Helly Parsons is a kiwi ex-pat living the dream. Originally from Auckland, she and her hubby left the shores of Aotearoa bound for Berlin in mid-2011 in a quest to unleash their inner adventurer and discover inspiration in the people, food and cultures of Europe. Currently living and working in “poor but sexy” Berlin, Helly has an ever-expanding travel wishlist to complete before heading back to her homeland.
Here is her first blog on great places to taste Berlin…
Berlin’s international mish-mash of cultures serves up a diverse platter of traditional and modern cuisine for all budgets. From street-side stalls to 5-star bistros, Berlin’s gastronomic scene is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Here are a few of my favourites…
Mustafa’s has earned cult status among Kreuzberg locals, delivering Turkish kebabs second to none. There is always a queue outside this small roadside stall – but trust me, it’s worth the wait!
Mustafa’s kebabs are jam-pack flatbread with secret-recipe sauces, sautéed vegetables, seasoned chicken, fresh mixed salad, and a sprinkling of feta cheese and lemon zest. The result? A taste explosion that leaves you as content as a pig in a mud puddle, and at under €3, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a meal as cheap and tasty as Mustafa’s.
Bier’s Ku’damm 195
Bier’s is one of the best places to devour the popular German street food, currywurst. Originating in Berlin in 1949 thanks to a resourceful German housewife who traded spirits for ketchup with British soldiers, currywurst is a unique fast food composed of sausage, doused in tomato sauce and sprinkled with curry powder.
To experience the full glory of Bier’s currywurst, add a serving of pommes rot-weiss (hot chips with mayonnaise and tomato sauce) and a Berliner Pilsner or perhaps champagne if you’re feeling flash.
This charming and humble establishment is an absolute pearl of a restaurant. Offering traditional German cuisine with an Italian flair, Noto’s open style kitchen and hospitable staff create an inviting and intimate setting for a delightful evening.
The talented sole chef Ronald Marx sets weekly menus with an emphasis on high quality, fresh and seasonal produce. Melt-in-your-mouth creations are lovingly crafted, each dish rich in both colour and taste, and cooked to perfection. À la Carte options are available, but I recommend the four-course set menu for a divinely satisfying gastronomic experience.
Serving up sunshine in a cone (or cup), Kreuzberg’s Tanne B is a unique ice cream parlour that is worth traveling cross-city for. All their icy-treats are homemade and organic, with a unique selection of traditional dairy ice cream, vegan soy ice cream and fruit sorbets.
Tanne B have concocted over 80 different varieties of ice cream, some of which are bizarre to say the least: rose, sea-buckthorn, lychee-ginger and asparagus (which is surprisingly tasty). You’re really doing your body a favour by indulging in these creamy-fruity-icy treats!
Thanks to a pair of Wellingtonians, this coffee house is one of the only places in Berlin that you will be able to find a legitimate, top-notch flat white – I can also vouch for their impressive tea selection and delicious lemon, ginger and honey drink.
Always up for a friendly chat, the cheerful Jane Nye takes care of your cuppa while her partner in crime, the talented Paul Milne whips up a selection of wholesome toasted sandwiches, hearty soups, freshly baked goods and the occasional meat pie for your choosing.
A visit to a beer garden is a must, and being the oldest (and one of the less tacky) in Berlin, PraterGarten is worth dropping into for a few pints. Sample their own golden nectar – the Prater Pils and Prater Schwarzbier, and complement with a bratwurst im brot (sausage in a bun) or a pretzel (the big bready kind).
PraterGarten also boasts a restaurant that dishes up traditional German fare, of the homemade, hearty (and stodgy) variety. Try the Berlin Eisbein (ham hock) with sauerkraut, puréed peas and potatoes, or the Königsberger Klopse (meatballs) with delicious caper sauce and potatoes.