Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eating in Berlin

I’ve just visited Berlin for the first time, and although the trip was short, I did get to go to a few restaurants. Since I wanted to eat some classic German food, a colleague suggested I go to the gourmet food floor at the department store KaDeWe and eat there. Along with its huge selection of food, KaDeWe offers a dozen or so little counter style restaurants where you can choose from a variety of different menus--seafood, steaks, French, Asian, and other cuisine. I went for one that served German sausages along with sauerkraut, various potato dishes, pretzels, and beer. I ordered the grilled Wurstwaren, a bratwurst. It came with sauerkraut, a dollop of mustard, and a room temperature potato salad. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I skipped the beer though and opted for a local Riesling which was a delicious complement to the rich food.

For dinner that evening we went to the hip restaurant of the moment, San Nici. Its massive dining room with perfect acoustics really delighted me. The menu was classic Italian with a few twists and the wine list included a well-chosen Italian selection. I ordered a buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and the Cotoletta di Vitello with crispy sage and fried cherry capers. Both were great but if I closed my eyes I could have been eating anywhere.

The next day before leaving I met friends and went to Manzini for lunch. Again, the menu was mostly Italian but they also had some German dishes, including Wiener Schnitzel which I ordered. My order was huge and came with some simple boiled potatoes and the traditional side of cucumbers with dill in a simple vinaigrette. Those cucumbers are always a welcome addition to Schnitzel, as they help cut the fat. We had a Gruner Veltliner which was just perfect. I really like crisp white wines with any sort of fried food.

I can’t say I left with any sort of epiphany about German food or that I had a culinary life-changing experience but I was happy to encounter the local fare, drink the local wines, and try a few beers. When I go back to Berlin I’m going to get a lot more tips from local people. I think that’s crucial in Berlin.

San Nici
Friedrichstrabe 101
10117 Berlin

Ludwigkirchstrabe 11
10719 Berlin


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