Thursday, September 8, 2016

Berlin: Europe's Next Great Food City?

I walk down my block and I've got tons of great food choices: Korean, Italian, Vietnamese, burgers, Middle Eastern. Just another day in LA, right?  Except, I'm not in LA, I'm in Berlin.

Grilled octopus with polenta at Donath.
If you ask the average American to name some of the great food cities of Europe, Berlin isn't likely to be in the top five, maybe not the top ten. Paris, Barcelona and nearly every city in Italy have a claim to the greatest food on the continent so it's easy for people to overlook Berlin, but I think there's a strong argument for it as a great food city, and certainly one that is flying under the radar.

Octopus bibimbap at Gong Gang

But Berlin's food is great more in the way that LA's food is great. It's the food of immigrants in a cosmopolitan city. I particularly enjoyed eating my way around Prenzlauerberg, a very hip neighborhood in what used to be East Berlin. That's where we found great Korean, Italian and Vietnamese food.


There's great Middle Eastern food throughout the city. Along with all of the Donar Kebab and falafel stands, it's worth a trip to the Turkish Market and one of the higher end Turkish restaurants like Hasir.

And Berlin has some excellent sweets as well. From the delicate and not-to-sweet marzipan at Wald Konigsberger to the rich, chocolate drinks and cakes at Fassbender & Rausch.

I wish I had time to explore the regional Chinese restaurants or even more of the Turkish food. What didn't I eat much of?  Traditional German food. It wasn't even that easy to find it in Berlin (except for the ubiquitous currywurst), but hey, that's what Munich is for.

Standard-Serious Pizza

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