If there is anything to take advantage of in Berlin, besides exploring its rich history and plethora of museums, it would definitely be the food culture. Berlin is a diverse city with residents from all over the world, which creates a very unique opportunity to have all of these culinary traditions at your fingertips. I hardly ate German food while in Berlin, because there were so many global cuisines I was craving for. Although if I did want some German food, I would go to a Berlin CurryWurst stand on the street and grab a snack.
Street food is trending in Berlin. It is common for friends to go to small restaurants on a square and grab a great, quick meal for 5 Euros before moving on to the next adventure for the night. One of Berlin’s best street foods is actually the Doner Kebap. This food tradition came to Berlin with Turkish migrants in the 1970’s. Doner Kebap is your best bet for a delicious, filling meal for only 3.5 Euros, and every place has a slightly different way of making it. It can have fresh veggies, homemade sauces, chicken or beef, falafel or haloumi, in toasted bread or wrap-style (Durum). I always suggest just getting “everything,” because then you get the fullest, most flavorful experience.
It is rumored (and I can confirm) that the best Doner is at Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebap in the Kreuzberg district, right outside of the Mehringdam U-Bahn station. The cue for this food stand is almost always at least forty-five minutes long, but it’s well worth the wait, especially if you go into the nearby Night Shop and get a beer to enjoy while you chat with friends in line. The Doner at Mustafa’s bursts with many savory flavors, including curry, and teriyaki.
There were many dining establishments in Berlin that were so good, I wanted to go back, but because I was short on time, Mustafa’s is the only place I actually returned to, cue and all.
If you’re in the mood to taste multiple offerings, try out Berlin’s attempt at the urban food-stall trend, Markthalle Neun. This re-purposed train depot houses stands represents multiple global cuisines as well as German delicacies. This was a neat place to visit, but also has much more room to expand its offerings.
I had a snack at Kame, a Japanese Bakery, which serves up matcha pastries and cookies. Although, their Onigirazu Sukiyaki Beef was also delicious!
Right around the corner from Markthalle Neun, you can find the best Sudanese food in Berlin at Sahara Imbiss. Walk into the small restaurant and place your order for Haloumi, falafel, or meat, in sandwich or plate form, which they serve with tasty roasted vegetables and cover with homemade peanut sauce. The food is plentiful, flavorful, and also a steal at around 5 Euros.
The diversity of cheap eats you can take advantage of in Berlin is truly endless. I happened upon many great spots to enjoy some Pho, especially for those cool early summer evenings in Berlin. I tested out Co Chu, which served some mint, ginger, and lemon tea that was to die for, as well as the cheaper street food option, Hamy, where the small menu changes every night.
If you need to fit a sushi break in with the long days exploring all the treasures of Museum Island, I recommend this spot near the Freidrichstrasse U-bahn station. Sushi Miyabi (Mitte) is just a few blocks from Museum Island and has a sushi happy hour all the time. What is sushi happy hour, you may ask? It is half-off sushi all-day-every-day. While this may be a poorly-veiled marketing gimmick, I found this sushi to be fresh, delicious, plentiful, and more than reasonably priced.
Lastly, if you’re like me and need to squeeze in a little work time even while traveling, I highly recommend paying Betahaus a visit. It is one of those coffee shops designed to be a work environment, and the aesthetic is incredibly clean and bright with an enormously helpful and kind staff. I felt right at home there.
~ By Virginia Spinks, former intern at Go Eat Give and a recent graduate of Emory University majoring in religion and anthropology. As an Atlanta native, she has grown up around many different cultures and cuisines, and has always had a passion for food. She views food as an experience: a point of connection to bring people together and create lasting memories.