One of several excellent new-wave Thai restaurants in the city, Khao Taan stands out for its glowing warmth, great cooking and chilled vibes. Its home-style dishes are like little morsels of joy, each one mouth-wateringly fragrant and beautifully spiced. It also offers a very reasonably priced sharing menu.
Gryphiusstraße 10, Friedrichshain
You know when a restaurant just feels right? This friendly neighbourhood gastrobar in hip Schillerkiez quickly became a firm favourite among Berliners after it opened. It’s no wonder people love it: expect beautiful seasonal ingredients lovingly prepared with elegant simplicity alongside a bold selection of well-sourced natural wines from across Europe.
Okerstraße 2, Schillerkiez
A true labour of love, Mama Shabz is a cosy and colourful restaurant that serves heartfelt Pakistani food. The owner, Shabz, finds inspiration in her mother’s recipes, which were passed down through generations of women in her family. Visit during Saturday brunch for the delicious 12-hour, slow-cooked lamb nihari. The pakora game is always on point, too.
Reichenberger Str. 61a, Kreuzberg
Oh la Queca
When this colourful little joint opened in September 2020, Berlin finally received an answer to its prayers for some really decent Mexican food. Claiming to serve Berlin’s best tortillas (no arguments from us), this is a friendly, hole-in-the-wall kind of place with seriously tasty and vibrant dishes. Try the deliciously fresh mole poblano (traditional Mexican chocolate marinade), made the old-fashioned way – from scratch.
Reuterstraße 36, Neukölln
This pitch-perfect, bijou café has elevated brunch beyond avo on toast with exquisite, inventive sharing plates, plus classics with a twist and great coffee to boot. Reservations are a must on weekends, as word about this little gem has definitely spread. And don’t miss the sausage sandwich – genuinely transcendent on hazy, post-Berghain mornings.
Görlitzer Strasse 68, Kreuzberg
Though its tidy menu of sharing plates is always top-notch, the ambience is the real reason people keep coming back to this lively restaurant. Perfect for both fun, boozy dinners with friends crowded around high tables, or an intimate, romantic rendezvous in the glinty garden, this Israeli-owned spot is something special.
Heckmann Höfe, Oranienburger Str. 32, Mitte
Cheap, cheerful and perennially busy, Azzam keeps the people of Neukölln satiated with world-class Palestinian hummus, served by the bucketful with a big pack of pita bread and a simple side salad. For something a little different, try the warming musabaha – a satisfying stew of spiced whole and blended chickpeas.
Sonnenallee 54, Neukölln
Da Jia Le
A long-time favourite among those in the know, this unassuming spot serves some incredibly tasty and super-spicy Northern Chinese food. Most of the dishes on the extensive menu are a far cry from your local takeaway, so come with an open mind – trust us, you won’t be disappointed. Try the cumin-doused beef for an aromatic flavour bomb.
Goebenstraße 23, Schoneberg
Korean food is ubiquitous in Berlin, but Choi takes it to the next level with its sublime take on staple dishes. The chef-patron has created a unique and intimate space where diners can chow down on her warm cooking inspired by her mother’s recipes. Choose to go à la carte or between the fish, meat or vegetarian tasting menus, each with perfect wine or tea pairings.
Fehrbelliner Strasse 4, Pankow
A wonderful combination of bold cooking, impeccably designed space and unpretentious atmosphere, Tulus Lotrek offers a near-perfect fine dining experience. Its seasonal tasting menus are full of scrumptious dishes that showcase a playful approach to cooking and put big smiles on the faces of its loyal diners.
Fichtestraße 24, Kreuzberg
In Berlin – where cheap doner kebab rules the streets – opening a sit-down Turkish grill feels bold, but Fes BBQ manages to pull it off with its cool, modern take on Anatolian cuisine. The sharing starters are divine, but the star of the show is the perfectly seasoned slabs of meat diners barbecue themselves on tabletop grills for a fun DIY dining experience.
Hasenheide 58, Keeuzberg
No false advertising here: this lovely café-restaurant is as cosy as can be, with an all-day menu of comforting Taiwanese treats. Get a forkful of Taipei’s vibrant, flavourful dishes, or take part in a heavenly tea ceremony. The blood rice cake and soy milk pudding is an absolute delight, especially when washed down with a bit of oolong.
Sprengelstraße 39, Mitte
Nobelhart & Schmutzig
Fine dining done in a uniquely Berlin way: bold, political, and always looking ahead. This 28-seat counter restaurant has held onto its Michelin star over the years without a problem thanks to creative cooking that eschews any haute-cuisine clichés. Pull up a seat and dig into the spectacular ten-course menu that showcases beautiful, hyper-regional ingredients.
Friedrichstraße 218, Mitte
Berlin restaurants tend to sport a modern, minimalist uniform – but sometimes, you just want the classics: candlelight, tablecloths, and elegant service. This bustling French brasserie serves timeless favourites, and is a good point in favour of the argument that you can never go wrong with old-school French cuisine.
Stuttgarter Platz 18, Charlottenburg
Neapolitan pizza is everywhere nowadays, but only some places are special enough to warrant a trip to the far-reaches of Schöneberg – like this award-winning titan of the Berlin pizza scene. Malafemmena’s pillowy, chewy sourdough base is topped to perfection then blasted in a 450ºC oven. It also serves pasta and fish dishes in case – heaven forbid – you tire of pie.
Hauptstraße 85, Schöneberg