Berlin has plenty of unassuming neighborhood restaurants serving old-fashioned German food but happily, the dining scene in this thriving city has expanded to incorporate all sorts of international cuisine, as well as healthier, more contemporary versions of the German classics.
As in many other destinations around the world, eating locally sourced and organic food is more and more the rage in Berlin. Restaurants now understand that although they could import ingredients from other European countries, there are plenty of fresh farm resources closer to home. Look for the name Brandenburg, for instance, before Ente (duck) or Schwein (pork) on a menu–-it's the rural area just outside of Berlin. In spring, definitely look for the weisser Spargel, white asparagus from nearby Beelitz, which is all the rage, showing up as a main course with a variety of sauces, in pastas, soups, and even desserts.
When it comes to international cuisine, Berlin options run the gamut. Italian food is abundant, from relatively mundane pizza and pasta establishments to restaurants offering specific regional Italian delicacies. Asian restaurants, in particular, are popular, as is Turkish food, especially the beloved döner shops selling pressed lamb or chicken in flat-bread pockets with a variety of sauces and salads—always great for a quick meal, and a perennial late-night favorite. Wurst, especially Currywurst—curry-flavored pork sausage served with a mild curry ketchup—is also popular if you're looking for a quick meal on the go.
Old-fashioned German and especially Berlin cuisine is getting harder to find these days, as most restaurants aim to attract customers by reinventing the classics in the so-called Neue Deutsche Küche (new German cuisine) movement. But real, old Berlin classics are still lurking around town if you know where to look. Berlin's most traditional four-part meal is Eisbein (pork knuckle), always served with sauerkraut, pureed peas, and boiled potatoes. Other old-fashioned Berlin dishes include Rouladen (rolled, stuffed beef), Spanferkel (suckling pig), Berliner Schüsselsülze (potted meat in aspic), Hackepeter (ground beef), and Berliner Leber (calves' liver with cooked apples and onions).
Weekend brunch buffets are popular in Berlin and restaurants all over the city get crowded with patrons lingering over the meals.
It's worth noting that Berlin is known for its curt, slow service, except at high-end restaurants. Also keep in mind that many of the top restaurants are closed Sunday, and sometimes Monday as well.