With no shortage of 5 star hotels, fabulous new design stores, and some of the most important historical sites of the 20th Century, it’s no wonder Berlin has fast become one of the most exciting new luxury destinations in Europe. With so much history you are bound to do a lot of walking Berlin’s streets, and it’s important to refuel for the next days sightseeing and shopping. Here are some of my favourite top-end eats Berlin has to offer:
Chef Hendrik Otto has 2 Michelin stars to his name and his team are equally wonderful. Dine in old style elegance at the iconic hotel which was known for hosting stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin. With a view of sunset behind the Brandenburg Gate, it doesn’t get any better than this for a memorable Berlin fine dining experience.
Opened by Sebastian Frank in the funky district of Kreuzberg right next to the canal, the emphasis here is on reinterpreting traditional German cuisine in a lighter, fresher way. It works as he is now the youngest Michelin starred chef to join the ranks in Berlin. A fantastic way to experience quality German cuisine, lightyears away from schnitzel and sausage!
Based on French haute cuisine and led by Michelin starred chef Michael Hoffmann, here the fresh seasonal produce is always the main focus. In fact, some of the older vegetable varieties used have been specially grown for the restaurant on request. Their poetic dish descriptions are also a delight.
The ambience here is slick and minimalist, the food Asian-influenced and presented to perfection, a great option for those who are gluten intolerant. Run by the chef of the same name, it is another restaurant in Berlin to receive 2 Michelin stars. A highlight is ‘The Krug Table’ where you and up to 9 guests can enjoy an individually created menu accompanied by, of course, Krug Champagne.
Sitting next to floor to ceiling glass windows looking into the internal courtyard of the Mandala hotel you almost have the feeling of eating outside. Michael Kempfs at Facil is reknowned for unusual flavours and aromas, one of the city’s most creative star chefs. And several times a year they also run cooking classes, so you can learn from the best.
The newest 5 star restaurant in town opened in January in the brand new Waldorf Astoria hotel. Created by Michelin starred chef Pierre Gagnaire the cuisine is described as a jazz improvisation along a classical French theme. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if it warrants a star from the Michelin gang.
Without Michelin ranking, a little less formal but equally wonderful places include:
Created by Albert Raurich, the former Chef de Cuisine of world renowned el Bulli it is is an exquisite Asian style tapas experience with a choice of either 11 or 16 courses. Make sure you reserve ahead as space is limited. My suggestion – sit at the bar Style Tresen to watch the chefs at work!
An absolute Berlin institution where the Schnitzel is superb. During the day frequented by politicians and businessmen, at night by the local Berlin glitterati. Right in the heart of the city, perfect if you need a light lunch to break up the sightseeing.
The Luis Vuitton Guide in 2011 called it ‘the restaurant people love to hate’, but this is definitely a place to see and be seen in Berlin. Many international films stars eat here whilst filming (it’s a favourite of George Clooney at the moment, currently in Berlin). They specialize in – you guessed it – perfectly grilled steaks sourced from all over the world. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating their non-meat dishes either.
Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s vegetarian – Stephan Hentschel is one of Germany’s rising celebrity chefs and the kitchen here is worth a five star rating. Fed up with having the token pasta or veggie dishes on other restaurant menus, here you can try things such as Pearl Barley Strudel with “Piet de Mouton” or Swede Cannelloni with Brussels Sprout leaves. A must try is the incredible parmesan dumplings.
Penelope Hassmann is Owner of Berlin Private Tours.