Looking for a life-changing meal? Life-changing is the norm here. These are the best restaurants in Berlin right now
There’s no shortage of options for eating in Berlin, but separating the good from the great takes a little bit of digging. Not literally digging, don’t worry, but this remains a city that rewards those willing to make an effort with their wanderings. The gritty side of Berlin kept culinary connoisseurs away for a while, but those days are over. The German capital is the ultimate ‘something for everyone’ spot, and it rings loud and proud in its restaurants.
The best restaurants in Berlin are a sneaky tremendous way to get in tune with the incredible cultural diversity of this place. You’ll find everything from Thai to Turkish via plenty of attempts to jazz up traditional German recipes through an international lens. If it hasn’t happened yet, you can guarantee that someone in a Berlin kitchen has got it on their to-do list. From family-friendly eateries to Michelin stars and more, these are the best restaurants in Berlin.
This restaurant’s tagline is ‘vocally local’ – meaning they refuse to import food from beyond the capital and its immediate surroundings. Sadly, that also means no chocolate. However, chef and sommelier Billy Wagner will win you over to the cause: he uses neglected traditional methods to create a seasonally shifting menu packed with bold, contemporary flavours. The frontage is nondescript, visible only to those in the know, and you have to ring a bell before being ushered around a long wooden table with just 28 seats. Booking is, unsurprisingly, essential.
Fancy a side of history with your main? Eins44 serves exquisite fine dining in the industrial surroundings of a former schnapps factory. Proving there’s a place for high-end eating in down-and-dirty Neukölln, the restaurant serves both lunch and dinner. Lunches tend towards the classics, while in the evening you can pick three or up to six courses from flexible menus featuring seasonal dishes such as venison with shiitake mushrooms and prawns with vermouth and yellow beetroot.
3. Tim Raue
Unlike many of Berlin’s fine-dining establishments, this small restaurant prides itself on its informality – despite its place at number 37 on the world’s best restaurants list. The tasting menu might include amuse-bouches of spicy cashews, prawn sashimi and marinated pork belly, moving on to main courses of wagyu beef, lobster, Australian winter truffle and tofu. Everything has a Japanese touch and comes served with blobs, smears or foams of contrasting flavours and colours. Book ahead.
4. Kumpel & Keule Speisewirtschaft
Kumpel & Keule serves something startlingly rare in the German capital: high-quality, regionally sourced German cuisine with genuinely friendly service. It’s worth skipping lunch and going all-out at their Kreuzberg restaurant, whose menu offers modern takes on German and international butchery. Why not try the dry-aged steak menu or the handmade pork sausage? Alternatively, explore the menu’s more surprising side – we’re talking things like rabbit’s kidney with parsnip puree. Finish, if you’re up to it, with a round of homemade schnapps.
5. 893 Ryotei
Duc Ngo, also behind the city’s popular Cocolo Ramen, clearly knows what he’s doing: 893’s hybrid Japanese-Peruvian cuisine results in dishes that, while certainly boundary-pushing, are also just, well, tasty. Highlights include the veal heart skewers, the grilled octopus and the sashimi moriawase plate. Obviously, a bottle of saké for the table is a must.
The shawarma at Shaam, a popular Syrian spot on Karl-Marx-Straße, may well be the best in Berlin, and the toum is so garlicky that both parties on a date should be required, by law, to dig in. That’s not a criticism; the sauce adds the perfect zing to the shawarma’s heavenly blend of crispy (the bread) and fatty (the meat). There are plenty of lighter, herbivore-friendly options, too, and everything comes with crunchy fresh veg to dip. Order a few plates to share.
7. Das Lokal
Das Lokal comes from fine heritage: formerly Kantine, a cult pop-up of sorts which had occupied a space earmarked for demolition in David Chipperfield’s architectural office. The seasonal menu changes weekly and might feature starters of pigeon with chestnuts, mussels in broth or asparagus croquette – all have bold, local flavours in abundance. We recommend anything with offal or game in it.
Offering a menu composed entirely of desserts and drinks, concept restaurant Coda earned its first (long-awaited) Michelin star in 2019. Masterminded by chef René Frank, its plates are artfully composed, use only the freshest ingredients and place an emphasis on the experimental. Come by for the blowout six-course tasting menu which pairs desserts with drinks (from €98). Alternatively, head to the bar for a superlative cocktail.
Refurbished a few years ago, this venerable sausage stand has been under the same family management since 1930. After coming up with a secret recipe for ketchup (which wasn’t available after the Wall was built), it was the first place to offer currywurst in East Berlin and still serves the most famous – and quite possibly the best – version in the city. Expect queues.
Malakeh’s Syrian cuisine is as mouth-watering as its origin story is heartwarming. Owner Malakeh Jazmati has no formal kitchen training, but once found a following as Syrian TV personality Maliket al-Tabkh (‘the Queen of Cooking’). Driven out of her country by the war, she came to Berlin in 2015 and set up this restaurant with her husband Mohammed. As a poignant reminder of the home she left behind, Malakeh is decked out with pictures of Syrian artists and activists. Food-wise, expect excellent kibbeh in a yoghurt sauce, moreish fried aubergine and some of the city’s freshest tomatoes.