What is Berlin’s dining scene like?

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Katherine Sacks

German food has a reputation for being heavy and rich—sausages, dumplings, gravies, and potato dishes all come to mind. But Berlin has a surprisingly vibrant culinary scene, a combination of the Old Guard and new chefs ready to take the world by storm—as of 2013, the city has 13 Michelin stars, more than any German city.

Old-school German restaurants are still here, with places like Max und Moritz and Clärchens Ballhaus showing off the charm of yesteryear, and still offering a great schnitzel. But in a city known for reinventing itself, today’s young Berlin chefs are branching out from tradition, bringing in the new techniques of modern cuisine and embracing the spices of other cultures. Restaurants such as Reinstoff and Facil both serve food as impressive as their surroundings, creating an engaging, cerebral experience. This type of resaturant really shows where the future of Berlin's cuisine is headed.

As Berlin’s culinary scene continues to grow and modernize, the city is also becoming home to a number of moderately priced restaurants. Home to a large Turkish community, as well as growing Vietnamese and Japanese populations, the city boasts a number of wonderful ethnic restaurants, pastry shops, and eateries. You can now find restaurants of every type in Berlin, from Santa Maria, a Mexican-style cantina in Kreuzberg and Si An, a Vietnamese teahouse in Prenzlauer Berg, to Cocolo Ramen, a hidden away Japanese ramen restaurant in Mitte.

The city also has a thriving number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Restaurant Cookie’s Cream has become popular for its affordable chef’s menu, as well as the nightclub underneath the restaurant. And Berlin is home to a growing supper club scene, with more and more young chefs stretching their culinary wings here, which whispers of more great things to come.

But without a doubt, Berlin is known for its street food. Many locals live off a diet of döner—a Turkish-style sandwich composed of grilled meat and garlic sauce—and currywurst—a bratwurst covered in curried ketchup. Konnopke's Imbiss is said to be one of the best for currywurst in the city; for a döner try Rosenthaler Grill & Schlemmerbuffet.

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