Oh my, it’s hot. There’s no way around it, Berlin now is a sweltering city when summer comes. We still need a couple years to get used to the heat, it seems. Air-cons are far and in-between, most buildings miss window blinds or awnings, but at least our city isn’t as sealed with tar and concrete as other capitals that turn into melting pots. Still, everything and everyone becomes very, very slow. I just recently told a friend who had moved here three years ago that this development is entirely new! (And we all know who made it happen.) I remember summers entirely devoid of one day over 30 degrees, I remember wearing coats at 13 degrees in July, and I remember the pressure of having to get out to the lake when that one perfect summer day combining blue skies and enough warmth came up.
This Eats in Berlin is all about places where you can have heavy meals filled with either butter and sirup or cheese and chickpeas to fight the heat. Seems counter-intuitive? Thing is, we as people are so adaptable (or ignorant), I – a privileged woman who can determine her own work hours in a chill apartment – can feel how the longer summer lasts, the less I’m bothered by the high temperatures. Which means we (again, the privileged few) will also find a ton of reasons to change absolutely nothing (or making things even worse). So, if you have time in between baklava and hummus, check on your elderly neighbour and see if they need help with something, if you can spare some coins buy a homeless person a bottle of water, give that bee-attracting shrub outside your house some water in the drought, and put out a bowl of fresh water on your balcony for birds to cool down in.
Until then, go sirup!
I love Künefe, I love Knafeh, I love, love, love it. It’s a glorious dessert, stickily sweet, rosy and floral, and crunchy and cheesy. If you have not tried this delight, you better make some plans now. I have talked about my admiration of this treat a couple of times on here (and here), but I have not recommended this place yet. Their excellent Künefe (which you should always order with a dollop of Kaymak, a clotted cream) is served fresh from the oven so the cheese is proper stringy. They also have pretty good baklava, to eat as an appetizer before your ordered Künefe arrives, or to take home and enjoy days to come. It’s buttery, not too sweet (debatable, I know), and filled with excellent pistachios from Antep, the Turkish pistachio capital. They also carry a specific Turkish brand of ice cream which I still have to try. I personally prefer going at night, by the way, when you munch that Künefe while watching the busy Kottbusser Damm.
You know how much I adore Kanaan. (Needless to say, they’re on my “Best Places in Berlin Map”, which you can download here.) If their place wouldn’t be so out of the way for me, I’d be there every week. For now, it’s reserved for special trips up north, which means I often order too much. It remains my personal favourite when it comes to hummus, whether as a deconstructed sabich or topped with shakshuka. Bring friends, if possible. And don’t eat anything else before, or you’ll regret it. Oh, and seasonal tip: they have a cute garden to sit in.
Many people only come up with currywurst or Döner when asked about “Berlin street food”, and never ever say anything about Kumpir even though it clearly is very important. It’s baked potato mashed with butter and cheese and topped with as many salads and condiments as possible. I’m usually holding back a little and order what is considered a minimal amount of about 4 to 5 toppings, but you can certainly go all out and get them all. One of my fav places to do so is this nut roastery on Kottbusser Damm (across the street from Sengüloğlu Baklava, hint hint). And I usually get an ice cold “Christinen” Multi Vitamin juice with it, just to have a well rounded meal.
Alsancak Simit Sarayı
I missed this place after they shut down their old shop on Gneisenaustraße, and it took some time for them to open up again. Now housed in a new, spacious place on a street corner, they have a bigger and nicer outdoor area (seasonal tip ;). They still focus on what they do best: Turkish breakfasts – which are always more a rich feast than a quick, light meal. Pictured here is the classic Menemen in the front, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and pepper, and in the back is a dish which’s name I forgot and terribly failed to google. It’s a melted cheese and egg mixture, think Turkish cheese fondue, very, very rich, but delightful. Alsancak is obviously also good at baking Simit, since they name themselves Simit Palace, they’re essential here. Super fluffy yet crispy, slightly sweet, very sesame and perfect with everything they serve. Another indulgence is their tahini pastry, which is loaded with butter.
10961 Berlin Kreuzberg
When it comes to cake, we got a lot of options, but not all of them do it right. This one certainly does, though. I’ve had many delicious cakes here even though their Kuchen und Torten aren’t coming in fancy flavours or Instagram-worthy-designs, Instead, their flavour and texture are on point any time. These two lovely pieces are pictured in the woods because I found myself next to the café one weekend morning on my way to an Ausflug, and used my chance to get this scrumptious picnic. The hidden apricot cake in the back was even better than their bestseller, the orange cake.
It’s also a great place to order cakes for birthdays and weddings! PS, this is one of the few cake places that made it onto my “Best Places in Berlin” map, which you can download here.