We spent the last two days of our Germany trip in Berlin. By this time we were a little tired of the typical German fare of potatoes with meat, fish or, in my case, salad. So we were looking forward to exploring some more exotic restaurants in the capital.
On the first night we stumbled on the Indonesian restaurant Good Time, while strolling around. It’s a huge space, but somehow still very warm and cozy. And all the napkins were folded into lotus blossoms:
We had a tofu curry and some fried tofu with ginger vegetables. Both totally hit the spot and I would absolutely go back.
Our hotel was near the Hackesche Hoefe, a series of courtyards, designed at the turn of the century to combine living space with commerce, art and culture. There are some great little stores and the architecture is absolutely worth a visit. There is also a huge, beautiful cafe called Oxymoron, where we had breakfast the next morning. For a while we were the only ones there and felt a forlorn, but several groups soon wandered in. One thing we noticed in Berlin is how big most of the restaurants and cafes are. Coming from New York, it seems impossible, but I guess rents are cheap here, so why not go big?!
This is our his and hers breakfast (V. had the English breakfast and I the vegetarian):
Every place we ate at served loose leaf tea in individual tea pots…a true sign of civilization, if you ask me!
After visiting the Reichstag (which you now have to book at least 3 days in advance on the internet, but which is totally worth it as a first stop because it gives you a great sense of the layout of the city), we strolled down “Unter den Linden” to Cafe Einstein, which all the guidebooks celebrate as one of the original, classic cafes of the city.
The strudel was soggy and the Sacher was so dry it really needed the tea to wash it down. We only ate a few bites and left. Spare yourself the trip if you’re tempted to visit!
We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Cookies Cream. To get there you have to cross a parking lot behind the Westin, pass a series of dumpsters, ring a doorbell and climb a very dark stairway. Then you find yourself in a fully packed, very charming restaurant with an open kitchen. V. begged me not to bring my camera and look like the dorky tourist I am, so there are no pictures of our dinner. It was a very creative meal, with flavor combinations I’ve never tasted before that completely blew us away. And they make a surprisingly refreshing cocktail of vodka, rhubarb juice and lime. Yum!
On our last day the highlight was a visit to the Bauhaus Museum. It’s small, but it does a lovely job of explaining and chronicling the movement. And, surprise, surprise…they have a delightful cafe that serves cake that looks completely homemade, and probably is. We were still full from breakfast, but I couldn’t resist the Nusskuchen (hazelnut cake)…a total throwback to childhood!
Dinner that night was at Volt (again, no camera). It’s located in a former electrical switching plant, so it has an industrial, modern look, with warm lighting, augmented by very friendly service. The chef prides himself on his vegetarian options, but while V. was raving about his monkfish, my pumpkin ravioli were just so-so. We shared a bottle of Dornfelder (excellent German red, that I wish was more available in New York) and overall it was a lovely evening.
The real surprise came the next morning on our layover in Munich, when Vernon decided to order roast duck (in an airport restaurant. At 10 am!) and it turned out to be one of the best ducks he’s ever had. You have to love travel for the amazement it offers!!