Berlin Restaurant Guidance

Old Apr 17th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Berlin Restaurant Guidance

To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary my wife and I will be making our first trip to Berlin for three nights beginning on Apr 30 and are staying in Potsdamer Platz area. We are looking to participate in three different types of dinner experiences:
• Fine dining in a romantic setting (willing to splurge)
• Great food in a vibrant area of city
• Great food at a pub/bar
Proximity important but not at expense of having great dining experience in each category we desire.
Was going to ask about lunch as well but our options may be biased based on our itinerary. Nonetheless if you have “must do” lunch suggestions we will may factor into our planning.
Appreciate your help.
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Old Apr 17th, 2010, 11:51 PM
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1. Romantic

1.1 Fischers Fritz: in the Regent Hotel on Genadarmenmarkt, pretty upscale, Michelin starred, great quality food, not cheap (for Berlin, which still generally is cheap price-wise) unless you go for lunch.

1.2 Hugos: In the Intercontinental Hotel close to the Zoo, views over Berlin, Michelin-starred and top-notch quality. Fresh ambiance. Very good.

1.3 Bayerisches Haus: outside Berlin, in fact slightly outside Potsdam, in the wild game park, top quality cuisine in a tranquil setting, also Michelin starred.

2. Great food in a vibrant area of the city

2.1 Ottenthal: In West Berlin on Kantstr. (the street itself is rather busy and not so inspiring), close enough to the bar scene around Savignyplaty, great Austrian cuisine.

2.2 Diekmann, also in West Berlin, off Ku'damm in Meinekestr. serves a selection of French inspired German food (or the other way round) and offers a very good selection of wines.

2.3 Lutter & Wegner: Has become a mini-chain with a few outfits all over the city - there are 2 on Potsdamer Platz (1 in Weinhaus Huth, the other in Kaisersaal at the Kaisersaal at the Sony Centre), I still prefer the ambiance of the original outfit on Charlottenstr at Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte. Good German/Austrian inspired food and an extensive wine list at very reasonable prices.

2.4 Grill Royal: in Mitte in a waterside location between Friedrichstr. and Oranienburger Str., a pretty trendy hang-out, slightly over-priced. The steaks are good, though.

2.5 Borchardts: In Mitte, just around the corner from Gendarmenmarkt, local celebrity hang-out. German/Austrian inspired cuisine.

2.6 Gugelhof: Alsatian cuisine on Kollwitzplatz in trendy Prenzlauer Berg, rustic ambiance, rustic cuisine, but was good enough for former German chancellor Schroeder and President Clinton. Nice Alsatian wines, cheap.

3. Great food at a pub/bar:

3.1 Solarbar: Roof-top with great views in a high-rise not far from Potsdamer Platz, stylish bar scene, good cocktails and surprisingly good food.

3.2 Nu: In Charlottenburg, close to Savignyplatz, maybe more a restaurant, but in a very loungey style. Interesting Asian fusion cuisine, some good cocktails.
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Old Apr 18th, 2010, 12:03 AM
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At the first newspaper shop buy the "Tip-edition" of 'Berlins Speisekarte'
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Old Apr 18th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Thank you so much hsv, I now have some homework to do! Recognize this is illogical question because people's individual tastes vary, but I would love to read your choice, for each of the three categories. Thank you.
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 02:17 AM
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Fine dining:

Berlin has 13 Michelin star-awarded restaurants. Fischers Fritz might be the best one. The prix-fixe lunch (reservation required) is a super-bargain, while dinner is expensive. They offer a 3-course lunch menu (in fact, it is five courses) at incredible €49. Reasonable wines.

Expect the typical ambiance of a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The restaurant is located directly at the Gendarmenmarkt.

Most other Michelin-starred restaurants have an elegant modernist ambiance. If you like this style, the Margaux might be suited for a romantic dinner.

For a more traditional setting, the Quadriga in the hotel Brandenburger Hof would be another option.

I personally like very much Hugo's, too.

For a dinner in a vibrant area, I second Diekmann. They have two locations, their original location in a historical store in Meinekestraße (West-Berlin, side street off Kurfürstendamm) and a new location at Potsdamer Platz.

Lutter&Wegner (the original restaurant) has historical ambiance, but the food is so-so. The place has become very touristy.
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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I deliberately gave you a choice of restaurants in different parts of the city with different ambiances, styles of cuisines and clientele. I have been to all of them and thoght each of them noteworthy in this context, so ultimately it will come down to your preferences. The websites should give you an idea of the menu and possibly the ambiance, too.

I can try to elaborate a bit, though:

As proximity is a factor, you may want to rule out Bayrisches Haus outside Potsdam.
Hugos offers rather modern ambiance, whereas Fischers Fritz is conservative as a typical Four Seasons Hotel (it used to be one before branding changed to Regent).
Hugos has rooftop views of the city, whereas groundfloor Fischers Fritz doesn't have much of a view. Fischers Fritz is located on beautiful Gendarmenmarkt, though, and is walking distance from Potsdamer Platz, whereas Hugos environs are quite bland and it's not a beautiful walk back to Potsdamer Platz. On your way back from Gendarmenmarkt you could drop by fashionable Newton Bar (cocktail) or Lutter & Wegner (glass of German or Austrian wine) for a night cap.
Fischers Fritz menu in my experience has a better choice of seafood than meat, though (as the name implies), so you should be comfortable with fish.

Good food in vibrant area:
It's a toss up depending on what cuisine you want and your mood, really.
Borchardt is also on Gendarmenmarkt, basically around the corner of Lutter & Wegner. Borchardt is pretty much a celebrity hang-out, but its cuisine still produces more than decent quality. It's not quiet.
Lutter & Wegner also is not quiet. While the food may be a notch better at Borchardt, Lutter & Wegner still dishes out better than average German/Austiran staples and its extensive wine list may be more accessible.
Both are walking distance from Potsdamer Platz.

If you want to make it to West Berlin and the bar scene around Savigny Platz (Hefner on Savignyplatz, Cafe Florain on Grolmanstr et al.), Ottenthal is a good option. It's small, also not quiet, and the organic provenance of its Austrian staples doesn't hurt either. Good Austrian wines.
Alternatively Diekmanns on Meinekestr. is a bit further from Savignyplatz, but closer to Ku'damm. It's cuisine is more German-French.
Their outfit in Weinhaus Huth on Potsdamer Platz would have been closest to your hotel, as Echnaton suggested, but as far as I am aware, doesn't exist any longer.

If you want to explore the tree-shaded streets around Kollwitzplatz in gentrifying Prenzlauer Berg in East Berlin, Gugelhof and its Alsatian cuisine could be a good option. Its service can be a bit hit and miss, though and its ambiance is probably the most down to earth of the ones mentioned here. Its Alsatian cuisine is alsothe mmost rustic of the ones mentioned here.

On the other end of the ambiance scale is Grill Royal, a see and be seen place with good steaks where the cuisine doesn't necessarily live up to the price tag. As steak houses with good quality can be found in many international locations, I would probably rank this lowest priority-wise.

Bars with food:
While Nu is again close to Savignyplatz in the West, Solar Bar offers splendid rooftop views a quick cab ride from Potsdamer Platz. Nu is very international with its Asian cross-over cuisine, so maybe not so unique, whereas Solar offers a choice of German and international dishes. Both are very loungey (Solar becomes a club later at night) and you should be comfortable with a very young and hip crowd.

If you would rather have something more traditional, you could also try one of the other restaurants mentioned.
Iif you went to either Ottenthal or Diekmanns in the West one night, go to Prenzlauer Berg the other night or vice versa and then pay a visit to a bar on your way back. If you went to Gugelhof, i.e. Rivabar under the subway arches at Dircksenstr. close to Alexanderplatz or Newton Bar on Gendarmenmarkt come to mind.

In the West, I'd look into one of the bars around Savignyplatz (Hefner for cocktails and a beer; or very down-to earth Zwiebelfisch for beers or Cafe Florian on Grolmanstr., which is actually rather a restaurant, but would also serve a glass of wine or a martini).
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Thinking about this further, maybe I would:
- One evening go to Fischers Fritz (walk) visit L&W or Newton Bar next door afterwards.
You cover Gendarmenmarkt/Mitte ares.

- One evening go to Ottenthal or Diekmann, visit a bar on Savignyplatz afterwards. You cover West Berlin.

- One evening go to Prenzlauer Berg/ Gugelhof and go to a bar around there afterwards or Rivabar on Dircksenstr. near Alexanderplatz/Hackescher Markt. You cover East Berlin.
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 02:34 PM
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Thank you all and in particular hsv. I like your thinking and your descriptions provide the perspective I am looking for. Am leaning towards Fischers Fritz, although was surprised they are not rated in Zagats. Perhaps I will be first....
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