A couple of weeks ago, WeShare asked me to explore the area around Potsdamer Straße and Tiergarten, and share my finds as part of the three-part #WeShareMadeinBerlin series. The 100% electric car-sharing service wants to inspire you to discover Berlin’s unique Kiez culture – silently and sustainably. Some of my very, very favorite spots in Berlin are actually located in the area. First of all, Kin Dee, a popular, Michelin-starred restaurant: Dalad Kambhu’s approach to cooking is always delicious, straight-forward, and reflective, she uses local produce to create dishes evoking the flavors of her home country, Thailand. You can watch the video of us chatting, cooking, and meeting inspiring local suppliers of Dalad – like her ceramist Lisa Kosak of Helka Ceramics, and her farmer Lena Buss of Good Food Syndicate – here. A couple of days later, when the snow had melted, I set out on my own Kieztour, got in a 100% electric WeShare VW ID.3 (what a smooth driving experience!), and went to four chosen spots, to get lunch, dessert, dinner, and some very important pantry items. Check my selection below:
This Lebanese, family-run grocery store is one of those places, I can’t visit without buying something. I always find an item or three that I want to try, may it be their homemade halwa, their freshly ground coffee with cardamom, cashew nuts with wild Madagascar pepper, preserved lemons, pickled cucumbers, pickled aubergines filled with walnuts (makdous!), Aleppo pepper, laurel soap, or the Al Kanater Tahini (just get the 900g jar, I promise you’ll finish it). It’s easy to lose the sense of time here because the staff is always super friendly and very helpful, and gives great recommendations. There are also cookbooks (if you dunno how to use the nice things you will buy), home decor items, a big selection of Lebanese wine, and cosmetic products.
Harb GmbH, Potsdamer Straße 93, 10785 Berlin – Mon—Fri 10:00–18:00, Sat 10:00–16:00
Rocket & Basil
I wish this place was already open, back when I spent my days studying in the nearby Staatsbibliothek during my time at uni – it’s the perfect lunch food to put you in a good mood. Order either a delightful mix of weekly changing salads (pictured is a roasted cauliflower with fava bean sauce on top of chipotle chickpeas, and mixed radishes) or scrumptious sandwiches (you must! try their grilled cheese with Persian pickles and roasted grapes) plus incredible desserts like the very popular tahini brownie and the pistachio cake with rosewater (my fav). Get a coffee to go, or the Persian sherbet, and be ready to come back asap to try more. Sophie and Xenia, the Persian-German sister duo, are inflicting everything with their very own magic that is inspired by Australia (where they grew up) and deeply rooted in Berlin.
Rocket & Basil, Lützowstraße 22, 10785 Berlin – Tue–Sat 12:00–15:00
Da Jia Le
One thing I really, really miss during the pandemic, is sitting down at Da Jia Le’s tables with the lazy Susan with many friends and order everything off the menu (twice) and just eat and share and talk. Thank goodness they are open for takeout because even though I distinctly miss the grand variety of plates of a proper big dinner with friends, I will be content with ordering my own tofu leaf salad (pictured) and aubergine hot pot. If I would be able to eat more on my own, I would add the Szechuan-style potato slices, the fried aubergine, the cucumber salad, the smoked tofu with coriander, the tofu with spring onions, but also the Yüxiang style aubergine. See what I mean? This unassuming place is usually packed with people enjoying the Dongbei, north Chinese cooking, some of them finishing their meal with the caramelized sweet potatoes that are served piping hot, and create artful sugar threads when you pick them up.
Da Jia Le, Goebenstraße 23, 10783 Berlin – Mon–Tue 16:00–21:00, Wed–Sun 12:00–21:00
Located right across the street from Da Jia Le, these don’t necessarily mix well – even though Baklava would be a great dessert for a scrumptious Chinese meal. But you wanna come early to this popular, family-run bakery because the specialties sell out fast. Like their namesake, pistachio and semolina filled and doused in milk-sugar glazing. However, even if you come later, there will still be delicious, multi-layered sweets to enjoy. Remember to bring some for your friends and neighbors, baklava is best when shared. Need more convincing? Pasam delivers baklava to some prestigious places like Hotel Adlon, the Waldorf Astoria, and several embassies.
Pasam Baklava, Goebenstraße 12A, 10783 Berlin – Daily 10:00–20:00