is only 28 but has worked under Daniel Achilles at the two Michelin-star restaurant Reinstoff before he opened his own, in the meantime one star adorned, restaurant in Schöneberg.
This New Year’s they’re offering an eight-course menu for 145 euros or a vegetarian one for 125 euros. The list is divided into Martha’s New Year resolutions to stop smoking, but serve you smoked Iberico pork loin, grape leaves, wasabi nashi pear mustard herbal ashes and BBQ beer coaster; to be less lazy so they’re making a blue cheese dip, with olive anchovy and truffle mayonnaise. The artichoke you’re served alongside it, you’ve gotta peel yourself. For dessert, a horseshoe made from white chocolate elderflower, Yuzu, sorrel, rosewater cake, lychee and cardamom ice cream, for a new year of luck and success.

Reserve before the places are booked or you are stuck with the Doritos bag!

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