Tag Archives: Burger

Tommi’s Burger Joint – From Reykjavik to Berlin

Cheeseburger with Bacon and Fries (close up) at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Tommi’s Burger Joint, the Icelandic burger chain, opened its first restaurant in Germany at Invalidenstrasse 160, Berlin on 9 May 2014, six months behind schedule.  The delays were blamed on German bureaucracy but had the positive effect of building anticipation amongst Berlin burger lovers.

Tómas Andrés Tómasson, the 65-year-old founder who gives his name to the venture has a long history in the restaurant and hotel industries.  He opened his first burger joint, Tommahamborgarar (Tommi’s Hamburgers) in Reykjavik in 1981 but decided to sell up in 1983, having sold over 1 million burgers and expanded the business to include 6 locations.

After spending six months travelling around the world, Tommi returned to Iceland in 2003 and realised that he needed to make money.  “No way!” was his initial reaction when friends suggested he go back to the burger business.

Thankfully he changed his mind.

He enlisted the help of Kristín Gunnarsdóttir to take care of the interior design, which intentionally gave the (false) impression of a burger joint that had been running for years, with a laidback feel.

The Tommi’s franchise now boasts 6 restaurants in Iceland, 2 in London, 1 in Copenhagen and the latest offering in Berlin.

Cardboard sign at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

On the opening day in Berlin, the burgers were free.  Having failed to take advantage of the giveaway I was determined to put things right on day 2 when burgers were half price.

Menu at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

The menu at Tommi’s is kept deliberately simple.  There’s a choice of: Burger, Cheeseburger, Veggie Burger, or Steak Burger, with the additional option to add extras, the most important of which is bacon.

The ‘Offer of the Century’ combines a burger, fries and a soft drink for €8.90 (there is also beer available, including the Icelandic brew, Viking Gylltur).

Viking Gylltur Beer at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

They also serve killer milkshakes – rich and creamy, I’d recommend the Chocolate.

Orders are placed at the counter.

The burgers are cooked on an American gas grill, which is the reason for the enticing and hunger-inducing chargrill aroma that wafts over you as you walk in the door.  They are served in a deliciously soft, slightly sweet-tasting bun, with a little iceberg lettuce, sliced ​​tomato and chopped onion; along with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.  The whole thing is then wrapped in paper.

The chips / fries / pommes (depending on your nationality) are thin cut and crispy and come with a serving of Béarnaise sauce.

Cheeseburger with Bacon and Fries at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Burger and fries are brought to you in a basket having established your whereabouts by shouting your name.

Under the black and white portrait of a bearded man (Tommi) that hangs on the wall opposite the kitchen is an extras bar.  Here you can add Jalapeños, onions, pickles and numerous sauces of varying spiciness.

Tommi (Tomas Tomasson) Portrait at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Pimp Your Burger sign at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Extras Bar at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

I missed this on my first visit and commented to Gilly that the only thing missing for me was a spicy kick.  Thankfully, by my second visit I was aware of what is probably the most important feature of the restaurant thanks to this post on Berlin Loves You.

I have to say that I’m a big fan – I went 3 times in the first week.

And I’m not the only one.  The fact that Tommi’s Burger Joint Berlin has managed to accumulate 1200 likes on its Facebook page in the 11 weeks it has been open is testament to the quality of the food and the strength of the brand.

Cardboard Signs at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Tiles at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

As well as serving top-notch food, the service is quick and friendly; even during the busiest times and the tiled and mirrored walls (that remind me of a butcher’s shop) are part of a décor that is effortlessly cool.  The soundtrack of classics from the likes of Elton John, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra contributes to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Tommi has eaten at least one burger every day since he launched over 10 years ago.  He is quoted as saying:

“If you stop to think about it, what’s in a burger? It’s good beef, bread, lettuce and tomatoes with ketchup, mustard and a little mayonnaise.”

So, whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a Tommi-level burger habit, why not adopt his philosophy that a burger is healthy and head to Tommi’s Burger Joint in Berlin for one of the best burgers the city has to offer.

Schiller Burger Berlin

Chilli Cheeseburger and Süßkartoffel Pommes at Schiller Burger Berlin

I’m certainly not the only one, but since I arrived here I’ve been trying to find Berlin’s Best Burger and, for me, Schiller Burger is one of the best.

As they recently opened a third Berlin location, I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so.

A common theme runs through the décor at the three locations: Herrfurthstrasse 7 in Neukölln; Schönleinstrasse 34 in Kreuzberg; and Wühlichstrasse 41/42 in Friedrichshain.

Menu and Counter at Schiller Burger Herrfurthstrasse Berlin

Neon Lit Interior at Schiller Burger Wühlichstrasse Berlin

Schiller Burger Wühlichstrasse Berlin Menu

As all three have limited indoor seating, it is worth noting that it is possible to take burgers from the Schiller Burger on Herrfurthstrasse to the Schiller Café a little further along the street – handy in the winter months.

When the sun is shining there are also lots of outdoor seats along the pavement here and Tempelhofer Feld is just around the corner if a summer burger picnic is your thing.

Schiller Burger Herrfurthstrasse Berlin

My burger of choice at Schiller Burger is the Chilli Cheeseburger (referred to on the menu as the Wallenstein).

There are slight variations between the burgers at the various locations in Berlin – the Chilli Cheeseburger, for instance, comes with Nachos at the Friedrichshain restaurant.

The basic idea is the same though – juicy, medium-cooked beef, cheese, salad and the kick of a generous serving of Jalapeños in a homemade bun (which is certainly part of what elevates this burger).

Chilli Cheeseburger at Schiller Burger Berlin Close-Up

Another of the big draws of Schiller Burger for me is their Süßkartoffel Pommes (Sweet Potato Fries), which have an extra crunchy texture and a sweet flavour that enhances my enjoyment of the spicy burger.

Süßkartoffel Pommes (Sweet Potato Fries) at Schiller Burger Berlin Close-up

To complete the ultimate threesome I add the Aioli – a garlicy punch that ensures maximum enjoyment and knock your socks off breath afterwards.

And to wash all that down I’d recommend a Bayreuther Hell.

Luckily for burger fans, Berlin seems to be teeming with top-notch burger joints, and Schiller Burger is up there with the best.

Berlin Burger International (BBI)

Berlin Burger International (BBI) in Neukölln

Berlin Burger International (BBI) has been on my to-do list so long that I can’t even remember where I heard about it – I just remember hearing that the burgers are amazing.

I was heading to Neukölln last week to check out an abandoned Children’s Hospital and had woken up with a burger craving so I decided to make a pit stop on the way.

Berlin Burger International is on Pannierstrasse not far from the corner with Sonnenallee so an easy walk from U-Bhf Hermannplatz.

Indoor seating is at a premium at BBI and knowing this I decided to delay my visit until 3 in the afternoon in the hope that the lunchtime rush would have died down and the dinner rush not started.  Well, either lots of other people had the same idea or this place is just busy all day long.

Fortunately, I went on the first sunny day in Berlin this year (an exaggeration but it feels a bit that way) and despite the cold people were sat on the benches outside eating their burgers.

I ordered a Chilli Cheesburger and Pommes (chips), grabbed a Bier from the fridge and sat down at a stool near the grill to wait for my food.

Chilli Cheeseburger at Berlin Burger International in Neukölln

My Chilli Cheesburger came loaded with toppings and a stick thrust through the bun doing its best to stop the whole lot spilling across the plate and was a taste sensation.

There were plenty of jalapenos and they along with the chilli in the cheese gave the burger a great kick and the smoky bacon added another dimension.  My one criticism would be that the sauce was a bit too BBQ like but that’s a very minor point – the Chilli Cheeseburger at Berlin Burger International is delicious.

So my advice is to get yourself down to Neukölln to try out Berlin Burger International, preferably when the sun is out and you can either sit on those benches outside or take your burger and sit near the canal.

Zsa Zsa Burger – Star Quality In Schöneberg

Zsa Zsa Burger Sign in Berlin Schöneberg

I have Chris Lietze of Blog’n’Burger to thank for introducing me to Zsa Zsa Burger.  My first visit to this Schöneberg burger restaurant was for BlognBurger11 and a few days later I was back again for more.

My first time at Zsa Zsa Burger I was tempted by The Silence of The Lambs described on the menu as:

Lamb burger served with red curry dip, the insider’s tip!

A very good burger – lots of meat and a tasty (though for me a little mild) curry sauce – and great chips but I had to go back to try the beef.

So on my second visit, just a few days later, I went for The Breakfast Burger, a beef burger topped with bacon and a fried egg.

Breakfast Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger in Berlin Schöneberg

Again, a very meaty burger and the runny yolk of the egg brought the delight that comes with messy food.  The buns at Zsa Zsa Burger also deserve a special mention.  I had the white sour dough version both times and they were delicious.

The Steak Burger, made with grilled Argentinian rib-eye steak and served with a Teryaki sour cream dip, also came highly recommended by Gilly.

Steak Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger in Berlin Schöneberg

Steak Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger – Photo courtesy of Gilly of Gilly’s Playground – http://blog.gilly.ws

The food at Zsa Zsa Burger is of a very high and consistent standard, the restaurant is smart and comfortable, the service is excellent and when I was there, super-quick despite being full on both occasions.

I followed up both of my visits to Zsa Zsa Burger with cocktails and would recommend both bars – Stagger Lee and Green Door.

Fräulein Burger – Berlin’s Newest Burger Joint

The sign at Fräulein Burger in Berlin

Fräulein Burger opened its doors to the Berlin public at Koppenplatz 1 (near The Barn) for the first time yesterday, serving homemade organic (Bio) burgers.

Having heard predominantly good things about Fräulein Burger from friends who attended a special pre-opening event for Blog n Burger on Sunday, I was keen to try out Berlin’s newest burger joint.

Coincidentally, I was running some errands in the area on opening day and walked past the door at lunchtime.  It would be rude to ignore fate.

My first impressions were good.  For a first day, the place was reasonably busy – there were customers eating at the tables and more waiting to place their orders at the counter.

Having given the menu the once over, I opted for the house-burger, The Fräulein Burger:

with freshly minced extra-large medium-cooked beef patty, lightly melted cheddar, crispy bacon, crisp lettuce, onions, tomatoes, gherkins and the incomparable Fraülein Burger sauce

Again, first impressions were good – the food looked and smelled delicious.

The Fräulein Burger with chips (kleine Pommes) at Fräulein Burger in Berlin

Unfortunately, it was clear from the first bite that the burger was greasy. Whether this was a result of the burger or the slightly fatty bacon wasn’t clear but the grease was soaking through the bun, dripping on the paper lined serving tray and coating my fingers.

That said the taste was very good.

In the pros column, the chips (Pommes) were cooked with a slight skin on and light and fluffy on the inside – very tasty.

Overall, I would say that the food at Fräulein Burger is good but at €11.90 for the burger with small chips (kleine Pommes) and a bottle of Lemonade (Zitronen Limo) I think it is a little overpriced (the burger alone is €8.90).

As this was the first day of service I’m willing to chalk the issue with my burger down to teething problems and will go back to Fräulein Burger to see if these can be ironed out.  As well as having another of the signature burgers, I’m keen to try the Lamb Burger, which looks delicious in the picture on the menu.

White Trash Fast Food – Rock n Roll Bingo

White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

Last week I made my third Wednesday night visit to Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin.

The venue on Schönhauser Allee is dark and slightly dingy – part restaurant, part bar, part club – and has an eclectic mix of art on the walls, all of which combine to give it a ‘dive bar’ vibe.

Rock n Roll Bingo is currently held on the first and third Wednesday of the month (check the Events listing on the website) and there is a €1 entry charge per person.

The Food

As I have done all three of the times I’ve been, I ordered the Extreme chilli-cheese burger, described on the menu as:

Beef topped with melted cheddar & our famous chilli con carne sauce to help it slide on home

Extreme Chilli-Cheese Burger at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

The burger comes loaded with a veritable mountain of chilli and salad so it always ends up messy but that’s not a bad thing.  At €9.50, it’s not cheap but I think it’s a reasonable price for what is a great burger.

A table of food at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

This time, my friend Gilly ordered the Big mucho-macho nachos plate, a combination of:

Chips + melted cheddar/mozzarella + all the fixins

and chose to add chicken.  As you can see on the right of the above picture, it was a mountainous plate of food for €12.  If you’d like to see a close up, click here.

The meal is described as ‘Easily enough for 2’ on the menu but Gilly had a good crack at it. His verdict was that it was OK but all the toppings made the nachos soggy so next time it’s back to the burgers.

The Rock n Roll Bingo

Shortly before the first game starts at 21:00, bingo cards and pens are brought to the tables.  Instead of numbers, the bingo card is filled with the name of 10 bands, from the 60s to the present day with a leaning towards indie/rock music.

Bingo Cards at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

There are 3 games throughout the night with prizes of €15, €20 and €40 to spend at the bar for a completed card.

Bingo Caller at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

The proceedings are overseen by bingo caller and MC, James, who is assisted by DJ Suavé and DJ Chianti – the trio hail from England and are bandmates in Big Skies.

The DJs play songs and if the band is on your card you mark it off – simple as that.  For those, a little worried about their music knowledge, there are often clues.

The Side Games

In addition to the bar tabs on offer in the bingo, there are spot prizes on offer for a series of side games.

I managed to bag my first swag in the first, a Name That Tune game, by standing on my chair and correctly identifying ‘Roll With It’ by Oasis.  I got to choose from a selection of CDs and picked the Tribes album (which I have been meaning to buy for a while now).

There was also Air Drumming, Air Guitar and a very impressive Limbo competition.

The Winning Limbo at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

Sparklers (Wunderkerzen) were also handed out to all entrants and when a particular song was played, the best ‘sparkler dance’ won shots of Jameson whiskey for that table.

Sparkler Dance at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

Sparkler Dance at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

Sparkler Dance at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin

Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food is a great night out with a group of friends.  The burgers are tasty and the games are good fun.

I’ve been three times now and thoroughly enjoyed it every time.  The prizes to be won are just a minor part of the excitement – it is the enthusiasm of the hosts and their injection of humour that makes Rock n Roll Bingo a quality night out.

When the games are over there is an ‘after party’ – on my first visit in the summer we only left when the venue closed and reached home as the morning was starting to get light.

I know I’ll be back at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food on a Wednesday night soon.  I’m itching to stand up and shout ‘House’.

Burger de Ville Berlin

The Burger de Ville 'Airstream' food caravan in Berlin - outside the Bikini Berlin development

Burger de Ville is a pop-up burger van outside Bikini Berlin, a mixed use development, including shops, offices a cinema and hotel, currently under construction opposite the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche on Hardenbergstrasse.

The food caravan is being used to promote the Twenty Five Hours Hotel that will open at Bikini Berlin in Autumn 2013.

The logo of Burger de Ville in Berlin taken from the menu

It was the eye-catching design of the Airstream ‘silver bullet’, aluminium and steel caravan, that has been converted to house a kitchen, that first caught my eye on a shopping trip to the nearby Ku’damm.

The Burger de Ville 'Airstream' food caravan in Berlin - outside the Bikini Berlin development

I’m a big burger fan so it was only a matter of time before I went back to eat there and that’s just what I did early on Friday evening.

I ordered the Jalapeño Burger (which comes with tomatoes, jalapeños, manchego cheese, lollo bianco lettuce, crispy bacon and a chilli mayonnaise), Pommes mit Meersalz (chips with sea salt) with ketchup and a Fürstenberg (beer), which came to €9.10.

Jalapeno Burger & Chips at Burger de Ville in Berlin - outside the Bikini Berlin development

For me, the chips were too salty but maybe I made the wrong choice, as there are three other chips options on the menu – I particularly like the sound of the Funky Pommes (chips with garlic and smooth parsley).

The burger on the other hand was very tasty.  The meat was juicy and the jalapeños delivered a good kick.  It was so good in fact that I’ve already been back for another one.

Jalapeno Burger at Burger de Ville in Berlin - outside the Bikini Berlin development

And I’ll definitely visit Burger de Ville again and see whether the salty chips issue affects the Funky Pommes

The biggest challenge facing Burger de Ville though, isn’t the saltiness of the chips, it’s the lack of an indoor eating space. With the Berlin nights already closing in and temperatures in single digits, eating outdoors isn’t appealing to most people and in the coming weeks temperatures will struggle to climb above freezing.

In those conditions even the homemade Glühwein won’t be enough to make customers want to stand around at Burger de Ville for long.

***Update***

Burger de Ville in Berlin with a tent to keep customers warm in Winter

Burger de Ville now has a tent attached to the caravan that provides shelter from the elements during the cold Winter weather.

Also, Jürgen from Burger de Ville has been in touch about my issue with the chips (Pommes) I ate:

…if something like that is brought to our attention we will correct it immediately and would replace whatever it is without hesitation.  I spent 10 years in the US and have the same customer orientated approach as most companies in the service sector in the US…

It is this kind of attitude that will play a big part in the potential success of Burger de Ville.

Marienburger

The Marienburger logo on a flag stuck in the burger bun in BerlinWhen Ian & Ebe from Back to Berlin and Beyond suggested meeting for lunch a couple of weeks ago and asked me to choose the restaurant I had to search the memory banks for somewhere new to try.

Luckily, I remembered reading a positive review of Marienburger on Mogli Oak – Berlin.

So on a sunny day we sat outside Marienburger on Marienburger Strasse in Prenzlauer Berg.

I ordered a Chilli Cheeseburger, Fries and a bottle of Berliner Pilsner, Ebe opted for a Sophia Loren Burger and Ian chose a Snake Burger.  We were all amazed at how quickly our food was ready.

The burgers are cooked to order on a grill plate in full view of anyone in the small restaurant (there are just 9 stools at a counter running around the wall).  When the food is ready the orders are announced through a megaphone.

A Chilli Cheeseburger at Marienburger in Berlin

When my burger arrived as well as being impressed by the speed at which it was prepared I was delighted to see that it was a meaty patty that was juicy and beautifully cooked and the bun was generously filled.  My Chilli Cheeseburger had a great chilli sauce and lots of jalapenos to add extra bite and spice to some mouthfuls.

Just to make sure that the quality of the food is consistent I went back the following Sunday after my visit to the Museum für Naturkunde and had an equally good meal, again prepared in double quick time.

At €7 in total (€4 for the Chilli Cheeseburger, €1.40 for the fries, €1.60 for 0.5l Berliner Pilsner) Marienburger is excellent value for money and this small burger joint is big on flavour.

Burgerie

The Burgerie sign - a giant burger stack on the pavement on Schönhauser Allee in BerlinThe giant burger stack sign outside Burgerie on Schönhauser Allee is hard to miss but it was the sight of the burgers themselves as people ate at the pavement tables that first caught my eye.

I’ve always been a big fan of a burger – Ronald McDonald was responsible for feeding me a lot of my meals on my Round The World trip years ago – so last week I went to Burgerie to get my fix.

I sat at one of the outdoor tables and ordered a Chili-Burgy (Chilli Burger), which came with spicy chilli sauce, red onions, peppers (paprika) and sour cream.  Being the glutton I am, I went for double meat (doppelt Fleisch) with 2 x 100g patties.  I also ordered a side of chips and the Tomaten-Relish dip (and a Berliner Pilsner to wash it all down of course).

The Chili-Burgy (Chilli Burger) at Burgerie in Berlin

I have to say I was impressed.  The combination of flavours was very good and the chilli sauce had just the right degree of spice.  I’ve not had peppers on a burger before but they were a welcome addition.  The chips were great and the tomato relish was a nice change from ketchup.  Overall – delicious.

Having said that, the burger didn’t have the immense meatiness of Da Birdhouse at The Bird, which is still my favourite in Berlin but for €2.50 less (taking into account the fries too) I guess that’s to be expected.

As it’s only a short walk from home I’m sure I’ll be back at Burgerie to try more of the menu when my burger cravings get too much to bear.

The Bird in Berlin

The Bird in BerlinWhen it comes to Sunday Lunch in Berlin, the traditional British Sunday Roast isn’t exactly common but I’ve found something that suits me just as well, a burger at The Bird.

As the restaurant celebrated its 6th Birthday on Saturday I guess it was inevitable that I should want to eat there on Sunday.

As usual I had a great meal, so great in fact that after a brief stroll through Mauerpark an afternoon snooze was in order.

Here’s a post I wrote about The Bird at the end of January in the early days of this blog when it was marked ‘Private’ and the only people reading it were my family.

When I set out this morning my only intention was to take a stroll around the fleamarket at the Mauerpark and see how it looked after yesterday’s light snow and build up an appetite for lunch.

I didn’t have any intention of eating out but as has happened on previous Sundays, as I reached the Northern edge of the fleamarket I started thinking about The Bird.  I’m almost there, I thought.  It’d be rude not to.

So I walked to this unimposing façade on Am Falkplatz.

The Bird is a popular spot but wasn’t as busy as I have seen it on other Sunday afternoons and I was offered a table at the back of the Restaurant.

I told the waiter that I didn’t need a menu and ordered Da Birdhouse (the house burger) and a half litre of Krombacher.

The Bird was set up in 2006 by two New Yorkers.  They pride themselves on the quality of their ingredients and food is cooked to order.  They are also passionate about how their food should be eaten.

They warn against ordering meat well done and deliver a sermon on burger eating on their menu:

Burger eating does not require a fork and knife.  It ruins the burger, violates several laws of nature and drives the cook nearly to the point of running amok with a hot spatula.  We don’t provide big rolls of paper towel for nothing.  Please pick it up and get it into you, it’s just better that way.

The portions are Man v Food sized.  The burgers come in an English Muffin, the burger is prime beef and the chips are undoubtedly hand cut and delicious.

Da Birdhouse - the house burger at The Bird in Berlin

Da Birdhouse, as stated on the menu:

has two patties, American cheese, bacon, fried onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles and enough grease to kill a donkey.

As recommended I went in with my hands and unfortunately the whole thing fell apart on me so I resorted to scooping up bits of burger and other fillings with my fingers.  Perfect!

The atmosphere at The Bird is relaxed but there is a nice buzz about the place.  The staff are friendly and there is good music to aid the digestion.  My bill came to €14.50 (*€15 on my latest visit*), which isn’t a cheap lunch by Berlin standards but it’s worth every cent and when you know you’ll only need a snack later it’s a little easier on the wallet.  I’ve been to The Bird plenty of times already and I’ll be back there again soon.

I wasn’t wrong, I have been back, a lot!  And The Bird never disappoints me.  The burgers are all handmade so there are always slight differences in the taste and you may have more onions one week or more bacon the next but one thing is guaranteed, a burger at The Bird in Berlin will be delicious.