Anytime we visit a new destination, one of our top priorities is to experience the local food scene, from market halls to fine dining. On our quick visit to Berlin – my first time in the German capital – we made sure to sample as much as possible, especially the traditional cuisine. We ate our fill, and made some great discoveries that all foodies should experience while in incredible and delicious Berlin.
If you’re in Berlin on a Thursday night, you can’t miss the street food market at Markthalle Neun in the Kreutzberg neighbourhood. The market offers a seemingly endless assortment of foods from around the world, and since it’s impossible to decide what to have, it’s the perfect place for a food crawl. We sampled Vietnamese bao, Japanese takoyaki, Mexican tacos, Caribbean roti, Polish pierogie, and more, washed down with local beer and Fritz Cola. Thought it was incredibly crowded and not as cheap as you’d expect street food to be, Markthalle Neun was a definite highlight of our trip, and we left stuffed and satisfied.
Alt-Berliner Wirtshaus Henne is a Berlin institution is over 100 years old, and it stands just five metres from where the Berlin Wall once stood. The iconic ‘Henne’ is known for its specialty: its famous half-chicken, soaked in buttermilk, then fried and served with sides of potato salad and coleslaw. In fact, the only other item you can order is a small assortment of sausages. Of course, there are also a range of local beers on offer. It’s all served up in a traditional atmosphere, surrounded by dark woods, tartan table clothes, and old bottles and casks of ale. Make sure you reserve in advance, as Henne is fully booked almost nightly.
Kaufhaus des Westens – known as KaDeWe – is a massive department store selling a range of exclusive brands. But on the top floor, you’ll find an incredible food market just waiting to be explored. You can find everything here, from seafood, meats, and cheeses to sinful desserts, handmade chocolates, and even truffles. There are also a variety of ready-to-eat offerings, ranging from a tea room to an exclusive lobster and champagne bar. You can also pick up goodies to take home with you – I scored a bag of Canadian maple popcorn from the International Foods section to snack on later.
Located just off popular Hackescher Markt, Sophien 11 is a little restaurant with a cozy atmosphere of dark woods and a variety of knick-knacks. It’s a great spot to try a range of traditional German dishes like pork knuckle, sausages, goulash, and sauerkraut. A favourite of mine is Flammekuchen, a flatbread baked with cream, bacon, onions, and fresh herbs, which is great to share as a starter. You can finish off with a sweet treat like apple streudel with vanilla sauce.
If you’re exploring the hip Kreutzberg area, stop into this small market hall, which boasts the usual offerings of produce, meats, and more. It’s a nice place for a wander as is has a local feel to it, and the freshly made juice blends are a perfect travel pick-me-up. You can also sample some traditional food, including the famous currywurst – sausage with ketchup and curry powder.
If you love chocolate (and who doesn’t?), pay a visit to Ritter Sport Colourful ChocoWorld, just off Gendarmenmarkt. If you’re not familiar with Ritter Sport, it’s a popular German chocolate bar which is square in shape and sold in a range of delicious flavours. At the flagship store, they sell almost every variety, even some that are still in the test phase and sold in a generic wrapper. The full-sized bars here are incredibly cheap at €0.95 each, and there is also a pick and mix of mini-bars, as well as some mega bars, maybe 3 times the size of a regular 100g square. You can also create your very own bar from the fillings on offer, and there’s a small Ritter Sport museum upstairs and kids activities downstairs. It’s a fun spot to explore, and of course stock up on chocolate – we bought a huge grocery bag of all different flavours of bars in a variety of sizes for around €20.