And by you I mean all of you and especially myself. Yes, I am basically sharing my winter-to-eat-list with you, as Berlin is now a city where so many new restaurants open, us very professional food-explorers need a list to not overlook one. As with all new openings some of them might still have some bugs to fix and thus deserve more leeway than the ones who’ve been around for some time. Which is the reason I rarely visit a place during the first weeks, because most of them need at least a month to bring everything up to standard. We’ve got months of cold and dark days ahead of us, that prospect will instantly feel lighter when there’s a dinner or lunch at one these newbies planned. Eat on:
A fine dining restaurant that subtitles itself Kantine Neukölln in a beautiful Gründerzeit space that opened last April. Loads of foodies already fell in love with the mix of ambitious cooking inspired by French and German kitchen and the industrial ambience. I’ll have to see how I feel about it once I made my way south to this jwd-place.
Eins44, Elbestraße 28/29, Neukölln
Started as a dinner-series in a close-by coffee bar, this is one of those living-room-like-restaurants Berliners love to spend their winter evenings in: simple wooden furniture, Altbau-feel and the occasional plant. The reviews I read sound decidedly French, while the menu prefers to only name the ingredients as in: sweet potato, goose or goat cheese, celeriac, apple, wheat grass. (A style I am not very excited about, to be honest. But their Facebook site is full of pictures.)
They got a weekly changing menu and some very tempting breakfast options: eggs benedict, granola pancakes, enough said.
Le Bon, Boppstraße 1, Kreuzberg
Berlin’s Japanese and Japanophile community kinda freaked out about this new opening that brought the beloved Okonomiyaki to Prenzlauer Berg. It can freely be interpreted as “grill whatever you want” and is referring to a Japanese kind of fritter usually made from cabbage, eggs, flour and … whatever you want. The art of topping this fritter is what makes it special – Hanage serves it with a traditional Okonomi dressing, or Ponzu sauce, and maybe some even more creative twists. I’ll have to go and see.
Hanage, Raumerstraße 1, Prenzlauer Berg
Update: I went and, well…
I first heard about this Chinese place in a letter I received a couple weeks ago including a long list with reviews of Chinese restaurants in Berlin. I guess I wasn’t the only recipient, and so shouldn’t be surprised this restaurant hidden in an unremarkable Prenzlauer Berg guest house popped up on several hot lists. Anyhow, eating my way through the recommendations of this list is one of my winter-to-dos, so why not start with this one?
Shan Shan, Gleimstraße 24, Prenzlauer Berg
This Schöneberg restaurant inherited the beautiful space of the former Jäger & Sammler, but pimped the interior and first and foremost the kitchen: Manuel Schmuck from two-star Reinstoff restaurant in Mitte is the head chef serving dishes like boiled veal tongue with a beer vinaigrette, or brook trout and mussels Eintopf with hazelnut oil. The concept lies somewhere between seasonal-local and international superstars like Argentinian Entrecôte, gambas and tuna. Where exactly it’s headed, is what we’ve got to find out.
Martha’s, Grunewaldstraße 81, Schöneberg
House of Small Wonder
The photos of this one look so ridiculously good, I can’t even… As an offshoot of a Williamsburg bistro, this one comes with loads of experience with New York eaters and I am excited to see if this will pay off in Berlin – lunch dishes like Tsukune Don – Japanese chicken dumplings with sweet soy sauce, nori and a soft boiled egg sound promising enough.
House of Small Wonder, Johannisstraße 20, Mitte
Cookies are over, Crackers are alive! Did you attend the giant funeral that buried Cookies, the illustrious club that basically defined Berlin’s club scene for 20 years this autumn? Closing down only to give rise to Crackers, a restaurant and bar (with DJ-nights, you can’t take the club out of the kid), that started with a local-celebrity-crowded-opening-party. The kitchen is headed by Stefan Hentschel, who’s also responsible for the vegetarian fine dining Cookies&Cream upstairs, Chipps, as well as Wedding’s Volta. And that makes my expectations rise. Also because I haven’t seen any reviews or pictures of the food yet.
Crackers, Friedrichstraße 158, Mitte
Brunch is not a good word in Berlin. Luckily, some are attempting to change this – like Papi Crunch, the Sunday brunch at Parker Bowles. I read Huevos Rotos, walnut-banana-pancakes and Croquettes and I need to go. Sadly, they’re having a break until mid or end January, but promised to come back better than ever.
Papi Crunch at Parker Bowles, Sundays 10.00–16.00, Prinzenstraße 85d, Kreuzberg
I don’t think it’s easy to find a good Italian place in Berlin. Maybe because Italian is such a popular kitchen in Germany and thus most chefs nestle in the average? There are exceptions, though, and this small place on Karl-Marx-Allee with an even smaller menu sounds about right – they focus more on wine and thus serve classic Italian dishes supporting excellent wine. Ah, the many dark nights spend with heavy red wine and Carbonara on KMA…
Briefmarken Weine, Karl-Marx-Allee 99, Friedrichshain
Not even open yet and already on my to-eat-at-list! This Japanese restaurant will serve small dishes, yet no sushi nor teriyaki. Authentic, un-modified and unique is what they promise, and we’ll only have to wait until end of January to try it.
Zenkichi, Johannisstraße 20, Mitte