There are no shortages of lively and vibrant places to eat in Berlin and a visit to a beer hall should be on your itinerary. Local specialties are German pork knuckles, a variety of sausages, and schnitzels. The most popular sausage locally is the currywurst. As far as my recommendations are concerned, I tend to stick with middle of the road places that offer great value and well as a more intimate cultural dining experience. Here are my top choices:
Augustiner is a German beer hall type of place to eat in Berlin near Gendarmenmarkt Square. It has an extensive menu and is a local favorite. The atmosphere is lively, and the foods are authentically German.
Augustiner brews its own beers, and you can see their wooden barrels all over the restaurant. I highly recommend “Hell” which is a Pilsner beer that complements a pork knuckle perfectly well.
The German pork knuckle is a must-try signature dish, and it is close to perfect. The pork knuckle is wrapped in a thick layer of skin and fats, so the meat is moist and tender even after hours of roasting. The Bavarian cabbage has just the right degree of tartness for my palate.
Augustiner makes their own variety of sausages and bratwursts, and this particular version is coarse, meaty, and only slightly spicy.
If this is your first trip to Germany, I highly recommend that you visit a beer hall at least once, not just to soak in all the cultural aspects of it, but also to have a great time.
Maximilians is a large, lively, and vibrant restaurant in Berlin with a beer hall type atmosphere. It serves lunch and dinner as well as a large variety of local beers on tap. A beer and a pretzel are popular items during happy hours. The menu is extensive, featuring mostly Bavarian cuisines and specialties. The wait staff wears traditional Bavarian dresses.
Chicken breast with gnocchi
It is a baked chicken breast that is moist and tender. Gnocchi are something like a potato dumpling. It is typically made with dough mixed with potatoes, eggs, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients.
Currywurst with fries
Currywurst is a popular Bavarian sausage. The pork sausage is deep fried, and the skin is very crispy when I bite into it. A mildly spicy curry ketchup sauce makes the currywurst complete. The fries, as with almost all fries in Europe, are some of the bests.
As the name of the restaurant suggests, Schnitzelei Mitte have all the schnitzels that you can imagine, including mushroom schnitzels, and even fish schnitzels. Yes, seriously!
But don’t forget to sample some German tapas too, as these are some of their specialties as well. Local foodies like their fried meat balls with ramson mustard and Berlin rost sausage.
The atmosphere is lively and casual, prices are moderate, and actually great value considering the large portion sizes of the entrees. A good selection of local craft beers is also available to make your dining experience even more enjoyable.
Hopfingerbrau Am Brandenburger Tor
Hopfingerbrau is A European bistro located right at the front entrance of Brandenburg Gate, which is one of the most touristy places in the area. While this is not where we would expect to find good eats, it turns out that our lunch is delicious, and the prices are good values.
The goulash soup is a classic European dish (also popular in many Eastern European countries) that is rich in beef and mushroom flavors. A nice touch of red wine further enhances its richness.
The classic sausages are thin sausages that explodes with a snap of flavors when you bite into them. The mashed potatoes are fresh, buttery, and tasty.
I am glad it turns out to be one of the best places to eat in Berlin.
Prater Garten is the oldest biergarten in the city and it is still as popular as it has ever been. A trip to Prater Garten will most likely be one of your most memorable places to eat, drink, and have fun in Berlin.
It is best to visit in spring or summer when the weather is nice, and the extensive and impressive outdoor beer garden is open. It will take your breath away! However, indoor dining is open throughout winter as well.
The late Anthony Bourdain is probably the most famous foodie who has eaten there and Prater Garten has appeared in at least one of his documentaries.
But there are many local foodies who love this place as well. Some of their favorite German staples are Wiener schnitzel, beef goulash, and veal meatballs. They are also well-known for their roast goose. A whole roasted goose is available by reservation only.
Erdinger am Gendarmenmarkt
This is a cozy but lively restaurant in the heart of Gendarmenmarkt where you’ll find numerous sightseeing attractions. It is very convenient for both lunch and dinner. It has a brew house atmosphere and proudly serves its own beer by the same name. I feel that Erdinger is more authentically Bavarian and also more reasonably priced than many of the nearby upscale restaurants.
Their menu is quite extensive and consists mostly of German favorites. One of their specialties is the one-meter long freshly made bratwurst. Well, I am getting the currywurst instead as it is quite difficult to find a good curry ketchup sauce back home.
And of course, I will have the schnitzel as well! I am showing above a schnitzel with warm potato salad and cranberries – a German classic!
You are in the Checkpoint Charlie area, and you step into Entrecôte Berlin… Moments later, you cannot believe that you are not in Paris.
You’ve just stepped into one of locals’ favorite places to eat steak frites in Berlin.
If you’ve had more than enough of bratwursts, schnitzels, and pork knuckles and want a change of scenery, this French brasserie will be a delightful experience.
They specialize in French favorites such as escargot and Le Foie Gras, and as the name of the restaurant suggests, they serve great steak frites. You almost feel like you are at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte in the streets of Paris.
Papà Pane di Sorrento
Papà Pane di Sorrento is a great pizzeria near the Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn station. It serves a good variety of authentic pizza and pastas. From the food to the décor to the atmosphere, this is a great place for authentic Italian food and good eats.
Prices are very affordable, and the quality is superb. The reasonably priced house wine is good stuff for the price, and it goes very well with the pizzas.
Papa Pane is one of the most popular restaurants among the locals in Berlin, and it can be very crowded and lively at times. Part of the hype comes from the fact that Brad Pitt ate here when he was filming in the area. I highly recommend that you make your reservation early.
If you are in the Checkpoint Charlie area and want a quick meal but do not want fast food like MacDonald’s, then Vapiano might be one of the best places for quick and simple eats in Berlin.
This is a European chain which has numerous locations throughout Europe and is all over many German cities as well. They are best known for their freshly made to order pasta. You will give your custom order to the cook who will prepare your pasta in front of you. It is fast and convenient, but not precisely fast food.
Prices are very reasonable; service is friendly and efficient. However, the level of service and food quality could vary a bit from store to store. This particular location near Checkpoint Charlie turns out to be great! Takeout is available.
I am posting the picture of my lunch above: Spaghetti Bolognese – beef ragout, onions, carrots, fresh tomato sauce.
Mark Brandenburg offers regional cuisine with a focus on sustainability and freshness. Its menu reflects the focus on fresh ingredients from the Brandenburg region. Some refreshing items include honey tomato consommé, and the summer salad pictured above.
The summer salad is a nice blend of greens, black tomatoes, cherries, cottage cheese, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.
The place is upscale and elegant. Prices are on the higher end. However, both the quality of the food and service are top-notch, and it ranks among one of the finer places to eat in Berlin.