Berlin Restaurants: Maxwell or Vau

Apr 20th, 2008, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
We went to Gugelhof on a Thursday evening. My husband and I spent the afternoon in Charlottenburg, and our daughters poked around Prenzlauerberg. We thought we were going to eat at a restaurant in the Kulturbrauerei - at least I was sure that I'd read about a restaurant there. We met up with the girls only to find that it was only a bar - no food. So Gugelhof was actually our fallback position (although my daughter and I had been there the previous year and enjoyed our meal of fondue).

At this point it was not very early, and we did not have reservations. It was also cold and rainy and we had some packages with us. We arrived, dripping and laden, at the doorstep of Gugelhof. The restaurant was filled when we arrived. No, we told them, we do not have reservations (fully expecting to be turned away). But the wonderful staff found us a table. It's not a tiny restaurant, but has an intimate, cozy feel. At the same time, there was plenty of room for us to hang our coats (hooks on the wall next to our table) and stow our shopping bags.

The menu was limited but varied and the food was all very tasty. I ordered a caramelized goat cheese to start. It was so good that I did not want to give tastes! It's probably gauche of us, but we often share tastes. For my main course, I had a white wine based stew in casserole sealed with pastry. My husband had a fish soup to start and a ravioli special. The girls split the fondue (2 person minimum to order). The older had "creme brulee of duck liver" to start and the younger had pumpkin soup. Both starters were delicious. And the fondue, which I'd enjoyed on my last visit to the restaurant, was again quite good.

We went with the recommended Alsatian red wine special and we liked it. The waiter was quite helpful in helping us with the wine decision.

Our waiter was superb - very professional and personable as well. I can't remember why, but he brought my older daughter (age 22!) a child's coloring place mat and a cup of colored pencils. She's actually an accomplished artist, so she went right to work coloring her picture and drawing in lots of her own little details. At one point she realized that she needed a blue pencil, but there wasn't one in the cup. The waiter searched around and located just the pencil for her.

At the end of the meal, my daughter drew him a little thank you note for finding her the blue pencil. He was pretty touched by that.

The restaurant is nice without being fancy, relaxed but not too casual, friendly but not intrusive. I would recommend making a reservation. Both times I visited we got what looked like the only/last available table.
noe847 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 118
cherrybomb-- I was away from my computer, so I wasn't able to check in on your fahrt progress! My husband has gotten better over the years, but I finally realized it would be better if I spelled it out if there were something I really hoped for. The 7am river cruise idea was pretty funny-- clearly a deperate, last-ditch effort!!

Maybe you could celebrate your birthday early at home with a balloon ride that may be a lot easier to arrange and a dinner at a place you love? Then maybe he could plan a special dinner in berlin but it won't have all the weight of the birthday expectations?? Now that I've been there several times, I know the places I love (and I've never had a bad meal) but it's hard to be sure about something when you really want it to be fabulous.

Also, for vietnamese, M. Vuong is great and fun for a fast bite-- not a relaxed place to linger; at least when we were there.

noe-- I am so impressed with your detailed food notes-- certainly beats my enthusiastic but vague memories!!

Thin-- ditto for your knowledge of specific streets and locations. It is very helpful.
Surie is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,851
Thanks noe for the details. will look into Gugelhof.

Surie: no worries on the ballonfahrt. I informed him of the transport and he mentioned getting an automatic car since it is only a day if we cannot hire a driver. He knows he is doghouse bound if no balloonfahrt + he'll be shamed doubly by our friends as I retell over and over again that I never got my balloonfahrt. He is still getting shamed on the 7am river cruise idea--we barely get up before noon!

any other restaurant/bar ideas welcome--I seriously cannot wrap my head around what we are going to do while we are there and am questioning the location we decided to stay in as being too bland. Gah!
cherrybomb is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
I ate at Vau about five years ago (in 2003). It was lovely as I recall. Can't give you too many other specifics. One thing that I remember the most is that I was eating alone and they brought me some reading material, which included the Vau cookbook (or something very similar). It's located right off Gendarmenmarkt (sp?), so the location is nice.

Don't know Maxwell.

I think Vau still has one Michelin star.
111op is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,833
Thanks noe, what a great report - you really have a lot of talent in reporting. I hope you will write more reports on other restaurants as well.
DAX is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2008, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
DAX, my reports are only as good as my notes! I usually don't make very detailed notes of our meals and was very surprised when I looked back at my journal to see that I'd actually written everything down. It's probably a reflection of how much we enjoyed the meal.

When I do the trip report for our latest Berlin trip, I will include the restaurants (and try to recall what we ate!) Our two favorite meals were Gugelhof and Aigner, followed by Good Time (Thai).
noe847 is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Posts: 1,851

went to gugelhoff and the fondue was just to be expected...enjoyed schneeweiss except for the running commentary of a fight from the idiots next to us (another story)...

thinking of spindler and klatt, horvath, jolesch and austria... thoughts?

decided against maxwell--reservation service sucked
cherrybomb is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 118
Happy birthday!! Hope you got your balloon fahrt!

I've only been to Austria of the restaurants on your list, and I liked it a lot but wouldn't call it a design hot spot.

Look forward to your report!
Surie is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 04:58 PM
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decided on horvath, will have weird trip report.
cherrybomb is offline  
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