Tag Archives: Food

Balli Döner – Dürüm that really fits the bill

Dürüm Döner Close Up at Balli Berlin

My Döner guru (yes, I have a Döner guru and everyone should have one) Cihan is responsible for introducing me to two of my favourite Berlin Kebap options: the Spezial Döner at Konyali and the Dürüm Döner at Balli.

I can still remember how excited Cihan was when we were discussing Kebaps a couple of summers ago and I told him I hadn’t tried Dürüm and I’d never been to Balli.

For the uninitiated, a Dürüm is a wrap made with a Turkish flatbread similar to a tortilla filled with the usual Döner Kebap ingredients, with the addition of chips (Pommes / fries) in the case of Balli.

Balli Döner on Tempelhofer Damm Berlin

Balli Döner on Tempelhofer Damm

For my first visit, Cihan took me to the Balli near S-Bhf Hermannstrasse and we ate our Dürüms on a wall on the street near an entrance to Tempelhofer Feld but they have Imbiße all over Berlin.  There are two on Hermannstrasse and one on Sonnenallee and another on Tempelhofer Damm, as well as outposts in Steglitz, Mariendorf, Lichterfelde, Spandau and Reinickendorf.

Dürüm Döner at Balli Berlin

I couldn’t believe how big the Kebap was on that first day – it was the size of my forearm – and I couldn’t quite finish it despite a big appetite and the fact that it was absolutely delicious.  Every time I go back (and I go often) it catches me a little bit by surprise.

Döner im Brot at Balli Berlin

Naturally, it’s not just all Dürüm at Balli, they do of course have the usual Döner Kebap im Brot (which I’ve also had and can vouch for) and other Turkish specialities – so if you’re a Döner fan in Berlin you should definitely give Balli a go.

MJ’s Foodshop – My Favourite Berlin Club

Close Up Roast Turkey Club Sandwich at MJs Foodshop Berlin

As a Brit I am naturally fond of a sandwich and finding one in Berlin is not an easy task but that’s where MJ’s Foodshop comes in, not only is the Roasted Turkey Club sandwich delicious, it’s a thing of beauty and massive to boot.

Roast Turkey Club Sandwich at MJs Foodshop Berlin MJs Foodshop Berlin Logo Mac and Cheese at MJs Foodshop Berlin

Juicy turkey is backed up by bacon (and as we all know, everything is better with bacon), lettuce, tomato, eggs and mayo and comes served in toasted homemade bread.

And as I wrote earlier it’s massive but more importantly it tastes so good.

My advice is to order Mac and Cheese as a side – it’s creamy and cheesy and therefore a perfect accompaniment to the club sandwich.

Philly Cheese Steak at MJs Foodshop Berlin Homemade Lemonade at MJs Foodshop Berlin Hand Cut Fries at MJs Foodshop Berlin

If for some reason the Roasted Turkey Club doesn’t appeal I can also recommend the Philly Cheese Steak and the fries.

The portions at MJ’s are so big that I’ve never managed to make it through the main course with enough room left for dessert but one day I’m determined to try the New York Cheesecake.

If you’re looking for a bit of comfort food in Berlin and you have either someone to share with or a large appetite MJ’s Foodshop is at Sonnenallee 34 – one thing to note, don’t go on Mondays when MJ’s is closed.

Santa Maria Eastside – Mexican Food, Berlin Style

Table of Food at Santa Maria Eastside in Berlin

Last month I had the pleasure of going to a tasting at Santa Maria Eastside to celebrate the launch of their new menu, overhauled to make the most of their fully organic, all-German handmade tacos – a first for the Mexican food scene in Berlin.

The majority of European tortillas are mass-produced using instant corn flour imported from Mexico but the tortillas at Santa Maria Eastside are handmade in Berlin using fresh corn grown in Bavaria.

My partner in crime for the evening was Gilly and we arrived early and started the night with a beer.

Co-owner Jules (who is also one of the driving forces behind another andBerlin favourite Piri’s) explained the new menu concept and at his suggestion we elected to try a bit of everything (almost).

Pozole at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Tortilla Chips and Sikil P'aak at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

We started with a taster of the Pozole – a pork soup with white corn and Mexican chillies, served with radish, cabbage and a tostada – followed up by the Sikil P’aak – a dip of habanero, roasted tomato, roasted pumpkin seeds and coriander served with fresh tortilla chips.

Trio of Vegetarian Tacos at Santa Maria Eastside

I had explained to Jules at the outset that I was a little sceptical about eating the vegetarian dishes so the trio of vegetarian tacos – Papas con Rajas / Calaza / Rajas con Crema – that we had next were a revelation to a meat-obsessive like me.  Who knew that food without meat could be something to get excited about?

Tacos de Cochnita Pibil at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

I’m not contemplating vegetarianism though so we finished off with the Tacos de Cochnita Pibil – pulled pork tacos with pickled red onion and habanero chillies and a tropical habanero salsa.  Pulled pork really is the ingredient of choice at the moment and is cropping up on menus everywhere.  The meat here was tender and the pickled onion created a nice contrast of textures and flavours that Gilly compared to Sauerbraten.

Margaritas at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

Our appetites well and truly satisfied we washed everything down with a boozy Margarita.

I’m amazed to say it but one of the vegetarian tacos was my favourite dish of the evening – the Papas con Rajas, a mixture of roasted onions, chillies, peppers, corn, garlic and potatoes.  For confirmed meat eaters though, I would recommend the Barbacoa de Res Burrito that I’ve had on other visits.

Worth noting are a few special offers on the menu – lunch specials, Taco Tuesday and Margarita Happy Hour.  From 19:00 to 21:00 on a Tuesday you could combine the last two and with 1€ Tacos and Margaritas for 4€ you could dine and drink like a king or queen without breaking the bank.

The quality of the food and a wide range of different Mexican flavours, including a tasty selection of vegetarian dishes, make Santa Maria Eastside in Berlin the perfect venue for a (small) party or an evening out with a group of friends.

The Bar at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Barbacoa de Res Burrito at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Quesadillas on the Grill at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Santa Maria Eastside Berlin at Night

The Best of the Wurst – 6 of the Best Currywurst (Buden) in Berlin

Close up of Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst & Pommes) at Curry & Chili Berlin

Currywurst has been a Berlin snack staple since 1949 when Hertha Heuwer combined the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder she got from some British soldiers and poured it over grilled sausage.  Over the years, thousands of stands and restaurants have opened in the city and finding the best Currywurst in Berlin is no mean task.

I ate Currywurst as my very first meal in Berlin during my original visit to the city in 2009 and ever since I moved here in 2011 I’ve been scouring the city on a hunt for the finest Currywurst – my quest to find the best of the Wurst.

Not all sausages are created equal.  My search has taken me beyond the usual suspects and I now have a list of six Currywurst sellers that I’m happy to recommend.  Clicking on a name will take you to a post dedicated to that Currywurstbude.

Currywurst and Chips (Pommes) at Curry Baude in Berlin GesundbrunnenCurry Baude – Gesundbrunnen
Everything here is homemade and fresh and you can tell. The sauce is thick, tomato-ey and delicious. For me, this is the best Currywurst in Berlin.
My Advice: Ask for your Currywurst ‘ein bisschen schärfer’ – the extra curry kick makes the world of difference.


Currywurst and Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Zur Bratpfanne in BerlinZur Bratpfanne – Steglitz/Lichterfelde
Don’t be surprised when you have to queue, no matter what time of the day you arrive – zur Bratpfanne is very popular with the shoppers on Schlosßstraße and for good reason.
My Advice: Order 2 x Currywurst with chips because it’s so tasty here that one just won’t be enough.


Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst & Pommes) at Curry & Chili BerlinCurry & Chili – Wedding
Laying claim to the title of Deutschlands schärfster Imbiss (Germany’s spiciest snack bar), this is the place for those who like their Currywurst to ‘burn baby burn’.
My Advice: If you’re going to tackle the spicier sauces, start low and work your way up – you may be surprised at just how fiery they are.


Currwurst and Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry Mitte BerlinCurry Mitte – Mitte
This Imbiß is centrally located on Rosenthaler Platz, making it an ideal spot for a pre-drink, mid-drink, or booze-fuelled snack.
My Advice: Check out the special offers – a combination meal: Currywurst, chips and a soft drink or beer is cheaper than ordering the individual items.


Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry 66 in BerlinCurry 66 – Friedrichshain
The basics – the sausage, the chips, the sauce – are good but like Curry & Chili it’s the option to up the spice levels that make it special.
My Advice: Study the sauces menu – names like Dirty Devil and Black Death are a good indication that some are really spicy – the Scoville values confirm it.


Close Up Currywurst at Schmidts Imbiss BerlinSchmidt’s Imbiss – Lichterfelde
A family run Imbiß near S-Lichterfelde Ost with over 40 years experience, where Dieter Schmidt serves up his speciality – steamed onions.
My Advice: If you don’t fancy the trip to Lichterfelde you can find Schmidt’s at the market at John F Kennedy Platz, Schöneberg on Tuesdays and Fridays.


So by now some of you may be wondering why Berlin’s most popular Currywurst stalls – Konnopke’s Imbiß and Curry 36 – are not on the list.  Of course, I’ve eaten at both and enjoyed the Currywurst there but I find the sauces a little too ketchup-y, a bit too sweet and lacking in the curry stakes.  The six Currywurst above are simply more suited to my tastes.

With so many Currywurst options in Berlin it would be an almost impossible task to try every one of them, which is why this list will always be ‘6 of the best’, not the best Currywurst in Berlin’.  If you have a favourite Currywurst in Berlin and it’s not on the list please let me know in the comments.

Tommi’s Burger Joint – Making of a Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin by Highsnobiety

Photo: Still from ‘The Making of Tommi’s Burger Joint’s Bacon Cheeseburger’ by Highsnobiety

The good people at Highsnobiety have been to Tommi’s Burger Joint in Berlin and made a video to show us how their amazing Bacon Cheesburger is made.

After watching I’m pretty sure you’ll be running out to get a burger so to help you decide where have a look at my ‘6 of the Best Burgers in Berlin’ post featuring Tommi’s Burger Joint.

The Making of Tommi’s Burger Joint’s Bacon Cheeseburger

// via Highsnobiety //

Schmidt’s Imbiss – It’s a family affair

Close Up Currywurst at Schmidts Imbiss Berlin

Dieter Schmidt knows a thing or two about Currywurst.  He has been running Schmidt’s Imbiss for 40 years in various locations around Berlin, including the last five years at its current spot around the corner from S-Lichterfelde Ost.  Dieter’s wife Doris and son Frank are also part of the family business.

Schmidt's Imbiss in Berlin

I elected to forego the speciality – steamed onions – and went for 2 Currywurst mit Darm (with skin), small chips (Pommes, fries) and a 330ml bottle of Berliner Kindl, which set me back 6,50 €.

Currywurst and Chips at Schmidts Imbiss Berlin

As usual, I asked for the sauce to be ‘ein bisschen schärfer’ (a bit spicier) but for me it was still lacking in the spice department.  I also thought that the sauce was a little thin and sweet in comparison to Curry Baude and zur Bratpfanne.  That being said, the sauce was still better than most and the sausage and chips were tasty and well cooked.

If you’re ever hungry in Lichterfelde I would recommend the Currywurst at Schmidt’s Imbiss as well as the Döner around the corner at Balli.

The Schmidt’s Imbiss at Königsberger Strasse 1, Lichterfelde is open Monday to Friday 10:00 to 19:00 and the Schmidts also serve Currywurst to the hungry people of Berlin at the weekly markets in Kranoldplatz, Lichterfelde (Wednesday and Saturday) and John F Kennedy Platz, Schöneberg (Tuesday and Friday).

EAT: The story of one man’s passion for his local café

EAT - a cafe in Berlin

Photo: Courtesy of Dave the Chimp

A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from Berlin-based artist, Dave the Chimp, with a great little story about his experiences at a local café in Kreuzberg called EAT.  Dave can tell the story much better than I could so here is what he sent me:

Last summer a cafe called EAT opened on Kottbusserdamm, in what was formerly a greasy Chinese imbiss sandwiched between a Späti and a Korean nail bar. One day I ate lunch there and the food was delicious – and cheap. As an artist I don’t have much money, so if I can eat lunch, drink a coffee, and leave a healthy tip while only spending 10 euros, I’m a happy man!

I went back the following week and once again really enjoyed the food. I was soon eating there two or three times a week, as were a couple of friends from my shared studio.

Some days the food would make me so happy I had to tell the staff, and once they got over the fact I’m the kind of weirdo who finds joy in salad, they were very friendly, and my lunch hour would extend more and more each day as I hung around talking about everything from politics and the environment to experimental Polish film.

Spending so much time there I soon realised that, despite the excellent food, they didn’t have enough customers. People would stop and look, confused as to what kind of restaurant it was, and move on. Tourists were quickly put off by having to try and read a menu board written in German. The boss, Henrik, confessed that if things didn’t improve he would be out of business before the next summer.

Henrik clearly has a passion for food. An Armenian, who grew up in Iran, he has lived in Berlin for 30 years. He ran a restaurant with his brothers for much of this time, but decided to go it alone and serve great tasting, healthy food, created from his own ideas (the stuffed paprika in a banana and ginger sauce last week was awesome!).

For me, EAT was a valuable resource, physically and mentally, and I didn’t want to see it disappear. So I decided to do what I could to help business, to give some of my time and energy towards keeping this source of great food in my neighbourhood.

I started by re-drawing the menu board to make it legible, and making a menu in English, so that tourists could read what was on offer without having to do so while standing at the counter. I installed a small lending library of English and German books, and invited different friends to lunch to ask their opinion on what could be done to increase business. Though all were in agreement that the “product” was great, they all had differing opinions on what needed to be done to attract customers.

One thing was clear though – no one expected to find this kind of food on Kottbusserdamm, and it was important that we make the place stand out. I decided to paint the windows, and asked my sign writer friend Juliane Kownatzki to help. She had the idea to create a facade of reclaimed wood on the outside of the building, to draw attention to the fact this was not just another falafel shop, and to make a statement among the plastic fronted stores that fill the street.

EAT Happy Vegetables logo (Dave the Chimp)

Photo: EAT logo courtesy of Dave the Chimp

This is still a work in progress for us. We are doing it to keep open a restaurant we love to eat in, a place we think is valuable to our neighbourhood and our community. I firmly believe that if you give of yourself, of your time and energy, your love, that life will give back. We’re not paid for the work we do, but when we’re broke we always know we won’t starve. And we have a new friend in Henrik.

Even better, Juliane and I have discovered how well we work together, and now plan to start a small sign painting/mural painting company, thus enjoying our working life more. It’s fun to work with friends!

Life in 2015 is pretty messed up in a lot of ways. We could all benefit from eating better, from sharing our time and energy, from thinking less about ourselves, and more about the world as a whole. Capitalist consumer society relies on us being divided, being individuals, so it can sell us more stuff. It’s time to fight back against this unhealthy attitude. Work for free, for food, for love! Research shows that people that give are happier and healthier than those that only think about themselves. Be a giver, and receive a better life in return! This is the revolution!

I hope this story can inspire others to give their time and energy to make their neighbourhood a better place.

Dave the Chimp, Berlin 2015

I don’t know about you but Dave’s enthusiasm for the food at EAT in Berlin makes me keen to try it so I’ll be popping along soon.  If you’d like to eat at EAT it’s at Kottbusser Damm 94 near U-Bhf Schönleinstrasse and is open Monday to Friday from 12:00 to 20:00.

Café Feuerbach

Close Up of English Breakfast at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin

It’s not easy to find an English Breakfast in Berlin, let alone a good one, but luckily for me one of my local restaurants, Café Feuerbach has an especially tasty one, so when I’m in the mood for a fry up I don’t have too far to go.

English Breakfast at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin

For 7,40€ you get bacon, two fried eggs, fried sausages, baked beans, grilled tomato, homemade jam and toast along with a little bit of salad.

Everything is delicious though it would be even better if the strips of bacon were replaced by thick cut rashers of back bacon but that’s not easy to come by in Berlin.  For me the jam and the salad are surplus to requirements – you don’t order an English breakfast to get your fruit and veg in – but that’s a minor quibble.

Cheese Breakfast at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin Menu at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin Bread at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin

Breakfast is served from 09:00 – 16:00.  There are plenty of other options available and, this being Berlin, there is of course a breakfast buffet on a Sunday.

It’s not just breakfast on the menu at Café Feuerbach though, there’s also a range of salads, snacks and main dishes, including weekly specials, served between noon and midnight backed up by an extensive drinks selection.

Gnocchi at Cafe Feuerbach in Berlin

I would recommend the Gnocchi, which is served with spinach, tomato and basil fondue, roasted pine nuts, shaved parmesan and pesto.

For anyone searching for that elusive English Breakfast in Berlin, Café Feuerbach is on the corner of Schöneberger Str and Holsteinische Str in Steglitz, equidistant from S-Bahnhof Feuerbach Straße and U-Bahnhof Walther-Schreiber-Platz.

Hokey Pokey – Ice Cream of Dreams

Ice Cream Pot at Hokey Pokey Berlin

It’s the last day of February, the sun is shining and Eissaison (ice cream season) is about to start. No, you’re not dreaming, this is real life.  Hokey Pokey, one of the most popular and in my opinion one of best Eisläden (ice cream parlours) in Berlin reopens on 28 February for its 2015 run.

Hokey Pokey is so popular that last year the owners were ‘forced’ to raise their prices and hire extra staff to appease the neighbours who complained about the ‘noisy customers’ queuing and eating outside on the pavement.

Navigate your way through the crowds of people and strollers and you are greeted by a freezer choc-a-block full of delicious looking ice cream options.  Choose your flavour, how many scoops you would like and whether you would like it in a cone or pot and prepare for ice cream induced ‘ooohs’, ‘aaahs’ and ‘mmms’.

Ice Cream Cone at Hokey Pokey Berlin

The Belgian Chocolate ice cream at Hokey Pokey is the stuff of fantasies.  Luxuriously rich ice cream with large chocolate pieces throughout that will have you craving more the moment you finish.

Hokey Pokey Berlin Logo

Photo: Logo courtesy of Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey is open daily from 14:00 to 19:00 (check Facebook for current opening hours) at Stargarder Straße 73 (not far from S/U Schönhauser Allee) in Prenzlauer Berg – treat yourself to some of the best ice cream in Berlin.

Chutnify – A Dosa South Indian Street Food in Berlin

Close Up Goan Pork Dosa at Chutnify Berlin

According to the Chutnify website ‘the owner, Aparna Aurora inspired by her Indian heritage and travels decided to open her South Indian street food dream in Prenzlauer Berg.’  And I for one am pleased as punch that she chose Berlin for her restaurant.

It’s no great secret and something that I’ve mentioned before that Berlin is sadly lacking in the quality Indian food department.  You can imagine my excitement then when I heard good things about Chutnify shortly after it opened in October last year.  Unfortunately for me though, I had just moved out of my apartment in the area and it has taken me far longer than it should have to actually visit.

Decor at Chutnify Berlin

My first impressions were good: the welcome was warm and friendly; the décor colourful and simple but at the same time clearly carefully put together, an obvious advantage of the owner’s background in fashion.

Dosa Man at Chutnify Berlin

I’ve been dreaming about the Dosas here and having studied the menu online had carefully selected the Tandoori Chicken for my debut meal, so I was a little disappointed to discover that the lunch menu is a slightly abridged version of the full menu displayed on the website and my dream dish wasn’t available.

Goan Pork Dosa at Chutnify Berlin

I plumped instead for the Goan Pork Dosa and all thoughts of disappointment were banished when it arrived.  The Dosa, a crepe made with rice batter and lentils and a staple of South Indian cuisine, was light and fluffy, the pork tender and bursting with flavour.  The accompaniments offered a variety of complementary flavours, my favourite of which was the spicy Tamarind chutney, which brought a touch of chilli heat to the meal.

Having cleaned my plate I only wished I had the appetite left to try the Thali but that will have to wait for another time.  I’ll also have to go one evening so I can try the Masala Wurst, Chutnify’s take on the Currywurst.

Tandoori Chicken Dosa at Chutnify Berlin Keema Mattar Rice Bowl at Chutnify Berlin

I’ve already been back with Steffi when we shared the Tandoori Chicken Dosa and the Keema Mattar Rice Bowl and both lived up to the standard set by the Goan Pork Dosa.

Many return visits are still needed.

Taxi With Bill at Chutnify Berlin

The owner’s eye for design and attention to detail was again to the fore when my bill arrived in a plastic auto rickshaw taxi.

During my lunchtime visit a touching scene played out in front of me involving a simple and heart-warming act of kindness on the part of the owner so I can only hope that in this case good things happen to good people and Chutnify is a roaring success.  Given that it serves flavoursome and well-spiced Indian food, something that Berlin has been crying out for it is hard to doubt that that will be the case.